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New Bell Schedules for the 2022-23 School Year

Baltimore City Public Schools is changing school bell times for 93 schools for the 2022-23 school year to improve transportation for students who ride yellow buses.

View the new bell schedules for schools >

Please note:
Bell times on school pages on the district website will not be updated until after July 1. Schools with bell changes will also notify their students and families directly.

The opening bell is when the school day starts, and the closing bell is when the school day ends. This adjustment will increase the number of schools that each bus serves.

With the current bell schedule, many buses could only serve one school in the morning and one school in the afternoon. Due to the ongoing national shortage of school bus drivers, it is essential to use each available bus as much as possible. With the new bell schedule, buses can serve multiple schools and more students.

We want your feedback regarding student transportation. Share your thoughts or seek answers by contacting transportation@bcps.k12.md.us or calling 410-396-7440.

Why did City Schools change bell schedules?

City Schools is changing school bell times for 93 schools for the 2022-23 school year to improve transportation for students who ride yellow buses.

With the current bell schedule many buses could only serve one school in the morning and one school in the afternoon. Due to the ongoing national shortage of school bus drivers, it is essential to use each available bus as much as possible. With the new bell schedule, buses can serve multiple schools and more students.

Who provided input when planning these changes?

We collected feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including the Associated Student Congress of Baltimore City, school supervisors, principals, The Special Education Citizens' Advisory Committee, the Maryland Transportation Authority, the Parent and Community Advisory Board, Baltimore School Police, and district office staff who support schools. 

Taking a system wide approach was crucial to align schedules in order to reach the efficiency levels needed. In the past, schedules were set at the school level which meant that we could not optimize transportation resources across the system.

Did you consider having set times for all elementary schools and for all secondary schools?

Yes, we considered giving all elementary schools the same time, all elementary/middle schools the same time, and all high schools the same time. Some school districts take this approach. While this would have helped in some areas, City Schools doesn’t have enough yellow buses to meet the transportation needs of our students using this schedule.

Did you consider research that shows the benefits of later start times for adolescents?

We discussed later start times for adolescents with many of our stakeholders. Stakeholders recognized that both earlier and later start times have benefits and challenges. Taking this and many other factors into consideration, we decided that high school start times will continue to be staggered next school year.  

For students who receive yellow bus, van or taxi service, how will their pick up and drop off times change?

The pick-up and drop-off times depend on the number of students on a route, their distance from the school, and their distance from each other. The routes, pick-up times and drop-off times will be developed at the end of the summer and families will be notified via a letter and/or phone call.

Can I transfer my child to a new school because of the new bell schedule?

The summer transfer window is scheduled to open on July 18, 2022. Families may visit www.baltimorecityschools.org/transfer-requests for more information on the transfer process.

Did you take other steps to help with the transportation challenges due to the national bus driver shortage?

Yes, the Transportation Office has increased pay for yellow bus drivers to a competitive rate and has increased recruitment efforts. We provided training for people interested in the commercial driver’s license (CDL) needed to drive school buses. Additionally, we have worked to hire more yellow bus contractors and buy additional vans. Unfortunately, there are also fewer vehicles available due to national supply chain shortages.

Why are we changing bell schedules for all schools?

Aligning the bell times of all schools allows for efficient use of the available drivers and buses. Buses are used across the district to transport students to and from schools, for athletics and for field trips. And while a school may not have students who need yellow bus transportation at the beginning of the year, the needs may change throughout the year. We have to plan for how to best utilize buses across the district for all of these needs. Aligning the bell times was an important step to be able to better meet the demand for student transportation. 

The impact of COVID on the pre-existing national shortage of school bus drivers has intensified the need to plan for efficiency. With fewer drivers available, we had to offer temporary transportation options. Moving into next year, it is vital that we maximize every available resource to provide student transportation.

STAFF
Can I, a school-based staff member, request a location change as a result of the new bell schedule?

The administrative transfer deadline has been extended to Tuesday, July 5, 2022. As always, administrative transfers require the agreement of both principals, principal supervisors and employee. Administrative transfer requests with all appropriate signatures or approvals via email communication must be received by the July 5, 2022 deadline for consideration.

Please reach out to Human Capital if you have any questions

Phone: 410-396-8885
Email: humancapital@bcps.k12.md.us