San Benito students will be starting school earlier

SAN BENITO — Students, families and others will have to make some daily adjustments come fall.

School start times will soon change for students, families and school district employees.

The time difference was discussed Tuesday evening during a meeting.

The number one concern teachers and staff made clear when revising the school calendar was the early morning start times. Taking those concerns into consideration, the new calendar implements new start times for all schools.

The elementary school will start at 7:45 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m., the middle schools will start at 8:10 a.m. and end at 3:55 p.m. and the high schools will start at 8:20 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.

Everyone will see a stark difference in the time change.

Currently, the elementary and middle schools start at 7:30 a.m. and the high schools start at 8:10 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. for the ninth grade campus.

The school district has spoken.

School personnel over the past couple of weeks were asked to vote on the school calendar for the 2017-2018 school year. The results of the vote were read during Tuesday’s meeting.

A group made up of several Superintendent Advisory Committee members met on four occasions to come up with three different versions of the school calendar.

All were designed to meet the concerns and demands of every staff member.

“We wanted to ensure we had a calendar that had 174 instructional days and 75,600 minutes that are required by law,” said Raul Trevino, executive director of leadership and performance.

More than 70 percent of district personnel voted, 1,252 votes to be exact. Calendar option B received the most votes with 599, calendar option A received 454 votes and calendar option C received 199 votes.

To prepare the district for the vote, the technology department made sure every staff member had a working and up-to-date email address. All three calendar options were then sent to the employees. If first contact was not made, a reminder to vote was sent out a few more times.

The three calendar options were also posted on the school’s website.

All three calendars gave the option of having professional development days at the start of the school year.

“This way, teachers would be pulled out less during the school year,” Trevino said.

The new calendar eliminates exchange days due to the process not being of the right quality.

“We made sure to focus on adult learning quality with the new calendar,” Trevino said.

In addition, the new calendar ensures a greater focus on testing days.

“We also made sure the transportation department was able to handle the time change, also after-school programs,” Trevino said.

The school board is expected to approve the new calendar in two weeks during their regular school board meeting.