Columbia Public Schools is reevaluating its start times and bus systems for next school year.The district plans to change both by next fall to accommodate new schools and to cut costs, as well as to keep up with how quickly the city is growing.CPS currently has 17,000 students in its schools. Officials say changing the bus system and school start times will be a challenge.”We are a community with a lot of eight-to-five jobs with the university and different industries here, and so routines are important,” said Columbia Public Schools superintendent Chris Belcher.To save time and money, schools would have more efficient and smaller bus routes. It would eliminate 40 buses — from 163 to 123 — to save the district around one million dollars. Due to the changing bus routes, school starting times would need to be altered too. At a meeting Wednesday night, parents had differing thoughts on elementary and high school times moving.However, Belcher says he hopes parents can come together to find a common solution.”This is not an exact science,” Belcher said. “There’s not a perfect way to do it. It’s really about values and perspective and seeing if any general consensus shows itself.”Ideas presented by parents at a meeting Wednesday evening will be sent to the district’s transportation board. The board will then review the ideas and send a final proposal to the school board. If passed, the changes will go into effect by next fall.
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