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Amherst to change school times for 2019-20 school year

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Officials of Amherst Schools announced Tuesday that new school times will be implemented this fall for the 2019-20 school year.

The news was posted on the district’s website and on social media, as well as sent out to parents by email, Superintendent Steve Sayers said.

The district is facing some big changes next school year, including the opening of the new Powers Elementary School in January, and the reinstatement of high school busing, which was cut years ago as a budgetary move.

A transition committee formed of teachers, support staff, administrators and parents have been hashing out how to accommodate the switch from the current Powers Elementary to the new school.

The committee made a recommendation to adjust school schedules to be able to shift the bus runs and include high schoolers. The new schedules will allow for two bus runs: one for junior high and high school students, and one for kindergarten through fifth-graders.

“This was a collaborative decision we made after some really deep, productive discussions,” Sayers said.

Any student in the district that lives more than a mile from school is eligible to ride the bus. Preschoolers, who only attend half-day sessions, are not bused.

The district has four buildings: Powers Elementary, Nord Middle School, Amherst Junior High and Marion L. Steele High School.

Currently Powers houses preschool through second grade. When the new Powers Elementary opens in January, it will house preschool through third grade. Third-graders currently attend Nord Elementary, which will house only fourth- and fifth-graders once the new school opens.

The new times will be:

  • Amherst Junior High: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (no change)
  • Steele High School: 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. (currently 7:35 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.)
  • Nord Middle: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (currently 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)
  • Powers Elementary: 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. (currently 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Sayers said district officials wanted to start the new schedule at the beginning of the school year so it is in place by the time the new Powers building opens in January.

The announcement was made at this time to give families as much time as possible to adjust.

“It’s change and unfortunately there’s no such thing as a perfect set-up time that works for every single family. We wish we could do that but what we’ve done is really try to get input from everyone, look at all the factors, and do the best thing for the district as a whole,” he said.

Contact Rini Jeffers at rinijeffers@gmail.com.
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