MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Parents of young children in Minneapolis will be juggling their schedules next year after the Minneapolis school board unanimously approved a new bus plan that will change start times at the district's elementary schools.
Minneapolis, like several other school districts in the metro area, has chosen to cut bus services as a way to keep spending reductions away from the classroom. The district faces a $31.5 million budget deficit for the next school year.
However, in a nod to parents' concerns about some schools starting too early, the board pledged Tuesday to try to tweak the plan so schools set to begin at 7:30 a.m. can start later.
"We're at a point now where we just don't have any place else to cut," said the Rev. Albert Gallmon, a school board member.
The original plan would have saved the district $4 million, but that amount probably will change with the decision to adjust the 7:30 a.m. start times for some schools.
The savings are tied to transportation changes that allow the district to use fewer buses to make more trips.
While most of the elementary schools' start times will change from five to 60 minutes, more than a dozen will see their schedules shift by as much as two hours.
The changes annoyed some families, who say it will be difficult to adjust hectic schedules and child-care needs to the new start times.
"This does drastically affect families," Lynn Levitt, a parent, told the school board.
She said that under the new plan, one of her daughters will have to get up at 6 a.m. to catch a bus at 6:50 a.m. when her school's start time moves up from 8:40 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
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