The Lebanon School District is planning to unveil a new schedule for the 2024-25 academic year and, although the details have not yet been officially released, the topic has already opened for debate on social media.
The schedule change was not intended to go public until after a committee meeting of the Lebanon school board. Dr. Nicole L. Malinoski, district superintendent, said the information came out after it was shared with staff members in an internal communication last week.
“The Lebanon District shared they communicated the 2024-25 school time information to its staff members earlier this month,” Malinoski told LebTown in an email. “Subsequently, they intend to disseminate this information to the public during an upcoming board meeting, and thereafter, extend the communication to families before the conclusion of February.”
The subject is on the agenda for the next board committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 12. According to a notice on the district website, the time of that committee-of-the-whole meeting will start at 5:30 p.m., rather than the usual time of 7 p.m.
The matter will also be discussed at the next school board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19. Both meetings will be held in the board room at Lebanon High School.
The city superintendent promised to discuss the details of the change – and the reasons for making it – more fully after the committee has a chance to discuss it at a public meeting.
In short, the changes include shifting the elementary school schedule later by 20 minutes each day and shifting the high school schedule back by 10 minutes. The middle school will be replaced by an intermediate school and junior high – the intermediate school will begin classes 25 minutes later than the current middle school schedule, and the junior high will begin classes a full half-hour later.
According to the leaked memo to staff members, “These changes are being made to accommodate transportation needs across the district. The district will begin communicating these changes to our families in the near future.”
Reactions to a post about the issue in a local Facebook group on Friday afternoon were swift. Feedback from commenters was mixed, with some people obviously angry over the change, while others thought it was a good idea.
“Why did they have to mess with a schedule that’s been going on for 50+ yrs or longer???” Beth Heberling wrote in the forum. “All this does is screw up times to get kids to and from school, parents to work!”
“I think this is kind of stupid especially for the elementary kids,” Michele Long posted. “These kids now will have to go to a daycare which will overburden the daycare in the morning hours. They will need more staff on hand just for the mornings and it’s very hard to get people to work in a daycare.”
“These times look better,” said Brittney Gleim. “Gives time for kids to be awake more.”
Sheila L Wenger-Barto said she believes the change is “due to not having enough of big bus drivers, since now almost all the student for the intermediate school will need bused.” She said the change “stinks for everyone! But I see no other way of doing it!”
Lynda Loeper agreed, saying the district “wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t needed.”
“Doesn’t that conflict with other schools and sports schedules?” Denise Hentz Crouch asked. “My daughter always had practice from 3-5. The younger kids usually started by 4:30. They won’t even have time to eat anything before they start.”
Jennifer J. Ulrich complained about the later start time at the elementary level, noting that many parents have to be at work by 8 or 9 a.m.
“School is not meant to be babysitting,” Andy Risser countered. “The purpose of school is to produce functioning, contributing members of society. If one wants to use school as babysitting, they should find a job that aligns with the school’s schedule.”
“It’s just hard when the parents have everything lined up and the times change,” Ulrich replied. “That’s all I’m saying.”
“Too bad the high school is still so early,” commented LeeAnne Crooks. That view was shared by several people in the discussion, such as Natalie Ryan, who said the change was “good” but “still too early for HS kids … decades of research shows that schools shouldn’t start before 8:30 for high school kids.”
Leah Paronish said the announcement of the change “completely blindsided teachers,” adding: “I can tell you for a fact there is a lot of very upset elementary teachers.”
“I guess if you don’t like it, you can always homeschool,” said Lisa Wingert.
“I’m not a parent so I can not chime in on that aspect, however I might advise everyone to compile your complaints and stick together as ONE and attend the next school board meeting and ask questions,” Justin Snyder added. “IMHO this would benefit all parties.”
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