Study Considers Delaying School Start Times, Lists Financial Burdens
Anne Arundel County Public Schools released a study with one option that comes with an estimated $5.2-8.4 million price tag for starting high schools later.
Officials have released a study on the impact of starting schools later in Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS), and are asking parents to contribute their thoughts.
The study comes after repeated requests from an advocacy group, Start School Later, which has been vocal about delaying the start of school for the benefit of students' health, education and well-being.
The study concludes that delaying the start and end times of local schools would impact transportation and insfrastructure currently in place, and could also create an additional financial burden. One of the options proposed comes with an estimated $5.2-8.4 million price tag.
"Greater time, preparation, analysis, cost modeling, and Board approval would be needed before making any final decision on any option outlined in this report," the report concludes.
AACPS Superintendent Kevin Maxwell said the complex matter deserves more discussion.
“There are an incredible number of ramifications to any change, and the intent of this document is to examine those ramifications so that informed discussion can take place," Maxwell said.
The study begins with laying out three options for changing the start time of schools (to allow for high schools to start later):
- Provides for a shift of school start and stop times at 15-minute intervals. A 15- and 30-minute interval option is provided for each school.
- Simply shifts all high school start and stop times to 9:45 a.m. and 4:33 p.m., respectively.
- Establishes an 8 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. window component for all schools.
Options one and three are noted to have financial ramifications, and option two would impact all after-school activities, including sports, as well as the Center for Applied Technology facilities.
After the release of the study, Start Schools Later criticized the scope of the report's research.
"There's no need to speculate about what might happen under the three scenarios put forward by AACPS when there's plenty of evidence from school systems that have made this change showing that the tremendous benefit to cost ratio of starting school later than 7:17 a.m.," wrote Heather Macintosh of Start Schools Later in a press release.
The school system has asked its Countywide Citizen Advisory Committee, composed of clusters of parents and interested parties across the county, to review the study and issue their recommendation to the Board of Education.