Students and parents differ on what school start times should be in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Results are in, and everyone isn’t in agreement on potential Virginia Beach school start time changes. 

On Tuesday, the district briefed the School Board on the feedback gathered from students, staff and community on the four proposals set forth to alter district schedules.

Nearly 20,000 people weighed in between April 29 and May 15. The majority of which were parents.

Back in November, the school board voted to push back school start times to improve academic performance for adolescents.

The district conducted a survey in 2016 and nearly 3/4 of parents, students, teachers and others who participated said they supported later start times. 

Virginia Beach high schoolers currently start at 7:20 in the morning. Of the four options presented, the difference in high school start times ranges from 40 minutes to more than two hours. But in some of these options, elementary students would have to be at school before 8 a.m., meaning their day could get started 40 minutes earlier than it currently does.

OPTION A | OPTION B | OPTION C | OPTION D

“Students overwhelmingly favored Option D,” said Daniel Keever, Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ senior director for high schools.​​​​ 

Option D would not have any schools begin classes until 8 a.m. Middle School would operate from 10:10 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

“There was unanimous opposition to Option D by middle school principals,” Keever said. “They said it was too late to start and end.”

When it comes to parents, the majority favored Option C.

All four options would require the district to spend money on field lighting for high schools, at least $2.5 million. Option D would have the least impact on transportation, but it would be the most costly, with a $10 million price tag for field lights at middle schools too. 

“I don’t think spending $10 million for middle school lights is financially feasible,” said Chairwoman Beverly Anderson. 

Several other school board members say they have heard from parents who don’t want a change in the start times at all.

A final recommendation is expected to be made to the board in September with implementation not occurring until Fall 2020.

The full presentation given to the school board can be viewed below.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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