July 30, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
63°F
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Lorain Schools get their bearings

LORAIN — That alarm clock will be going off a bit earlier for Lorain teenagers when high school begins in two weeks.The Lorain school district announced Wednesday that the school day at Southview and Admiral King high schools will now be 7:35 a.m. to 2:10 p.m., which is about a half-hour earlier than last year.

The new time is meant to avoid a busing conflict with elementary schools.

JASON MILLER / CHRONICLE
Admiral King sophomore Adam Sagert (left), along with Keith Galloway (center) and his wife, Jill, listen to Admiral King principals during an orientation meeting Wednesday.

“If we didn’t change times for the high schools, we would have had to bring in more buses,” said school spokesman Dean Schnurr.

Elementary school days also have seen their times staggered to avoid busing conflicts — some run from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while others start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.

Parents were told of the changes at Lorain’s first back-to-school meetings Wednesday between parents, students and principals in each school building. Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson called the meetings after receiving complaints from parents that the school board was not communicating with them.

Discussion at the meetings, which were held all day to accommodate parent schedules, was a far cry from the anger and frustration that parents voiced at recent school board meetings. Instead, the back-to-school meetings were attended mostly by parents of students who were moving into new buildings, so the meetings served as orientations.

At the new Helen Steiner Rice Elementary School, which kindergarten, first- and second-grade students from Homewood Elementary will be attending, Principal Tom Roth reassured parents that students will not be negatively affected by the move. The district announced Monday that Homewood would be closed to save about $200,000.

“It’s going to be OK,” he told the dozen parents who attended the evening meeting. “They’re going to see familiar faces and class sizes will be what they were used to.”

Roth said many of the teachers who taught at Homewood have been transferred to Helen Steiner Rice Elementary and class size will still be 25 to 28 students. A latchkey program will be available, allowing students to spend 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the school — time planned around the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day.

Silvia Lopez, whose 10-year-old son was in fourth grade at Homewood last year, said she’s optimistic about the new school.

“I was really just concerned about the class size,” she said. “Mr. Roth is a great principal and the staff there seems great.”

At Admiral King High School, junior Ashley Christman attended a meeting with a friend to learn whether any extracurriculars would return in the fall.

All extracurriculars, except sports and band, were cut over the summer when the supplemental contracts for teachers who advised those activities were terminated to save money.

“I was elected Key Club president last year, and now it’s gone,” Ashley said.

Principal Keith Galloway said teachers from Southview and Admiral King high schools were working with the administration to bring back the most popular organizations, including homecoming committee, prom committee and student council.

Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.