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HWDSB and HWCDSB Carrying Out School Bell Time Study

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HWDSB and HWCDSB Carrying Out School Bell Time Study

Hamilton, Ontario – December 18, 2019: The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) have approved the parameters and guiding principles for the joint School Bell Time Study through the Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation System (HWSTS).

“A Bell Time Study is a critical next step in our pursuit to counter the school bus driver shortage in Hamilton,” said Alex Johnstone, Chair of HWDSB. “As we look to more efficient bus routes, the review will change the start and end times for many of our schools. We’re asking families to be aware of the Bell Times Study as communication will be shared in February detailing changes in school day times for the September start.”

“With the pending expiration of bus operator contracts in 2021, it is incumbent upon both boards to realize significant efficiencies in order to mitigate against the possible 30 per cent increase in costs experienced by other school boards,” said Patrick Daly, Chairperson of the HWCDSB. “The Bell Time Study is an important aspect of our efforts to continue to provide a safe and high level of transportation service to the students in our community.”

The School Bell Time Study is a significant direction shared between the school boards. This is the first study of its scale in Hamilton and proven effective in neighbouring areas such as the school boards serviced by the Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region. For three years, the driver shortage has resulted in daily late pick-ups and drop-offs for approximately 25 to 35 routes impacting their time learning in school.

The approved parameters provide flexibility in the study that will reduce approximately 40 buses on the road in September and eliminate the bus delays that families experience. The approved parameters, shown the chart below, look at the earliest and latest potential start and dismissal times.

Optional Earliest Start Time 8:10 a.m. 8 a.m. 8:10 a.m. 8 a.m.
Optional Latest Start Time 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m.
Optional Earliest Dismissal 2:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 2:40 p.m. 2:15 p.m.
Optional Latest Dismissal 3:50 p.m. 3 p.m. 3:50 p.m. 3:15 p.m.


Both boards also approved the guiding principles for the study, which are:

  • It is most important for students to be present and on time for school
  • Minimize the changes in bell times where possible
  • Minimize the range for secondary schools in order to not negatively impact participation in after school activities
  • Minimize congestion in close geographic areas
  • It is important to communicate to families as soon as possible

The School Bell Time Study is expected to be completed by the end of January. Staff will work with families to support the transition of the bell time changes. Communication about bell times for September 2020 at individual schools will begin in February.


Media Contacts


Marnie Jadon

Media & Communications Manager

905-525-2930, Ext. 2263



Shawn McKillop, APR

Manager of Communications and Community Engagement



Updated on Wednesday, December 18, 2019.
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