A variety of scheduling conflicts before the Board of Education is set to adopt its recommended Fiscal Year 2017 budget will prevent Anne Arundel County Public Schools from rescheduling the January 27 community forum on school start and dismissal times postponed by the snow, but three other forums remain on the schedule to allow residents to learn more about and weigh in on the issue.
The forums are open to anyone, but have been located to allow residents more convenient access to them. Forums, which run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., are scheduled as follows:
- Tuesday, February 2, at North County High School (Chesapeake, North County, and Northeast clusters)
- Thursday, February 4, at South River High School (Annapolis, Broadneck, Arundel, South River, and Southern clusters)
- Monday, February 8, at Old Mill High School (Glen Burnie, Meade, Old Mill, and Severna Park clusters)
Spanish interpreters will be available at the February 4 forum at South River High School.
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.