MESA COUNTY, Colo. - District 51 continues to look further into the possibility of later start times for local middle and high schools, but are facing some challenges when it comes to the impact it would have on bus schedules and extra curricular activities.
School District 51 made this inquiry in light of research done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that indicates later school start times, gives students a chance to get an adequate amount of sleep needed to improve health, safety and academic performance.
"We have research that shows says that older students do better if they start later.. we'd like to see if we can take advantage of that fact," District 51's Chief Operations Manager, Philip Onofrio said. "If we push school start times an hour later, school for high schools would be ending around 3:30."
Although, altering the bell schedules may sound like a simple task representatives from both the athletics department and Student Transportation of America (STA) say there is a lot to take into consideration.
"In the morning we have 55 minute window so it could be accomplished in the morning. The issue we have is when the schools get out in the afternoon," STA's operation manager, Shane Anderson said.
To find the most cost effective solution for both the district and the students, STA has presented six different scenarios for the school board to choose from.
The first option would consolidate nearly a dozen routes that currently pick up both elementary and secondary to pick up both.
"We felt that just at the first snapshot potentially twelve different routes can be consolidated and combined to be more effective and maximize the transportation," Anderson said.
Secondly, STA included an option that would flip elementary and secondary school start times.
The school board, along with STA and the athletics department will continue to study the various options.
School District 51 says if they decide to make this change it wouldn't happen until August 2017.