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Cedar Rapids school board postpones vote on late school starts

Dozens of parents complain of proposed once-a-week schedule change

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By Alex Boisjolie, The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — After almost two hours of hearing concerns from parents, staff and fellow board members, the Cedar Rapids school board voted unanimously Monday to delay a decision on next academic year’s calendar until the next meeting.

The proposed school calendar suggested late school start times of more than an hour every Monday for elementary, middle and high schools in the district to provide teachers time to prepare curriculum and discuss strategies for the coming week.

But parents said the change would mean problems with busing and supervising children.

“We live outside the busing district, and I work at 8 a.m., so how would I get my child to school? Do I find a new job? Do I hire someone to take her?” asked Kristi Sjullie, one of the almost 50 parents who attended Monday night’s hearing.

The next scheduled board meeting is Feb. 8.

“I’m glad they decided to take more time to get more information on it,” said Jim Hamilton of Cedar Rapids, and father of an elementary student. “I still have a lot more questions and concerns with the details around it.”

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