SPARTA, NJ – Superintendent Dennis Tobin announced changes to the school times for the 2015-2016 school year. Tobin has discussed this issue in many public meetings over the past year, in response to concern about the early start time for the high school.
Currently the start time at the high school is earliest it has been in at least a decade, at 7:03 a.m.
Complicating the issue for Sparta is the tiered busing system; buses that transport students to the high school also have to then transport students at the other schools. The same goes for the middle school. This system, done to save money, means the school start and end times must be staggered with enough time for the buses to travel the routes and return to the next school.
The high school students need to be dismissed early enough to be able to participate in afterschool activities including athletics and academics, get to work or home to help care for younger siblings.
The new school times for the 2015-2016 school year will be:
- Sparta High School 7:18 to 2:26
- Sparta Middle School 7:45 to 2:40
- Mohawk Avenue School - third grade 8:50 to 3:25
- Helen Morgan Elementary School - fourth and fifth grade 9:05 to 3:40
- Alpine Elementary School - Kindergarten through second grade 9:10 to 3:45
- Morning Pre School 9:10 until 11:45
- Afternoon Pre School 1:10 until 3:45
Helen Morgan and Mohawk Avenue School students will ride the buses together.
Because of the restraints, any changes will have some challenges. Tobin has said the elementary school start times have been compressed making it difficult for parents to drive children to more than school. Though, he explained, it will be easier to use the buses with pick up times that will be closer together.
Another consideration in changing the times is the congestion on CR 517 during start and end times for the high school and middle school. The times are as staggered as they can be making the traffic issue “as good as it can be.”
The new school times will be implemented beginning September 2015.