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2019-20 Transportation/School Time Efficiency Proposal and Feedback

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Background: Walla Walla Public Schools is considering a moderate change to school starting times next fall to improve efficiencies, coordinate school start/end times across many campuses, increase transportation services and access for students/families, and better align with district programs, community partners, and parent/family schedules.

Under the proposal, which is being studied by the district, elementary schools would shift start times ahead slightly, Walla Walla High School would move start times back marginally, and middle schools would be adjusted to better align with the high school student day. Ending times would also be adjusted accordingly.
Any proposed changes, if approved, wouldn’t take effect until school begins in fall, 2019.
Some of the identified benefits to this proposal include:


  • Proposed efficiencies would result in annual estimated savings of over $400,000 in fleet and fuel consumption costs, helping close a $350,000 annual operating deficit currently being backfilled with general fund education dollars
  • Overall operational savings would allow the district to reduce travel costs assessed to field trips, clubs, and athletic programs
  • Cost savings permit the district the ability to provide an after-school activity bus for many students participating in after-school clubs/athletics 
  • Adjustments will likely reduce current student bus travel times due to more efficient routing 

At the Elementary Level

  • Proposed start time better aligns with most parent/family work schedules 
  • Provides consistent start/end times across all campuses, including coordination with after school activities and community partners 
  • Addresses many transportation complaints and harassment concerns by separating middle school and elementary school bus riders
  • Improves busing efficiency and opportunities for elementary students, including transportation to and from the middle schools for elective opportunities (e.g. orchestra potentially could move to the end of the day where students could be shuttled to the middle school(rather than relying on parents transporting) and then be bused home afterwards)  

At the Middle School Level

  • Improves busing efficiency and ridership opportunities for middle school students
  • Maintains morning parent drop-off time for students, consistent with many parent/family work schedules
  • Better aligns with before-school 21st Century Programming (currently have to start as early as 6:30 a.m. could now start closer to 7 a.m.)
  • Permits middle school staff greater time to drop off their elementary-aged student before the start of their work day
  • Provides transportation opportunities for future zero-period and before-school activities that occur
  • Provides increased student and parent access to staff before the start of school
  • Supports enhanced first-period access to advanced high school coursework/electives for select honors students
  • Allows the financial viability to provide an after-school activity bus for students participating in after-school activities
  • Middle and high school start/release times are aligned to support sibling supervision opportunities for families 

At Walla Walla High School

  • 20 minute shift results in minimal impact to students/families and after-school activities 
  • Improves busing efficiency and ridership opportunities for high school students
  • Allows students full-route bus access for both 1st and 2nd period start options as well as 6th and 7th period drop off needs
  • Allows the financial viability to provide an after-school activity bus for students participating in after-school activities

WALLA WALLA PUBLIC SCHOOLS • 364 South Park St. • Walla Walla, WA 99362 • Phone: 509-527-3000 • Fax: 509.529.7713

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