Lincolnshire District 103 nearing decision on start times
A recommendation to shift hours for students in Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 schools is nearing, as final details on what it would cost are assembled.
Superintendent Scott Warren said five-year financial projections related to the changes should be finalized by the end of the month and presented to the school board Dec. 13, when a decision is expected.
"You have to be confident you're not making a shift and putting the district in financial hardship," he said.
The changes would result in classes starting 40 minutes later at Daniel Wright Junior High and 45 minutes earlier at Laura B. Sprague School, which serves preschoolers through second grade.
Half Day School hours would remain 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Board members generally have been amendable to changing start times at the district's three schools based on conclusions from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which found that a later start is better for adolescents' health and performance.
Research has shown students in middle and junior high shouldn't start classes before 8:30 a.m., Warren said. According to experts, adolescents who don't get enough sleep can have physical and mental health problems, as well as trouble in school.
"That's why we're looking at it," Warren said.
The district has reviewed research, conducted surveys, consulted with medical professionals, held meetings and informed the community regarding the importance of the shifts, Warren told the school board this week.
Last January, school officials held off on the plan for the current school year but continued to investigate options of having middle school students start no later than 8:30 a.m.
As suggested, the hours at Sprague School would be 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., rather than the current 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Fifth- through eighth-graders at Wright Junior High would attend from 8:30 a.m. to 3:35 p.m., rather than 7:50 a.m. to 2:55 p.m.
Elsewhere in the suburbs, Stevenson High School, Barrington Area Unit District 220, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Elgin Area District U-46 and Naperville District 203 have either made or are considering similar changes.
"I think you'll see more and more schools doing this," Warren said.
Two buses would have to be added not only because of the shift in start times, but also because of the move of fifth grade to Daniel Wright from Half Day school. The district has been crowded the past few years because of increasing enrollment.
Construction of additions and renovations at Half Day and Sprague are expected to begin early next year.