Three Rivers schools change start times, but some worry about effects on working parents

Posted at 3:57 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 18:04:54-04

CLEVES, Ohio -- Starting school later in the day is probably a dream come true for a lot of children.

But maybe not for their parents.

The Three Rivers Board of Education voted 3-2 Tuesday to change school start times for the 2018-19 school year. The district had six board meetings and three parent/community forums over the course of five months before it made the change.

The biggest difference will be at Three Rivers Elementary, which moves its start time from 7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. Taylor Middle School and Taylor High School will start at 8:08 a.m.

Superintendent Craig Hockenberry said the district knows it's "not going to make everybody happy." But by changing start times, he said it gives teachers more time to plan during the school day. Research also shows the more sleep a student gets, the better they do in school: The Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics support the idea that later school start times -- no earlier than 8:30 -- might be beneficial for teens' health, quality of sleep and learning capabilities. 

Hamilton County's largest school district, Cincinnati Public Schools, also is considering later start times.

"This isn't anything new," Hockenberry said.

The change does mean a new routine for parents and grandparents who drop off their children. Bianca Sackett said some parents have to work early in the morning.

"When they work early, it's harder for them to find time for a baby-sitter or ride to school," Sackett said.

Benjamin Stinemetz said it doesn't affect him right now, but would in two years: He has children in two different grades. Three Rivers is working on plans for a place kids can go before and after school. 

Hockenberry sympathizes with parents, but believes the change will be best for everyone.

"The problem we're evaluating right now is some parents have multiple kids in multiple schools, so there's going to be some drop-off issues we're working through right now," he said.