Currently, elementary schools in the district hold classes from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., while secondary schools hold classes from 8:30 a.m.-4:05 p.m.
Beginning next school year, elementary classes will run from 8:10 a.m.-3:45 p.m., and secondary classes will be held from 7:15 a.m.-2:50 p.m.
Initially proposed during an Oct. 18 board meeting, parents, students and teachers were given until Nov. 15 to submit feedback on the proposal through an online survey.
According to Superintendent Matt Calvert, 983 individuals responded to the survey with roughly 60% of respondents saying they favored the new start times. Roughly 63% of the 124 teachers who responded also supported the recommended changes. Additionally, 60 of the 63 students who participated in the survey responded favorably.
“I appreciate the community feedback, the employee feedback, the student feedback,” Calvert said at a Nov. 15 board meeting. “This is a big decision, and it’s a decision that some people are going to love and some people are going to hate. ... We’ll see how it works, and if we need to circle back around, we can do it.”
When first proposed, Calvert said the changes would provide an additional layer of safety for elementary students.
“Our younger kids won’t be waiting outside as early in the morning in the dark for the bus, so we thought that was very important, and then, on the flip side of that, their siblings on the secondary level will be home when those younger kids get home in the afternoon,” Calvert said at an Oct. 18 board meeting.
Additionally, Calvert said the earlier start time for secondary schools would help prevent students who participate in extracurricular activities from missing class time at the end of the day.
Calvert also noted the changes would add five minutes per day to the elementary school schedule, bringing them even with the secondary school schedule. The additional minutes will build a three-day cushion into the elementary schools' calendar that can be used to make up for days in which school was canceled due to inclement weather, he said.