WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS (KAUZ) - School start times for the Wichita Falls Independent School District remain undecided Monday for the 2016-2017 school year.
The WFISD Board of Trustees was expected to take action on the new times Monday at the board meeting, but officials said they still have a lot to consider before making a final decision.
Prior to the school board meeting, the district had been recommending making start times earlier for elementary school students and later for junior and high school students.
The recommendations have a lot to do with changes made in Texas requiring the school year to be at least 75,600 minutes long, rather than 180 days.
“With our current calendar that we adopted that's going to require us to go 445 minutes a day,” said Michael Kuhrt, Superintendent for the Wichita Falls ISD.
In order to hit those numbers, school start and stop times have to become more uniform. That's why school officials have recommended the changes.
Under the current recommendations, school for junior and high school students would start at 8:30 a.m. and they would get out of school at 3:55 p.m. Elementary school students would start class earlier at 7:45 a.m. and get out at 3:10 p.m.
“Currently we have some schools that are ten minutes less than that (445 minutes), other schools are 25 minutes less than that,” said Kuhrt. “So they are going to have to add ten minutes or 25 minutes to their day, one way or another.”
Kuhrt said when making those recommendations the district considered sleep and brain activity research. They found that younger students learn better earlier, while teens functioned better later.
However the changes are causing mixed reaction from parents.
“We get up early around 5:00 a.m. so if they went a few hours earlier or later, then it would be the same to them,” said Raymondo Acuna.
Others say it might end up being harder on the students.
“Well, you know, if you have one kid that's young, in the middle and an older one they're all three going to get up at the same time,” said Tony Caudill. “It's worked this long, leave the suckers alone.”
The district and school board recognized Monday that many factors still need to be addressed. The recommendations and any changes were tabled Monday night for further discussion.
“We want to spend some time with the master schedule,” said Kurht. “Right now,we kind of know what we have, as far as what students are going to take, but until they finish registration in the next 30 days or so, we won’t actually know what they are going to take.”
The district is also considering the CTE schedules. Kuhrt said the goal is to have a better recommendation to present the school board on those start times by April.