New start times bring weekly 75-minute early releases

City and district finalize start times for the 2017-2018 school year

Olivia Burdick, Staff Reporter
Originally published June 22, 2017

James Johnson

James Johnson

Next year the start time will remain the same, 8:45, but school will get out 20 minutes later, at 3:35. Each Wednesday will be a 75-minute early release at 2:20 p.m for students.

After much deliberation the city council and district voted on a final schedule for SPS. For students, one controversy of the new schedule is DAM time. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, DAM time will be 15 minutes long, from 3:20-3:35 p.m. On Wednesday’s it’s 25 minutes, from 1:55-2:20 p.m.

Students find this problematic because most of them consider DAM time to be a waste of time, and don’t see why we need the extra time in school if it isn’t being used productively.

The decision for the new start and end times have been strongly anticipated from Ballard students and parents since the news of yet another bell change for the coming school year.

“Not knowing the schedule for next year, but knowing it could potentially be a 3:50 release was nerve-racking because a late release like that would greatly impact my schedule as a XC and track runner,” junior Chad Cohen said.

The need for a change in schedule was due to bussing problems with funding for a two-tier system, along with the want for a weekly early release. Both of these reasons called for a 20-minute extension of the school day.

One of the first projected schedules was a start time of 9:00 a.m. and a release of 3:50. This put lots of students on edge because 3:50 is 35 minutes later than this year, and could’ve caused many issues for students who play sports, who work and who have other extra curricular activities. The second projected start time was an 8:35 start and 3:25 release.

The new schedule is a compromise between the first two projected ones. With the new schedule, the district was able to achieve a two-tier system for bussing, and was able to release high school students earlier than 3:50 p.m.