Balancing the morning routine just got a little more difficult for some parents in the Durham region after the Durham District School Board voted to change start times for 28 schools.

The shifts, which come into effect in September, would see 28 public schools' times change anywhere from five to 45 minutes.

"If it's five or 10 minutes, it wouldn't be a big deal," said Andy Lubczynski, a parent with three children in the board. "But I have some parents telling me they're going to pay thousands in morning child care because of these changes."

Adjustments needed to redraw some bus routes, board says

A total of 18 schools will have their start times changed by 10 minutes or less, while six will shift between 15-25 minutes. Four schools in Whitby, Ajax and Uxbridge will see classes shifted by 30-45 minutes.

The school board says the adjustments were the most efficient way to allow for more students to access transportation.

Without the time changes, the board would have to send out additional buses, which would cost more than $1.2 million.

Lubczynski, who works as a principal in Toronto, says he appreciates the savings, but thinks that the board can cut costs differently.

His 10-year-old twins will be starting Eagle Ridge Public School at 9 am instead of 8:30 am. While his older son, will be starting high school 15 minutes earlier.

Caden Nasser

Caden Nasser (centre) is worried about the impact that an earlier start time could have on his grades when he starts high school in September. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC)

 

Durham District School Board says the reason for the time adjustments is to redraw certain bus routes, allowing nearly 600 more students to be transported for the same amount of money.

"When you have something like this it's difficult to please everybody, you just can't do that," board chair Michael Barrett said. "Overall we're pretty happy with the decision."

Some worry about effect on students' performance

"There are numerous studies that show elementary school students wake up earlier and learn better in the morning, while high school students learn better if they start later in the morning," said Lubczynski.

"We asked them to flip the elementary and high school times, but they say it's more complicated than that."

Caden Nassar will be starting Pickering High School in September and brought up his concerns at the meeting.

"I already have a difficult time getting to school on time as it is," said Nassar. "Moving the start time to 8:15 a.m. could have an effect on my grades."