Denver Public Schools pushes back start times for middle and high schools

Citing a need for teenagers to get more sleep, the Denver school board voted Thursday to push back middle and high school start times until 8:20 a.m. or later, starting in 2022.

The vote was unanimous, but several board members expressed concerns that most of the support for the change came from affluent families. Out of nearly 5,000 survey responses, fewer than 40 came from families at four Denver high schools in working-class neighborhoods.

“The voices of my community members haven’t been heard,” said board member Angela Cobián, who represents southwest Denver. Cobián said she asked a neighbor with children in the district what she thought of the proposal, and her neighbor said she hadn’t heard of it.

Board Vice President Jennifer Bacon and board member Tay Anderson echoed Cobián. Anderson said he was planning to vote “no” but changed his mind after the sponsor of the proposal, board member Scott Baldermann, added a clause that requires the superintendent to engage with the community and mitigate concerns before the late start goes into effect.

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