One-year solution to Creek Valley start time approved

After animosity and disagreement followed a January decision to change start times for Creek Valley Elementary, the Edina School Board unanimously approved a temporary one-year solution at its Feb. 27 meeting.

Creek Valley Elementary will no longer be moved to the earliest tier for start times, and instead it will be in the latest tier, which would keep all of the elementary schools in two tiers instead of three.

This solution would be implemented for 2017-18 school year only.

Through both an online survey and three listening sessions, the district gathered additional comments and concerns from faculty and families on what other options were available for start times.

Director of Communications & Community Engagement Susan Brott said that generally the majority of staff members leaned toward an earlier start time, citing that it was the best for student learning.

The family responses were almost opposite, who said they were concerned with family schedules, safety and less sleep time for their students.

Traffic congestion, parity with other elementary schools and the impacts on special needs students were some of the
plurality of concerns shared by both faculty and families.

Some faculty members believed that by switching to a late start, some people were weighing activities over student learning, also saying that students are “resilient,” and that there was too much focus on adult impacts.

One of the statements made about later start times was, while it will cost the district money for extra busing, a cost-neutral plan for the district did not automatically translate to a cost-neutral plan for families.

After reviewing the community concerts, the administration recommended changing the start time to 9:25 a.m.

The district would purchase three additional buses, and transportation operation costs would increase by $150,000.

It would a one-time expense on the 2017-18 budget proposal but would give the school board and administration more time to find a different solution.

The task force will reconvene and take concerns, updated enrollment numbers and long-term operational costs in consideration.
Another implication of changing Creek Valley to the third start-time tier would be an increase in average bus travel time by
approximately five minutes.

The board emphasized there would be no additional start/end changes for the 2017-18 school year.

While some parents had suggested looking into the solution as soon as possible, Brott said it would be best for the new superintendent to be part of the decision and future process, as well as waiting for true enrollment numbers – not just projections.