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Superintendent Listening Post

RPS’s Attendance Options Redesign: what it is and how it affects you


Things will be changing soon at Rochester Public Schools (RPS) because of a new redesign proposal that recently got approved. Many students and families will be impacted due to these new changes, which include new start times, changes to transportation, adjusted access to school district programs and more.

On January 23rd, the Rochester Public Schools School Board made a 6-1 vote to approve the proposal set forth by Superintendent Dr. Kent Pekel.

All Elementary, Middle and High Schools in Rochester will be affected by the new changes.

The reason for this proposal was due to the failure of a $10 million referendum back in November. Other contributing factors include years of declining enrollment, financial struggles and budget concerns in RPS.

Located on 7th Street SW near Soldiers Field, the Edison Building is the headquarters of RPS. Photograph courtesy of the Post Bulletin

Elementary schools will be heavily impacted by this change; for more information on that, make sure to check out our related article in The Advocate (Doerre).

For transport changes, there will be newly assigned self transport zones designated for students who live near their school, as well as altered attendance areas for those who qualify for district transportation. These changes were made to reduce the transportation budget for RPS; had that been left unaddressed, more drastic changes would have been needed at the classroom level.

Other changes include expanding existing academic endeavors such as SACC and Newcomers. These programs support families and their children with child care and provide academic opportunities for students who have recently arrived in the United States.

One of the more noteworthy changes that the Attendance Options Redesign creates involves changes in start times for all schools in the district. For Elementary Schools, their start times will be slightly earlier at 7:55 am, and their days end with an earlier dismissal time of 2:15 pm. For Middle Schools students, the start time will be slightly later at 8:35 a.m., and the last period will be over at 3:15 pm. The biggest change in start times will be for high school students, since their start times are being altered to a late 8:50 a.m. That’s a 40 minute difference, yet, only 10 minutes are added to the end of the day, so instead of the previous dismissal time of 3:20, high school students will leave at 3:30.

Mayo sophomore Mercy Elijah believes the change is positive and notes that, “the new start times will be beneficial… because I don’t get to eat breakfast in the morning, and with the extra 40 minutes I’ll be able to wake up at a reasonable time to sit down and eat breakfast.” Junior Mateo Acosta had similar thoughts regarding the benefits of the new start times: “I think it’ll benefit a lot of people. People will get rest. They’ll have more time to do stuff.” 

Although most are looking forward to how the start times will be changed, some seem to be accustomed to this year’s routine and, like sophomore Peyton Haugen, are “fine with how they are now.” 

All other changes that have been published onto RPS’s Webpage are listed below: 

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