Des Moines School Board Delays Vote on Proposed Changes to Start Times

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Des Moines School Board was discussing plans to allow high school students to hit the snooze button, but parents then gathered in opposition to the proposal because of how it would affect younger children.

Critics convinced the school board to delay the vote to revamp when students go to class. These changes would impact students at every grade level.

The proposed changes giving elementary students a proposed time of 7:50 a.m. instead of the current 8:15 or 8:45, middle schoolers would have an 8:35 time, and high schoolers would begin at 8:30. The proposed middle and high school times are both 50 minutes later than the current times.

The change was prompted by a study that found older students perform better if they get more sleep.

The district has considered the change in the past, but decided against it because of the cost. Now, they say it won't cost any more and they are giving it a second look.

Students were among the biggest critics at Tuesday night's meeting.

"If school were to go on for an extra hour, that would not allow for extracurricular activities to go on for as long as they need to, and I think that this is a really important point because as middle schoolers are going into high school, they want and they need to get more involved in extracurricular activities, because that's what colleges are looking for," said one student at the meeting.

"On the elementary change, me, personally, coming from that, I enjoyed my time being young and sleeping in--it's the truth, we all love to sleep," said another student.

The school board delayed voting on the changes, and the issue could be taken up again at the next meeting on April 18th.