WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington School Committee is considering changing the start times of all eight Wilmington schools, as early as the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
After talking about changing school start times for the past four years, and ultimately taking no action last May, the Committee is revisiting the issue at its December 7 meeting, with a brand new proposal from Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand and Transportation Coordinator Lisa Faretra under consideration.
Worth noting, in addition to a change in start times, the length of the school day is increasing for students — 15 minutes of extra learning for students in PreK through Grade 5, and 5 minutes of extra learning for students in Grades 6-12. This increase in learning time is a result of language in the new collective bargaining agreement between the School Committee and Wilmington Teachers Association signed last Spring, and would have taken place regardless of a change in start times.
The new proposed schedule is below:
The current schedule is below:
Brand notes that the proposal aligns with many of the top community priorities highlighted in the community survey taken by more than 1,000 parents last spring.
- No student will need to be picked up prior to 7am in the morning.
- No bus fees will be introduced as no additional buses will need to be purchased. (The town is currently paying approximately $1 million a year for busing, and any additional bus will cost at least another $75,000.)
- Transportation for high school athletics will not adversely be impacted the proposal.
- The proposal will not put the availability of CARES at risk for families who require it.
- 7 of the 8 schools are shifted 40 minutes or less from their current schedule.
- 7 of the 8 schools will have start times in the 8am to 9am hour.
Brand notes that Wildwood’s early start time is due to the amount of distance its buses must cover, which is currently a much larger area than the Boutwell. Brand also notes that, under this proposal, high school and middle school students would ride together on the same buses.
The School Committee will first hear the proposal at its meeting on December 7, 2022 at 7pm in the High School’s Large Instruction Room. The meeting will air live on WCTV and wctv.org.
The Committee will then hold public forums for parents, students, staff and community members on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, from 6pm to 7pm, and Wednesday, January 18, 2023, from 6pm to 7pm, in the High School’s Large Instruction Room.
The Committee is expected to vote on the proposal at its meeting on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. If approved, the Committee will also decide if the proposal will go into effect for the 2023-2024 school year or — to allow families and staff more time to plan — the 2024-2025 school year.
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