UPDATE: Oct. 14, 2014: The Board of Education voted 4 to 3 to approve the recommendation made to Superintendent Silva by the School Start Times Steering Committee. 

The Steering Committee has lead the process of gathering information and feedback from teachers, students, parents, principals, community programs, and more in order to make a recommendation about whether or not SPPS should move secondary school starts to later times.

The committee:

  • Recommended that SPPS maintain current (2014-15) start times for the school year 2015-16.
  • Showed strong support for shifting secondary start times to 8:30 a.m.
  • Indicated a desire to allow SPPS more time to analyze the impact that any potential partnership with Metro Transit may have on the alternative start time proposal.

Read the Steering Committee's final Recommendation Report.

The SPPS transportation system currently provides the following:

  • Three school start times, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 a.m., allow for staggered bus routes.
  • On average, one school bus can serve three schools in the morning.
  • Traditional secondary schools are on the same start time schedule (so students can participate in programs and
  • athletics at other schools on the same schedule).
  • The current bus route structure provides time to transport students home from after-school activities.
  • Most Extended Day for Learning (EDL) routes begin once the afternoon bus routes are complete.


  • Elementary bus stop times (7:25 - 8:10 a.m. and 8:25 - 9:10 a.m.)
  • Middle School bus stop times (6:25 - 7:10 a.m.)
  • High School bus stop times (6:25 - 7:10 a.m.)


  • Elementary bus stop times (3:10 - 3:50 p.m. and 4:10 - 4:50 p.m.)
  • Middle School bus stop times (2:10 - 2:50 p.m.)
  • High School bus stop times (2:10 - 2:50 p.m.)

*Does not include bus stop times for after-school activities and programs

Results of an earlier start time for elementary schools

  • Students are more attentive in class.
  • More elementary students choose to eat breakfast.
  • Schools will be able to structure more core classes in the morning when elementary students learn best.
  • Some families may see a decreased need for childcare, which means fewer morning transitions before school.
  • Research shows that after the first year, a majority of families and school staff prefer their new routine. 

Results of a later start time for secondary schools

Science behind teen sleep patterns
  • Later sleep patterns are biological, not necessarily behavioral
  • 9 or more hours of sleep is best for teenagers
  • However, 69% of high school students do not receive 8 hours of sleep
  • Delayed onset of melatonin (a chemical in the brain that regulates sleep) for teens makes it difficult to go to sleep earlier
  • Melatonin release and natural sleep cycle begins between 10:45 – 11 p.m.
  • Later school start times show no impact on when teens fall asleep
When students receive fewer than 8 hours of sleep
  • Increased rates of depression, anxiety and fatigue
  • Increased risk of suicide • Increased rates of auto accidents
  • Decreased athletic and motor skills
  • Weight gain and/or elevated blood pressure
  • Increased likelihood of criminal behavior or risk-taking (drugs, alcohol)
  • Interference with brain development (memory formation)
When students begin school at 8:30 a.m. or later
  • Improved attendance and decreased tardiness
  • Improvement in continuous enrollment
  • Improved health and fewer trips to the nurse
  • Improved alertness
  • Increase in GPA
  • Increase in percent of students scoring “proficient” on MCA math
  • Increase in secondary students eating breakfast

*Source: Examining the Impact of Later High School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study, Kyla L. Wahlstrom, Ph.D., University of Minnesota.

Family and Student Based

  • Some bus pick-ups as early as 6:30 a.m.
  • Disruptions to family routines
  • Expanded need for after-school childcare
  • Possible increase in childcare costs
School Based
  • Extended Discovery Club after-school hours
  • Potential need for a bus ‘shuttle model’ for some elementary students in Extended Day Learning (EDL)
  • Disruptions to staff routines

Family and Student Based

  • High school students would not be able to watch younger siblings after school
  • Students will get home later from after-school activities
  • Student athletes likely to miss last period for non-conference games
  • Less time for after school student employment
School Based
  • After school activities, including athletic practices and competitions, will run later
  • Schedule shifts may be needed for evening high school or credit recovery programs
  • Disruption to staff routines

If a decision is made to change start times, students would not be affected until the 2015-16 school year.

A wide variety of stakeholders are involved in this process, including: Athletics coaches, teachers and school staff, parents, students, District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), Multilingual Parent Advisory Councils (PACs), Extended Day for Learning (EDL), Discovery Club staff and families, St. Paul Youth Commission, Daycare providers, PreK, Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) and many more.