St. Paul high schoolers will start an hour later from 2019

Research shows it helps academic performance and cuts unwanted pregnancies.

High school students in St. Paul will get an extra hour in bed starting from the 2019/20 school year.

That's because the city's school board on Tuesday approved a proposal to push back the start of class times from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

It follows discussion of national and local research that has found teenagers benefit emotionally and academically when they get more sleep.

But the change has proven controversial among parents, not least because it means bringing forward the start time for around half of St. Paul's elementary and K-8 schools from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

The Pioneer Press reports around half of people who responded to a school district survey objected to it, citing concerns about child care, early-morning school bus safety, and athletics scheduling.

But before a 5-2 vote in favor, board chairman said research shows later high school starts have not only helped improved academic performance, but also reduced crime, car crashes and unwanted pregnancies.

The new start times were set to be introduced in time for the 2018/19 school year, but this was pushed back a year to give the district more time to address parents' concerns.

The Star Tribune reports some parents unhappy about the switch say it'll mean some of the youngest students will be standing at bus stops in darkness during the fall/winter.

A list of schools affected by the changes will be finalized by next October. The only ones not changing start times are those that begin at 9:30 a.m.

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