This Discussion channel is currently closed.

UPDATE March 20: The school board approved the bell schedules as proposed at its regular work session. Video of the discussion can be found here at about the 1:26 mark.


UPDATE March 8: Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.


-UPDATE March 5: The board directed transportation staff to re-examine the proposals related to Briarcliff and Cary elementary schools, among others. They will discuss again at the March 19th work session based on additional information that will be provided by staff. Watch the full discussion.


-We are working on responses to some frequently asked questions and will post here by the end of the week.




Our transportation staff is recommending the following new bell schedules for 2019-20. 


  • East Cary Middle School: 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Briarcliff Elementary 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

  • Cary Elementary - 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.


Why is this being proposed? 

The main reason for this proposal is the opening of Green Level High School in Cary.

High schools start earlier, at 7:25 a.m., and end earlier, at 2:18 p.m. Drivers need to complete their high school routes and then begin middle and/or elementary school routes. 

Because of this, the standard start time for most middle schools in our district is 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

For the same reason, 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. is the standard schedule for most elementary schools in our district. 

We have to make changes in our transportation system anytime a new school opens. This is particularly true with new high schools, which require about 30 buses to adequately serve them. 

Moving East Cary Middle, Briarcliff Elementary and Cary Elementary to the standard schedule would ensure our transportation system in this area is as efficient and consistently reliable as possible.  


How can I share feedback and ask questions?

Please find the thread related to your school and leave feedback and questions.  

Staff and board members will monitor feedback. Staff will answer as many questions as possible in an FAQ document next week.


What are the next steps? 

The board will hear a presentation from staff at its work session on Tuesday, March 5, at 3:30 p.m. You can watch the meeting live on our YouTube channel,


We will post updates as warranted on this site.

The proposed 2019-20 bell schedule for Briarcliff Elementary is 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Please share any feedback and questions you have about this proposal below.

13 Responses

Lindzy Plott 7 months ago

If the school bell changed to 915am, what time would drop off begin? Without having to sign up for any sort of “before school” programs? Parents need to know this for planning and changing their schedules if we change to this new bell change.

2 Votes
Brandy Pete 7 months ago

I highly disapprove of the proposed change. I understand what they are saying the reason for it is, however school starting at 9:15 is a major inconvenience to working families. This means that the buses will not even run until after most people have to already be at work. These parents will be stuck trying to find before-school accommodations... a lot of kids will no longer be able to even catch the bus due to the time difference. Before-school program means more costs on already tight family budgets, and having to drive the child somewhere instead of the bus picking him/her up. As far as the Afterschool program located at the school goes, does that mean that it will now be extended? Or will the cost be reduced since they’ll be there an hour less each day?

I really hope something is done to avoid this change!

7 Votes
Brett Bonar 7 months ago

This is unacceptable in several ways. 1. This was proposed after the transfer window, so parents don’t have the ability to try to switch schools or get into a magnet school.

  1. I understand that with a new high school there is a bus issue. Why is the only solution to turn three school upside down by changing schedules instead of getting more buses?

  2. This clearly doesn’t take into account working families. This would cause families to have to pay for before school care and a lot of families can’t afford it. Also with the new times buses wouldn’t be an option anymore.

The school district needs to really think about what they would be doing to all the families across three schools, just to accommodate one school.

6 Votes
Kirby Hemingway 7 months ago

I hope the board can find an alternative solution.

This change will create major issues scheduling wise and financially for families. With my job, and most likely the jobs of many other families, I am unable to bring my child to school any later than 8:15/8:30. The neighboorhood we live in does not have a bus route. Before school is not financially an option for us.

If this change takes place I will be forced to remove my son from this school.

6 Votes
patrina hemingway 7 months ago

I disagree with this change, though understand why they are considering it. This time change will cause added stress for working families juggling work, childcare, drop off/pick up, homework, etc. The school Board does not show any consideration for working families.

4 Votes
Kirby Hemingway 7 months ago

Why doesn't the board vote to change the school hours of the high schoolers? Most of them don't rely on their parents for transportation and have to get up unreasonably early to catch the bus.

Most of them are up before their own parents to make sure they are getting to school on time. When I was attending Panther Creek my mom was still in bed when I left to catch the bus.

I was exhausted and expected to be focused and productive for hours while in reality, I was just trying to stay awake.

Then most of their nights are late as some have after-school jobs, practice, and hours worth of homework and studying.

Let them go in later and get extra needed sleep and time for an actual morning routine that promotes productivity throughout their day and boost their mental health as they no longer struggle to get through their days.

Plus that time period when many high schoolers with nothing to do after school who end up getting into trouble before parents get home from work is shortened.

A new high school is being built and it should be used as an opportunity to benefit a large group instead of inconveniencing so many families.

6 Votes
Daniela Worden 7 months ago

I understand the reason behind wanting the change the bell schedule, but it's a major inconvenience. We love the current one. The children and up and ready to learn early. The more time the spend at home in the morning, the less they want to go to school. We've had this bell schedule for the last 5 years, and now my rising 5th grader will have to become adjusted to a later start time just a year before the transition to the much earlier middle school time. On top of that, I have another child at a different elementary school that already uses the later start time. This new schedule will make it extremely difficult to pick up my two at BES, head over to the other school, pick up my third, and take him to his therapy. As if having my children at two different elementary schools isn't a big enough pain, let's make it worse. We have three bus routes. Three. I highly doubt those three routes will make that big a difference that a bell schedule change is needed.

3 Votes
Amy Hambright 7 months ago

One of the reasons I’ve been so happy at Briarcliff is the bell schedule- it allows my husband to drop off before work in the morning and my child gets home with enough time to be outside and play before dinner and bedtime. A 9:15 start time would mean neither of us could do AM drop off and since we’re one of the first bus stops in the AM and last in the PM my child would be on the bus for close to an hour and a half every day.

Additionally, it makes way more sense to have elementary kids starting early and high school starting later and I believe research shows later start times for teens are associated with better educational outcomes. If there’s no way to avoid a schedule change I would be strongly in favor of an earlier start time for elementary.

3 Votes
Lauren Richardson 7 months ago

My daughter is a rising kindergartner at Briarcliff Elementary for the 2019-2020 school year. Although she is not yet in attendance and our family is not “set” in the current schedule, I feel compelled to share a number of reasons why I oppose the change of bell schedule.

1) The application period is over. Families are no longer able to apply to magnet or charter schools that may better meet their needs and/or schedules. 2) It seems late in the school year to make this change for next school year. It may not allow many parents to make arrangements, work schedule changes, etc. to accommodate their children to go in to school at a later time each day. 3) A change in the bell schedule will cause financial hardships for many families. A later start time will mean many families will need to enroll their children in before-school care, which they may not be able to afford financially. Many of these families already have their children enrolled in the after-school program, and to have to pay for both is a huge financial burden for working families. (To help show the impact of a family’s financial burden, please keep in mind that both Briarcliff Elementary’s and Cary Elementary’s free and reduced lunch percentage is over 40%). 4) WCPSS’s poor planning, transportation issues, and budget restraints should not become the financial and personal burden of families, students, and teachers at Briarcliff Elementary, Cary Elementary, and East Cary Middle School. 5) Briarcliff Elementary runs only a few buses as is. A change to a later bell schedule will not even provide many families the option of riding the bus in the morning anymore. If changing existing schools’ bell schedules is the ONLY way WCPSS can think of to provide transportation to a new high school, surely there are schools closer to Green Level High School whose bell schedules could be changed to alleviate transportation issues. Briarcliff Elementary, Cary Elementary, and East Cary Middle Schools are all located in the eastern part of Cary, whereas Green Level High School is in West Cary. Doesn’t it make more sense to change the bell schedule of a school like Davis Drive Elementary which is closer to the new high school, runs many buses, and has a super early start time of 7:45? 6) It is unfair to ask these families to make a change to their schedules and lives once again. Many of these families are already dealing with their base school changing from Reedy Creek Middle School to now East Cary Middle for the next school year.

For these reasons, I am in opposition to a change in the bell schedule and would like for the start times to remain the same. Thank you for your consideration.

3 Votes
KM Zanzal 7 months ago

I disagree with this schedule change. It forces working families to pay for before school care, without being notified of the schedule change during the transfer process. It makes it difficult for students/parents to schedule appointments without missing school. High schools should go later, as teenagers need more sleep biologically anyway and many drive. Younger elementary students will find it challenging to be productive later in the afternoon. If Briarcliff only has three bus routes, it seems logical that three more buses can be found for use by next year. If it is a matter of money, Wake County should plan and pay for transportation fleet increases, as they are required to bus students, if they are going to build another school. Briarcliff families have also already been forced to have a middle school change next year, with most students now going to East Cary Middle School instead of Reedy Creek Middle School. This will impact extra-curricular activities as well. I am STRONGLY against this schedule change.

1 Vote
Matt Dees admin 7 months ago

Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions:

0 Votes
Elizabeth K 6 months ago

Dear Board Members,

I am outraged by this most recent and late proposal to change the start times of Briarcliff, Cary Elementary, and East Cary. I have been actively engaged in meetings and forums for the entirety of the school year fighting for stability, not just for my family, but for my community as well. I am almost to the point of apathy, but feel compelled to keep on speaking up on behalf of others. I have begun to feel as though families in these neighborhoods are easier to move around and so they continue to be so.

I cannot speak for East Cary, but they will have plenty transitions to work through this year aside from start time. I can speak on behalf of the families of Briarcliff and Cary Elementary. Both are made up of populations with 40% reduced lunch, English as a second language, single parent families, and fewer resources than some in our own district. Both are made up of working parents, many of which cannot afford to place their children in before and after school care. Both are made up of parents who may not have even received this email or have the time or ability to log into these accounts to make their voices heard. Both of these schools are made up of parents who want the same things that everyone wants in this county- a safe place for their child to learn, and hopefully doing so without putting a burden on their family and finances. Many do not afford the luxury of coordinated picket signs and time to canvas for petitions.

I am personally affected by changes made with redistricting this year. I have two children that I have opted to keep at RCMMS for stability even though it is not our base school any longer. I will have to commute them to and from school with no busing available. Adding in a new start time will have me doing transportation from 7:15 am (CHS) to 9:15am and then again 2:15-3:45 every single day. ALL of my neighbors are affected by these changes in some way or another.

These proposed changes will impact my community yet again, while some schools in this district remain untouched. This is concerning and unbalanced.

Davis Drive Elementary has a start time of 7:45 and West Cary Middle has a start time of 7:30, neither of which supports the argument of getting elementary, middle, and high schools on a similar schedule throughout the county.

Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers are capable of getting themselves up and to a bus stop if parents have to leave for work. This is not a safe option for most parents of Elementary school children.

I implore you to encourage the Transportation Department to reconsider this option and please propose other solutions that would not double down on communities already negatively impacted by all the changes this year.

Thank you for working to create balance where many of us feel there has not been.

1 Vote
Amber Tingle 6 months ago

Please reconsider changing Briarcliff Elementary's bell schedule because of THREE buses... This schedule change will be an inconvenience to many families because of work and the schedules of students in other schools. For example, It affects me personally because my husband and I need to leave for work. My high and middle schoolers will need to be heading to school at 6:30 and 7:30, which means I need to stick around the house to get kids to school for two hours in the morning and then again for two hours in the afternoon. We have had kids at Briarcliff since 2010 and so we have gotten used to the bell schedule as it is. My son therefore has after-school activities that begin at 3:30, which will not be possible if he isn’t released until 3:45.

The school board just changed most of the students at Briarcliff to East Cary Middle, away from Reedy Creek. We finally finish with that whole mess, and you email us YET ANOTHER CHANGE. I do not understand why the board keeps targeting our neighborhoods with changes. Because of the school changes in our neighborhood from Reedy Creek to East Cary, we have to provide transportation for our grandfathered middle schooler to stay at Reedy Creek. And now with the current bell schedule change, we will need to adjust our daily lifestyle once again. We love Briarcliff for many reasons, and certainly one of those reasons is the bell schedule. Please do not change it.

0 Votes