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Davenport schools begin new start time debate

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Davenport School District leaders went back to the drawing board Wednesday night, hearing from parents once again about what school start times work best for them.

The School Board originally voted April 12, 2014, to change the current start times, but then rescinded that decision after receiving hundreds of negative comments and a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures from parents.

District leaders have now posted nine start time options, and they are asking for input from parents, teachers and students.

"We can't satisfy everyone's needs, but what the Board needs to do is listen to the comments and decide what is best for the entire district," said Davenport Superintendent Dr. Art Tate.

Wednesday, Dr. Tate hosted the first of a second round of public meetings on the topic. Around 75 people attended the forum at Davenport West High School, largely elementary parents who expressed concerns about the effect a later start time would have on their work schedule.

"If they move the breakfast time by 5 or 10 minutes also, that's 5 or 10 minutes later that I get to work, which is going to make me late," said mom Libby Lake.

The most popular choice at Wednesday's meeting was "Option E," which would keep all new start times within 15 minutes of what they are currently.

Right now, three elementary schools have days that are 6 hours and 20 minutes long, while others have days that are 7 hours long. Over the course of a year, that means 120 hours less school time for some students. Dr. Tate said the goal of the proposed changes is to equalize the number of educational hours at every school in the district.

A second public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 22, at Central High School from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and a final forum will be held on Thursday, May 29, at North High School.

To view the 9 start time options, click here.