On Monday, the Salt Lake City School Board continued discussing the concept of pushing back start times for high schools in the district during the first of several listening sessions.
This is a complex issue centered around switching high school start times, but other schools would feel the impact of the change as well. At a listening session on Monday, the district handed out a spreadsheet with five options for how every school would be impacted.
Because of the logistics of bus schedules, other schools in the district would be impacted, too. For example, under one option West High School would go from 7:45 a.m. start time to 8:45 a.m., while Bryant Middle School would go from an 8:30 a.m. start time to 8 am.
“I'm not necessarily for it,” says parent of five Amberly Croft. Croft said she needs more time and information to make a decision.
“Just looking at what's been outlined, I don't feel like it's a good solution.”
More sleep for students is something most people agree on, but Croft says the trickle-down impact is a concern.
“It impacts all of them, it's not just an impact for my high-schooler," she said.
When asked how she would vote today, board member Kristi Swett said, “You know, right now, I feel like it's research-based, but for me, I really want to listen to my community.”
The hesitation to make a firm commitment, right now, is something James Tobler, the head of the teacher’s union, echoed, saying, “Yeah, there's a lot of different opinions in our district.”
Tobler says he supports what's best for students, but the proposed changes will impact the entire district.
“I know everybody is not going to be happy in this scenario, but hopefully we can do something that addresses some of these concerns.”
All stakeholders want to see more time and effort put into this decision. There are three more listening sessions this week. Those listening sessions are:
- Thursday, January 16, 2020, at 6 p.m. at Northwest Middle School
- Friday, January 17, 2020, at 6 p.m. at Hillside Middle School
- Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Glendale Public Library
Later start times could be on the table for more than just the Salt Lake City School District. Rep. Suzanne Harrison told 2News she plans to introduce a non-binding resolution in the upcoming state legislative session to direct school board to consider moving to 8:30 a.m. start times for middle and high school students.