Elementary School Start and End Times Changing

Madison elementary school start and end times are changing as of August so that all 30 schools will begin each school day at either 7:45 or 8:30 a.m. These changes are being made primarily to realize cost savings of $360,000 per year by making bus transportation more efficient.

Individual schools will start up to 30 minutes earlier or later than they currently begin, with the average change just over 15 minutes per school. At present, school day start and end times vary by school.

School day end times will be either 2:34 or 3:19 p.m. depending on the start time. However, these dismissal times are currently being finalized and may vary by five minutes.

"We realize that it is not easy for families to change their daily schedules," said Superintendent Art Rainwater. "We are doing this because, under the ever tightening state revenue caps, it is critical that we be as cost efficient as possible in our operations so that we can continue to provide the same level of classroom support that we have now."

With only two start and stop times for all elementary schools, one bus can transport students to an "early" school and then do the same to a "late" school. Fewer buses will be required, resulting in a savings of $360,000 per year if current contracts rates were to be maintained. This streamlining also supports the bus companies in securing enough drivers and sufficient busses.

The consistent times across schools also means more consistency in student instructional time, and ensures a consistent work day for teachers and staff throughout the elementary schools.

The new start times are within the framework of the current start times. There are schools that currently start at 7:45 a.m., and others that start at 8:30. The gap between times has to be at least 45 minutes for transportation reasons. Forty percent (4,431) of elementary school students are eligible for bussing.

Among the options that individual schools and their parent communities can investigate to adapt to these changes starting in August is expanding the child care programs before and/or after the school day. Child care organizations have been alerted about the pending changes. If parents are interested in an expanded child care program at their child's school, they should contact the organization that provides the care.

In addition, all elementary schools offer breakfast programs, allowing students to come to school 15 minutes before the school day begins.

"I'm sure that parents and our principals and staff can come up with other creative ways to adjust to their school's time change," said Rainwater. "We urge parents or community members with suggestions to contact either our principals or the child care program in that school."

More information about the new start times, including start times for all schools, are available on the District Web site,

For more information, contact:
Ken Syke, 267-1681 or
Jane Belmore, Assistant Supt., 261-9071

Madison Metropolitan School District

Public Information Office
545 W. Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53703

Last Modified: 2001-03-21
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