A recent RAND Corporation study found that if the nation were to push school start times to no earlier than 8:30 a.m., economic gains of $83 billion could be realized within a decade. The study cites several other benefits to starting school later, like improvements in academic performance, mental and physical health and public safety. We asked Beth Harrison, chief communications officer for Oklahoma City Public Schools, if the district had any plans to use this study in planning school start times in the future.
“We are aware of the research, and this is something we have looked into in the past,” she said. “At this time, we don’t have plans to adjust our start times, but it is something we may consider again in the future.”
Still, the district inadvertently accommodated a later start time for some campuses this school year when they shifted the start and end times of seven schools to eliminate some bus routes to save money. The district now has 10 schools starting at 7:35 a.m., 48 starting at 8:20 a.m. and these 12 beginning at 9:10 a.m.: Classen SAS, Capitol Hill ES, Cleveland ES, Horace Mann ES, Jefferson MS, Kaiser ES, Mark Twain ES, Rogers MS, Roosevelt MS, Taft MS, Webster MS and Westwood ES.