SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education approved a series of bell time changes for the next two years in light of an ongoing bus driver shortage.

In a 5 to 2 vote Wednesday, the board approved changes for a dozen elementary schools, which will establish a 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule for all 23 in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS).

The board also approved the following bell times for schools in order to streamline routes:

  • Godley Station – 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • New Hampstead K8 – 8:40 to 3:40 p.m.
  • Rice Creek – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Mercer – 8:15 to 3:15 p.m.

These changes will go into effect in the fall and remain through the 2023-24 school year.

The board voted as follows:

  • Yea: Dionne Hoskins-Brown, Cornelia Hall, Irene Hines, David Bringman, Denise Grabowski
  • Nay: Michael Johnson, Tonia Howard-Hall

Many board members voiced their concerns over the changes — particularly for the elementary students — but said ultimately, it comes down to the number of drivers available.

“I think it’s important for our parents and our community to understand that we are not simply changing bell times because, ‘Hey we can change bell times,'” said Grabowski, who represents District 1. “This is something that is absolutely driven by our challenges that we face in transportation and being able to have enough drivers.”

She acknowledged other districts in the area, as well as Chatham County’s transit system, are experiencing similar staffing issues.

Visit this link for more information on SCCPSS’ job listings.