West York school officials gave parents an update Wednesday about the grade level reconfiguration that will take place next year.
The board voted in December to approve the change, saying the move would save money and balance the district population in elementary schools.
With the change, all second- and third-grade students will attend Lincolnway Elementary School, and fourth- and fifth-grade students will attend Trimmer Elementary.
Students in kindergarten and first grade will attend Loucks and Wallace elementary schools. Loucks will close after renovations to Wallace are completed, which is expected for the start of the 2015-16 school year.
Bus rides: One of the largest concerns brought up by parents at an October meeting was about transportation. Several parents asked about busing to day care centers with the changes, and wondered how long their children would be on the bus. There will be bus stops at each of the day care centers in the district next year, a new addition to the bus routes, business manager George Fike said at the meeting Wednesday. And the district's transportation officials are working to ensure the reconfiguration adds no more than 10-15 minutes to students' bus rides, he said.
School buses will now stop at three elementary schools. Fike displayed several bus routes showing the changes, especially longer routes in the northeast and southwest portions of the district.
One parent, Rose Conrad, asked if the district will be able to improve the estimates of when her children will get off the bus. Conrad said her second child, now in second grade at Lincolnway, is supposed to get home at 3:44 p.m. but rarely gets home before 4 p.m.
The district is using GPS locators on each of the buses to more accurately gauge arrival times for next year, said transportation coordinator Carole Rebert.
Answered questions: Conrad, of West Manchester Township, said after the meeting she likes the reconfiguration idea.
"I just hate the busing," she said.
But Conrad's other questions about the process have largely been answered, she said.
The district put up a "frequently asked questions" page on its website earlier this year that addresses the change and what to expect. Students are working in small groups to talk about what to expect next year, and they will be able to visit their new buildings and classrooms before school begins.
The district will submit plans for the change to the state Department of Education June 15, when the department begins to accept applications for building level changes, said Paula Rudy, principal at Trimmer.
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