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JCPS board proceeds with later start times for middle, high schools

The Board of Education for Jefferson City Public Schools gave preliminary approval of changing the current start and end times for all district schools, with secondary schools starting after 8:30 a.m.

A final decision is expected to be made at the March meeting. An online questionnaire will be available for district students, staff and parents this week to collect feedback on possible start times.

All three options would have elementary schools start first, followed by high schools about an hour later, followed by middle schools starting about 10 minutes after that. The questionnaire will be posted on the JCPS website.

JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthicum and board President Steve Bruce said they expect the order that is presented on the questionnaire to stand.

A final decision on school order and start times will be made at the next board of education meeting on March 11.

Nicole Myers, a parent of elementary and middle school students, said that the change in schedule require her to pay more in child care. Myers was the only person who spoke in support of keeping the current schedule at Monday’s meeting.

“The cost that (the district) claims they’re saving is offset by the daycare costs the community would have to incur,” Myers said. “I’d have to put my son in daycare in the afternoons, and I don’t want to do that.”

At previous town halls on the subject, JCPS administrators outlined three possible choices for next year’s schedule.

The first is to keep the current schedule, which, according to JCPS administrators, would be the most expensive option. The addition of Capital City High School would cost the district over $300,000 more under the current bus schedule.

The second and third options offer uniform start and end times for all elementary and secondary schools.

Under the second option, all elementary schools would be in session from 7:50 a.m. to 2:50 p.m., and all secondary schools would be in session from 8:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

The third option has the same time periods, but secondary schools would start first, followed by elementary schools.

Linthicum and Bruce did not have any preference among the three options when asked at a January town hall meeting.

Concerns raised by administrators, teachers and parents included child care costs, sleep schedules and brain development, as well as athletic event schedules.

Click here to see the “Start & End Times” presentation by JCPS.

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