School start times could change if several pieces fall into place. The Chesterfield School Board could be swapping elementary and high school start times...

School start times could change if several pieces fall into place. The Chesterfield School Board could be swapping elementary and high school start times but it may take some time to implement.
After some grappling, CCPS has settled on a plan to swap high school and elementary school start times, shifting the elementary school start time by 25 minutes. As a result, 27 elementary schools will run from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. The other 11 and eight middle schools will run from 8:35 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. Four middle schools and all high schools will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Initially the cost of implementing the plan would have been $7.3 million for the first year and $2.7 million thereafter. However, with some surgical cuts, CCPS was able to reduce the cost to $5.6 million in the first year and $2.5 million in subsequent years.

The school board hopes to change the start times by fall 2018.

“We now have a single proposal to consider that is consistent with the recommendations of pediatricians,” said John Erbach, Dale District School Board Member. “We now need to determine when we can fund the upfront costs and that will determine whether we can implement in 2017 or 2018.  Implementing this plan in 2017 is going to be a challenge, but we will continue to explore the possibility.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “At least one in five students will have trouble keeping up academically at some point during middle school or high school. School slumps require our immediate attention, before the damage to self-esteem is irreparable or a youngster develops an aversion to attending school.” It is also noted that as a student gets older he or she needs more sleep.