Anne Arundel Co.’s executive asks schools to delay shift in start times

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman says a change in school start times that’s about to take effect for the upcoming academic year should be delayed.

According to the change set to take effect Aug. 29, elementary schools will shift their bell schedule to begin between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.; middle schools to between 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.; and high schools to 8:30 a.m.

But Pittman warns that changing the starting times could exacerbate the Maryland school district’s shortage of bus drivers.

“It was a severe shortage. It’s going to be made worse by the school start times changing this year,” Pittman said. “Because of the compression of when schools open and close, drivers won’t be able to drive as many routes.”

Pittman is asking the school board to delay the change for one year — not only because of the driver shortage, but because of similar shortages of child care workers and crossing guards.

Anne Arundel County’s driver shortage resulted in late bus service for thousands of students last year, frustrating parents.

As of July 20, Anne Arundel County Public Schools was still looking to fill 72 bus driver vacancies and 57 crossing guard vacancies. The school system has been offering bonuses in an attempt to bring in more workers.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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