New start times suggested for Palm Beach County elementary and high schools, but parents have concerns

'Honestly, none of these [times] are quite perfect for me,' says parent Christine Sylvain
Palm Beach County School District logo
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jun 06, 2024

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Palm Beach County school district has been presented with options for new start times.

"I think 9 a.m. would be better, [option] number 3," said resident Casandra Dickerson. "It would give her enough time to have breakfast, and get everything ready and get to school."

There are three options on the table for new school start times for all grade levels in Palm Beach County starting in 2026. Wednesday night, the school board heard those three options.

Let's take a look at how they break down.

Option one would have elementary schools starting first at 7:30 a.m. High schools would follow at 8:45 a.m., then middle schools at 10:15 a.m.

"Option one is the regular time, and it works for me," Diana Venereo said. "I guess I've managed to work my work schedule and everything around the school."

Middle schools would start first in option two, at 8 a.m. High schools would start at 9:15 a.m. and elementary at 9:45 a.m. Option three would have high schools starting first at 8:30 a.m. Elementary schools would start at 9 a.m. and middle schools would start at 10:20 a.m.
"Honestly, none of these are quite perfect for me," Christine Sylvain said. "I think elementary students going to school first makes the most sense, followed by middle and then high school."   

The changes are to comply with a new state law designed to give older students more sleep.

Each option comes with concerns.

"I pay for aftercare, so I try to pick up my daughter by four, five," Michael Marrocco said. "She can stay till six, so the end time doesn't matter to me that much."

Here's what's next: From July to September, the district will hold meetings for community input. By May 2025, they're looking for board approval and in August 2026 they will implement the option chosen.