by Saidah Hawkins | staff writer
Beginning next school year, students will face a new bell schedule.
“The elementary and the middle schools didn’t have enough time; and what the district is looking at is keeping the same calendar in other words the same start date, the same end date — the same number of days — but now we’re gonna have to increase the minutes in those days,” principal John Mehlbrech said.
This change comes as a result of new state legislation. It means new timings, based upon minutes.
“What that had done is really, when you look at the number of days that we go to school versus the number of instructional minutes, you have to calculate, ‘Does that come out to 75,600 minutes?’,” Mehlbrech said. “We are starting later by ten minutes and ending ten minutes later. So ours is the same number of minutes because we follow the law — the elementary and middle did not.”
The new law mandates that Johnson will start at 8:55 a.m. and end at 4:15 p.m. There isn’t an increase; students will just get out later. With a later release time, transportation will also be altered.
“The same bus that picks up middle school will pick up high school. We use the same buses which is why we have different start times,” Mehlbrech said. “So the reason why we had to adjust is because now the time to start at elementary and middle and when they get released has changed. Now it changes for us — because the same bus has to come back and pick up our kids.”
While it doesn’t seem like much, students with jobs that have classes like co-op or have early release will be affected.
“All that kind of stuff is gonna have to be adjusted. Now you’re gonna have to talk to your boss and say, ‘Well I can’t get there until 4:30 now,’, or something like that,” Mehlbrech said.
With transportation, jobs, and sports on the line with the new change, Mehlbrech wants to spread a bit of hope for those opposed.
“I think people would be more upset if you added days than if you added minutes,” Mehlbrech said.