CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mornings at the Plaza Household are never dull. Susan Plaza and her three young daughters are always on the go.
“They're tired. It's really challenging for these little kids,” said Plaza.
The mom of Sofia, Ana and Karina say the hardest part of their day is waiting to go to school at 9:15 a.m and then waiting to get home after 4:15 p.m.
“I pick them up early two times a week so we can do swim, dance and things like that. You can't do it if you're home at 4:30 because things are done,” she said.
Plaza is leading the charge to convince the CMS Board and Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison to go back to an earlier bell schedule and a shorter elementary school day.
She has letters from teachers who support her and say the longer elementary days are driving away many good teachers.
“I am currently looking outside CMS for a teaching position,” she reads from a group of letters from current CMS teachers who support her efforts.
Plaza says elementary school teachers have lost planning time because of the longer days, and can’t get their own appointments done in the afternoon because of the later dismissal times that some schools now have.
And she believes the longer, later days are bad for the health of the students, who are young and need time to unwind and play after school.
CMS Board Chairperson Mary McCray says she hasn’t decided if a change is warranted. She is waiting for the CMS staff recommendation.
A group of parents who want the changes, and several CMS staff members have met for months, studying the issue and the costs of changing back to shorter days.
The Board originally changed the schedule to save money by using buses more efficiently.
McCray says she can relate to anxious parents who believe the day is too long and too late, but she says parents need to make choices. She says she had to make the same choices for her own family.
“When my child did this I had to switch her dance class to Saturday morning because she got home later in the afternoon,” she said.
McCray said she lost family time on Saturdays because of the decision, but it was still the best choice for her child at the time.
It could be several more weeks before the CMS Board actually studies the staff recommendations on any time changes, but McCray says it will come down to money.
“If you look at it from a budget standpoint, I'd say it's going to be budget driven,” she said.