The Protestants have a band wagon - will the Catholics jump on? And what will the parents think of all this?

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

February 11, 2015


Burlington school Board trustee Andrea Grebenc, who hasn’t been a trustee long enough to cash the first paycheque found herself managing questions on the issue of a possible change to high school start times.

Andrea Grebenc

Andrea Grebenc gets handed a hot potato – defers a decision at committee level. A good chair in the making.

It was an auspicious debut on Monday night in her role as chair of the transportation committee for the Halton District School Board (HDSB).

Late last year, a motion was passed by the board requesting that the Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) do a study that would look at high school start times and to realign bussing to all high schools to a start time between 8:45 am and 9:15 am.

The due date for the report was for March of this year.

Karen Lacroix, General Manager of the HSTS, responded with a letter listing a number of questions and requesting additional information before any study would be initiated. The discussion was the highlight of the meeting.

Most school board meetings can be very procedural and quite dry. Not this meeting. With Lacroix in attendance and the trustees quite aware that any change in school hours, both elementary and secondary could be quite contentious to the public, ideas and comments were coming from every direction.

If secondary school hours started later, would elementary hours start sooner?

How much later could secondary school start and when would classes end?

How would this affect after school athletics?

How would this affect students with after school jobs?

If elementary schools hours were changed, how would this affect daycare before and after school?

How would this affect special education busing?

What about schools with grades 7 to 12?

What would be the cost of this study?

How will this affect the teacher’s timetable?

All valid questions.

School busses - winterThese questions led to a discussion of class minutes (74), the length of the school day, travel time between classes and the overall school day. Every trustee at the meeting was a full participant – it seemed that each was learning something new.

Throughout the meeting, there was no opposition to delaying start times for secondary students.
Board chair Kelly Amos, Oakville, is a strong advocate of this change and the board is in agreement.

The question is how this would be done with the least disruption.
The committee did give some parameters to Lacroix for her study. Any time changes should not be more than 30 minutes from the current start times.

The study however is still on hold until one piece of the puzzle is resolved.

Burlington trustees Collard and Reynolds, asked that the proposed study be put on hold until the HDSB is advised if the Catholic board will also want to delay their starting times for their secondary students.

Depending on that decision, the HDSB might have to decide if they have a partner in school times or if they might need to go it alone.

Either way, before a final decision is made, there will be many more meetings to follow as no doubt the public will want their say.

Editor’s note: We appreciate that not all the people who attend the HDSB are protestants; historically the board has been referred to as the “protestant board” while there is a different school board for Catholics.  With our society much more diverse perhaps it is time to look for a more descriptive name.  Protestant was used for purposes of a headline

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.