Some parents in Calgary say they are frustrated with the school board that, next year, will force some students to start school as early as 7:50 a.m. on Fridays, and end some students’ school days as early as 11:30 a.m.
The Calgary Board of Education says the move will save about $3.5 million next year, and up to $2 million more once phased in because it will allow school bus drivers to do more trips per shift.
Some parents aren’t pleased because the changes will force them to re-arrange their work schedules and spend money for child care on Friday afternoons.
Luke Allen, who has three children enrolled in the CBE, says the changes are particularly frustrating for parents who have children with different start times. Allen says his family has two people who can take turns picking up children in the middle of the day, but others will have less flexibility.
Carrie Edwards, the CBE’s Director of Planning and Transportation, says the board recognizes that some parents will need to adjust their routines and find new child care, “which is why we’re trying to come out as early as possible.”
She added that parents who believe teachers are getting early weekends as a result of the changes are mistaken because teachers will still be working on things like professional development on Friday afternoons.
Researchers have found that early school start times can lead to physical and mental health problems in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle schools and high schools start classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m.