SCS Board Considers Pushing Back School Start Times

(Shelby County) The Shelby County School Board is considering pushing back the first bell by 15 minutes for the next school year.

Tuesday night, board members heard a presentation recommending the change.

Parents shared concerns that the sun isn’t even up, but students are there waiting for the school bus.

Some parents and board members say that bell rings far too early.

“Those students are not engaged. I have concerns if the employees are engaged,” board member Kevin Woods said.

“I know there is a big tardy issue with high school,” Theresa Jones said.

Jones said she saw it first hand when she visited a high school.

“Most of them were coming in when I was leaving at 7:30, 7:45,” she said.

She worries what that does to academic performance.

“They are usually have tested courses like English at 7 a.m. They are either asleep or they miss most of it, that was the concern that the staff and principal expressed to me,” she said.

Parents expressed concerns, too, in surveys they filled out for the district.

“Most prefer between 7:30 and 8:00,” Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said.

But Hopson only suggested moving starts 15 minutes.

“We are going to recommend that we have 7:15, 8:15, and 9:15 start times next year,” he said.

Hopson explained changing to a two-bell system where kids would start their day 8 a.m. would mean 106 schools would have their start times changed.

“It’s not worth the disruption,” he said. “The bus configuration would have left holes in our fleet such that a lot of the after school programs¬† would not have been able to deliver on time.”

The added concern is that the cost to change to a two-bell system rings in at $5 million.

The board will make a final vote next week.

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