NEAR WEST SIDE — In an effort to cut costs, bell schedules at 82 CPS schools are expected to change for the 2015-2016 school year — with some schools shifting schedules by as much as 45 minutes to an hour.
At the affected high schools, start times will shift to 9 a.m. and affected elementary schools, for the most part, will shift to an earlier start time of 7:30 or 7:45 a.m. The change is part of a "district-wide streamlining of transportation services that is expected to save CPS $13.5 million next year," CPS said in a statement Thursday.
As DNAinfo previously reported, the district also plans to cut at least 280 bus stops throughout the city, but they were not releasing a list of consolidated stops until "later this summer."
DNAinfo originally reported the late start times two weeks ago, but CPS would not release a full list of impacted schools until Thursday.
Here it is (story continues below):
“Every dollar we save by staggering school bell times and streamlining transportation services next school year is one more dollar we don’t have to cut from our classrooms,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement. “No matter how grave our financial challenges are, we are committed to our students’ learning and their safety."
The list of schools affected by the changes has grown by five schools since the new bell times were announced. Originally, the district said 60 high schools and 17 elementary schools would have new bell times. Thursday's list includes 62 high schools 20 elementaries.
Stephanie Lulay discusses the implications for parents of CPS kids:
The projected cost savings have also grown. As recently as last week the district said the savings would be just $9.2 million.
Officials on Thursday did not say why the number of schools had increased or why the savings estimates had increased by nearly 50 percent.
Some parents and students have opposed the new times.
At Stone Academy in Edgewater, parents complained that the new 7:30 a.m. start was dangerous for kids who had to take the bus much earlier and also bad for students who wouldn't get enough sleep.
"This is so stupid, especially moving the younger kids to the earlier start times," Wintre Keller, who has a daughter going into first grade at Stone, told DNAinfo Chicago. "They are growing and need to sleep."
Payton High School students started a petition opposing the change, saying the 9 a.m start will require them to take public transit during more congested rush-hour commute times.
In the past, CPS buses have picked up magnet and selective-enrollment students at 450 stops — stops located at their neighborhood schools — across the city. But this fall, CPS plans to consolidate the number of bus stops to 180.
According to a statement, "the plan to shift bus arrival times resulted from an analysis that revealed that CPS’ transportation costs far outpace those at other large, urban districts."
At an LSC meeting at Andrew Jackson Language Academy last week, Martin Ellinger, CPS manager of student transportation routing, said the district is working to ensure the security of students and to make sure no children have to cross gang lines or other unsafe areas.
The eliminated bus routes will force some kids to walk up to 1.5 miles to their nearest stop, the district said.
"While some students are going to have to go a little bit further, most won't have to go that much further," Ellinger said.
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