School board looking to make changes, possibly school start times

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GRAND JUNCTION District 51 school board members are looking into making some adjustments in the coming years. Changes that could make the school bell ring a little later.

The school board met Wednesday night and plans to evaluate multiple options that could save the district some serious money.

The school district is looking into six possible scenarios for rearranging school start times, bus routes, and walking zones.

"We have studies that show that starting school later is better for adolescents and beneficial to them," said Emily Shockley District 51 Communication Specialist.

Some of the options proposed address concerns about adolescents starting school before 8 a.m.

Student Transportation of America suggested the option to adjust middle and high school start times to begin classes 40 minutes later than current schedules.

This possibility is being met with mixed feelings by students.

"I know you got out earlier but I was always tired so I think it would be better to get an extra hour of sleep would be nice,” said High School Graduate Briana Sandoval.

"If it were to bump back the time we get out, that could really hurt the students who work or students who have sports; seeing that it would go so much later into the evening," said High School Senior Augusta McCain.

The athletic director of the school reportedly endorses the idea because the delay and start time of extra-curricular activities is not too extensive.

"I could see it being a burden on parents who have to go to work so much earlier than their students have to be at school,” High School Senior Augusta McCain asked. “So what are they going to do for the extra hour that they don't have to be there? Is the school going to offer opportunities for the students to do stuff beforehand? "

"We do have some students going for extended hours too. A program where, parents who have to work early in the morning can just drop their students off. They pay a fee for that and that’s offered through something that’s outside the district," Shockley said.

Another proposal is to consolidate at least 18 bus routes that currently pick up either elementary or secondary students, so that those buses would pick up both students.

According to school board representatives, this plan would save the district $235,000.

The school board is expect to determine whether to make any changes for the following school years in March.

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