EUGENE, Ore. – Frustrated parents and students flooded Wednesday's 4J school board meeting, telling officials they don't want the district's school schedule changed.
Speakers took turns blasting a proposal to align all schools under the same schedule.
"The current schedule is not broken," Devin Bahr, a Churchill student, said. "But I can assure you if this passes the only thing left broken will be the students."
If approved, all middle and high schools would start at the same time, 9:05 a.m., and dismiss at 3:55 or 4:10 p.m. They would also get out about an hour earlier on Fridays.
The first bell would ring at elementary schools at 7:55 or 8:30 a.m. Children would get out at 2:35 or 3:10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and be released early on Fridays.
One parent complained about the later start times.
"My kids will be coming home on the city bus in the dark," Stacey Zeigler said. "And I will say that my daughter taking the city bus in the daytime has already been sexually harassed."
Officials say the changes would help learning and also help the district meet state requirements for instruction time.
The board emphasized that this is still an ongoing process, and no decisions were made on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, several Sheldon High School students said they were not in favor of the proposed changes.
"I just don't feel like getting out later is a good idea, because it's only one hour later but still people have things to do," said Citlalli Salgado.
Some students said staying in school later would interfere with after school sports.
"I don't like it. I guess you can sleep in longer but I have stuff after school, I have practice," said Malakai Gaines. “It kind of gets in the way of everything."
In an interview, Eileen Nittler, the 4J school board chair, said she is hopeful they will finalize the schedule before the end of the school year. In the meantime, they plan to continue to gather input from the community.
"This is a draft proposal, we've been talking about it for over a year now,” Nittler said. “We're putting out some more specifics. We welcome public input as to this, both the things that you would find positive and the things you have concerns about because we need to do this right fir as many students and families as we can."
She said the proposed plan has all schools open on the same days, with the same days off, and same half days.
For more information on the proposed changes, click here.