Cleveland, Tenn., schools to study start and stop times

Cleveland, Tenn., schools to study start and stop times

October 4th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

Cleveland school board member Tom Cloud

Photo by Randall Higgins/Times Free Press.

POLL: When do you think Cleveland Schools should start class?

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Cleveland school board wants to take a new look at school start and stop times.

The board asked Director of Schools Martin Ringstaff to review the alternatives for a report later this year.

City school buses now begin their routes at 6 a.m.

Some buses make double runs, one each for high school students and middle school students.

Board member Tom Cloud said his telephone calls to some area high schools show later start times.

"All their starting times are from 8 o'clock to 8:20," he said. "They all have sports programs. They all have activities in the afternoon. They all have successful programs."

Cloud recommended returning to "the 8:30 range" for high and middle school students.

The student handbook currently lists high school start time as 7:25 a.m.

Board member Richard Shaw, a retired educator, said research shows high school students get better results with more sleep.

"I used to see kids sleeping in the halls. It doesn't make any sense," Shaw said.

Board members said the subject is up for discussion only, for now. In coming days there will be space on the Internet for comments. Any specific changes will be discussed by December or early 2012.

Parents need the information for their own planning as early as possible, said board member Dawn Robinson.

Elementary schools' start times should remain the same, board members said.

But changing high school and middle school start times involves a complicated string of changes, Ringstaff said. Issues involving routes for handicapped students; parents' work schedules; bus drivers' work schedules between bus route times and family lifestyles that have evolved around the early starts would be impacted, he and board members said.

Contact Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.