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School Board continues discussion on school start/end times

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.

At a work session on Jan. 8, the Edina School Board continued its discussion and study of school start and end times for Edina Public Schools (EPS). After considering research on when students would be most engaged in a day, the Board furthered its discussion about the best time to start and end school for students. 

Earlier this fall, the School Board embarked on a second phase of its School Start and End Times Study, establishing a study process outlined and presented in a report shared at a meeting on Sept. 25. The School Board then reviewed and discussed student engagement as it relates to starting and ending school at work session on Nov. 9. The School Board also held a public listening session on Nov. 27, from which additional governance questions were developed in order for the Board to continue its work and move toward a decision.

The Jan. 8 discussion included a presentation of the district’s recently conducted transportation efficiency study. EPS Transportation Supervisor David White and transportation consultant Lance Libengood, CEO of The Center for Efficient School Operations (CESO) shared findings about the district’s current transportation services operations and recommendations for improvement. It was noted that while the data was conducted based on October and November rider data, with the presence of winter weather, another load count will be conducted in January.

The Board then reviewed analyses of proposed transportation schedules, including a two-tier option and the “Green Option,” as studied by the Board’s ad hoc Start/End Times Sub-committee. In looking at the data, the Board focused its discussion on when any proposed change to school start and end times would occur (i.e. implementation for the 2018-19 school year or 2019-20 school year), variables of non-transportation zones, bus stop placement, and school start and end times.

While no decision was made, the Board did narrow the options and gave direction for further study to its ad hoc sub-committee on School Start/End Times, which includes Board members Leny Wallen-Friedman, Amir Gharbi and Erica Allenburg, as well as Superintendent John Schultz, Director of Business Services Margo Bauck and White. The Board determined that while a two-tier option was desired, it is not feasible given current available resources. The committee will now continue to refine the Green Option in alignment with key decision-making questions developed based on its research and listening session. The Board plans to continue discussion of the study later this month in accordance with its study timeline.