Right now, the Houston ISD has 22 different start and end times across its nearly 280 campuses. The proposed change would boil that down to four different schedules — two for elementary schools, and one each for all middle and high schools. The reason is money. The district is facing a $34 million deficit for the next school year, and consolidating schedules would save about $1 million in transportation costs. HISD's Jason Spencer says the survey asks questions like.
"Do they think it's important for the school district to explore more efficient ways of running its bus system? Do you think it's reasonable for schools to have an instructional day that's 7 1/2 hours long?"
The change would lengthen the school day by an average of 19 minutes. It would be up to the principal of a particular school to decide how the extra time is spent. Spencer says in addition to the multiple-choice questions, the survey also gives people space to express in their own words how they feel about the possible change.
"We've included a section for parents just to give us their general feedback. We've asked them to tell us if you don't like the proposal, what would you change? How would you make it different so that it would be something that you would like for your child?"
The HISD schedule change survey will be up until April 13th. The feedback from that and nine scheduled town-hall-style meetings on the topic will then be analyzed before a recommendation is made to the Board of Education in May.