CHARLOTTE, NC -- A new review by the Council of the Great City Schools found controversial bell schedule changes at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools are benefitting students and the school system.

In 2011, CMS added 45 minutes to the elementary school day. The additional learning time also created staggered dismissal times which allowed school buses to reach up to four schools in an afternoon.

The efficiency saved CMS $4 million a year.

Parents, students, and some teachers complained the 4:15 p.m. dismissal time at elementary schools was too late.

Recommendations made by the review include continuing the new bell schedule that lengthens the school day, and praises the school system for saving millions in the process, calling it a hat trick that most big city schools aren't able to pull off.

We will take those recommendations, and they will be the framing charge of our new School Time Task Force, said Superintendent Heath Morrison.

The task force will review the study s findings and find areas for compromise with concerned stakeholders in the coming months.

Morrison indicated an earlier elementary school dismissal time that maintains the duration of the school day could be considered.

He said he wouldn t be willing to shorten the day by any more than 15 minutes, and felt strongly about keeping the bus schedules in place.

The additional time, I believe, is a benefit. So it s not something I would be very easily removed from, Morrison said.

The study found some fault with CMS, saying the roll-out of the new bus & bell schedule lacked community input.

Morrison guaranteed any future changes coming from the task force would be the result of public involvement.

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