School is less than four weeks away for the Erie School District. The administration working hard on the changes that come with the consolidation. 

One of those changes include the start times for the schools, with the high schools and middle schools beginning at 8:00 a.m., and the elementary at 9:20 a.m.

"We did move our start times for the elementary back an hour, because we had to stagger the starts in order to accommodate the additional students that are being transported," said Superintendent Brian Polito. 

For the parents and guardians of elementary students who's schedule that conflicts with, a before-school program will be available, as early as 7:45 a.m., for no charge.

"The majority of the board felt that we shouldn't. We're putting the parents through a lot with combining the schools and everything going on, and we just felt right now we need to make it easier for the parents," explained Frank Petrungar Jr., president for Erie School Board.

With the school consolidations, the district knows there are students that will be traveling farther than others. To accommodate this, some students will be eligible to receive free EMTA bus passes.

"Beyond two miles, kids will get bus passes, high school kids, that's something we haven't done in the past," said Petrungar Jr.

Bus passes will be provided to elementary and middle school students who live more than one-and-a-half miles away. 

The work on Erie High School is moving along, as remediation on the damaged C-wing is almost complete.  

"The demolition work has completed, and they're planning on having the structural beam started on August 16th," said Polito.

Erie School District staff is assisting in final paint jobs and cleaning to get the rest of the high school ready for the first day.

The first football game for the Erie Royals will be held at Erie Vets Stadium on Friday, August 25th against Meadville.

Furloughs, Retirement Changes and Tax Agreement

Also at Wednesday night's meeting, Superintendent Brian Polito said the number of teachers that may be furloughed is down to 25.

The board also voted on retirement changes for new staff. About 40 engineers, bus drivers, and boiler operators for the school hired after July 1st, 2016, will no longer receive health coverage after age 65. The change does not affect current retirees or union members hired before then.

Lastly, the district came to a settlement with Erie Insurance. They were able to reach an agreement in which Polito said all parties felt was fair. It lowered Erie Insurance's property tax bill by about 150,000 dollars, but the school district gained more than originally asked for. Erie City Council already approved the settlement.