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State board to launch survey on high school start times, abandons proposed regulation

The push for more start time options has hit roadblocks including opposition from superintendents, questions on board’s authority.
Rocio Hernandez
Rocio Hernandez
EducationK-12 Education

The State Board of Education is preparing to launch a survey gathering feedback on later high school start times, but is no longer planning to pursue a regulation that would have allowed for the concept to be put into practice. 

It’s the latest setback for an idea that, while supported by doctors and implemented in neighboring California, has failed to get off the ground in Nevada despite multiple attempts in the last decade.

Last year, the board faced backlash from superintendents over draft regulation language that would have required public high schools that begin prior to 8 a.m., including charter schools, provide alternative start time options to families and students. High school start times vary across the state. In Clark County, high schools generally start classes at 7 a.m., while in Washoe County, high school start times range from 7:40 a.m. to 8 a.m. 

Superintendents also raised concerns on potential increased transportation costs and unintended consequences to families. 

The proposed regulation also hit a snag with legislative attorneys, putting into question whether the board had the authority to implement a regulation on school start times without a change in state law. 

The board voted on Wednesday to drop the proposed regulation, and instead focus on a survey to gather feedback on start times from community members including parents, students and school leaders statewide, and share those results with lawmakers. 

“Basically, we realized that our lane was so narrow that it would be difficult to get through, so we are going to go the legislative lane instead,” Board President Felicia Ortiz said in a Thursday interview. 

But Ortiz emphasized that the goal of the proposed regulation wasn’t to change high school start times across the state, but rather to ensure that there were options for students who want to start before 8 a.m. and for students who would prefer to start later. 

The board is expected to go over the survey questions at its next meeting. 


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