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RPS discusses school start time changes

Rochester Public Schools
Rochester Public Schools(KTTC)
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – On Tuesday, Rochester Public Schools (RPS) superintendent Kent Pekel discussed school start time changes with the school board.

The current school time for elementary school students is 9:35 a.m. to 4 p.m. The recommended change would be 8 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.

The current school time for middle school is 8:20 a.m. to 3 p.m. The change would be 9:15 a.m. to 3:52 p.m.

The current school time for high school is 8:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The change would be 9:15 a.m. to 4:12 p.m.

The district said feedback from parents and school staff contributed to the time switch recommendation.

“Middle school and high school students have really benefited from the later start time. However, elementary school students have lost some prime learning time where they are most alert and most engaged,” said Kent Pekel, RPS superintendent.

Pekel said it would be harder to have all schools on the same start time schedule.

“The money in transportation is all in putting the bus on the street.,” Pekel said. If we ran one route. What’s called one-tier. We would have to have twice as many buses, and twice as high a cost to get every kid to every one of our schools at the same time.”

The district is also concerned about how much the change could cost and has to consult with the bus company.

Pekel said RPS could get an estimate by the middle of the month.

“This is particularly complex. Because we’re doing all of this at exactly the moment that we are completely redrawing the map of Rochester Public Schools because we’re changing school boundaries. And we’re opening schools and closing one school,” Pekel said.

The school board could discuss the start time changes in May.

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