GLOVERSVILLE - Starting in September, elementary schools in the Gloversville Enlarged School District will begin their day 25 minutes later, a change Board of Education members said could save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation costs.
Board members unanimously approved the change, which will move the start time for elementary schools from 8:30 to 8:55 a.m. The end of the school day will be moved from 2:35 to 2:55 p.m.
Board of Education President Perry Paul said the move could save the district $250,000 in 2008-09. He said the loss of five minutes during the school day will not negatively affect students.
"Generally, that is when the kids are getting ready to leave," Paul said. "They're lining up waiting for the bell to ring. I don't think a five-minute loss will affect them."
Superintendent Robert DeLilli agreed.
"It's not going to affect the education program," he said.
Board members said the new start time will enable district-employed drivers to make more bus runs, including taking special education students to Albany. The district has been using private bus companies for the Albany runs, which board members said costs the district a lot of money.
"It is a tough decision, but in a way, it's not," said board Vice President Pete Semione. "I'd rather save money for the district with a move like this than by taking away sports or librarians."
In response to parents who have said it will be difficult adapting to the time change, board member Lynn Brown said those parents should talk to their school.
"Parents who have an issue can go and talk with the principal to deal with those very specific instances," she said.
Parent and teacher Jackie Davies said it will be difficult for her to deal with the new time. She asked board mem-
bers to wait until next year to make the change. She also said she did not feel teachers were involved in the decision.
"It will leave me scrambling to find child care," she said. "It's like giving a child an important assignment without giving them enough time to do it."
DeLilli said teachers were not consulted regarding the time change because the change falls within the parameters of their contract.
The teachers contract states they can be required to work until 3 p.m., DeLilli said.
Building and Grounds Superintendent Bill Ferguson said the change in time will allow bus drivers to make the most of their runs.
"We are trying to maximize our loads every time we turn around," he said. "We can knock down the amount of time children will have to spend on the school bus."
DeLilli said the decision, while difficult, is ultimately a good one for the school district.
"We're looking at trying to use existing staff more efficiently," he said. "We'll use transportation in a more efficient manner, and that will spell relief for the tax rate."