Staggered school times for Madison County students

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -  If you live in Madison County, you may have to set those alarm clocks earlier this school year. Staggered start times go into effect next week.

Parents were asked for their input on staggered start and release times back in January.

Madison County Schools Operations Director Dan Evans said this year’s new schedule is a result from those meetings.

“We had no choice, in order to provide safe transportation, we had to do something,” Evans said. “So, that was why they bought into it.”

They are running 19 buses for the elementary schools, then re-running them again for the high schools and middle schools, which will eliminate the overcrowding situations on our buses, and hopefully shorten the time on the bus for students.

In the past, every Madison County school started at the same time.

Now, the little ones- elementary and k-8- will start at 7:45 a.m. The late bell for high schools and large middle schools rings at 8:30 a.m.

“It is going to be a hardship on some of our parents and I understand that and there was a lot of though put into this, to try to minimize that hardship,” Evans said. “But the reality of it is, we couldn’t keep hauling 70 kids on a bus. We had to get those numbers down, there was no money to buy new buses, so, this was our only alternative.”

At the end of the day, safety is the number one priority.

For elementary and k-8 students, that day ends at 2:30 p.m. For high school and middle school students, the day ends at 3:30 p.m.

Parents will be able to drop off their students 30 minutes before school starts.

For the full schedule, click here.

5 comments

  • Brainst0rms

    Is it wise that the youngest children get home first and are alone for an hour? If switched, the older kids could be there when their younger siblings get home. Just a thought from a non-county school system resident.

  • Concerned Parent

    The new school start times are truly inconsiderate towards working parents. I am supposed to be at work at 8:00 AM, how am I supposed to be there on time when I can not drop my child off at Sparkman Middle until 8:00 AM, and the bus does not arrive prior to 8:00 AM. The majority of working parents have to be at work at or around 8:00 AM. The new start time of 8:00 AM is truly unacceptable, we should at least have the ability to drop our students off at the school earlier. Parents were attempting to drop off their kids this morning and teachers were having to tell them they could not get out of the car before 8:00AM. I am lucky that my employer is understanding, but some people could loose their jobs if they are unable to get to work on time. We will end up with children unattended at bus stops year round (including the wintery mornings) or parents loosing their jobs.

  • Another Concerned Parent

    I agree with Concerned Parent.
    This staggered schedule is not a very good idea at all.
    The person who came up with this should know better. As teachers and faculty at the school have set start times to start work so do the parents. Not all parent s have the luxury of showing up the work that late to work.
    Why in the world is Sparkman Middle school not allowing early drop offs? It is nice to know your child is safely at school. Now parents are forced to leave their children by the road waiting on the bus for who knows how long with no one at home. This should cause a very big safety concern not only for the Parents but the School system as well.
    I have a hard time understanding how Madison County can build new buildings but can’t buy new busses to alleviate this situation. I also have a hard time understanding why the Principal at Sparkman Middle is not allowing parents to drop off early and giving the parents some since of security.
    I would also like to see if a time change is set for some middle schools then it should be county wide not just a select few.

  • MMS Parent

    We were in line today at 7:50 and all doors were locked. A school full of staff but they refuse to move the car rider line or let any student inside before 8:00 sharp. I’m fortunate to work from home and felt sorry for the parents around me trying to get to work!! Afternoon car rider line was worse and didn’t budge until all the buses were gone at 4pm!! Monrovia Middle has a lot to improve on. This is outrageous!

  • parent

    I don’t understand why the buses could not pick up all the children on the route (elementary, middle and high school) and take them to the respective elementary schools. Then buses that have unloaded the elementary school kids could refill up and take the kids to middle and high schools respectively. This would save gas, time and parents would not have to worry about the children getting off of buses at seperate times, as all the children would ride the same bus. Then do the same in reverse for the afternoon. Bus the high school and middle school students back to the respective elementary schools.

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