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D20 leaders want feedback from families before implementing new start times

About 30 parents asked questions and voiced concerns at the first town hall meeting
Academy District 20 D20 ASD20
Posted at 4:54 AM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 20:22:09-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — COLORADO SPRINGS—D20’s decision to change the start times for elementary, middle, and high school students has been quite a conversation.

After feedback from parents, the district has decided they will wait another year to make changes. In the meantime, the district is hosting a series of town hall meetings so that parents can join in the conversation.

"We are exploring any and all ideas that's why we are holding these town halls so that you can share with us what would help," said the district's learning services Assistant Superintendent Susan Field.

About 30 parents came to the first town hall meeting on Tuesday. District leaders explained the decision-making process and answered questions.

District leaders said the new start times would help the bus driver shortage with staggering shifts.

The district's operating chief officer, Brett Smith, said they are short about ten bus drivers.

Leaders also pointed out the mental health benefits of students. Elementary school students would start earlier while middle and high schoolers would start later.

A mother of four just moved specifically to D20 from New Mexico. Now, she's reconsidering.

"We were wanting to stay in D20 and it's not as big as a draw for us now with this sort of situation," said Kimberly Garcia.

As a nurse, she said she worries about accommodating different drop-off times with her schedule.

"[If] I have to be at a birth at 7 o'clock, that's not going to happen, you can't possibly get all the kids to school and then pick them up on the other side," said Garcia.

The district wants all students out of school by 4 pm. Some parents are concerned about extracurriculars.

"My daughter normally dance starts at 4:30, well she's a middle schooler and gets out of school at 4, there's no way she's going to get to dance," said one mom at the meeting.

With less time after school, other parents worry about the quality of family time.

"It affects family time a lot, a lot in the evening because that kid now has to go to bed right after dinner to make it work," said another mom at the meeting.

Another mother who has a student in high school and a 10-year-old. She tells me the changes disrupt her children’s sports schedules, and that is hard. More importantly, it disrupts family time.

“What it’s going to impact is our family time. We are a family that is big into family dinners. Research shows that family dinners create happier children, so all of those things are going to be impacted,” said Schulte.

The town hall meetings will kick off today at 11 a.m. at the Education and Administration Center. It is the start of a series of meetings. As you can see below.

From D20’swebsite:

Tuesday, Feb. 28

  • 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Chinook Trail Middle School

Tuesday, March 7

  • 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Eagleview Middle School

Thursday, March 9

  • 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Discover Canyon Campus Middle School

Wednesday, March 15

  • 10 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Education and Administration Center, Atrium

Tuesday, March 21

  • 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Mountain Ridge Middle School

Thursday, March 23

  • 2 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Education and Administration Center, Atrium


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