Central York board getting earful on 'flipped' school schedules


Central York school board members are reportedly getting an earful from residents as they consider changing school start times in the district.

In fact, Joseph Gothie said, he and colleagues on the board got the message repeatedly on Election Day.

"Those of us who were out doing things last Tuesday probably heard more about school start times than just about anything else," he said. "So there is a keen interest in the community, and I'd have to say the feedback I got was largely negative." 

Now Central residents will have a chance to put their feelings down in black and white.

On Nov. 4, a committee of district parents, staff and board members approved a survey to send out to community for feedback on the idea. A link to the survey can be found on the Central York Facebook page and will be available  through Nov. 22.

Central's administration first presented the possibility of a "flipped" school schedule at a board meeting in June. Under the proposal, elementary students would start at 7:45 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., and secondary students would switch from 7:45 a.m. to 8:55 a.m.

More:Central York wants to be 'ahead of the curve' with school start times

A recent report from the state's Advisory Committee on Later School Start Times cited research that showed teens should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. 

That committee found 26 districts in Pennsylvania had pushed back secondary start times between 2011 and 2019 and another 28 were studying the issue.

Potential issues with shifting start times were the impacts on athletes, after-school programs, student work schedules and younger students, as well as changes in cost and convenience of bus routes.

More:State study recommends later school start times

"One thing that I kind of sense from the community ... is if we were to make a decision, next year would be too early," said board member Timothy Bieber, who expects families would need a year or more to adjust.

Central York's survey data will be reviewed Dec. 11 by its committee and presented to the public in a special meeting Jan. 21. The board might decide to take further action at subsequent board meetings in January or February, Superintendent Michael Snell said.

And doing nothing is also an option, Snell added, noting a decision has not been made.

Board members Karl Peckmann and Jane Johnson said they wanted to ensure the language in the survey was easy to understand so there was no miscommunication to residents.

"This is not going to drop out of the sky on anybody in the next couple months," Gothie said. "I think some (residents) are a little concerned about that."