Cleveland school day to start 30 minutes later in 2012

photo Cleveland City school buses turn onto Paul Huff Parkway Monday afternoon to pickup middle school students for the trip home. Next year, busing schedules will change to keep kids in the light of day.
photo Cleveland City Schools board member Murl Dirksen

2012-2013 CITY SCHOOL TIMESCleveland High 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.Cleveland Middle 7:50 a.m. - 2:50 p.m.All elementaries 8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.Bus transportation would begin running for middle/high school at 6:30 a.m. The last double run in the afternoon from the elementary school would load around 4:20 p.m.Source: Cleveland City Schools

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland city schools will start their days a half hour later during the 2012-2013 school year.

Cleveland Board of Education members were concerned about older students waking up in the very early hours when national studies show that dulls academic performance. They also were concerned about the safety of children standing in the dark waiting for school buses.

"When I see kids standing on dark street corners I just cringe," board member Murl Dirksen said.

After announcing the possible changes a month ago, the board adopted them Monday evening. City school start times had remained the same for several years.

"One of the biggest issues is kids standing on the curb at 6 a.m.," schools Director Martin Ringstaff said. He said the new schedule still will get young children home in the afternoon after older siblings are there to avoid "latchkey situations."

Board member Dawn Robinson said the new schedule has a feature parents wanted, too: 10 more minutes to get from the middle school to the high school during the morning rush hour.

There still are some logistical issues to be worked out with bus transportation, Ringstaff said.

Steve Morgan, the only school board member voting against the change, said he would have liked to see a study done first since it will affect so many people.

In Bradley County Schools, current start times are 7:45 a.m. for elementary schools, 8 a.m. for high schools and 8:20 a.m. for middle schools.

On another issue dealing with the 2012-2013 school year, the board adopted a calendar. A major change from the current year was a short fall break in October from the 19th through the 22nd and a full week off at Thanksgiving.

Students will start classes on Aug. 8 in 2012.