Parents concerned over possible changes to school start times in Prince George County

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Concerned parents in Prince George County contacted 8News about possible changes to school start times.

8News went right to the school system for answers, and while no official plan is currently in place, officials say they are exploring the option.

“What we’re looking at is how can we better get our students to school safely and on time?” Patrick Bingham, assistant superintendent for Prince George County Schools, said.

The school system is trying to find a solution for a shortage of bus drivers in the county.

“If we sit and do nothing, we are going to be guaranteed late buses again,” Bingham explained.

Bingham says a lack of bus drivers means some buses are doing double routes. And some students are left paying the price.

“Once they get there they have missed time. They have missed that instructional time, and so even if it’s one child, two children whose buses are late, that impacts them because they are having to play catch up.”

 

While no official proposal is on the table, some parents remain concerned.

“The children will have no time in the evening for after school activities and homework and dinner time,” Susan Zimmerman said. “There just won’t be any time before bed time.”

Zimmerman said she started hearing rumors that elementary students would start later in the day after a letter went out to teachers saying the schools were exploring the time change.

“So it added some credibility to the rumor and makes it look like something we need to be taking seriously,” Zimmerman said. “It’s not just something someone made up.”

Zimmerman says she understands they are trying to find a solution, but she wishes they would include more parents.

“They have a problem to solve and I wish I could offer some solutions, and I applaud them for coming up with something, but I don’t think this is going to work,” Zimmerman added. “This isn’t the right solution.”

The school system says while there are a bunch of “what ifs,” if the plan doesn’t solve the late buses issue, then the idea will get thrown out.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is set for July 10.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.