School Board Reviews New Start Times

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As with any change, the school board faces both approval and discontent, however school board official Renate Wiley believes that the change in school hours “meets most of the needs of our students, though it isn’t perfect.”

The current proposed start and end times for the upcoming school year would be 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m for Banneker, Mispillion and Ross; 8:05 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for Morris; 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. for Milford Middle School; and 8:25 a.m. to 3:05p.m. for Milford Central Academy and High School.  The Wednesday school day for Milford Central Academy and High School will begin at 9:30 a.m.

The major concerns addressed at the school board meeting Monday, June 25, were the performance of all students due to alertness in the morning and sports, the safety of the younger students, and the working hours of older students.

The safety of the students, particularly younger children, when they are waiting for the bus was the major worry of bus contractor Neil Moore.

“Imagine having little children standing out in the dark at six in the morning,” said Moore. “It will have an adverse impact on the product (the educated children) that you charge me to care for.”

Moore also discussed the problem of having enough buses to cover all areas in such a short time frame. His buses could not do that in the proposed 40 minutes while still ensuring the safety of the students he cares about.

Amanda Bradley, parent of an elementary and a high school student, said the proposed hours would be putting children in situations that are dangerous to them when waiting for buses.  “I’d like [my daughter] to come home to me at night, to know that her and her friends are safe,” Bradley said.

Some parents attending the meeting preferred the earlier start time for their kids because of the start of their working hours.

The problem of the change in hours affecting the sports or jobs of students was a topic of stress as student-athletes would miss even more of school than they currently do.  It is their own responsibility to maintain their work or else they will not be eligible to play, and this would continue even with different hours.  Many coaches are proactive, completing study halls and grade checks for their teams.

Many of the school teachers and staff believe that the hours would benefit the students by allowing them to be more awake.  Defending that students would do better in their education, School Board official Gary Wolfe said, “Little kids are up early, older kids not so much.”
Board of Education President Patrick Emory suggested making a committee with members from the board, schools and parents from both sides of the issue to address the concerns the school has to face while making the start times decision. Wiley proposed that they wait until they have the two new board members, Eugene Rust and Barry Fry, and more time to try to come to a decision.

With the announcement of a new Superintendent expected in mid-July the Milford School Board with have three new members to help guide the start time decision before next school year. The next meeting will be held on Monday, July 9 at 7pm at the Milford Middle School Annex.

“It’s a difficult situation and not everyone’s going to be happy,” said Board member Marvin Schelhouse. “We’re just going to have to do the best we can.”

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