The Prince George's County school board heard pleas from representatives of two parent groups last week on the subject of school hours in the Bowie area.
Under a revised schedule which staggers school openings and closings for the coming year, many schools will open up to an hour earlier than in past, some at 8 a.m.
The new schedule has upset many parents, especially those with younger children who are concerned about their going to school during peak rush hours and at early hours on winter mornings.
"Students who are elementary school age should not be going to school at hours like 7:30 a.m.," said Madlyn Schlissel, who represented parents from Tall Oaks Elementary School in south Bowie. "Not only is it dangerous, but on snow days how are we going to get notification in time to know whether or not to send our kids out to wait at a freezing bus stop?"
Marge McCormick, president of the John Hanson Junior High School PTA, repeated many of Schlissel's concerns and noted that the schedule at John Hanson has been changed five times in the last six years.
"We ask the board to try and give us a reasonable schedule and a stable schedule as soon as possible," she said.
School superintendent Edward J. Feeney said that school officials were in the process of trying to arrange for crossing guards at schools affected by the new hours as an added safety measure for the children.
The board is expected to reconsider the new schedule after seeing what problems, if any, it encounters this year.
The board also formally approved its Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for 1980-85 at last Thursday's meeting.
The plan calls for renovations at a number of old schools and the building of several new schools. One of the new schools planned is an elementary school in East Kettering.
The board had taken the school out of the CIP but re-inserted it after final approval of a motion made by board member A. James Golato.
The board voted 6-3 favor of adding the East Kettering school to the CIP and 8-1 in favor of the amended plan. Board chairman Norman H. Saunders voted against the plan.
In other action, the board asked Feeney to make a feasibility study of the possibility of putting $380,000 of county money allotted to the board towards constructing a new gymnasium at West Potomac High School.
Saunders said he thought it was unlikely that $380,000 would be enough to build a gym, but the board accepted Sue V. Mills' suggestion that the feasibility study be done.
Saunders also asked the board to consider holding a work session to consider banning smoking from schools completely, but the board tabled the matter.
The board's next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 14 at Northwestern High School, Hyattsville.