School board considering start time changes for 2019-2020

February 02, 2018

Watch for more details about the start time discussion, including informational meetings and opportunities for you to weigh in with your feedback, coming soon. Share your initial thoughts with the board.

School board members are considering a change to school start times that would allow for high school students to begin school later in the day. Medical evidence and research suggests that a start time of 8:30 a.m. or later would better align with teens’ unique sleep needs - improving both the physical and mental health of high school students.

The district could also see a financial benefit from adjusting start times. Moving the high school start time later would allow the district to better balance the number of buses needed during each tier of bussing, which could result in fewer buses being needed and an annual cost savings.  

The current school board has expressed interest in further exploring this topic and engaging in a conversation about start times with the community. They held their first worksession on the topic on Jan. 30 and reviewed a possible scenario for start time changes that could take effect at the start of the 2019-2020 school year - more than 18 months from now to give families ample time to plan and adjust schedules, if needed.

The preliminary proposal would provide four tiers of busing, instead of the current modified three tier system. Under the plan, first tier schools would begin before 8 a.m. and the high school (tier two) would start around 8:30 a.m. The remaining elementary schools in tier three would start after 9 a.m. and charter and non-public schools in tier four would likely begin by 10 a.m.

  • Tier 1: Both middle schools and two elementary schools. Elementary schools with shorter bus routes and the fewest walkers would be chosen for an early start - minimizing the number of students waking up earlier and walking to school or bus stops in the dark.
  • Tier 2: Stillwater Area High School
  • Tier 3: All other elementary schools
  • Tier 4: All charter and non-public schools

No decision has been made at this time, and there is no formal recommendation from the district administration. School board members expressed interest in further exploring possible start time changes, and provided Superintendent Denise Pontrelli and her team with some feedback to consider different scenarios. They also requested additional information. The board will hold a series of meetings in March/April to gather feedback from parents, staff and students. Watch for more details coming soon.