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Start and dismissal times
Start and dismissal times
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Our goal

Over 8,000 students, families, staff and community members responded to our survey about their preferences for school start and dismissal times. Our goals were to:

  • Positively influence student achievement
  • Better accommodate student and parent schedules
  • Give schools more flexibility in their scheduling
  • Operate our transportation system more efficiently

We worked hard to ensure our recommendations were in line with the feedback we received.


The results

Through our outreach, we learned that families overwhelmingly prefer start times between 8 and 8:30 a.m., and dismissal times between 2:30 and 3 p.m. School start times in Minneapolis vary widely, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

In order to accommodate families’ preferences for school start and dismissal times, we explored using a revolutionary transportation model that would operate our buses efficiently and support students and families.

However, we understand that families need more time to prepare for a drastic change in our transportation system. A drastic change affects families’ daily routines, parents’ work schedules, household budgets related to paying for before- and after-school care and students’ sleep schedules. These factors are all very important to families, so we have opted to delay any changes in our transportation model for at least one more calendar year.

Over the next year, we want to engage authentically with families as we consider changes to our transportation model. By partnering with families on this effort, we hope to design something that truly meets your needs. We look forward to continuing this conversation.


Changes to start and dismissal times still possible for older students

Although start and dismissal times will remain the same for elementary schools, we are still considering making changes for middle and/or high schools in order to lengthen the school day and offer students more academic options. We will communicate more about this soon.


Frequently asked questions

How many people responded to the survey?
There were 6,418 parent responses, 1,333 staff responses and 651 student responses.

You say you are exploring changes to start and dismissal times. Does this mean that you are considering a shorter or longer school day?
We are still considering making changes for middle and/or high schools in order to lengthen the school day and offer students more academic options. We will communicate more about this soon.

How many different start/dismissal times does MPS have?
In Minneapolis, schools have 12 start times and 12 dismissal times, but only five sets of buses transport students. The earliest start time is 7:30 a.m. and the latest is 10:15 a.m.

How many bus routes are there and how many miles do buses drive?
Currently we have 175 regular education routes and 205 special education routes. We transport approximately 28,000 students daily and travel about 4.6 million miles annually.

When was the last time state times were changed?
The first major change to bell times occurred in 2001 when the school district first introduced the five-tier bell schedule. The last substantial changes were made in 2009 with “changing school options,” an effort to better align school programs and transportation areas across the city.