New bus timetable drives move to early school finish

Warrnambool Primary School prinicipal Peter Auchettl at the school bus stop last year.

Warrnambool Primary School prinicipal Peter Auchettl at the school bus stop last year.

PARENTS are being asked to vote on a radical proposal to shorten school finish time by 10 minutes because of a bus network timetable adjustment.

A poll is running among the Warrnambool Primary School community on a call to have final bell at 3.16pm and compensate for the earlier finish by cutting 10 minutes from the main lunch break.

It is understood the proposal is to have a trial period which would give all 600 enrolled pupils the same access to class time.

Almost 40 pupils have to leave early under teacher supervision to catch buses arriving from 3.22pm — three minutes earlier than under the previous network timetable. However, some critics argue the suggested change would benefit only a minority of the total enrolment and cause major inconvenience for working parents.

Warrnambool East Primary School has already enacted an earlier finish time to accommodate the revised bus timetables with final bell at 3.20pm rather than 3.30pm.

Ten minutes have been taken off lunch break to compensate.

Warrnambool Primary School principal Peter Auchettl said poll results would be discussed by the school council on Tuesday night.

“We’ve floated the idea past the school community,” he said.

“Children who catch early buses need to leave class early under supervision of a teacher who also needs to leave under supervision.

“Previously children were bused directly to after-school care, now they must go to a changeover at Warrnambool College and then by a long route to the after-school care centre. At first there was concern for their welfare, but it seems to be working OK.”

Public Transport Victoria rolled out major changes to Warrnambool’s bus network early this year and backed down on previous proposals which would have caused young school children to wait at the Koroit Street interchange.

 pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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