Wayzata teens might get to snooze longer while the school district's littlest learners wake up earlier.
Superintendent Chace Anderson proposed earlier start times for most of the district's elementary schools at a Monday school board work session. Under his plan, Wayzata High School would start at 8:20 a.m., and three elementary schools would start 10 minutes later. The other five elementary schools would start at 7:45 a.m., and the middle schools would start at 9:10 a.m.
The school board is expected to vote on the proposal Monday. Anderson first floated the start time changes in an August memo to the board, launching a districtwide debate.
At the Monday meeting, Anderson said the plan would be in line with students' health and well-being, and one that works from an operational standpoint. The transportation department and principals at elementary, middle and high schools support the plan, he said.
Parents of sleepy high schoolers have supported the schedule change while elementary school parents cited concerns about children waiting in the dark for buses and having to rearrange work schedules.
"Our students are being asked to pay the cost of a decision that will be good for some students," said Ethan Roberts, a parent of two elementary-aged children. He said he's upset because he hasn't seen any evidence that earlier start times would benefit younger students.
Two of the district's elementary schools, Greenwood and Oakwood, already start at 7:45 a.m.
Anne Rodriguez, who has children in middle and high school, said she supports the change. Her children attended early-start elementary schools. "You can make it work," she said.
Wayzata High School, which starts at 7:30 a.m., has one of the earliest start times among its west metro neighbors. Eden Prairie High School starts at 7:50 and Minnetonka High School starts at 8. Edina High School starts at 8:25.
Schools across the country are debating earlier elementary start times to let teenagers snooze. Last month, Seattle Public Schools approved earlier elementary start times and pushed back its high school start times, making it one of the largest districts in the country to have teens starting school after 8:30 a.m. St. Paul Public Schools last month voted not to push back its high school start times.