The Decatur School Board voted Tuesday night for the high school, the middle school, the 4/5 Academy and two elementary schools.
These will be the school schedules next year:
- Decatur High: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Now, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Renfroe Middle: 8:40 a.m.-3:40 p.m. Now, 8:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
- The 4/5 Academy: 7:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Now, 8:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
- Clairemont and Glenwood elementary schools: 8:10 a.m.-2:40 p.m. Now, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Times for Pre-K and Oakhurst and Winnona Park elementary schools will remain 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
The vote was 4-0. Board member Valarie Wilson was absent.
"It doesn't look like you've got a clearcut path," Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said before the vote, noting that surveys showed the opinions of parents and teachers were split. "We've done a lot of research and a decision must be made."
Edwards told the board the other option was to not make any change.
The administration suggested changing start times for several reasons.
The 4/5 Academy was given a late start time of 8:45 a.m. in this, its first year of operation, but many students still showed up early, creating a supervision problem.
The system wanted to encourage more kids to walk or bike to school and to hold down costs by reducing the number of bus routes.
Some parents produced research showing high school students peformed better the later they went to school.
Board member Julie Rhane agreed that transportation is what controls start times. "This is a fiscal issue," she said.
She also said that it's good "the high school should be the driver in this kind of decision."
A committee that studied start times presented its findings in February and recommended starting the high and middle schools between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m.
One of the upshots of the new start times is that middle school and high school students will ride buses together next year.