The Seattle Public Schools Board on Wednesday voted to approve $2.3 million in transportation funding to implement a change from a three-tier bus and bell schedule to a two-tier schedule for the 2017-18 school year.
There are still a lot of moving parts when it comes to the final schedule for the 2017-2018 school year, but Wednesday's vote will help pay for transportation services, such as buses, drivers, and fuel, for the new schedule.
Last week, the board approved several schedule changes for students in Seattle Public Schools. Schools across the district will start ten minutes earlier and end ten minutes later, starting next fall. The change brings Seattle Public School's instructional hours into alignment with other districts in the region.
The board also approved an early dismissal every single Wednesday, to allow for teacher planning, collaboration, and professional development. That change means that students across the district will be released 75 minutes early on Wednesdays.
Seattle Public Schools said more than 11,000 family members, teachers, principals, and community partners participated in a survey on how best to add 20 minutes to the instructional day and when to implement the one hour of teacher collaboration time per week.
The district got feedback from a lot of families, who say they would prefer to move to a two-tier bus system with two school start times instead of the current three-tier bus system with three different school start times.
Earlier in the year, district leaders said they were unable to move to a two-tier schedule due to a funding shortfall. Then in April, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed $2.3 million in startup funding to help Seattle Public Schools make the change. That $2.3 million was approved Wednesday.
Superintendent Larry Nyland has previously said the $2.3 million from the city would allow Seattle Public Schools to eliminate third tier bussing. That would mean that in the 2017-2018 school year, schools would start at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Seattle Public Schools has said it's committed to notifying families and providers about the final 2017-2018 schedule by June 16.