Columbia High Schools Could Start Hour Later

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COLUMBIA - Columbia public high schools could start at 9 a.m. if a plan Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher presents Monday night to the school board goes into action next year.

The board turned down a plan in January to have local high schools start at 7:20 a.m. Current start time for high schools is 8 a.m.

With the new proposal, high schools would start at 9 a.m. and go until 4:05 p.m. 

This proposal is meant to fit a three-tier bus system that will spread out the pickup times among three groups of students instead of the current two. 

Belcher sent a letter to the board February 5 with the latest proposal, saying high schools have flexibility because they can offer classes that start before the official school start time and students can take online courses.

Rock Bridge Athletic Director Jennifer Mast said Monday the 4:05 p.m. end time would have a big impact on after-school activities. However, Mast said the 9 a.m. start time would give students more time before school starts.

"I don't think everything will stay the way it has in the past," Mast said. "I don't know how we will adjust but we will have to rethink our use of time outside of the school hours."

Belcher will present the proposal at Monday night's Board of Education meeting at 6:30 p.m.