Elementary school times modified

Saving fuel is behind the new start times parents and kids will have to adjust to at Oak Harbor’s elementary schools in September.

To better consolidate bus routes elementary schools will start at staggered times. The consolidation is needed to make the bus program more efficient in an effort to combat ever-increasing fuel prices.

“I know that fuel costs have hurt us and that’s what’s driving this consolidation,” said Francis Bagarella, the new transportation director for the Oak Harbor School District.

For the year 2007-2008, school officials budgeted to spend $200,000 on fuel but have currently spent closer to $300,000. For the 2008-2009 school year, officials are budgeting $350,000 for fuel.

Starting in the fall, elementary schools will start between 8:45 and 9:10 a.m. and end between 3:05 and 3:30 p.m.

That will allow buses to drop off and pick up students at more than one elementary school.

The school district has reduced the number of school bus routes by seven over the past year. When the last school year started, there were 32 school bus routes; next school year there will be 25.

Bagarella said the final routes won’t be known until new student registration wraps up, which is scheduled to end Aug. 25. He said the route information will be dispersed to families and placed on the school district’s Web site during the last week in August.

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