Seattle Public Schools delays proposed new start times

Under a proposal, class start times for Seattle Public Schools (SPS) would be altered beginning in September 2022.

As part of this proposal, most elementary and high school students would start their day half an hour earlier, while K-through-8 and middle schoolers would go to class later in the day.

Individual schools would be assigned to a specific tier group.

As part of the proposal:

Tier 1 - Starts at 7:30 a.m.

Tier 2 - Starts at 8:30 a.m.

Tier 3 - Starts at 9:30 a.m.

At Ballard High School, KIRO 7 found mixed reactions to the proposal.

Some students said they worried that they would no longer be on the same schedule as their siblings and friends.

“With this, (my friends) are gonna start really late, and I’m gonna start earlier, so it’s just gonna mess everything up,” said Lachlan Ransiea, a sophomore at Ballard High School.

By switching to a three-tiered class schedule, SPS said it would be able to save 50 school bus routes that would otherwise be cut.

As a result, KIRO 7 found that some parents and students are bracing themselves for the change.

“I have to come home later, and I want to come home earlier,” said student Clementine Cobain.

However, at the May 4 school board meeting, Superintendent Brent Jones said that due to concerns from the school, family and partners, the proposed move will be delayed as staff refines the plan.

In a statement, Jones said, “Over the last several weeks we have been listening to the concerns from school, families and partners around the proposed move to a 3-tier bell schedule.

“We hear you, and we are slowing down the decision-making process so we can continue to identify ways to alleviate the concerns that have been raised. As a result, the school board will not consider any transportation-related matters during tonight’s [May 4, 2022] session.

“Seattle Public Schools is committed to providing reliable transportation that gets students to school on time and ready to learn. Staff will continue to work with schools, families, and partners over the next several weeks as we refine this plan.

“We will continue to communicate updates to families directly and through updates on the bell times webpage. Staff is continuing to read and record all feedback received through Let’s Talk and all other feedback channels.

“We value your continued feedback and partnership.”