School board to examine start times

RANCHO SANTA FE — School start times were a topic of discussion at the Rancho Santa Fe School District Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 12. Board member Todd Frank floated the idea that the times needed to be examined and later abstained on the vote to confirm the school calendar for next year.

Currently, school starts at 9:15 a.m. on Mondays to give time for staff development. The rest of the week, it starts at 8 a.m. School is dismissed at 3 p.m.

On both ends of the school day there are extracurricular activities for the students ranging from music to sports. Some of the morning activities require the students to roll out of bed very early.

Frank said that parents have approached him and have asked who sets the start times and is it possible to look at them again to determine whether school could start a little later.

Frank said his own children must rise at 5:45 a.m. to make their morning extracurricular activities and they are tired, but on Mondays they feel much better.

“Just that extra hour makes a difference,” he said.

Superintendent Lindy Delaney acknowledged the issue.

“We’ve tried things. This works the best,” Delaney said of the current start times. “Our kids do a lot.”

And just about every minute during the school day is jam-packed.

Delaney offered a graph showing the actual versus state-required instructional minutes in a school day. At grade one, there are 36 excess minutes each day. In grades two through six, there is an excess of 10 minutes. In grades seven and eight, there are four minutes each.

“There is a calendar,” Delaney said. “We stick to it and it works.”

The board decided to table the issue until another meeting and determine whether they should do a parent survey about this and other issues.

“We are all here to represent everybody,” said Jim Depolo, board president. “It is reasonable for the board to ask the question and to discuss it further.”

In other school news, the renovation and construction project is still winding down. Much work was done during the winter break.

“We still have a few things we are dealing with,” Delaney said.

One of the items is a roof over a bridge walkway that had a leak.

“We are hoping for rain,” she said. “We would like to test it.”

The soccer field and track have been completed.

“It is beautiful. It’s fun and the kids love it,” Delaney said.

School funding is a concern for school officials.

“The initial property taxes in December is less than we anticipated,” she said.

Also of concern is the upcoming state budget, which is predicted to have another great shortfall. One of the ways being considered in dealing with it is for required school days to be reduced from 180 days to 168.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at the school.

To learn more, call the school at (858) 756-1141.

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