Start Times Task Force to recommend 25-minute delay to school day


After reviewing and evaluating more than 6,300 survey responses, the Edmonds School District’s School Start Times Task Force will recommend to the School Board that the district delay all start times by 25 minutes.

A survey was released two weeks ago for district families, staff and community members to give their feedback on four proposed options, including shifting everything by 25 minutes and an option to maintain a status quo. For more information about the options, click here.

The 6,317 participants, however, did not show a strong favorite for any of the four options — the option with the most support had 29 percent of the vote, and the option with the least support had 23 percent.

“While the survey results did not show a decisive favorite option across all groups, the majority of task force members believed there was a consensus among the bulk of respondents to the survey calling for some change and therefore they felt compelled to not leave the status quo,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy.

The decision to make this 25-minute shift recommendation came after three separate votes with 27 task force members voting. The task force had agreed that no recommendation would be made if a 70-percent consensus was not reached, which is why several votes were held.

“People were very thoughtful in where they cast their vote on what to recommend,” District spokeswoman Debbie Jakala said. “It really came down to trying to weigh their concerns.”

One task force member abstained from the final vote, between the 25-minute option and an option that would have had biggest impacts on student athletes.

“Some committee members preferred the status quo, and some believed that movement to a 25-minute later time was not enough in light of medical research,” Murphy said. “In the end, the committee landed on the 25 minute delay.”

The 25-minute delay would mean high schools would begin at 7:45 a.m.

A 25-minute delay is also what neighboring Northshore School District is implementing.

The Edmonds School District has had on-and-off discussions about shifting start times over many years. The current task force began meeting in 2016 due to a recent series of studies showing that adolescents who start school later perform better in school and have fewer behavioral problems. Several school districts nearby, including the Seattle School District, have implemented later start times.

Though a recommendation will be given to the Edmonds School Board at its March 14 meeting, a decision has not yet been made as to whether the change will be implemented. The Board will eventually make a decision after hearing the recommendation, though it is unknown if board members will decide on March 14 or at a future time.

Those with additional feedback can email [email protected]. Comments will be compiled and distributed to the task force and School Board as they are received.

“I’m grateful to the tough, thoughtful work by the task force members and want to express my appreciation to all who took the time to review the four proposals and take the survey, as well as provide hundreds of written comments,” Murphy said.

For more information about the survey results and meeting notes, click here.

–By Natalie Covate


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