Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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EBR middle and high schools to adjust start and end times to make up lost time

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BATON ROUGE - Bus-riding students were sent home with a new route on Thursday. It's the latest effort by the East Baton Rouge school system to alleviate the ongoing transportation issues.

On the second week of school, a bus driver sickout forced class to dismiss early, and shut down the next day. Since then, the school system has implemented changes, including another stipend for drivers, but it's not enough.

Now one concern is making up lost time, as high school and middle school students have missed at least 800 minutes of class time. A special meeting was scheduled last minute for Thursday.

"I do know at some point we have to make that time up, I just don't know how we'll go about doing it," Lanus said before the meeting.

The board ended up passing a motion to push back 5 minutes at the beginning of school days and add 7 minutes to the end school days, but not without criticism; Patrick Martin called the idea "fictitious learning.” Beginning September 11, school begins at 7:05 a.m. and ends at 2:27 p.m. for all middle schools and high schools.

School board members discussed two options. One would extend the fall semester by two days; the other would add 13 minutes to both high school and middle school. Both options also change two teacher days into full work days and would allow students to regain more than 1,000 minutes of class time. 

Additionally, in response to the transportation issues, every employee got an email asking them to become a bus driver, and anyone interested would get a second salary. 

"What we have learned in the past, and I think what the superintendent has learned, is that we have to come up with different options. If you only present one plan, it may not work for everyone," School Board President Dadrius Lanus said.

However, many changes are to come after parents' concerns are heard. 

"It's always a hiccup at the first few days of school," Lanus said. "I think right now, we are getting a source of normalcy, we have our workers back doing those routes, trying to actively go get new buses. We are changing our routing path. We are trying to make every necessary change to make this better for us."


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