CUYAHOGA FALLS — Cuyahoga Falls High School students still will have to get up early for school, at least for the next two years.
The school board unanimously voted Wednesday night to postpone a decision on changing the start of school to a later time, and to discuss the issue again during the 2020-21 school year.
The district had considered moving the high school start time from 7:45 a.m. to 8:25 a.m., and adding a zero period time at 7:45 a.m. Homeroom would then be changed from its current 7:45 a.m. to the proposed start time of 8:25 a.m., said Kevin Vargyas, associate principal at the high school. Vargyas said during his May 2 presentation to the board that research shows later start times improves school performance, as well as reduces tardiness and absences.
Vargyas said during the Wednesday meeting that 841 people submitted a survey to share their opinion about the proposed change at the high school. Of those, 391, or 46.5 percent, said they were in favor of the new schedule, 353, or 42 percent, said they did not believe in the proposed schedule change; and 96 people, or 11.4 percent, said they were fine with whatever was decided. He added not everyone responded to every one of the six questions. Vargyas said there also were several public forums in May to solicit feedback.
However, several school board members expressed concerns that the end time, 3:20 p.m., would create difficulties since that is the same time that the elementary schools end. In addition, the later start times could create a hardship for parents who had to arrive at work early and can’t adjust their schedule.
"We still have a lot of parents who don’t have the flexibility to drop their kids off at a later time," said Board Member Anthony Gomez.
"That’s something that we heard over and over again," Vargyas said. He said one concession to students at the high school who needed to come early was started this year, when the doors opened a half hour before the start of the school day. He added that he would not have been comfortable implementing the bell change for this school year.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC