San Tan Elementary parent Wendy Gunter would have liked her daughter's school to start earlier next year. However, that won’t happen.
The Higley school board listened to her request, but Thursday night approved not changing next year's start times. Board member Venessa Whitener cast the lone dissenting vote.
Board members did however have a discussion that such a change might take place the following year.
Gunter said it's been a practice in the district that the start times flip flop every couple years. The elementary schools that start early will go to the later schedule, and vice versa.
"Having students get out at nearly 4 (p.m.) limits our day," she said. "There is barely enough time for homework, religious activities, after school activities, which we have had to limit or deny because many start at 4."
Gunter said after a couple years it's time for San Tan to get the earlier start time.
"The late start is challenging to many families, and each school needs to take its turn with it. One group of schools should not shoulder it," Gunter said. "Many parents I have spoken to just assume we are going back to an early start because that is how it has always been done."
Board President Ed Moore said he had several parents call and say they didn't want the times to change.
"Next year, '09-10, we will possibly look at changing the start times depending on boundaries for Centennial (Elementary)," Moore said. Centennial is the district's next planned school in Power Ranch.
Board member Nancy Eugenis wants a process for the district to change the start times on a more regular basis.
Eventually the goal is to have all elementary schools have the same start time, as more families move in and schools become an all-walking school.
The different start times are needed to coordinate bus routes.
Gunter said she wasn't surprised about the board's decision. She said the word around the school was that it wasn't changing, but she thought she could at least try.
"I fought the good fight," Gunter said. "I would have been surprised if they moved it."
Higley Elementary and Middle School, Coronado Elementary, Power Ranch Elementary and Chaparral Elementary will continue to start at 8:10 a.m. and get out at 3:05 p.m.
San Tan, Gateway and Cortina elementary schools will continue to start school at 8:55 a.m. and get out at 3:50 p.m.
Higley and Williams Field high schools will also continue to start at 7:40 a.m. and get out at 2:20 p.m.