There are four main reasons why we are exploring changing bell times.
First, in the past three years, 57 schools have extended their school days by 40 minutes to increase instructional time. Some of these elementary schools start their day at 9:30 AM, which pushes dismissal to 4:10 PM. Many parents and teachers feel this is too late.
Second, a growing body of research has found that high school students benefit from a later school start time by promoting better sleep patterns. While some parents and students have requested that their school begin their days later in the morning, others have expressed concern with a later dismissal, citing lost time for athletics or after-school jobs.
Third, our transportation system is interconnected. Throughout the day, each of our buses serves multiple schools. Changing a single school's start time will, therefore, impact other school's bus routes or dramatically increase costs. Because of this, we cannot easily change individual schools in a cost-effective way. (View our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the impact of buses serving multiple schools and staggering schedules.)
Fourth, the existing start time policy suggests that schools rotate through our standard start times every five years. However, the complexity of our system has not enabled us to follow this policy.