Monday, June 19th was the last day of school for Snoqualmie Valley students – a cause of celebration for thousands of young students and often a time of scrambling, planning and scheduling for working parents.
This year the last day of school came with a surprise, as the Snoqualmie Valley School District shared a big change for the families of two elementary schools: start/dismissal times will change come August 30, 2017.
Next fall, Cascade View and Timber Ridge Elementary Schools will begin a half hour later, starting at 9:05AM. That will push dismissal time back to 3:26PM, except for Friday early releases when school will end at 1:26PM. The switch will have all six SVSD elementary schools on the same bell schedule next year.
The possibility of this change – one that affects approximately 1,300 K-5th grade students – was not shared prior to the announcement in district’s weekly “Good News and School Information” e-blast. As a result many parents took to social media to express surprise and frustration, with many saying it would make things harder on working parents who commute to jobs outside of the Valley.
According to the district announcement, the move was necessary as it continues to deal with growing enrollment and a school bus driver shortage. Even with new driver recruitment tools like paid training, CDL licensing reimbursements, and improved marketing efforts, the district anticipates a driver shortage for the upcoming school year.
So in order to meet increased demands next year, the district will make “routing and scheduling adjustments that will improve services and fully leverage limited resources.”
The adjust in start and dismissal times for Cascade View and Timber Ridge will help improve service for the increasing middle school population, allowing more time for drivers to complete middle school routes and as a result, facilitate more timely arrivals and departures on elementary school routes.
The district said the change will also improve transition times for STREAM students and other routes for programs that are centrally located and require transportation from across the district. Aligning elementary school bell times also facilitates collaboration between schools during teacher professional development time.
According to the announcement, ” Parents and staff at CVES and TRES are encouraged to take note of these adjustments as they plan for the 2017-18 school year.”