By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One week from Tuesday, one of the Minnesota’s largest school districts is preparing for a big change.

Start times are changing in St. Paul. Elementary school students that previously started at 8:30 a.m. will now start 7:30 a.m. Secondary schools that started at 7:30 a.m. will now start at 8:30 a.m.

The change comes after years of debate by the district, which ultimately changed start times to try to give secondary school students more sleep. Research has shown they do better academically and emotionally with proper rest.

WCCO spoke to high school students at the Minnesota State Fair about the idea of a later start time.

“I feel like it should be later so we have more time to sleep,” said Mickayla Formaneck, a Lakeville High School South senior.

“I think it would be harder and I would go the other way,” said Mahtomedi High School athlete Jack Pujula. “Then at 7 o’clock football would get done and then you’re having dinner and getting ready for the next day already.”

On the flip side, St Paul elementary students will start earlier — and get out earlier. Critics have said young students would wait in the dark for buses, and parents would need to find after-school care.

“If you have multiple kids, it’s hard to get up that early and get them prepared and get them out the door,” said parent Jessica Rylander.

“I don’t really go that early, but it’s hard,” said 6-year-old student Emma.

Elementary schools with a 9:30 a.m. start time will keep the same start time.

The district said they had to move most elementary students to the earlier start time to be able maintain their three-tier bus schedule.

Kate Raddatz

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