Stillwater Area Public Schools Considering Changes to School Start Times

Stillwater Area Public Schools is considering a change to start times for the 2019-2020 school year.

The preliminary proposal to change start times was shared with the school board during a work session last week.

According to the preliminary proposal:

  • Start times would be earlier for Oak-Land and Stillwater middle school students, as well as two elementary schools;
  • Move the start time for Stillwater Area High School back 40 minutes for an 8:20 a.m. start time;
  • Move five elementary school start times back about 30 minutes; and
  • Impact local charter and non-public schools with possible start times beginning near 10 a.m.

According to Stillwater Area Public Schools:

“School board members are considering a change to school start times that would allow for high school students to begin school later in the day. Medical evidence and research suggests that a start time of 8:30 a.m. or later would better align with teens’ unique sleep needs – improving both the physical and mental health of high school students.”

The district could see a financial benefit from adjusting start times, according to the district’s website, by “allow the district to better balance the number of buses needed during each tier of bussing.”

The preliminary proposal would move the district to a four tier busing system, instead of the current modified three tier system.

  • Tier 1: (7:30 a.m.) Both middle schools and two elementary schools. Elementary schools with shorter bus routes and the fewest walkers would be chosen for an early start – minimizing the number of students waking up earlier and walking to school or bus stops in the dark.
  • Tier 2: (8:20 a.m.) Stillwater Area High School
  • Tier 3: (9:10 a.m.) All other district elementary schools
  • Tier 4: (9:50 a.m.) All charter and non-public schools

A decision has not been made about school start times for the 2019-202 school year, according to the district.

The School Board will share a proposal with the community in the coming weeks, and hold a series of meetings before spring break to gather feedback from parents, staff and students.