Marysville school board rejects 'Option 7.1' for start and stop times

MARYSVILLE — After a series of public hearings which drew testimony from students, parents, staff and community members, the Marysville School District Board of Directors voted unanimously Nov. 16 to reject "Option 7.1," a proposed set of changes to school start and stop times and transportation schedules that would have seen the elementary and middle schools starting and ending 30 minutes earlier, while the high schools would have started and ended two hours and 30 minutes later.

The five-member school board instead approved "Option 6.1," under which Marysville-Getchell High School will start and end 10 minutes earlier, while Marysville-Pilchuck High School and the elementary and middle schools will start and end 15 minutes later, starting with the 2010-11 school year.

Those who completed an online survey and those who attended public hearings, including one before the school board Nov. 2, spoke out overwhelmingly against Option 7.1. Of the approximately 3,100 students and parents who completed the survey, more than 80 percent favored earlier start and stop times than those of Option 7.1, while almost all of the attendees of the Oct. 29 and Nov. 2 public hearings who spoke did so to object to Option 7.1.

Parents and community members voiced concerns about how high school students with the late start and stop times of Option 7.1 would be able to maintain jobs, participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, complete their homework and help care for younger members of their families.

At the Nov. 2 public hearing, board members Cindy Erickson and Sherri Crenshaw defended earlier votes for Option 7.1 on the grounds that they allowed further research to be done on it, while board member Don Hatch Jr. expressed his appreciation that the proposed sets of start and stop times were well-researched before their implementation, as well as his gratitude to the community for speaking out. Board president Michael Kundu likewise credited the community's input with causing him to reconsider his stance on this issue.

Changes in school start and stop times need to take effect during the 2010-11 school year to accommodate the opening of Marysville-Getchell High School, and all schools in the district will be affected by the schedule changes.

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