It's 8:08 a.m. at Champlain Elementary School in Burlington and students are heading in to start their day. At the beginning of the school year the school bell here rang at 8:05 a.m., but now it's three minutes later.
Some parents don't care or didn't even notice.
"Teachers and administrations need to find out what works best for them and that's fine with me," said Judd Allen, a parent.
But others can't wrap their minds around why a 3-minute change was necessary.
"I don't really understand it," said Chris Allen, a parent. "It's easier when bells are on 5 or 10 minutes then on 3 or 4 minutes or 8 minutes. I don't know what it means to the teachers or the students."
Champlain's principal sent a notice to parents saying the change comes as a result of the new Burlington teachers' contract. It said: "By having the bell ring at 8:05 we are exceeding the allowable minutes of student contact time."
"Eventually there needs to be a limit. Otherwise there will be principals that say, 'Let's just have kids in school from 7 until 5:00.' And we do need time to do some of these other responsibilities that we have," said Bob Abbey, the president of the Burlington Elementary Education Association.
Abbey says the contract isn't callous. It is standard practice to negotiate the amount of classroom time and prep time teachers have. He says students are in school more now than they were two years ago.
"Evidently there are parents upset by this. We also have parents that now that we're getting close to almost seven academic hours a day that that's enough, especially for a 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-year-old," Abbey said.
Burlington Schools Superintendent Jeanne Collins says the new contract comes while a three-year pilot is in effect to try to balance the time teachers spend with students.
"Teachers do many, many things besides stand in front of kids. It's parent phone calls, it's grading, it's lesson planning, research for the lessons, meetings around student needs. All those things have to happen outside the classroom," Collins said.
Collins says the district start time has always been 8:10 a.m. But both Champlain Elementary and Edmunds Elementary schools began their days at 8:05 a.m. The union alerted officials that that breaches the teacher contracts by 15 minutes a week.
"Over the years it's been bumped up again and again and now, quite frankly, there are student contact limits at elementary, middle and high school levels, so they're up against that now," Abbey said.
A later start that kids don't seem to mind.
Abbey says with the new pilot teachers are having prep meetings for more than 100 hours a year and students are in school about an hour and 40 minutes more a week. He stresses that change is difficult but must happen to better the district academically.
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>
Friday, March 7 2014 7:28 PM EST2014-03-08 00:28:44 GMT
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there. More >>
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there.More >>