SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Some students in Springfield will be seeing a change in their school schedule.

The Springfield Public Schools’ Board of Education voted unanimously to approve transportation eligibility, which means different start times.

Twenty elementary schools from kindergarten through eighth grade and intermediate schools are proposed to start at 7:20 a.m. Some schools, like the ones at Hickory Hills, start at 9:30 a.m.

Brandy Engle, a parent with a child who goes to Hickory Hills, said her son transitioned from home school to public school this year.

“He likes the social aspect of it,” said Engle. “He gets to make friends now and has a real live teacher he can ask questions to and stuff.”

Because of the new start time, Engle’s son will make another transition next school year.

“Tier one already starts at 7:30 a.m., tier three starts at 9:30. So a two-hour span,” said Dr. John Mulford, the deputy superintendent. “So our target was to shrink that we were only able to shrink 20 minutes total, 10 minutes off each tier.”

SPS said the district has continued to experience a bus driver shortage. The district currently has 103 bus drivers, but is looking to fill more.

“The ability to hire 30 or 40 more drivers for next year at this point in time is just not reasonable to think we can do that,” Dr. Mulford said.

The district said in an email to parents “reducing the number of students eligible for transportation is necessary due to the continuing bus driver shortage. The new guidelines, coupled with the following revised three-tier structure, make it possible to operate transportation with our anticipated staffing levels.”

Below is a tentative list of which schools are in which tier and what that means:

Tier 1

·    Start and Dismissal Times: 7:20 a.m.-2:20 p.m.

·    Schools: Bingham, Cowden, Delaware, Disney, Field, Gray, Holland, Jeffries, Mann, McBride, McGregor, Rountree, Sequiota, Sherwood, Sunshine, Truman, Twain, Watkins, Weller, Wilder, Wilson’s Creek, Hickory Hills, Westport, AgAcademy, Academy of Exploration and WOLF.

Tier 2

·    Start and Dismissal Times: 8:10 a.m.-3:10 p.m.

·    Schools: Central, Glendale, Hillcrest, Kickapoo, Parkview, Study, Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, BASE Program, Campbell, Fulbright, Shady Dell, Mallory, Bissett, Bowerman, Boyd, Fremont, Harrison, Pittman, Robberson, Weaver, Williams and York.

Tier 3

·    Start and Dismissal Times: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

·    Schools: Carver, Cherokee, Jarrett, Pershing, Pipkin, Pleasant View, Reed and Health Sciences Academy @ Mercy.

Parent Brandy Engle said this will not only impact her son but her life as well.

“It would be a lot of rearrangement because I also watch my grandkids,” said Engle. “So it would be loading them up extra early to get them in the car and then get my son into school on time and then getting all the kids unloaded because as it is now, I have kids stay home to be able to help with the kids so that I can drop him off.”

The school district said it will need to finalize the bus routes before confirming each school’s new start time.