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Staggered Bells


The Renfrew County Joint Transportation Consortium (RCJTC), the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board (RCCDSB), and the Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) have conducted a review of school bell times which highlighted opportunities for efficiency within the Madawaska family of schools. Considering these findings, we will be implementing bell time changes effective for the 2021-2022 school year.  

The objectives of these changes are to:

  • Be good stewards of public funds by efficiently operating busses in a tiered system.
  • Help solve the ongoing driver shortage in this area by operating busses in a tiered system requiring fewer vehicles and drivers.
  • Ensure that the RCJTC is able to provide transportation service while operating within the allotted transportation funding amounts recieved from the province.

 Parents can view Zone 4 Staggered Bells Presentation here.

Frequently Asked Questions 

 Why is staggered bells being implemented now? Why haven't other options been looked at?
The RCJTC evaluates opportunities for operational efficiencies on a continual basis. Over the years staggered bells has been implemented throughout all other areas of the county, we have ensured we are using mid-sized and smaller vehicles in areas with lower population density, and we have ensured that administrative processes have been streamlined. Implementing staggered bells in the Madawaska Family of Schools is the only remaining opportunity to make our bussing more efficient.
Why are bussing costs being put ahead of student needs? 
Transportation costs are not more important than other student needs and should not impact other areas of education. This is in fact the reason why we are moving forward with implementing staggered bells. If bell times in the area were to remain unchanged more and more dollars would have to be diverted from the classroom to cover transportation costs. By operating transportation in an efficient manner within the transportation funding allocation, we can ensure that bussing costs are not put ahead of student needs.
 Will the system be less reliable and delayed?
In a staggered bells model when a bus is delayed, it will have the potential to affect a larger number of schools and students. However, the RCJTC and the bus operators operate a very reliable transportation system. In the 2019-2020 school year less than 1% of trips were impacted by a delay.
 Staggered bells are going to disrupt my work schedule (babysitter schedule, require babysitting...), will the RCJTC be reimbursing these extra costs?
The RCJTC understands that much of a family's schedule is coordinated around the school day and regrets causing disruption to peoples' lives. Unfortunately, as a form of public transportation, it is not possible for school bus transportation to accommodate every family's individual schedule. We recognize that change can be difficult.  In our experience of implementing staggered bells in other areas of the county, we have found that families, babysitters, and extracurricular activities have been able to adjust their schedules to accommodate new bell times.


Do you have a question that hasn't been answered in our Q&A? Please submit a question using this form.