Edina schools vote for later start times in middle, elementary schools

The Edina School Board listened to parents, educators and even students Monday night as they considered pushing back class start times for middle school and elementary school students. In the end, they voted 5-2 in favor of pushing back start times.

Parents remain very divided over the issue and crowded the meeting room to make their voices heard.

It’s a trend that several districts in the state and nation have been adopting in efforts to give kids more sleep.

Middle school students will see the biggest change, with an 8:30 a.m. start time and finishing around 4 p.m. Elementary students will push up their start time to 7:50 a.m.

Sleep experts and other educators who back these late starts say it's crucial for developing brains, and kids are most productive during these proposed hours.

“I think it’s important for the middle-schoolers to actually get time to sleep in, and they don’t really wake up until 8 anyways… so I hope it flip-flops,” one parent said.

“For me, it’s a safety factor and kids who are doing activities, it’s going to be taken away from them," another parent said.

The decision comes after more than a year or processing research and studies as well as holding other meetings in Edina.

Logistics over buses, after school activities and parents’ schedules were also discussed. The changes will most likely take effect next school year.