Hilliard City Schools officials have made no decisions on the findings of a start-time task force that recently studied when the academic day should begin for sixth-graders and middle school students.

Hilliard City Schools officials have made no decisions on the findings of a start-time task force that recently studied when the academic day should begin for sixth-graders and middle school students.

"We don't know where (the findings) will lead," Assistant Superintendent Leslie McNaughton said June 20.

Any change would be made administratively and would not require the assent of the school board.

A group of 30 parents and other community members met for a five-week period in May while another 30-member group comprising mostly administrators and teachers met concurrently.

The two groups met once to combine their findings and then made a collective presentation to the school board June 13.

Two board members -- Heather Keck and Lisa Whiting -- served on the task force.

"It was really an engaged group," Whiting said.

The study found sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students began their school days "significantly earlier" than those in other districts, McNaughton said June 20.

Hilliard's three middle schools and Station Sixth Grade School begin class at 7:30 a.m.; Tharp Sixth Grade School starts at 7:45 a.m.

Even if district officials choose to make changes, however, none would occur until the 2017-18 school year.

Superintendent John Marschhausen, assistant superintendents Mike McDonough and McNaughton, Treasurer Brian Wilson and supervisors in the transportation department plan to further discuss the findings and recommendations of the task force, said district spokeswoman Stacie Raterman.

Owing to the other changes that would be required if any change is made in start times, a decision would be finalized by January 2017, according to district officials.

District leaders do not plan to host public forums on the issue but once a decision is made, they will "effectively communicate" adjusted start times and any related changes, McNaughton said.

The school start-time task force was a "diverse committee" that included parents, teachers and administrators, McNaughton said.

They delved into recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Association of Pediatrics concerning the need for adolescents to obtain the necessary amount of sleep, compared local report card data from 18 school districts and conducted a survey of families with students in grades 6-12, she said.

The study, however, showed "no correlation" between academic performance and start times, McNaughton said.

Deepa Kellar, a parent on the task force, said the committee discussed "every aspect" of the proposed change.

Kellar said she has four children in local schools: two daughters at Washington Elementary School, a son at Weaver Middle School and a son at Davidson High School.

Like many such studies, a variety of opinions were expressed, she said.

"Some thought we should make a change; some said we did not need to change anything," Kellar said.

She said she asked her own children about start times and her two eldest indicated they would prefer to keep the same start time so as to keep the same dismissal time.

"I think everyone had good points. ... Maybe we can find something that works for everyone," Kellar said.

The study considered a variety of proposals, some of which were cost-prohibitive because of the additional transportation costs associated with the time changes, Wilson said.

According to a survey, members of the staff-based committee favored maintaining the current start and dismissal times, with a second choice that would move back the sixth-grade start time by 25 minutes but leave all other scheduled unchanged.

The community-based committee favored the option that moved sixth-grade start times by 25 minutes and others unchanged, followed by an option that moved back start times at all buildings.

"The next step is to look at all the research and make this a topic of discussion at (future) work sessions and board meetings," Marschhausen said.