TOLEDO (WTOL) - Parents and Lake Local School District leaders came together Monday night to talk about how and why the district would change their school’s start time.
School leaders said studies prove a later start time for high school students improves their overall school performance. They said that they also feel an earlier start time for their elementary students will do the same. Regardless of their arguments, some parents said they disagree and would like other aspects of the issue answered.
Lake Local School leaders said it’s all about the students and that’s why they are proposing a change to their school start times.
"We're just trying to do what's best for kids” said Jim Witt, Lake Local Schools Superintendent. “We're trying to give them the best chance to succeed in their academic careers."
But some parents feel the change won’t achieve that goal. They said they have concerns about child care, extracurricular activities, the bus commute and even quality time with their family.
“We’re teaching these kids to be college- and career-ready and so what college and career lets you sleep in longer for behavior problems or attendance?” asked Dawn Forrest, a Lake Parent. "For us we would have younger kids that are now home before all of the older kids,” said Katie Enright, a Lake parent. “We rely on our older kids to help get the younger ones off the bus right now.”
Lake is putting a proposal before their school board to change the start and end of the school day. The length of the day would remain the same, but elementary students would begin at 8:10 a.m. while high school and middle school students would begin their day at 8:45 a.m.
The district created a committee early last year to look at the pros and cons of the issue and to address how sleep impacts grades, behavior, attendance, mental health and more. They said they feel the results speak for themselves and one parent at the meeting Monday said she agreed.
“I think it would really benefit them because as far as having academics or sports and other schools, we’re not the only ones that are doing this change” said Lisa Gadsby, a Lake parent. “We’re not even the first.”
Others who spoke out Monday said they feel the district wasn’t transparent enough about the idea and they want to see more specific data from their school before a decision is made. "I don’t want to say it’s been too secret, but it hasn’t been right,” said one man Monday night.
“I think those need to be concluded with some further studies so I have a better understanding of where we’re going,” said Jake Forrest, a Lake parent.
District leaders said they have not made up their mind about what to do at this time and this is just one of the ways they are trying to address student success in the future.
The issue of changing the school start time is on the agenda for the Lake School Board on March, 27. However, the schedule might change if they feel they need more time to discuss the issue.