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McKeesport Area adjusts school starting times for fall

Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News - When the 2013-14 school year begins, McKeesport Area students at all grade levels will adjust to new start times.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News</em></div>When the 2013-14 school year begins, McKeesport Area students at all grade levels will adjust to new start times.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News - Pete Janusek of West Mifflin has shipped the spice blend he makes with peppers from his garden, Pete's Powerful Pepper Powder, to chili fans around the world.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News</em></div>Pete Janusek of West Mifflin has shipped the spice blend he makes with peppers from his garden, Pete's Powerful Pepper Powder, to chili fans around the world.

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By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Saturday, June 29, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
 

McKeesport Area School District is aligning its student start times with other districts in the region.

When students begin the 2013-14 school year on Aug. 22, they will follow a schedule unlike the district's traditional routine.

While McKeesport Area families have become accustomed to unique start times that allowed younger children to start their days early, Superintendent Timothy Gabauer explained, that schedule did not follow the trend among Western Pennsylvania school districts.

“We had our elementary students getting out around 1:45, which is very early,” Gabauer said. “We had a situation where all of the younger students were getting home earlier than their older siblings. We looked at other districts around us, and there is more of a standard system where older students start first and the youngest finish last. Ours was not like that.”

New times for the first bell and dismissal are as follows, including temporary locations as construction is completed at Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate and Founders Hall:

• McKeesport Area High School, 7:15 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

• Founders Hall, 7:55 to 3:05

• Sixth Grade Academy (Founders Hall annex at White Oak), 8 to 3

• Francis McClure Intermediate and Twin Rivers Intermediate (in George Washington before winter break), 8:25 to 3:15

• Francis McClure Primary and Twin Rivers Primary (in Centennial before winter break), 9 to 3:40.

To accommodate working parents and guardians, the district sent home notices before the end of the 2012-13 school year that it would contract child care providers for next year's before- and after-school programs. On Wednesday, the school board approved an agreement for Alliance Christian Child Care Center staff to be on site providing care for students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Francis McClure and Twin Rivers (in the Centennial building before winter break).

“When we changed the times, a student who started at 8 o'clock last year might be starting at 8:45 this year,” Gabauer explained. “That's a major inconvenience to families, and it was requested by one of our board members to offer day care or at least help out with that.”

Administrators said Alliance's in-school service will be affordable and reliable. Income-qualifying families may apply childcare assistance to the in-school service, which will be billed through Alliance.

“Many parents want to have a safe, structured before- and after-school child care service,” assistant superintendent Rula Skezas said. “We've decided on this particular service, which has been in business for over 30 years.”

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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