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York could add time to elementary school days
York County elementary schools could start day four minutes earlier next year.

Parents enrolling elementary students in York County schools next school year may need to set the alarm clock earlier.

York County School Division officials are recommending a four-minute earlier start to the school day at all York County elementary campuses, according to a report presented Carl L. James, the school division's chief operations officer.

James said the changes will allow the school division to acquire additional banked time to prepare for time missed because of inclement weather during the 2015-2016 school year.

Banked time is extra time beyond the state minimum.

The state requires all public schools to have a minimum of 180 days, or 990 hours, of instruction time.

In April, School Board officials discussed adding possibly five to six minutes at the beginning of each elementary campus' schedule. Middle and high school campus schedules do not require any additional hours.

James said district principals and transportation officials were on board with tacking the extra hours on at the beginning of the school day versus the end.

Cindy Kirschke, District 2 York County School Division board member, said the proposed four-minute start time was appropriate.

"I'm very pleased to see that you went with the beginning of the day instead of the end of the day," Kirschke said .

The board will take up the proposed elementary school hours, along with any changes to the district's 2015-2016 school code of conduct manual, at its June meeting.

Meanwhile, School Board officials voted unanimously to amend its $129.96 million fiscal year 2016 budget passed in March.

The amendment was necessary to reflect the actual amount of money the school division received from the York County Board of Supervisors, which was $671,848 less than the $1.032 million requested.

Expenditure adjustments include reducing the number of replacement buses from seven to four, and reducing the system's technology refurbishment budget.

But the school system will still have a one-time only opportunity to purchase the remaining three buses, and fulfill their technology refurbishment obligations as outlined in its original budget.

Dennis R. Jarrett, York County School Division chief financial officer, said the balance amount will come eventually after the county rolls over leftover money from the current school year.

O'Neal can be reached by phone at 757-247-4744.

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