Carmel superintendent delays making recommendation on school start time change

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While Carmel Clay Schools is still moving forward with a proposal to alter school day start and end times, its leadership is postponing the recommendation to the spring 2020 semester.

The Dec. 16 school board meeting agenda originally included the recommendation, to be presented by Supt. Michael Beresford. Instead, Beresford and the committee working to adjust the school day times pulled the recommendation from the agenda three days before for a simple reason: It isn’t quite ready.

Dr. Michael Beresford

Dr. Michael Beresford

Beresford still presented information to the board, updating it on some of the logistical roadblocks.

“We’ve been going through this process for a good long while,” he said. “We had our meeting where we did the presentation on the results that we got from our feedback study that we did (but) we found more and more questions, particularly around transportation. At the end of the day, we’re not prepared to give a recommendation at this time.”

The district is proposing adding 30 minutes to the elementary school day, meaning it would start at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Currently, it begins at 8:05 a.m. and ends at 2:35 p.m. For middle and high school students, the day could switch to starting at 8:45 a.m. and ending at 3:45 p.m. The current day for those students is 7:45 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. and 7:50 a.m. to 3:05 p.m., respectively, meaning their school day would be either 15 or 20 minutes shorter.

Aside from logistics, Beresford said the committee is looking at shortening the amount of time of the proposed late start day from one hour to 45 minutes. He said they’re also looking at starting the elementary schools another five minutes earlier (7:55 a.m.) than originally planned to have a larger window between the elementary-level bus routes and secondary bus routes.

Beresford said some of the most consistent feedback the district has received has focused on disruption to the morning schedule – particularly at the elementary level during late-start days – for parents who need to have their kids at school so they can get to their jobs on time. Beresford said the committee has been exploring the possibility of offering low-cost or no-cost child care for families in those situations, and that the committee has met with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, which runs the before- and after-school Extended School Enrichment program, to discuss it.

“We just need a little more time to be able to massage that and make sure we’re all on the same page,” Beresford said.


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