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Lee’s Summit School District changes schools’ start/end times to save money on busing

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — On Thursday, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District announced that it will change the start/end times of several schools in order to increase bus routing efficiency and save money.

Highlights of the coming changes:

  • Three elementary schools — Cedar Creek, Lee’s Summit and Trailridge — will begin and end 40 minutes earlier in 2017-18.
  • Summit Ridge Academy will begin and end 30 minutes earlier.
  • Pleasant Lea Middle School will start and end 20 minutes earlier next year.
  • Start/end times for eight schools will change by just five minutes.
  • Half of the district’s 26 elementary, middle and high schools will see no change in their start/end time.

The district says the changes will reduce the number of school bus routes required to transport students to and from school. The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will save approximately $120,000 in anticipated additional transportation staffing in 2017-18 while avoiding the purchase of several new school buses, estimated at $520,000.

“These transportation savings are especially important since the state continues to reduce funding for public school transportation. State reimbursement for public school transportation continues to be significantly underfunded with Lee’s Summit R-7 funding 71 cents of every dollar spent on student transportation while the state contributes 29 cents toward every dollar spent. Full state transportation reimbursement would result in state funding of 75 cents of every dollar spent with Lee’s Summit R-7 responsible for 25 cents of each transportation dollar. For the R-7 School District, the state underfunding of transportation results in a loss of $3 million this school year,” said the district in a news release.

The district’s Before- and After-School Services (BASS) program is adjusting its schedule to fit changes at schools. The decision to make the changes to the start/end times involved district administration, principals, transportation staff and BASS employees. Staff members worked together to develop the plan, emphasizing excellent service for students as well as the necessity of being fiscally responsible.

Information from Lee’s Summit School District.