Most community comments at an online meeting about school start time changes Monday seemed to be against the proposed change.
The Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools held the online forum for patrons and parents at the request of the school board, to receive community comments about the proposed change. Proposed start times would be later for elementary schools. Any changes that would be made would be for next school year, according to district officials.
The idea to change school starting times came about at the same time that the school district was experiencing difficulty in hiring enough school bus drivers.
Parents and staff mentioned that with a school time change, students would have to be in the dark at bus stops, and parents were concerned about safety at the bus stops or for children walking home. Other concerns were raised about children being able to participate in after-school activities; teachers and students having to sacrifice more family time; and teacher retention could be an issue with an elementary end time of 4:30 p.m.
The school district received about 180 comments during the session Monday, and the community may continue to make comments online through Feb. 7, according to Superintendent Anna Stubblefield, who conducted the online meeting.
The school board is expected to consider the matter at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8, after seeing the community’s comments.
The comments that received the highest ratings from those participating in the online meeting included:
“Elementary schools starting as late as they are would leave students dismissing close to dark, and also limit opportunity for after school activities. Student safety and community engagement.”
“Elementary schools would get home too late. Mentally they begin shutting down when they get tired. Keeping them later would be too much for them. Elementary could start earlier but not later, 8:00-3:00?”
“Moving 9:00 schools to 9:30 is a bad idea. This puts students (and staff) getting home much much later. Winter hours would be going home in the dark.”
The community may continue to make comments on the school start times at https://tejoin.com/scroll/837812170.
Dr. Stubblefield said the board will take the comments into consideration, and that the staff would present the comments to the board. The board could decide not to change school start times or to look at other options.
The topic of the KCK schools changing starting times was discussed briefly at Monday night’s Piper School Board meeting.
Board members talked briefly about the possibility of changing school start times, and if it’s something they might look into. District officials pointed out that while KCK has its own transportation department and hires its own bus drivers, Piper contracts out for bus service, and so doesn’t have to hire drivers.
One Piper board member remarked that it seemed to be opposite to what most think to have elementary school children start school later. They are generally thought to do better earlier in the day.
The proposed KCK district start time changes included:
- High schools, current 7:25 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., proposed for 2022 to 2023 school year, 7:55 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
- Sumner Academy, current 8:05 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.; proposed 2022 to 2023, 7:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- Middle schools, current 7:50 a.m. to 2:50 p.m., proposed for 2022 to 2023, 8:20 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
- 8:30 elementary schools, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., proposed for 2022 to 2023, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 9 a.m. elementary schools, current, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., proposed 2022 to 2023, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- New Stanley Elementary, current, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., proposed for 2022 to 2023, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Earl Watson Early Childhood Center, current, 7:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; proposed for 2022 to 2023, 8:20 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Morse Early Childhood Center, current, 7:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; proposed for 2022 to 2023, 8:20 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- NCO Early Childhood Center, current 7:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., proposed, 8:20 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- KCKECC, current, 8:45 a.m. to 4:25 p.m., proposed for 2022 to 2023, no change.
- Fairfax Learning Center, current 7:25 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., proposed for 2022 to 2023, no change
- Bridges, current 7:50 a.m. to 2:50 p.m., proposed for 2022 to 2023, no change.