Bell Time Discussions Continue
Rochester Public Schools

The discussion on bell times continues, with now only one option for the School Board to consider. September 15, 2020, the School Board reviewed two former bell time options and two new bell time options.


After a robust conversation the Board agreed to have District Administration bring forward the costing for what was called “Option C” to the October 6 School Board Meeting. 

Option C Schedule: 

High School                         9:15 AM- 4:12 PM with a 50 min lunch* 

Middle School                      9:15 AM- 3:52 PM with a 30 min lunch 

Elementary School              8:00 AM- 2:20 PM with a 20 min lunch


The bell times study has been a frequent agenda item with the School Board over the past nineteen months.  

February 2019: 

A Bell Time Study Committee was formed comprised of fifteen (15) staff members representing transportation, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, Student Nutrition Services (SNS), School Aged Child Care (SACC), Activity Directors, and District administration. 

The goal of the committee was to look at options that best served the students based on established research all while looking at cost models that did not substantially increase transportation costs. The committee met ten times over twelve months. The initial committee meeting was on February 28, 2019, and various representatives were tasked with reviewing research, gathering information from their peers and evaluating start times of other districts. We looked at start time schedules at four Minnesota districts of comparable size and the committee created options with start times no earlier than 8:00 AM at any site.

The committee established the bell times in consideration of the following:

  • Research of various medical, psychological and psychiatry associations,
  • Transportations requiring one hour between secondary and elementary arrival times in order to maintain a two-tiered approach
  • Effect of later dismissal time at secondary sites for after school activities
  • Consideration of the bus pick up and drop times along with the walk times needing to be in daylight hours if possible
  • SACC staffing considerations related to school start and dismissal times
  • Effect on Student Nutrition Services for meal times and compliance with federal laws
  • Lunch start times at elementary and lunch period times at secondary sites
  • Effect on PSEO, C-TECH, and Early Childhood Learning Centers
  • Contracted staff teaching hours


The Bell Time Study Committee used the above considerations to create various options to present to the school Board for their review and comment.

November 2019: 

The committee presented two potential bell time options with potential schedules created by principals on the committee for each level and received feedback from the school Board. 

December 2019: 

A  Thoughtexchange regarding the two options was posted and sought feedback from parents, staff, and students. The Thoughtexchange ran until December 20, 2019.

A community meeting took place at the Edison Administration Building that allowed community members to provide feedback both in person and online about the school bell time options.

February 2020: 

The Bell Time Committee presented more options and considerations to the school Board during a study session. The School Board provided further input and parameters to utilize in the development of a final proposal.

The School Board requested the District to conduct a survey of the elementary parents and elementary staff which sought their input on an earlier start time for elementary and the effect it may have on learning.  The School Board also requested that the middle school staff be surveyed to seek their input on whether a reduction of 10 minutes per day in instruction would have a negative effect on learning.

August 2020:

An update was provided to the School Board on the Bell Time Study work which included two options for a later start to the secondary schools.  The Board was presented with the results of the elementary parent survey, the elementary staff survey, and the middle school survey.  The two staff surveys were conducted from May 29 through June 5.  The elementary parent survey was conducted from June 19 through June 25. No decision was made at this meeting.