The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school board has approved new 2016-17 school start times, with middle schools starting earliest at 7:47 a.m., Burnsville High School starting next at 8 a.m. and elementary schools beginning latest, at 9:15 a.m.
Among the biggest changes: high school will start nearly half an hour later and five of the district's 10 elementary schools will start 45 minutes later.
The new schedules are standardized, so all schools serving the same grade levels will begin at the same time.
"What was proposed is the best of all worlds," said Jim Schmid, board member. "You know, you're not going to satisfy everyone."
The district created the new plan as part of its transition to 9-12 high schools and 6-8 middle schools next fall. The three middle schools will have a seven-hour, eight period day, which includes 20 additional minutes for an advisory period where students learn about college and build community.
School officials wanted to start high school later, since studies show teens need extra time to sleep in the morning and do better academically when school begins later. Another priority was not increasing the cost of busing, Schmid added.
The district initially surveyed staff and parents to ask their opinions on two proposed schedules. More than 700 staff members weighed in, along with 2,000 parents.
In the plan that had elementary students starting the earliest -- at 7:30 a.m. -- parents frequently commented that that was too early for young kids to be waiting at the bus stop. When a later high school start time was proposed, surveys showed that conflicts arose with afterschool activities.
Results were split fairly evenly between the two concepts, so a third option was drawn up.
The schedules are "just one big piece of the Vision 191 coming to fruition next fall," Schmid said, referring to the districtwide redesign plan.