City of Seattle proposes $2.65M to streamline school start times, improve school traffic safety

Earlier today, Mayor Ed Murray announced that he will propose $2.3M in startup funding to help Seattle Public Schools students get more sleep and be better equipped for academic success.

The funding will help SPS implement a two-tiered bell schedule (down from three), in response to requests from families. Mayor Murray will request the Families and Education Levy review board support the allocation, which is needed to fund additional school buses to sustain the new schedule. Additionally, the Mayor will also propose $380,000 to increase safety by maintaining crossing guards during school hours.

“This use of Families and Education Levy resources will go to implementing a better bell schedule and helping our students get to and from school safely. These are our children and I am committed to ensure they have all the tools they need to get a great education,” says Mayor Ed Murray.

After listening to parents, community partners and teachers, the City concluded that the health and academic welfare of students would be greatly increased by supporting the change of Seattle Public School start times from the current three-tier system to a two-tier one. This change will cost $2.3M in startup costs, which the Mayor will propose to the Families and Education Levy Oversight Committee as well as City Council.

“Thanks to the Mayor’s generosity and City support, Seattle Public Schools may be able to eliminate third tier busing for 2017-18. This means that in 2017-18 schools would start at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. This change would build on our efforts to improve academic outcomes by aligning school start times with student sleep patterns,” says Superintendent Larry Nyland.


When Seattle Public Schools changed school start times for elementary and secondary schools in the 2016-2017 academic year, they saw positive changes in both longer reported hours of student sleep and reduced levels of discipline in high school students. These outcomes follow years of research around the American Association of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association’s recommendation to more closely align school start times with students’ biological and sleeping patterns.

Costs for district transportation are reimbursed by the state using a funding formula based on the prior year’s cost. The City’s transportation investment is one time.

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