Prior Lake-Savage weighs shift in school start times

  • Updated: February 24, 2009 - 9:36 PM

Prior Lake High School could join a growing list of metro-area schools that have delayed the first bell to let teenagers sleep in.

The Prior Lake-Savage school board is looking at a new bus schedule for 2009-10 that would save money and drop off high school students 50 minutes later.

A district survey showed that two-thirds of parents, students and staff liked the idea of pushing back high school start times. But the plan would start middle schools 25 minutes earlier and put some elementary students at bus stops before dawn, a prospect that doesn't thrill some parents.

Since 1994, the Minnesota Medical Association has urged high schools to set their schedules to reflect research showing that teens naturally get tired later at night and wake up later in the morning.

The Farmington school board voted last fall to push back high school start times for the upcoming school year, while the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan board rejected a similar proposal.

Classes at Prior Lake High School, which currently start at 7:15 a.m., would run from 8:05 a.m. to 3 p.m. this fall if the plan is adopted.

District leaders said they're considering bus schedule changes now because they're also shifting school attendance boundaries to open a new elementary school in the fall.

The school district will hold a public forum on the proposal at 6:30 p.m. March 9 at the district services center, 4540 SE. Tower Street, Prior Lake. The board is slated to make a decision on March 16.

SARAH LEMAGIE

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