How does the change in school start times affect how my middle school student will be transported?

We are transitioning our middle school students from Madison Metro to yellow buses. Badger Bus Lines will be transporting all middle school students who live more than 1.5 miles from school.(State of Wisconsin statute requires transportation for more than 2.0 miles.) Madison Metro dodgers will no longer run at schools that have shifted to a later start time.

Will the Badger Bus pick up at the same stop as the Metro Dodger?

Many of the stops may be the same, but some will change. The stops will be similar to elementary schools and already existing yellow bus middle school service (with students walking up to ¼ of a mile and ½ of a mile respectively, to the nearest bus stop). The yellow buses will not stop at every block as was sometimes the case with Metro dodgers (Dodgers are the supplemental Metro bus routes that primarily transport MMSD students.  They typically have a route number such as W3)

When will we find out the stop information and time for our student?

Buses will start their routes after they drop off at the elementary school which is around 7:40. Drop off times at the middle schools will be approximately 8:25. More detailed times will be posted in August 2019 as we near Fall Enrollment Days.

My student has received a bus pass in the past and it has worked better for them to ride a regular Madison Metro bus route. Will this be possible?

Bus passes will not be provided to students whose middle schools have changed to a later start time. Students could still choose to ride a Metro Transit’s mainline bus, however, MMSD will not purchase the bus pass. Funds for bus passes will be reallocated to partially cover the cost for yellow bus service.

My child did not qualify for bus service, but we purchased a bus pass so they could ride the Metro dodger. Will this be a possibility?

Madison Metro dodgers will be discontinued as schools change over to a later start time. Families can still choose to purchase a bus pass and have their child ride the main line route.

My child used their bus pass to ride home from our neighborhood center. Are you saying they will no longer get a bus pass?

Yes, unfortunately MMSD cannot continue to purchase bus passes once a school has changed to its new time. The funds used for bus passes will be needed to pay for yellow bus transportation. We do know there are other communities where the city provides bus passes for students. We do not have an immediate solution to this issue, but will support parents, students and schools who want to advocate for our students to receive bus passes. We know that about 33% of the rides used by middle school students are not during school hours.

Will MSCR activities still be offered for middle school students?

Yes. We know these activities are valued by our families. We are currently working with MSCR and our schools at each site to ensure quality programming is still available. We are also working with neighborhood centers to ensure they are planning for the changes in school start times.

What are the major changes for schools for next school year?

Three of our elementary schools(Crestwood, Huegel, and Thoreau) will shift from a late start school to an early start. Their new times will be:

Start: 7:50 AM
Monday Dismissal: 1:15 PM
Tues - Fri Dismissal: 2:47 PM

Three of our middle schools (Cherokee Heights, Jefferson, and Spring Harbor) will shift from an early start to a late start time. Their new times will be:

Start: 8:40 AM
Monday Dismissal: 2:20 PM
Tues - Fri Dismissal: 3:52 PM

What are the minor changes for next school year?  Our remaining 29 elementary schools will have their times shift later by 5 or 10 minutes.  Their adjusted times will be:

Current Early Start 
New Start: 7:50 AM
Monday Dismissal: 1:15 PM
Tues - Friday Dismissal: 2:47 PM

Current Late Start
New Start: 8:40 AM
Monday Dismissal:  2:05 PM
Tues - Friday Dismissal: 3:37 PM

Are there other middle school changes for next year?  

No, only the three middle schools mentioned above will have different times.

Why are the remaining elementary schools changing by just five or 10 minutes?  My school will be 10 minutes later one year and then shift to a much earlier start the next year.

Our transportation is very complex. We needed to move to a common early start and late start time to ensure all of our students will be transported to school on time.  It would be even more challenging if we would have 4 different start times at the elementary level.

We know the start times for elementary schools will be 7:50 or 8:40.  What time will my child be dropped of by the bus?  

Bus drop off times are usually 15 minutes before the start time, which is the time we expect students to be in their classrooms ready for instruction. School bell times will be set by the individual schools.

View the archive of previous frequently asked questions.