Carmel Unified School District considers impact of late start on sports teams – Monterey Herald

At Wednesday’s board meeting, the Carmel Unified School District Board of Education discussed the impact that introducing later school start times could have on school staff and high school athletics.

Senate Bill 328 prohibits middle schools from starting before 8:00 a.m. and high schools from starting before 8:30 a.m. While other districts on the Monterey Peninsula implemented the change for this school year, Carmel Unified was exempt due to its “rural” rating.

Knight has pledged to the community and district board that he will provide a recommendation on acceptance or rejection of the 2023-2024 school year schedule change by December.

Previously, Knight told The Herald that the district’s decision will fall into one of four categories: decision not to enact the amendment; swap elementary and middle school starts; moving all schools by a specified amount of time; or the cancellation of certain bus routes.

Carmel High School principal Jonathon Lyons and athletic director Golden Anderson presented at Wednesday’s meeting how later school start and finish times could affect the district’s after-school activities and athletic programs.

Currently, Carmel High School has 40 active clubs and 25 athletic programs. According to Lyons’ presentation, over 57% of Carmel High School students participated in extracurricular athletics events last year.

“Fall is an interesting time of year because most of the time is spent outdoors,” explained Lyons. “So that’s probably the highest utilization of our field at this point in the fall. … In terms of actual field experience, one of the big challenges we have is that we have a field. A field on campus, we have a pool and we have a gym.”

According to Lyons and Anderson, fall sports are currently practicing outdoors in two-hour increments between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. In winter, training times are limited to 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. because the sun sets much earlier.

Anderson explained that limited afternoon sun exposure becomes a bigger problem in September and October and that any sport that has the later training window will have to sacrifice additional training time as the season progresses.

“Of course later exercise windows need lighting,” explains Lyons. “We lose training time. Compared to other schools, we are currently reducing field hockey training. Hollister can train for two hours, we can run for an hour. That will show on the field, this lack of training time.”

District Superintendent Ted Knight pointed out that no matter how much time the school day would be shifted, training hours for athletic teams will be affected by limited sunlight as early as the afternoon and evening.

“I think the problem is that we’re already feeling most of that impact. So now, if field hockey only gets one hour[practice]now even if we switch back 15 minutes, they’re only going to get 45[minutes],” Knight said. “Whether it’s 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 45 minutes, I think the longer you put it off, the more impactful it’s going to be.”

The ability to add stadium lighting to district facilities has been a much-discussed topic in the community – and one that some community members are passionate about.

The school district proposed adding four new lighting poles to the high school’s stadium as part of a building master plan three years ago, but became increasingly important to the district after Gov. Gavin Newsom passed Senate Bill 328 — Implementing Later School Start Times — in 2019 .

But community feedback quickly revealed that neighbors had several concerns, including light and noise pollution, event parking, diminished property values ​​and environmental damage.

In response to these concerns, the district revised and released an updated environmental impact report in late August that included additional project proposals and expanded Carmel High School’s former stadium lighting project into the stadium improvement project.

After a 45-day public comment period, the district will finalize the report and the final decision on the project will be made during a special board meeting scheduled for November 29.

“It’s interesting that when we endorse athletics at the level that we do — which is really high for a small high school — the case of having an institution that’s capable of delivering that and it doesn’t does, sort of … it’s not exactly what taxpayer money should do,” commented board member Karl Pallastrini. “To have that thing dormant any time it could be used and to keep the kids on campus.”

“It seems whether we implement late start or not, we are still affected by the schools that have implemented late start,” said board secretary Tess Arthur.

But later school start times would not only affect sports teams and training times.

Craig Chavez, the district’s chief human resources officer, presented to the board how later school start times would affect transportation, before and after school care and support staff.

Chavez pointed out that later back-to-school times could alter the number of bus drivers needed due to recreational activities and childcare — a challenge when a national bus driver shortage left 1,125 bus driver jobs in California on Aug. 30.

Chavez also explained that many assistants have more than one job and may have to quit their position with the district if later back-to-school times interfere with their work schedule.

Knight said the district worked with Hanover Research to put together a survey for families and staff to share feedback on later start times.

He explained to the board that the polls will not include the information presented at Wednesday’s meeting due to past community response.

“When we first did this, there were a lot of comments that we would guide people to the answer, so we asked Hannover to help us with that. So there’s not a lot of that kind of information in there,” he explained. “It’s not about whether people want it or not. It’s “Are you ready to accept the compromises?” ”

Knight said the district hopes the survey will be sent out early next week.


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