Olathe School District Potentially Changing School Start Times


Zach Darby, Writer

Over winter break, the Olathe School District sent a survey to parents of students asking whether or not to change start times as a way of helping the bussing dilemma in the district. 26%were neutral on the decision, while 63% of parents supported the possibility of changing start times. 

The main reason for this change is a national bus driver shortage, with Olathe reaching an all time low this year. There are currently 182 bus routes, with only 150 drivers. Support staff is covering the difference, but many compromises still need to be made, such as middle and high school students riding the same bus, one driver covering multiple routes, and more.

One option to remedy this issue is the three-tiered bell schedule. Our current schedule has middle school starting at 7:50 a.m, high school starting at 8:00 a.m, and finally elementary school at 8:30 a.m. All new potential bell schedules have high school starting at 7:30 a.m, with middle school and elementary school varying. When the new start time vote is conducted, it will mostly depend on elementary and middle school start times.

“When we vote for our new contract, which I’m guessing will be hopefully sometime in the spring, [the start times] will be part of it,” ONEA building representative Pat Flynn said. “I’m not really sure how that vote is gonna go. I really do not know because it is a big change.”

Flynn also expresses concern over the large adjustment and the students’ sleep schedule following the start time change.

“It’ll definitely be different,” Flynn said. “Because it’s 30 more minutes, and it doesn’t seem like a lot. But I know like on Thursdays, when we have that late start a lot of the students really appreciate those extra 30 minutes of sleep.”