No uniform start times for HISD next fall

This surprised me.

Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier on Thursday withdrew his proposal to change bus schedules and school hours next year after concerns about disruption to families and questions about the cost savings.

This is the second consecutive year Grier has failed to gain support for a standardized bus plan, yet he said he expects to put it on the table again next year as the Houston Independent School District faces a projected $51 million shortfall.

“Before you start raising people’s property taxes, you’re going to be looking at every option you have to save money,” Grier said. “We’re not trying to find ways to make people angry.”

Yet anger, or at least annoyance, has surfaced from parents with varied concerns — starting school too early for children to be alert, starting classes too late for working families, releasing students too late for after-school jobs or extracurricular activities.

I’m willing to stipulate that the current open-whenever-you-want setup is inefficient, and that the goal of increasing instruction time is laudable. I just don’t think that a one-time-fits-all approach is necessarily the right answer, either. Elementary schools should have some flexibility to choose a time that best suits their communities, or at least represents the least disruption for them if they have to change it. Why not allow an 8 AM start option to go along with a 7:30 and an 8:30, and let the schools choose which time they want instead of having it foisted on them by the district? I’m willing to bet those two changes would have cut down on the griping considerably while stiff generating cost savings. I hope HISD is receptive to that idea when they try this again next year.

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One Response to No uniform start times for HISD next fall

  1. Please!! says:

    Are you kidding me? HISD giving folks options…not gonna happen!! It’s all Grier’s way or no way!

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