Working to find savings after a school year plagued by budget cuts, Oklahoma City Public Schools announced they're making changes to several schools in the district.
“We're just shifting the clock up a little bit,” OKCPS spokesman Mark Myers said.
Currently, the district is facing a $30 million budget shortfall.
The plan applies to seven centrally located schools which will now start their days at 9:10 a.m. and go until 4 p.m. Classen School of Advanced Studies, and Capitol Hill, Cleveland, Horace Mann, Kaiser, Mark Twain and Westwood elementary schools will be affected.
Something that will save $700,000 in busing costs by keeping 18 of the 128 bus fleet parked, letting buses already out to stay out to pick up younger students, Myers said.
“That's a lot of savings in salaries. That's a lot of savings in service, oil changes [and] tires,” Myers said. “So this is just something that we felt just made sense as far as making up some of that budget hole that we're experiencing.”
But there are concerns over whether the change will hurt low income families. A later start time could force parents who relied on earlier start times to make it to work on time into difficult situations.
One OKCPS parent, who asked to remain anonymous, called the time change "despicable."
"They have taken everything they can away from our children's educations (sic). This is just one more thing,” the parent said.
Something the district sympathizes with but said the changes must be made in order to combat the budget shortfall.
Myers said the district is working with principals at those affected schools to begin before and after school programs and hopes to have them in place before the school year gets underway on Aug. 1.