The school system may need as many as 32 more buses to address existing overcrowding issues.

Changes are coming to school schedules across Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education unanimously passed a plan on Wednesday to adjust school start times starting at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.

The green light for these changes to school schedules comes after months of research and discussion by district leaders.

According to the plan passed this week, elementary schools will start between 8-9 a.m., middle schools will start between 8:30-9:00 a.m., and high schools will start at 8:30 a.m.

The district calls these “healthier school start times.”

The student member of the Board of Education said she is bummed to miss the change by one year, however, she is thrilled for her fellow students.

“They will no longer have to wake up before the sun when it comes to going to school,” said Bunmi Omisore at a school board meeting on Wednesday.

AACPS hired Prismatic Solutions, Inc in March 2021 to study the district’s transportation and logistics of a major schedule shift.

“There’s many pieces to adjusting school start times,” said Dr. Tatia Prieto, the founder of Prismatic Solutions.

Prieto told members of the Board of Education that changes to school start times will have impacts for schools, families, and the community.

Parents need to know for sure what their new school start times are going to be but then they also need to potentially adjust work schedules, adjust for new childcare requirements,” said Prieto. “Students need to understand what the changes are going to be, daycares need to adjust their offering hours to meet the new start and end times in their local community.”

Considerations will also need to be made for things including student meals, student athletics, and deliveries.

Prismatic Solutions says changes to start times would come at little to no cost to AACPS, though an additional 32 buses may be needed to address overcrowding that already exists across the district.

Exact start times for each school will not be available for several more months, according to the district.

The news of changes to school schedules and bus routes comes as AACPS continues to face a shortage of approximately 60 bus drivers during the 2021-2022 school year.

“Our transportation issues continue,” said Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto, while addressing the school board on Wednesday.

Legislation for a $5 dollar an hour raise for bus drivers and attendants, along with a $2,000 hiring and retention bonus, is still waiting for final approval from the Anne Arundel County Council.

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