Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester School Board will be presented Tuesday evening with a school district taskforce’s final recommendations for revamping class schedules in an effort to better accommodate the sleep needs of older students.

Two options will be presented to the school board. The first would shift the opening bell at the high schools from the current 7:40 to 8:20 AM and have the school day end at 3:30 PM. The middle school day would start at 8:05 AM and end at 3 PM, while the elementary schools would be in session from 9:35 AM until 4 PM. Some additional bus and van routes would be required at an estimated annual cost of about $300,000.

The second option would not increase the school district’s transportation expenses. It only differs from the first option in that the middle schools would start at the same time as the high schools, which would shorten the overall school day by 10 minutes when compared to the current schedule. The first option would slightly increase the length of the school day at all three levels.

The School Board last year explored using the Rochester Public Transit bus system in combination with regular school bus routes to create a class schedule that would allow the middle and high school days to start later at about the same time as the elementary schools. The estimated cost ended up being prohibitive, which led the School Board to direct staff to form a task force to develop recommendations for less costly options. A preliminary report was presented to the school board in November and revised after the taskforce gathered input from the community, school staff, and students.

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