The Grand Prairie ISD school board decided to delay a vote on changing start times for middle and high school.
Currently, middle schools start at 8:50 a.m. and get out at 4:15. The proposed change would have middle schools starting earlier at 7:25 a.m. and being released at 2:50 p.m.
Currently, high schools go from 7:35 a.m. to 3 p.m. The proposed times would be from 8:45 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. Elementary schools would stay the same.
The board says the proposed time changes are based on research. The district was supposed to vote on it Tuesday night and it was on the agenda. But a spokesperson for the district says they want to give the school board more time to get feedback from parents, students and principals.
“I don’t think that they’re thinking about the effects of the families,” said parent Hilda Ruiz.
Sophomore Daisy Ruiz thinks the time change will leave her without enough time to do school work and extracurricular in the evening hours.
“Then we have to stay up later. We don’t have enough time,” she said.
“Later start times benefit the older student, the high school age student: both from a health standpoint and from a student achievement standpoint,” said Grand Prairie ISD Spokesperson Sam Buckmeyer.
Grand Prairie ISD says they have been talking about it informally since 2016, but it did not become a formal discussion until a few months ago when campus principals formed a committee to research the idea.
“They looked at the 40 districts we use as comparison districts, and we looked at their start times and we correlated that with academic achievement,” Buckmeyer said. “What we found was districts that have a later start time at the high school level did actually show improvement in student performance.”
Last month, the district did a survey of parents asking whether they’d like the school start times to change or not. The district says the decision was split, but they’ll ask for more feedback.