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Lack Of Transportation Keeps St. Paul Schools From Later Start Times

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The push for a later start time for St. Paul High Schools has hit another road block.

This time around the main setback is transportation.

The St. Paul School District began the push back in the fall of 2014. They want to change the start time of high schools from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. after research from the U of M found that teens do better in class with more sleep. The research shows attendance also goes up and tardiness goes down.

But the district was counting on Metro Transit to be a key part of the change.

School officials said they found out in September from Metro Transit that they do not have enough buses to expand to more high schools.

District leaders are now recommending school start times for the next school year stay the same.

Officials said the partnership with Metro Transit is needed in order to limit the number of elementary schools that would need to change their start times. The partnership would also avoid millions more in costs for more school buses and drivers.

An increase in costs was a big concern of parents when these talks originally came up more than a year ago and a big part of the reason start times for this year stayed the same.

Metro Transit told the Pioneer Press that it is still committed to the project but housing additional buses is an issue.

Officials told the paper they want to build another bus garage in downtown Minneapolis that would cost $70 to $100 million, but state lawmakers aren't onboard.

However, the decision is not final. The school board will be discussing the issue at least two more times before a final vote on November 17.

A pilot program for later start times has already started at Johnson High School.

The district said the pilot program that has an 8:30 a.m. start time and makes use of Metro Transit  will continue.

Both parties have said, so far, it's going well.


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