Decatur School Board Will Consider Changing Start Times April 10
The superintendent says there are two choices.
The Decatur School Board will meet Tuesday, April 10, and consider changing the start times for the high school, the middle school, the 4/5 academy and two elementary schools.
In the online agenda packet, Superintendent Phyllis Edwards tells the board she is offering two options. One is to not change.
The second option would change the start times like this:
- The high school from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
- The middle school from 8:45 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.
- The 4/5 academy from 8:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
- Clairemont and Glenwood elementary schools from 8 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.
Times for Pre-K and Oakhurst and Winnona Park elementary schools would remain 8 a.m.
Start times are a sensitive issue in Decatur because a change can radically disrupt a family's morning routine. Several different forces are at work.
The system wants to cut transportation costs and encourage more kids to walk to school. Some parents are urging later start times for high school students, pointing to studies that show academic performance improves the later a kid starts classes. And the administration is coping with a spike in the number of students in the lower grades and kindergarten.
To complicate matters, there's no consensus among parents and faculty.
The administration conducted several surveys but the results were inconclusive or split 48/52 percent, Edwards said.
A committee that studied start times presented its findings in February. Those findings were not conclusive, but the committee did recommend starting the high and middle schools between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m.
In a related issue, Edwards told the board in her overview letter that the administration is exploring the possibility of locating central administration offices in the Beacon Hill center on West Trinity Place.
The board board will meet April 16 with the city commission to discuss the idea.
The administration now operates out of the old Westchester Elementary School on Scott Boulevard, which may be turned back into a school for students.
The school board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in the Westchester Center at 758 Scott Blvd., Decatur. The board will hold a work session before the meeting, starting at 5:30 p.m.