Webutuck BOE approves time change for the intermediate school
WEBUTUCK — At the May 9 meeting, the Board of Education (BOE) of the North East Central School District (commonly known as Webutuck) unanimously approved the change in arrival and dismissal time for the Eugene Brooks Intermediate School (EBIS).The time schedule change was part of a larger proposal that also included a new program to be implemented in the district. That portion of the proposal was not approved.As it stands now, fourth- through sixth-graders arrive at the middle school by 8:30 a.m. and leave at 3:15 p.m. Students who stay after school take the 5 p.m. bus home.Once the change goes into effect in September, the younger students will attend school from 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., which is the same schedule used by the intermediate and high schools.Since some parents have expressed concern about mixing the middle school students with high schoolers on the bus, it is important to note that the current 3:15 p.m. bus is shared by high school students who have stayed after school. The 5 p.m. bus also carries students from grades four through 12. The middle and high schools also shared the same bus schedule prior to the construction of the new intermediate school wing.The EBIS principal, Katy McEnroe, sent a notice home with students about other important elements that are certain to remain unchanged. The following points were included in the letter:• The time schedule change will not increase the students’ time in school.• There will be 75 minutes of dedicated class time for the core subjects, and the “specials” — art, PE, library and music — will continue as before. • EBIS will continue on a six-day cycle.• The students will continue to have recess daily.The BOE decided to approve the time schedule change because it makes it less confusing to have the whole building on the same schedule. It also ensures that there will be nurse coverage throughout the day for all students. As it currently stands, there is a short period of time at the end of the EBIS normal school hours when a nurse is not present.The original proposal also called to institute a new program for students that would have added a 21st-century skills class. The addition of this class would have pushed band and chorus out of the normal school schedule and changed them to after-school activities.This portion of the proposal was rejected when it was decided that there had not been enough planning and interdepartmental communication.The BOE will have ongoing discussions about the unapproved portion of the proposal.There have been previous proposals to the BOE that wanted to implement a “one-bell” schedule that would have put all students from kindergarten through 12th grade on the same schedule. Those proposals were not approved and it seems very unlikely that a one-bell schedule will be accepted in the future.A one-bell schedule would require more capital to purchase more buses and pay more drivers. This type of schedule would also give fewer hours to each bus driver.