Traffic issues could force Everett schools to 'shake up' start times

EVERETT, Wash. -- Traffic jams are getting so bad in Everett that some students show up late to school nearly every day.

The school district is now looking at a plan to "shake up" start times, but parents aren't so sure that's a good idea.

Long before classes begin, the school day gets an early start for the Olson family.

"The bus right now picks him up and 7 a.m. and school doesn't start until 8:30 a.m.," Annie Olson.

Olson's son is on the bus for an hour as it is, and she's doesn't want him to have to start any earlier.

"If it changes I guess I'll have to adjust or put him in a different school," she said.

Olson said she doesn't have a lot of options. She works at a restaurant and can't change the hours she works.

Like Olson, many other Everett commuters have fixed schedules that put them all on the road at the same time.

"The traffic in those areas has just gotten more and more intense," said Mary Waggoner with the Everett School District.

That traffic has made it more difficult for buses to get to and from school on time. And if the district hires more people to fix the transportation issue, it could create even bigger problems.

"Money, and the money to run school buses and buy tires, all comes out of the same money that goes into the classroom," Waggoner said.

In an effort to solve the problem, the district may adjust the school day 10 to 20 minutes to better coordinate bus schedules.

District officials want parents to go online and take a survey about the possible changes.

"Right now we've got four different proposals. We put them online today, and we ask people to look at those, study the schedules, look at the impact to them and weigh in and rate them for their preferences," Waggoner said.

The possible school day changes could impact the entire routine for thousands of families

"It could affect others that have daycare or transportation issues," said parent Gina Johnson.

District officials will use the online survey to make a final decision on the issue after they get word about state funding.