Students will have to rise — and try to shine — earlier

rpulley@lsjournal.comApril 19, 2017 

Cedar Creek Elementary is one of the Lee's Summit School District schools which will have a much earlier start and end time next year.

RUSS PULLEY — rpulley@lsjournal.com

  • 2017-18 Start Times

    Lee’s Summit School District has set new times for beginning and ending school next year, with most varying by only five minutes. However, several have significant changes. Start and end times for those move from:

    •  Pleasant Lea Middle School: 7:50 a.m.- 2:45 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.- 2:45 p.m.

    •  Cedar Creek Elementary: 9 a.m. -4 p.m. to 8:20 to 3:20

    •  Trailridge Elementary: 9 a.m. -4 p.m. to 8:20 to 3:20

    •  Lee’s Summit Elementary: 9 a.m. -4 p.m. to 8:20 to 3:20

    •  Summit Ridge Academy: 8 a.m. -2 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A new daily schedule for many Lee’s Summit schools means a small difference for most families, but in several elementary and a middle school there will be a dramatic shift to their school days.

Cedar Creek, Lee’s Summit and Trailridge elementary schools will begin and end 40 minutes earlier. Pleasant Lea Middle School’s schedule shifts 20 minutes earlier and Summit Ridge Academy starts and ends 30 minutes earlier.

Most schools in the Lee’s Summit School District have only a five-minute difference in start and ending times.

School officials say there will be a significant savings in transportation expenses. The change reduces the number of bus routes needed to collect students and deliver them to class. The district will save about $120,000 on drivers and $520,000 on purchasing several new buses for 2017-18.

Other advantages include more schools being on the same schedule.

The district’s Before-and-After-School Services program is adjusting its schedule to fit changes at schools.

Janice Phelan, communications director, said the plan and decision was made by administrators, including principals, transportation and BASS employees.

The district faces a difficult task in creating a schedule that meets the needs of thousands of families, all with varying circumstances.

Cari Arnold responded on Twitter regarding Cedar Creek Elementary.

“It will negatively impact my family of night owls and late workers,” Arnold said. “My retired teacher mom-in-law has research that supports younger kids starting between 8-8:30 and older kids starting 9-10, though, so maybe the whole system should be rescheduled.”

Arnold said that the high school and middle school start times are “ridiculously” early and that schools should focus on transportation policy that creates functional schools, not on cost.

“I anticipate significant behavior problems in my future from my kids just flat being tired,” Arnold said.

Some parents are going to find the new times beneficial.

Melissa Balten, another parent, said the new schedule is an advantage for her because of the age difference of her children who are on different schedules.

“My opinion is an earlier start would be great since I have one in high school and one in elementary,” Balten said. “My oldest is on the bus at 6:40 a.m. and the youngest at 8:30 a.m. That’s a three-hour difference.”

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