DMPS Eyes Changes to School Start Times

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Des Moines Public School District is looking to alter start times for elementary, middle, and high schools in the next year.

The district announced the potential changes last week, citing scientific studies that prove older children benefit from later start times at school. Currently, the schedule is the opposite: elementary students start between 8:15-8:45 a.m., middle schoolers start at 7:45 a.m., and high schoolers at 7:40 a.m. The proposed changes would move elementary students to a 7:50 start time, middle school students to an 8:35 start time, and high school students to an 8:30 start time.

"With a middle school student, we are in tremendous support of this idea," said Bill Brauch, a parent in the district. "You know, when she moved from elementary school to middle school, we could see the difference - she was so tired."

Brauch and his wife say they immediately filled out the online survey distributed by DMPS for feedback on the idea; Brauch also plans to attend an open forum Monday night to express his support.

But not everyone is supportive; many parents weighed in on the DMPS' Facebook post with concerns that the change could hurt their ability to pick their kids up from school. Some parents suggested their older children were responsible for picking up younger children, and with older students now in school later per the new times, this wouldn't be possible.

"Every schedule inconveniences somebody," Brauch said. "There's no question about that, because not everybody works the same schedule. But again, the emphasis has to be on the needs of the students."

The public has an opportunity to voice thoughts and concerns with the district at an open forum on the topic Monday night at Windsor Elementary School. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.