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Broken Arrow Schools: Start Time Changes Need More Study

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Buses in Broken Arrow are running behind, not because there aren’t enough buses, but because there aren’t enough bus drivers. Buses in Broken Arrow are running behind, not because there aren’t enough buses, but because there aren’t enough bus drivers.
Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall said the parent’s opinions are important and said he wasn’t going to make the change without everyone on board. Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall said the parent’s opinions are important and said he wasn’t going to make the change without everyone on board.
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

A major problem remains unanswered after feedback from parents forced Broken Arrow Public Schools to make a 180.

Buses in Broken Arrow are running behind, not because there aren't enough buses, but because there aren't enough bus drivers to take all the students to school on time.

The district was considering changing school start times and asked parents to fill out an online survey but results were split.

3/2/2015 Related Story: BA Parents Weigh In On Possible Change To School Start Times

Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall said the parents' opinions are important and said he wasn't going to make the change without everyone on board.

"We have really tried hard to make sure that we can get from one place to the other on time, and we'll continue to work on that," he said.

Mendenhall said the number one complaint he gets is transportation, which is why he wanted to stagger start times and change the tardy bell from 8:00 and 8:55, to 7:50, 8:30 and 9:10.

One plan had elementary schools starting earlier and secondary schools starting later. That would have allowed bus drivers to make three trips, rather than two.

However, research presented Monday night just wasn't enough to make a change.

While it seems no change to school start times is no solution, Mendenhall said with so much division on what needs to be done they will continue looking for a solution.

"We feel like it's better for us to continue to study the issue and then move forward next year," he said.

The director of transportation for the district just retired and the district is looking for a replacement this summer.

The superintendent is hopeful that hire will have a fresh perspective and solution for the bus problems.

Shelli Holland-Handy, chief communications officer for Broken Arrow Public Schools, said the district's task force will likely make a recommendation for new start times for the 2016-2017 school year. 

She said the district thinks it's too late in the school year to make changes for the 2015-2016 school year. 

The district has more details on its web site: 

Broken Arrow Public Schools - School Start Time Decision Postponed

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