INDIANAPOLIS -- Students in Indianapolis Public Schools could soon be setting their alarms for different times. The district is considering pushing back start times at high schools, but moving up start times for elementary students.
IPS discussed the possible changes with parents at a community meeting Tuesday evening.
Arlington High School freshmen Kendall Matthews and Kenya Beltran get on the bus at 6:30 a.m. Both say they prefer that over a later start time.
"There are some kids that really have things to do in their house," Beltran said. "And then it's just taking up too much time."
One plan IPS is considering would be to move high schools' start times up to a 9:55 a.m. morning bell, with a dismissal of 4:55 p.m. IPS Director of Transportation Manny Mendez says, given the shortage of bus drivers, the start times for elementary students would need to be moved up to 8:05 a.m.
The below photo shows current start times for Indianapolis school districts. (Courtesy IPS)
The possible changes are concerning to Damon Lee, an Arlington High School teacher and parent.
"It would be impossible for me to teach, it would be impossible for me to keep a job," he said. "Next year my daughter will be in first grade. She'd get home at 2:40 p.m. Who's going to be there to get her?"
He also said the later start time would make it harder for high school students to work or get involved after school.
"You have a lot of kids who participate in activities," he said. "Getting out at 4:20 p.m., they would get home at 8, 9 o'clock at night."
The discussion comes as IPS prepares to close and consolidate some schools, meaning changing busing for the remaining four high schools.
"It's been studied that older kids learn better on a later start time, and the younger guys learn better on an earlier start time," Mendez said. "So we're trying to see if we can optimize the learning."
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, middle school and high school students should start at 8:30 a.m. or later.
More community meetings are scheduled for Wednesday at the CAFE Neighborhood Center at 8902 E. 38th St., and Thursday at the Julia Carson Government Center at 300 E Fall Creek Pkwy N Dr. Both meetings are at 6 p.m.