The Scarborough school board unanimously approved revised school start times on Monday night, addressing one of several issues that have contributed to mounting controversy in the school district in recent weeks.

Under the revised start times, set to take effect in August, students in grades 3 through 12 will start school a little later and students in kindergarten through Grade 2 will continue to start school at 8:50 a.m.

The board’s vote was unanimous, said Superintendent Julie Kukenberger.

Faced with growing community opposition, the board backed off a more dramatic schedule change approved last April that would have allowed high school students to start later but would have required younger students to start earlier.

Like other area school districts, the board made the initial schedule change based on research that suggests high school students with later start times have improved mental health and reduced rates of automobile accidents, truancy, absenteeism and substance use.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.


Classes at Scarborough High School now start at 7:35 a.m., followed by the middle school at 7:45 a.m., grades 3 through 5 at 8:20 a.m., and kindergarten through grade 2 at 8:50 a.m.

Under the start times approved last April, high school students would have started at 8:50 a.m., middle school students at 9 a.m., and elementary school students at 8 a.m.

Under the revised start times approved Monday, high school and middle school students will start at 8 a.m. and elementary school students will start at 8:50 a.m. In addition, the high school and middle school will open at 7:40 a.m. for early student dropoffs and activities, followed by the elementary schools at 8:30 a.m.

Some parents have linked the controversy over early start times to the recent resignation of Scarborough High School Principal David Creech.

Creech resigned in February, effective June 30, without publicly saying why, although his wife and his lawyer say it was forced by the superintendent. He then tried to withdraw his resignation letter following an outpouring of public support, but Kukenberger and the school board have refused to accept his rescission.

A local political action committee submitted recall petitions Monday aiming to unseat three school board members and force Kukenberger’s resignation and Creech’s reinstatement.


Creech and other school personnel spoke in favor of the revised start times at recent board meetings.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

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