Time changes for a number of Pointe-Claire schools seem inevitable, leaving some parents and teachers upset.
The Lester B. Pearson School Board presented two scenarios at a joint governing board meeting Wednesday night.
“These were the best options that the board could come up with,” school board chair Noel Burke said.
Both proposed plans would see St. John Fisher junior and senior schools beginning the day between 8:40 and 9:05 a.m. — a whole hour later than the current start time, causing a number of parents and teachers to voice their heated opposition to the proposed plans.
On Thursday morning parents dropping children off for school had mixed reactions to the news.
“We chose the school for the early start and the extra curricular activities ,” St. John Fisher Elementary School parent Joslyn Paredes said.
“I like it that they have more time in the morning to get ready,” said Daniel Geraghty.
The end times for both options were not much different, finishing the day by 3:45 p.m.
Students could see their lunch hour extended to 70 minutes.
Changes will also be coming to the new St. Thomas High School, which would see its start time begin closer to 7:30 a.m.
According to the board, the crux of the problem resulting in these changes is the shared bus schedules.
“We the board have worked tirelessly to figure out the best scenario,” Burke said.
Bus routes are shared or twinned with a number of schools, resulting in tight scheduling.
Parents like Joslyn Paredes say the one-hour delay may not seem like a lot but poses a number of consequences for parents.
“It pushes everything back, from work to traffic, it’s not ideal,” Paredes said.
Another parent, Martine Dubois told Global News that she felt officials “were not willing to listen about reviewing the bus route or make St. Thomas change their school time.”
With St. Thomas High School moving to the building occupied by Lindsay Place High School this fall, the board says almost 2,000 students will be converging on the same small area of Pointe-Claire every morning.
Having all the schools start at the same time is, “a non-starter,” Burke said.
Traffic would be a major issue as hundreds of vehicles will be stopping and dropping off children in the Valois neighbourhood, Burke said.
Parents will not have to wait long for the outcome; the school board will be voting on the final decision March 22.