Ashland's elementary schoolchildren will start 15 minutes earlier when they head back to classes on Sept. 4. The three elementary schools will now begin the day at 8:15 a.m. to accommodate early releases every Wednesday.

Kids will head home at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays so teachers can meet in their Professional Learning Communities, designed to increase collaboration between teachers, that began last year.

Bellview principal Christine McCollom said the new schedules would be an improvement over last year for parents.

"It made it harder for families to plan because they were so sporadic last year," she said.

Bellview will host a homework club until 2:45 p.m. on Wednesdays for children whose parents cannot pick them up earlier, she said.

Schools will inform parents about the time start and other changes at registration next week.

The school board will hold its final general meeting before school starts on Monday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.

The board will vote on the final ballot language for the local option levy, renamed the Youth Activities and Academics Levy, in November 2007 election. The district will ask for a $1.29 tax per thousand in assessed value for a three-year period.

The board will also hear reports on construction and district finances.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or . To post a comment on this story, go to .