Pushing Back The Bell On School Start Times


How early is too early to go to school?

Some Hilliard parents say the early start time is dragging their kids down.

"We lay the clothes out the night ahead. We pack the lunch the night ahead, the snack. Try to go over everything. Try to get her into bed around 8:30 to read to calm down," Leslie Drexel said. She is the mother of a seventh-grade student.

Sometimes all of that preparation is not enough. Their middle-schoolers start learning as early as 7:30 a.m., which means the bus pulls up as early as 6:05 a.m. It can be a harsh transition from their experience in elementary school. The classrooms there did not open up until almost 9 a.m.

"The rousting process usually takes about 20 minutes to get them fully out of bed and get the ball rolling," mother Lecia Anderson said.

Other parents express concerns about their children standing at the bus stop in the dark.

A group of mothers took their petition to Facebook.

The Hilliard City school district caught on.

"We decided that we would pull together a community group to review the research and look at what some of the barriers and obstacles might be – what are the pros and cons," Assistant Superintendent Leslie McNaughton said.

A change in start times would have a ripple effect as far as the district budget and bus drivers' salaries.

"One of the things we are going to do at the first meeting is the transportation staff is going to explain to both committees how the transportation system works," McNaughton said.

It could be another year before any changes are seen.

The task force will be made up of parents, teachers and community members such as nurses and consultants. Meetings will be held every two weeks starting in April.

The ultimate decision will be made by the Board of Elections. Even if the board approves, changes would not go into effect until the 2017-2018 school year.