Dist. 220 board to vote on start times on Election Day

  • New start times for Barrington High School are likely to be decided Nov. 8 when the District 220 school board meets to choose between three options under consideration.

    New start times for Barrington High School are likely to be decided Nov. 8 when the District 220 school board meets to choose between three options under consideration. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

The Barrington Area Unit School District 220 board will choose which of the three start time options will be implemented next school year and beyond on the same night that the country will choose the next president.

The board members will meet the evening of Nov. 8 to vote on their preferred option. If one option receives at least four votes from the seven board members, it will become the new policy, ending more than 18 months of research and debate.

The board had long planned on making the final decision Nov. 1 but had to reschedule last week.

"Talk about Murphy's law, we've talking about Nov. 1 since the spring and as it turns out four board members had scheduling conflicts that night," board President Brian Battle said Monday. "Making an important decision on start times, we thought it would be best to have all seven of us there."

The start time discussion began in February 2015, when the district formed the input 220 advisory committee made up of parents and community members. The group studied scientific data on the affect of start times on student health and concluded that the existing district bell schedule wasn't optimized for student learning.

In February, input 220 committee told the board the research it consulted indicated sleep deprivation led to increases in depression, teen suicide, obesity and car crashes. The group also recommended three start time scenarios for the board to consider, including one option that would have started Barrington High School students' days at 9:30 a.m. The school currently starts classes at 7:20 a.m.

The committee's suggested start times caused an uproar among parents concerned that 9:30 a.m. was too late to begin school and would lead to less instruction time for students.

In the eight months since, the board devised its own three options and heard from the community through public comment, informal town-hall meetings and an online survey.

According to district spokeswoman Morgan Delack, the board will not consider the status quo bell schedule when it votes on start times next month.

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