7 Sioux Falls elementary schools will see new school start and end times this fall

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The Sioux Falls School District is changing the times for when the school day starts and ends at seven elementary campuses in August.

In an announcement to families this week, the district said the change is necessary to ensure efficient bus routes “given the current labor shortage.”

The district contracts for busing services with School Bus Inc., which has had challenges filling driver positions for years, community relations coordinator DeeAnn Konrad said.

The district is also seeing workforce shortages in several other areas, consistently looking for custodians, education assistants and child nutrition workers, hiring year-long for these positions.

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Adjusting school start times is the least disruptive option of the alternate ideas district official discussed, according to the announcement. And the option was reviewed with School Bus Inc. for the past five to six months, Konrad said.

“Last fall, families experienced inconsistent busing schedules due to illness and labor shortages,” she said. “In the past, a driver would run one elementary route and then a middle school route. Making slight adjustments to the start times at seven elementary schools means a driver can now do one route for an early-start elementary and one route for a late-start elementary.”

Elementary schools that will see the time changes include the following:

  • Hawthorne: 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m. (previously 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)

  • Lowell: 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (previously 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)

  • Rosa Parks: 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (previously 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)

  • John Harris: 8:05 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. (previously 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)

  • Cleveland: 8:05 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. (previously 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)

  • JFK: 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m. (previously 7:50 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.)

  • Oscar Howe: 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m. (previously 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)

Time changes will allow a driver to complete a third route to get middle school students to their schools, Konrad said. The changes will also allow the district to continue busing students “far and above what is required by law because we know it positively impacts student attendance and it is a convenience for working families," she said.

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To counteract staff shortages, the district is offering signing bonuses for some teaching positions and has purchased digital billboard advertising, Konrad said.

The district intends to use the new school start and end times for the foreseeable future, she added.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: These 7 Sioux Falls schools will see new start times this fall