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Orange County Considering Later Start Time For High School Students

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Experts say delaying class start times for high school students helps them get enough sleep, improves their health and academic performance. The Orange County Public Schools board Tuesday is going to talk about moving the start time later for its high schools. Right now the bell rings at 7:15 a.m.

Board member Linda Kobert says other districts she's seen do this start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. She wants to get input from families about how they will be affected before making a decision.

“Certainly this would affect families, whether the students transport themselves, whether they use OCPS transportation, whether parents drive them to school and what time they have to go to work,” said Kobert.

Kobert says starting later will put a squeeze on school bus service, making it more expensive. There could be a considerable expense to add more school bus routes to get more students across the district to class in a shorter amount of time. Right now the buses run on a tiered schedule to high school, elementary and middle schools.

Kobert says the discussion is just starting and no votes will be taken Tuesday. The last time Orange County changed school start times for middle and high school students in 2008, Kobert says the district got backlash from people saying it left little time for after-school activities.

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