Citing bus driver shortages and other factors, William Hite, the superintendent of schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced that the School District of Philadelphia will postpone its decision to move high school start times later, to 9 AM specifically.
“We remain fully committed to our ultimate goal of shifting all of our high schools and middle/high schools to start times that align with AAP recommendations,” Mr Hite wrote in a letter. “We will continue to implement strategies that increase our competitiveness as we actively recruit for bus drivers throughout the upcoming school year, with the goal of shifting these schools to later start times for the 2023-2024 school year as our transportation staffing allows.”
The superintendent also said the district would be unable to apply the change to a 9 AM start time equitably, across all 56 high and middle schools in the district. “Like school districts across the country, we continue to wrestle with ongoing bus driver shortages, and are unable to equitably support the shift for all 56 schools,” he wrote.
Voxitatis has reported the benefits derived from moving the first bell in high schools from 7-something to at least 8:30 AM. Although the research is undisputed and widely accepted, the plans many districts put in place have been set back by bus driver shortages and other pandemic-related hurdles. NBC News reported in February that more than half of the public school teachers in the US are so burned out that they are prepared to leave the profession.