The Alexandria school system will expand its day-care program this fall to take care of elementary pupils who would otherwise have no place to go when their schools, because of a new transportation plan, start classes later than the time many parents must report to work.

Donald E. Dearborn, assistant superintendent for elementary and special education, told the city's School Board last night that half of the city's 12 public elementary schools will be affected by the new staggered busing plan.

"That will affect about 180 children," he said, adding that parents participating in the program will be charged from $2 to $20 a child per month, depending on their income. The school system will pay two-thirds of the program's $60,000 added cost.

In anticipation of Metro's coming to Alexandria later this year, and a likely reduction in the number of Metrobuses students can use once the rail service begins, the school system will begin this fall to transport its students exclusively with its own 68-bus fleet.

To accommodate the new busing schedule, opening hours for some elementary schools are being delayed, in some cases, from 7:40 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.

"The six schools we selected are the ones we feel the most impacted by the changes," Dearborn said. They are: Jefferson-Houston, William Ramsay, Cora Kelly, John Adams, James K. Polk and Mount Vernon. The day-care programs at these schools will include music, dance, games and arts and crafts activities. They will be administered by the Alexandria Community Y.

Dearborn said parents will be responsible for bringing their children to the day-care program at the school nearest their homes. If a pupil is attending a school farther away, busing will be provided from the day-care location to those schools in time for the start of classes.