School Bell Schedule Survey
Survey - Restructuring of School Bell Schedules
Posted on 03/06/2019
We invite our GPS community to provide feedback and vote for your preferred option for revised school bell schedules.

Update (04/10/2019)

New Approved Bell Schedule for 2019–2020 is as follows:
New Approved Bell Schedule 2019–2020


Update (03/28/2019)

Thank you to all who completed the school bell schedule survey. The survey ended Friday, March 22, with a total of 10,370 votes from parents and 2,108 votes from staff, plus comments and questions. Please note, all comments and questions have been forwarded to the Governing Board and a response has been provided, if requested.

The next step is a Governing Board Work Study meeting, Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 6:30pm in the Governing Board Meeting Room, 140 Gilbert Rd., Gilbert.  A Work Study meeting does not include allocated time for members of the public to speak, rather this is a meeting for the Governing Board to review materials and discuss options.  The next regular Governing Board Meeting is to be held Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at this meeting it is anticipated that the Governing Board will vote on the proposed changes to school bell schedules.   For more information on these meeting please visit http://gilbertschools.net/governing_board/board_meeting___work_study_agendas

Please see the survey results below:

Parent Survey

Option 1 - 36%

Option 2 - 64%

Staff Survey

Option 1 - 40%

Option 2 - 60%

Background - Please note the survey is now closed

The leadership team at Gilbert Public Schools became aware this year of ongoing issues with GPS student transportation. The primary issue being late arrival and drop off of students. Direct action to solve this issue took place in October 2018 with the hiring of Gauge Precision Consulting.

The complete consultant’s review will be published later this fiscal year, however, shortly into the overall assessment it became evident that the school bell time structure that currently exists, is the root cause of the chronic performance problems impacting families and schools across the district.  

Following this recommendation to restructure school bell time schedules, the consultant worked with a variety of stakeholders to determine two potential solutions, presented to our Governing Board, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.  We now present these two options to our community for consideration.

Both options presented are sustainable in the long term, and both result in an on-time student transportation system, that allows for a more efficient use of fleet and human resources, while positively impacting students, families and schools.

The results of the survey will be shared with our community and will be presented to the Governing Board in late March or early April 2019. Date and time of the Governing Board meeting will be shared publicly.

We have tried to anticipate any questions you might have and have created a list of FAQs below. Also, please see below the report provided by Gauge Precision Consulting which includes background and further details behind this recommendation.

Gilbert Public Schools Bell Changes Survey
View Bell Report pdf
Read the Report – ‘Evaluation of School Bell Times on Cost and Performance, Gilbert Public Schools, March 2019’, Gauge Precision Consulting

Click here to view the Gauge Precision Consulting presentation to the Governing Board on March 5, 2019 (please note the relevant section begins at 1:59:00 on the video recording).


Bell Schedule OptionsBell Schedule Changes

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the District recommending a change in school bell schedules for 2019-20?
The district has been aware for some time that change is needed to solve ongoing issues with student transportation.  The primary issue our community is experiencing is late arrival and drop off of students.  Direct action to solve this issue took place in October 2018 with the hiring of a consultant to complete a comprehensive review of the district’s student transportation operation.  The complete review will be published later this fiscal year, however shortly into their overall assessment, it became evident that the bell time structure that currently exists, is the root cause of the chronic performance problems, drastically impacting families and schools across the district.

Why can’t we just keep the start and end times that we have right now?
“The current structure, (nine bell times for 38 schools), prevents efficient use of resources.  Ideally, each category of school, e.g. high school, junior high school and elementary school will follow the same start and end times.  And each human and fleet resource will be maximized to do back-to-back runs cycling through each school group, maximizing its value and on-time performance.” (Evaluation of School Bell Times on Cost and Performance, Gilbert Public Schools, March 2019)

Will a bell time schedule change create cost savings?
Both options presented will allow us to safely transport as many students as possible, on-time and with as few fleet and human resources as possible, representing potential cost savings.

If a bell time schedule change is approved when would this go into effect?
The beginning of the 2019/20 school year.  All families that use the student transportation service will be notified directly and given time to prepare for the change.

Why are you asking for the community's opinion on this?
It is important to the District and the Governing Board to involve the community in decision making to ensure all opinions are taken into account.

Why a three-tiered system?
There are many benefits to all elementary schools starting and finishing at the same time, all Junior Highs starting and finishing at the same time, and high schools starting and finishing at the same time.  Not least it allows for efficient use of buses, with the opportunity to run back-to-back routes, minimizing the number of buses and drivers needed.  This system is in line with the majority of surrounding districts who have moved to a similar tiered system.  

Will you have to add more buses and drivers?
No resources will be added.  With either of these options it is anticipated that we will be able to reduce the fleet needed down to 65 buses from the 80+ being used currently.  The system will require fewer drivers and will allow existing drivers to increase their hours, greatly helping driver retention, a national issue.

What about Special Education transportation?
The consultant has worked directly with our Special Education Department to develop proposed boundaries for transportation.  This system will provide families and students with a much better service, and will greatly reduce the time our special education students spend on buses.  The new system will also allow us to reduce our need for Special Education drivers by 20%.

What other benefits are there?
The new system will allow for the same bus driver and bus to be on the morning and afternoon route, supporting relationship building between the drivers and the families, students and schools.

Will this address overcrowding issues?
Yes.  If these bell time schedules are approved the consultant will work for approximately 4 months with our transportation team to redesign the routes.  This process will ensure that the manufacturer’s rate of capacity is always adhered to.  The purchase of new software will also help with this issue.

What is a school bell schedule?
It is the start time and dismissal time.  For details of pick-up and drop-off times please view the consutlant's report.

Will there still be early release on Wednesdays?
Early release dates on the current calendar are not affected by this and remain the same.

What bell schedule will Gilbert Classical Academy (GCA) follow?
GCA will use the high school schedule for all students.

Why does this have to potentially affect all schools and families?
The aim is to improve the experience for our students and families. Creating a system that allows for the safe and on-time transportation of over 10,000 GPS students to and from school can be challenging. The current bell time structure has evolved over a long period of time, during the rapid growth of the district and the town, and does not allow drivers the time needed to pick up and drop off the maximum number of students on time. The two solutions presented as options to the community are designed to improve the experience for all of our students, families, and schools.

How will this affect Neely Traditional Academy?
Neely Traditional Academy has busing with regional bus stops which will continue if the bell time schedules change. In order for our buses to be as efficient as possible, all elementary schools need to have the same start and end time.

Will Building Blocks preschool times change?
Currently, each elementary school which offers the Building Blocks program is open 6:30 am to 6 pm. This wouldn’t change with a change to elementary start/end times.

Why are you making a decision before the full report has been presented by the consultant?
Even though the full report has not yet been presented, the consultant has already determined that the current school bell schedule is the root cause of chronic lateness, currently negatively impacting our students, families, and schools. The current bell time structure has evolved over a long period of time, during the rapid growth of the district and the town, and does not allow drivers the time needed to pick up and drop off the maximum number of students on time.

Why can't we push all back and the earliest start for any school be 8am?
A key reason for not pushing back the first start time to
8am is that it would cause some schools to release after 4pm, which is very late for families to get to appointments, practices, extracurricular activities, etc.











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