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Katonah-Lewisboro Drops Changes To Busing, School-Start Times From Budget

Katonah-Lewisboro Superintendent Andrew Selesnick.
Katonah-Lewisboro Superintendent Andrew Selesnick. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- Katonah-Lewisboro's proposed 2017-18 budget will not include a return to the "double tripping" system for bus schedules, nor will it include changes to starting times for schools, Superintendent Andrew Selesnick wrote in an email to parents.

Katonah-Lewisboro has operated on a "triple tripping" busing system for seven years, and officials explored reversing the practice as part of the budget.

Below is a copy of Selesnick's letter to parents explaining the decision to drop the proposed changes. Italics are added for visual clarity:

Dear KLSD Community,

I write to share two updates from last night’s Board of Education meeting - the first on our double tripping/school start time proposal and the second on next year’s calendar.

Double Tripping/School Start Times

Last night, we withdrew our proposal to move back to double tripping and change the school start/end times for next year.

We remain committed to developing a later start time for our middle school and will work towards it in the future. We would also like to see our elementary students have an earlier end to their day, and our staff have greater opportunities to collaborate after school. We will continue working towards those ends, too. Based on all we have learned through this process, however, we have come to believe that the proposal we were able to develop in time for next year’s budget is not the right way to make these changes.

For the last seven years, while the District has maintained triple tripping, our schools have adapted and, where possible, taken advantage of the structure. For example, our middle schoolers currently use the high school dismissal buses as "early" late buses and our high schoolers use the middle school arrival buses to get to zero period. During those same years, we’ve seen expanded options and increased participation in after-school activities at the middle school. We have also come to learn more about the high school day and the challenges our students face in fitting together all the pieces of their desired schedules.

When we are ready to make a change, we want to be more confident that our middle schoolers can continue benefiting from a rich variety of after-school opportunities. We also want to be confident that when we make a change, we don’t reduce academic opportunities for our high school students.

Finally, it continues to trouble me that in the effort to move the middle school in the right direction for the sake of "sleep time," we must necessarily move the high school in the wrong direction. That was the best option we could achieve in time for next year’s budget. If possible, we would like to lessen that impact in a future proposal.

As I’ve said since my arrival, listening to colleagues and the community is a priority. That listening is what pushed us towards a proposal on this topic. Additional listening and study has now led us to believe that it is more sensible to take more time to get to a better proposal in the future. I know that those who favor change now will be disappointed. In advance, I thank you for understanding our need to move a little more deliberately through this important process.

It is my hope and intention that what we have learned these last few months will help us make a future proposal that improves the school experience for all our students and our staff.

Calendar

At last night's Board of Education meeting, the Board reviewed a proposed calendar for 2017-2018 but did NOT adopt it and has requested that we try to build a calendar that provides a break for students and staff in February.

The proposed calendar included a three day weekend for Presidents Day in February (for students) and would have required teachers and administrators to hold a staff development day on Presidents Day.

We will make every effort to return to our Board with another proposed calendar in the very near future.

I wish everyone a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools

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