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Lingering weather impacts from the weekend’s weather storm have forced the postponement of the first of four community forums to provide information and solicit feedback regarding Superintendent George Arlotto’s proposal to shift school start and dismissal times – pending full funding and broad community support – beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.

The forum, originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, January 27, at Broadneck High School, will be rescheduled. Other forums are scheduled as follows:

All forums will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and are open to the public.

In his Fiscal Year 2017 budget recommendation to the Board of Education, Dr. Arlotto included $8.1 million to fund the shift beginning in August 2017. The funding would be combined with the $602,000 allocated by the County Council this year to enact a plan that would see high schools start at 8:30 a.m., middle schools begin no earlier than 9:30 a.m., and elementary schools open between 7:50 and 9:15 a.m. No school would dismiss later than 4:15 p.m.

The forums are not public hearings. Those attending will be able to hear a presentation of the thought process behind the development of the plan and gain a better understanding of how the plan will work if funded and implemented. There will also be an opportunity to exchange ideas in small-group discussions.

Shifting school hours in August 2017 provides time for funding to be in place to allow the necessary additional buses to be acquired by contractors and additional drivers and aides to be trained. In his December budget address to the Board, Dr. Arlotto emphasized that the funding to shift school hours must be in place before any changes would occur and urged the County Executive and County Council not to take it from other areas of the Board’s budget.

Details of Dr. Arlotto’s proposal regarding start and dismissal times, a complete list of tentatively proposed school hours for 2017-2018, and a section for public comment can be found here [1].