FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Community Schools will seek input from parents at a handful of meetings regarding a proposal to change high school start and end times to earlier in the day.

The idea of an earlier start time is “to give students more opportunity to work, obtain internships and participate in co-curricular activities after school,” the district said in its notice about the meetings.

Currently, FWCS high school students start school at 9:05 a.m. and end the day at 4:10 p.m.

Seven years ago in 2015, the district pushed the start time back to 9:05 to make changes to the transportation schedule for students.

The district’s director of communication and marketing, Krista Stockman, told WANE 15 that data hasn’t shown an improvement in academic performance or attendance since the change. In fact, she said tardiness increased with the later start time.

Stockman said they’ve heard from students, parents, and staff since 2015 that finishing the school day doesn’t allow for students to participate in an extra curricular activity and also have an after-school job or internship.

She added that a priority of Superintendent Mark Daniel’s is to make sure students are able to participate in local internships.

“That’s sort of the balance that we’re looking at is how do we get kids the opportunities that they need in today’s environment, and today a lot more businesses are looking and are working with us to say ‘Hey, we want to make sure these kids are coming back to us after they either graduate from high school or go off to college,’ and so we want to get them those opportunities now,” Stockman said.

At the parent meetings, the district will present several different options that are being looked at.

FWCS is inviting any parents who think a schedule change would impact them to attend one of the planned meetings.

Here is the schedule of those meetings:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m., Northrop High School, 7001 Coldwater Road
  • Thursday, Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m., South Side High School, 3601 S. Calhoun St.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m., Snider High School, 4600 Fairlawn Pass
  • Thursday, Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m., Wayne High School, 9100 Winchester Road
  • Monday, Nov. 28, 1 p.m., North Side High School, 475 E. State Blvd.

According to the district’s website, the proposed changes would begin in the 2023-24 school year and could cause a change to schedules for other grade levels as well.

“If we move high school earlier, then that is going to effect transportation. Everybody knows we have had difficulty getting enough bus drivers. Our busses run late. What we are looking at is whether we have a two tier schedule, so two different start times for school or three different start times for schools, whatever the case may be, we need to have an hour and a half in between those staggered start times to have enough time for drivers to do one route and then get to the second route without always being late,” Stockman said.

She added there won’t be a change made if the majority of the feedback doesn’t favor a change, but they want to have these meeting now so a decision can be made before winter break.

Stockman said that would give everyone eight months so prepare for the change.