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Survey says parents support later start time

Responding to a survey on school start times, 69 percent of 1,100 parents in School District 833 said high schools should start later in the day.

The answers were split as to when the day should start, either at 8 a.m. or at 8:30 a.m.

Before responding to the survey, there was a brief summary of research by the University of Minnesota indicating adolescents have natural sleep cycles, due to the chemical melatonin, which make them sleepy around 11 p.m. and wakeful at 8 a.m.

Park and Woodbury high schools currently start at 7:30 a.m.

About 75 percent of those surveyed said they support a schedule that reflects the research findings with 51 percent saying elementary schools should begin in the early slot.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said they live in Woodbury and 25 percent live in Cottage Grove.

Thirty percent of responders said they were parents of elementary-age children with the remainder having students in secondary schools.

A school start and end time task force is in the process of researching the issue and will report to the school board at a workshop on Jan. 8.

Meetings to get feedback from residents will be held Monday, Jan. 12 at Park High School and Tuesday, Jan. 13, at Woodbury High School.

A school board decision is expected Jan. 22.

Any changes, if adopted, would go into effect for the 2009-2010 school year along with changes in walking distances from school that were approved earlier this year.

Students in grades kindergarten through eight living more than a mile from school will be bused. Students in grades nine to 12 will be bused if they live more than 1.5 miles from school.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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