Unit 5 looks to change school start times


Pictured above are Unit 5 students getting off the bus at Northpoint elementary school.

For the 2016-2017 school year, Unit 5 is considering changing start times which would help alleviate a $1.3 million budget shortage in transportation.

The proposed change would provide a 45 minute gap between start times of high school, middle school, and elementary, decreasing the number of routes.  The proposed system will adjust times to fit combining the junior high and high school students into a single route which will decrease the amount of buses needed for transportation as well as increase the capacity that each bus can hold.

The bus system would pick up the elementary school students, drop them off at their school destination, then pick up the junior and high school students. If the proposed  two tier system is approved, start times would change to the following: elementary will be changed from 8:45-3:30 to 7:40-2:25, junior high will change from 7:45-3:00 to 8:40-3:45, and high school will go from 7:15-2:30 to 8:25-3:30.

Linda Bach, administrative assistant at Normal West, said, “I do think that the starting time being pushed back will be beneficial. Many students come in 30-40 minutes late so hopefully school starting a hour later will be able to decrease the amount of tardies”.

Although this proposal sounds perfect to most students, others have some concerns. The extra hour of sleep is of course a huge plus for high school students, but the downside is that the students with jobs are worried they won’t be able to work as many hours or have to work later hours.

Junior, Julia Abraham said, “I have dance practice almost everyday after school and some days I get scheduled to work. I’m not sure that with practice starting a hour later that I will have any time to work on weekdays”.

Most of the research cited in the proposal focuses on the benefits that high school and junior high students will gain. The elementary students will also be able to benefit from these changes in the start of school. Research done by the sleep foundation show that elementary students are biologically able to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. With those kids starting earlier it would show no negative affect because they are focused, engaged, and ready to learn by that time in the day.

The Unit 5 school board will vote to approve the proposal later this month.