The start-stop times for some Dublin City School District students could change again in the fall.
The district last week sent out a survey about the new start-stop times instituted at the beginning of the school year. Depending on the outcome, Superintendent David Axner said a few changes could come next fall.
“We said on implementation that we definitely would do a survey after the first of the year and try to get feedback not just from parents but from our own staff and from high school students,” he said.
After more than one year of research, the School Reform Task Force recommended the district delay the high school start time of 7:30 a.m. by at least 45 minutes. Studies found that high school students would get more sleep and benefit academically with a later start time.
After looking at the bus schedule, the district determined it could push back the high school start time by 30 minutes instead of 45.
The district instituted new times at the start of the 2011-12 school year, moving the high school day from 7:25 a.m.-2:25 p.m. to 8 a.m.-2:54 p.m.
At the middle school, the day was moved from 8:15 a.m.-2:55 p.m. to 8:43 a.m.-3:23 p.m. The elementary school day was adjusted from 9:05 a.m.-3:35 p.m. to 9:28 a.m.-3:58 p.m.
Although the survey was sent to staff members, students and administrators last week, Axner said he could anticipate the outcome.
“I’m guessing participation will be high. We’ve had talks with a lot of parents and a lot of dialogue in the past six months,” he said. “It seems like the later high school start time was well received, but the task force recommendation for a later elementary start time has been the issue. With a combination of parents and staff, we anticipate those results will say, ‘Move the elementary time up earlier in the day.’”
While the district was unable to work out busing changes last year to accommodate the new high school start time and an earlier elementary time, reductions in the district could help the situation.
The district is working to cut $7.1 million from the budget over the next two years following the defeat of a 7.2-mill operating levy and $25-million bond issue last November.
One of the reductions under consideration includes creating group bus stops for high school students that will shorten the time it takes to pick up high school students.
“The silver lining in those bus cuts we’ll have to make is that it shortens bus time,” Axner said. “We’re projecting the ability to compact our routes.”
If survey results support what Axner is suspecting, an earlier elementary day could come by next fall.
“We’ve heard a lot about the elementary (day) being too late,” he said. “Had we not been looking at reducing, we probably couldn’t make much of a change. The bottom line is we’re anticipating the change for next fall.”