Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester School Board will be presented this evening with a report that could lead to an adjustment in school start times to better accommodate the sleep needs of older students.

After an earlier study into major changes in the school district’s busing system found the price tag was too steep, the school board directed staff to look into options for adjusting the school hours without major busing changes. An internal committee has developed two options to be considered by the school board.

The first would start classes at the high school and middle school levels at 8 AM instead of the current 7:40 AM. The high schools would dismiss classes at 3:10 PM while the middle school day would still end at 2:40 PM. The plan would provide for 45 minute lunch periods starting at 10:45 AM at the high schools and 30-minute lunches starting at 10:15 AM at the middle schools. This option would have the elementary school day start and finish 5 minutes later than the current schedule. The report found it would have little or no impact on the district’s transportation budget.

The second option would delay the start of classes at the high schools and middle schools until 8:45 in the morning with the closing bell at 3:15 at the high schools and 3:35 at the middle schools. It would require a shift to an 8 period day with shorter class times in the high schools. The plan would also move up the start of the day in the elementary schools to 8 AM and end the day 2:25 PM. This option would add over a half-million dollars to the transportation budget.

The School Board is not planning to take any action on the proposals this evening. The administration has indicated the district will be scheduling a community meeting in the near future to gather public input on the two options.

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