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Time changes may be in effect for DB district next year

COAL GROVE — Beginning in the fall, students in the Dawson-Bryant Local School District may see some time changes for the start and end of their school days.

At Monday night’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Dennis Decamp offered the board a revised schedule that he says would have a positive impact on elementary-aged children.

The changes would give elementary students a day beginning at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast, class work at 9 a.m. and dismissal at 3 p.m. The 3 p.m. dismissal is half an hour later than the current schedule.

This, DeCamp said, would allow older siblings at the high school and middle school a chance to get home first, so the younger children wouldn’t be home alone.

The middle and high schools’ schedules would also shift.

Students would begin the day 15 minutes earlier at 7:45 a.m. and dismiss at 2:24 p.m.

DeCamp also proposed that those students’ lunch period be cut to 30 minutes instead of an hour, as they currently have. He noted teachers have told him longer lunch periods lead to some students getting into trouble.

With the day starting earlier for the middle and high schoolers, the lunch periods would begin at 10:48 a.m.

“I don’t like the lunch before 11 a.m.” said board member Debbie Drummond. “But if they start earlier, maybe they’ll be hungry by then.”

Another advantage to the time shift, DeCamp said, is the high school bus drivers would be finished with their routes sooner, and therefore able to take sports teams and other extra curricular groups to their events. The time change would also allow the students to begin homework earlier.

DeCamp said he would talk to the district’s bus drivers to make sure the time changes would work with all routes before asking the board to make a decision.

In other business:

• The board approved the start of the elementary playground renovation project, not to exceed $140,000, which will be funded through the permanent improvement fund.

The project would add new drainage, level ground areas and add a concrete walking path around the playground.

The project was needed to fix drainage issues that were washing mulch off the playground downhill to the school building.

• The board authorized the superintendent to attain bids for a renovation project for the high school track.

DeCamp told the board that the track project, originally thought to be a resurfacing project, would actually be a total overhaul of the track due to the extensive damage it had sustained.

• The board approved the creation of a student services support fund. The fund would be in place to assist students who are in need of items such as clothing.

• The board entered into an executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel matters including evaluations and contracts, administrative assignments for the 2012-2013 school year, supplemental positions and possible personnel reductions in force for the 2012-2013 school year.

After an executive session, the board renewed several teacher and classified contracts.

The next meeting of the board of education will be 4 p.m. May 7 at the board office.