Petition against changes to school hours starts for Colorado Springs Academy District 20
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A petition that started the same night Academy School District 20 approved new school start times despite widespread parental opposition, had collected more than 1,200 signatures as of Friday evening.
Lindsey Jensen said that she started the online petition Tuesday on the change.org website; the petition's title is "Stop D20 From Changing School Start/End Times for 2023-24 School Year."
"Not really jokingly, I just said I'm going to start a website that says FigureSomethingElseOut.com. They said do it, we'll share it -- and by that night, my husband helped me type in some of the content, and by that night, we had everything on there ready to go," she explained.
Many parents strongly object to the changes approved Tuesday by district superintendent Tom Gregory, citing perceived negative impacts such as adjusting work schedules, longer childcare costs, juggling transportation schedules and after-school activities, and interfering with quality family time.
Critics also say that the new hours will be even more difficult for single-parent families to adjust to.
Parents opposed to the plan also have created a website -- http://figuresomethingelseout.com -- explaining their concerns and advising other opponents to contact the school board and school officials, in hopes of reversing the decision.
Lisa Morgan works for District 20 and has several children who attend schools there.
"Teachers have expressed their concerns," she said. "The teachers are going to be concerned because they're tired, they're not going to be focused. It's a big, big change. There are going to be kids falling asleep, more behavioral issues."
The changes require an earlier start time for elementary school students and later start times for middle and high school students.
Morgan's daughter, Makayla, graduates this spring and won't be affected by the new schedules.
"But I see how my sister reacts already to school -- my youngest sister, Shayna, is in kindergarten -- and it's really hard for her to get up and go to school," she said. "And she's not a morning person, and I feel like it's really unfair that they're treating all the elementary school students like, what their preferences are don't matter."
Sitting next to Makayla was her friend, Hanna Lemke, a junior.
"I was kind of excited at first, but seeing all the effects it could have -- based on extracurricular and after-school activities, and kind of what it means in the morning for my mom, who will have to drive to four different schools," she said.
District officials were unavailable for comment Friday but directed parents to the district's website to find more information about the decision process.
Jensen said that she has a goal of collecting 1,500 signatures to bring to next month's school board meeting.
"Many of the people opposed to the changes are district employees," she said. "But they are reluctant to speak out because they fear being singled out by the district."