More than 60 area schools will open their doors to students and parents today, and officials wanted to remind residents to mind the school zones and remember that rule-breaking can lead to fines.

“Last year, 625 vehicle crashes occurred in school zones in Texas resulting in two deaths and 112 serious injuries,” said Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange. “The most common factors that have contributed to these have been failure to slow down in posted school zones.”

Lange said drivers caused crashes when they also failed to yield rights of way, failed to stop for school bus unloading and loading and driver inattention, usually caused by cellphones.

In some areas, cellphone use in school zones carries up to a $200 fine.

“A person who is operating a motor vehicle in an active school zone cannot use a wireless communication device unless the device is being used with a hands-free device or while the vehicle is stopped,” he said, reminding kids to look both ways when entering and exiting school buses as well.

School start times

John Craft, the interim superintendent for the Killeen Independent School District, also said some of its schools’ start times will be different this year.

The district’s four high schools — Ellison, Harker Heights, Killeen and Shoemaker — will start five minutes later, at 8:45 a.m., and get out five minutes earlier, at 4:10 p.m.

Most middle schools will start at 7:55 a.m., five minutes earlier than last year. Dismissal is at 3:40 p.m.

Gateway Middle School starts an hour earlier, at 7:30 a.m., with dismissal at 2:30 p.m. Trimmier Elementary School will start 30 minutes later at 8 a.m., whereas Timber Ridge Elementary School will begin 30 minutes earlier at 7:30 a.m.

The new Fowler Elementary will begin classes 30 minutes earlier at 7:30 a.m. Students at Haynes Elementary School will start their day an hour later this year at 8:30 a.m. Dismissal is at 3:45 p.m.

Craft also said bus routes are posted on the district’s website and it is interactive, so parents also can use it to map their children’s routes.

Contact Courtney Griffin at or 254-501-7559

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