Yukon schools eye changing start times

Yukon’s school superintendent said he is prepared that some parents will not be happy, but the district has proposed changing the start times of most schools beginning in the fall.
Dr. Jason Simeroth unveiled the proposed new start and end times during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
The schedule will allow the district to better serve its transportation needs, while also keeping younger students from being on buses with older students, Simeroth said.
“We looked at the best opportunities. We’ve got to consider timing and money and safety. We have put together a four-tier system,” he said.
The proposed start and end times are as follows:
Elementary: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Intermediate: 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
High School: 7:50 a.m. to 3:07 p.m.
Middle School: 8:25 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.
Simeroth said the proposal allows for the need of fewer shuttles, and will decrease the wait time after school.
He also pointed out that no routes will be longer than 40 minutes.
But the biggest benefit is that it keeps the younger children and older children on separate buses.
“That is a big thing. It’s not a good situation,” he said. “We’re trying to be safer and trying to have less crowded buses to make things work.”
Under the proposal, the buses will run their routes and pick up elementary and intermediate students at the same time.
In addition, the buses will run regional routes, which means that buses going to Surrey Hill would also go to the new Redstone Intermediate.
The later “end” time at the middle school will have the added benefit of shorter wait times for parents to pick up students who participate in after-school activities, such as sports.
“There are a lot of benefits to this,” he said.
While there are benefits, some school board members pointed out that parents with younger children, who depend on older siblings to help watch them after school, could face a dilemma.
Simeroth said the staff is looking at options to help reduce that concern.
“We, inevitably, are not going to make everyone happy. We do what’s best for kids. That is our No. 1 goal,” Simeroth said.

Also Tuesday:
The school board heard from a representative of the Yukon High School Student Council, who will be the state student council convention later this year.
Ella Stanley is the 2020 Oklahoma Association of Student Council state secretary.
Stanley said more than 3,000 students representing more than 200 schools are expected to participate in the event, which is set for Nov. 7-9.
The school board tabled a policy change that could impact students who participate in several extracurricular activities. The policy relates to the number of absences students can have before being ineligible to participate in activities.
The number of absences had been 15. However, the state department of education has changed that to 10.
Simeroth said the district was following the state school board association’s guidelines, but understood concerns voiced by some local school board members.
The board will revisit the proposal in February.

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