School start, end time to change

Some classes at Sparta schools will begin earlier

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By Jennifer Jean Miller
— The Board of Education approved a shift in start and end times, as well as transfers and reassignments of teachers to different school locations, as part of their reappointment agenda at their May 27 meeting.

Currently, the Mohawk Avenue School is home to the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, the Alpine School houses grades first through third, and fourth and fifth grades are at Helen Morgan School. The sixth through eighth graders in town attend Sparta Middle School, and Sparta High School is comprised of students from grades nine through twelve.

The upcoming school year will see a change in the school lineup, with a swap between Mohawk Avenue and Alpine.

During the meeting, staffs from both schools were realigned in the vote to accommodate the changes, with those working with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students being transferred to Alpine for the fall, and the third grade to Mohawk Avenue.

There have been approved changes as well with the start and end times of the schools.

Mohawk Avenue, which currently runs from 9:10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., will begin at 8:25 a.m. and conclude for the day at 3 p.m.

The Alpine School currently starts its day at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:35 p.m. Under the new plan, Alpine will run from 9:10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Helen Morgan School has a current start time at 8 a.m. and lets out at 2:35 p.m. In the fall, Helen Morgan students will begin their school days at 8:50 a.m. and end at 3:25 p.m.

The Sparta Middle School starts at 8:05 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Next year classes will begin at 7:35 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m.

The Sparta High School, which now runs from 7:05 a.m. through 2:09 p.m., will move its times from 7:03 a.m. through 2:13 p.m.

Parent Kathleen Simpson spoke out about the changes in start times, especially with the Mohawk Avenue students let out earlier than the Helen Morgan students. She said she is concerned about younger children who may have to return home while their parents are not yet home from work.

If they have older siblings at Helen Morgan, those students would return after their younger siblings, she said.

The change in the schedule for the upper grades is to better accommodate shared staff between the middle and high schools, Sparta Township Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Tobin said, noting that the board had sought to have an earlier start time for the Mohawk Avenue School, yet was unable to because of the transportation costs involved.

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