Teachers Union Proposes Changing Daily Schedule for Students in Montgomery County, Md.

The union representing Montgomery County, Maryland, public school teachers plans to formally recommend the school district change its daily schedule for students, shifting the start times for elementary, middle and high school students.

The Montgomery County Education Association, which represents more than 12,000 educators, shared three proposals for new school day schedules with its large membership county-wide.

An internal vote is expected in November to choose between those three options, union Executive Director Tom Israel said. The formal request to the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education is expected in late autumn, according Israel.

Montgomery County Public Schools shifted start times for its schools in 2015, pushing back the beginning of the school day by up to 20 minutes. Some elementary school students begin their school day as late as 9:25 a.m. under the revisions.

MCEA Proposed Schedule 1 (Estimated Additional Cost of $3.9 Million)

MCEA Proposed Schedule 2 (Estimated Additional Cost of $1.3 Million)

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MCEA Proposed Schedule 3 (Estimated Additional Cost of $1.3 Million)

Each of the three proposals under consideration by the union would shift the start times of elementary schools earlier. In one proposal, elementary school students would begin the day at 7:45 a.m., more than 60 minutes earlier than they do now.

The union expects any of the proposed changes would cost money to implement, Israel said. Documentation shared with union members shows each proposal would cost at least $1.3 million.

The shift in school start times in 2015 was met with mixed reaction because of its impact on pre-school arrangements, traffic and employee work hours and commutes.

“The Board of Education is always interested in hearing from the community about issues that affect our students,” a spokesman for the board of education said.

The board said it has been monitoring and gathering feedback about school start times during the past year.

“The (current) start times for our elementary school students are way too late," Montgomery County Council Education Committee Chairman Craig Rice said. "There has to be a very robust decision making process to figure out what makes the most sense.”

The Montgomery County Education Association represents teachers, speech pathologists, media specialists and guidance counselors. The school district, among the largest in the region, includes more than 200 schools and more than 150,000 students.

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