First bell at 10 a.m.? It’s being studied
Getting ‘up in the morning and out to school,’ as the song says, may be something that does not happen as early in Georgetown County in upcoming years.
District Superintendent Dr. Randy Dozier said a committee will be formed to study the issue of creating later start times, especially for the county’s four high schools.
The suggestion to begin exploring the issue of starting classes later in the morning was brought up by School Board Chairman Jim Dumm when the board met Tuesday night.
The board was discussing the possibility of creating a three-year calendar when the subject was approached. Currently, the board approves a calendar each year.
“I was just thinking there is an awful lot of research out there suggesting teenagers stay up late. And, as a result they are not wide awake when they get to school,” Dumm told the Georgetown Times. “Later start times would help improve the level of work.”
Dumm says he knows the suggestion “will open a can of worms” but feels it is worth exploring.
“There will be a lot of balls to juggle to make it work,” he said. “I know it will affect bus schedules. It will take a lot of study.”
Dozier said he expects the committee that will be formed to study the issue will be chaired by Dr. Mike Cafaro, the district’s director of student support services and special programs.
While Dumm’s suggestion centered on high school, Dozier said the committee will study the start times for all grade levels.
“I think it will be a big committee since this impacts so many,” Dozier said, adding the panel will be made up of teachers, school administrators, parents and maybe some students.
“A lot of this revolves around bus schedules and parent’s work schedules.”
Currently the bell rings at some elementary schools in the county as early as 7:20 a.m. High schools begin between 7:40 a.m. and 7:50 a.m.
Dumm said he does know what would be an appropriate start time. He said 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. need to be studied.
He also said this will not be something that would begin next school year. In fact, he said it’s likely no student currently in high school would see the change before they graduate.
“It’s probably at least a four year process,” he said.
Old school buildings for sale
In other business, the board was updated on the possible sale of two district properties.
The properties and buildings that once housed Deep Creek Elementary and Pleasant Hill Middle schools have been for sale and one has a potential buyer.
Dozier said “until we close and get a check in our hand, nothing is final.”
But an offer that has been made on the Deep Creek site “seems firm,” he added.
Dozier said both properties were placed on www.govdeals.com and the minimum bid for Deep Creek was $50,000.
The potential buyer is paying that amount.
Dozier said the Pleasant Hill Middle property had an opening bid of $75,000 and there was a potential buyer.
Dozier said Thursday it now appears that deal fell through.
Pleasant Hill Middle — a 52,000-square-foot building on 11 acres — is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Deep Creek Elementary is a 33,000-square-foot building on nine acres.
A portion of the building has been designated for use by Georgetown County Emergency Services during hurricanes or other natural disasters when the Emergency Operations Center on Highmarket Street is deemed unsafe to occupy.
The Georgetown County Water and Sewer District purchased a portion of the Deep Creek property to use as a site for a water tower.
The county uses the back portion of the Pleasant Hill Middle School property for a recycling center.
By Scott Harper
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