Scottsdale changes school start times to save money

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PHOENIX -- In an effort to save some money, the Scottsdale Unified School District, one of many Arizona school districts hurting financially, has approved a new two-bell schedule.

The change could is expected to save about $500,000, the equivalent of 10 teachers' salaries.

Right now, different grades start at four different times. Starting in the fall, that will be scaled back to two.

The new two-bell scheduled is meant to help with teacher collaboration during workshops, said district officials. It's also expected to help with transportation, streamlining bus routes down to two runs instead of three and eliminating 16 buses.

Come fall, high schools and middle schools in the Scottsdale district will begin at 7:45 a.m. -- 30 minutes earlier than they do now.

Elementary-school students will start at 8:45 a.m., an hour later than their current start time.

The district said it has been inundated with e-mails and calls from parents who believe the high schools should have the later start time.

Parents of elementary-school students are concerned about the costs of before-school care, which many working parents will have to use with the later start time.