Rochester Public School board considers new start times

Rochester Public School board considers new start times.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Rochester Public School families could see school start-time changes in the coming years. Tuesday evening, the school board discussed why these changes are considered and what the changes could look like for the district.

District research shows while the current start times are working well for middle and high school students, the later start time for 9:25 a.m. for elementary school students results in them missing prime learning time. Superintendent, Kent Pekel is suggesting elementary schools start at 7:55 a.m.

Since the elementary will see a time change, the middle and high schools will too, but Pekel has suggested these times will not change until the 2024-25 school year in order to give the district more time to prepare and the families time to make adjustments.

The new middle school start time would be 8:35 a.m. and would not see a reduction in the length of the school day. High schools will see a 30-minute reduction with a new start time of 8:50 a.m. but still would meet the required minimum hours of instruction.

“I know we have already heard from families you say this is going to be very disruptive, any change is, and I think the wisdom of holding off for a year among many other things is to allow the district and families to figure out childcare,” director Jean Marvin said.

In the coming months, the board will battle two very important topics, childcare and transportation. However, research shows the district should be able to do this without drastic cost difference.

“We are not going to sneak major change up on anyone there will be a transparent, careful process looking at these changes, ultimately is everyone going to agree with these changes probably not, but this is not something that is going to be done on the quick without very careful thought,” Pekel said.

The board will revisit this topic at the June 6 school board meeting.