The proposal of Apex High School moving their start time up fifteen minutes in the coming years at Green Level High School has students in a panic over this change in schedule. Although waking up fifteen minutes earlier will have little to no effect on the student’s learning opportunities, there are other factors that are feeding their frustration. Green Level is about eight minutes from the current Apex High, but with all of the other early rush hour traffic, the drive from the Laura Duncan location alone could take fifteen minutes or more. While some students are fortunate enough to live closer to the new location, many students live in the other direction. A drive for these students could take twenty minutes or more, and the bus routes with their frequent stops would arrive before you catch a glimpse of the sun. Everyone knew this long drive was going to happen when they announced the temporary relocation, but with start times most likely being pushed up fifteen minutes, this poses a problem for the students who are not early risers and live a reasonable distance from the school.
The location change also puts a huge roadblock in bus transportation. Wake County has already been facing a shortage of bus drivers, and now they need all hands on deck. School board member Bill Fletcher says, “The only reason there’s a 7:10 start time is insufficient drivers.” If this plan goes into action, it would cause a later start time for Apex Elementary, Heritage Elementary, and North Forest Pines Elementary, and an earlier start time for Wake Forest Middle School. If the school board voted to keep Apex High’s star time at 7:25, the county would need to hire twelve more bus drivers and start Apex Middle and Elementary fifteen minutes later. According to Fletcher, this would be virtually impossible. The county could raise the salary to bring in more bus drivers but not in time to keep current start times.
It is no surprise that students are not particularly excited about this schedule change as teenagers are notorious for sleeping in. Students had a lot to say about the start times, mostly with negative responses. Junior Laura Rabb said, “It only takes me five minutes to get to school, but now it will take me closer to twenty minutes. As a leader of FCA who meets at 6:45 on Wednesday mornings, not many students would come if we had to start at 6:30.” Maggie Dahnke, a sophomore at Apex, said, “I already live on Laura Duncan so most of the time I walk to school, but if I am running late my dad takes me. My dad would be super early to work if he took me, but if I took the bus it would be a huge transition to not knowing when I need to be ready to leave.” Freshman Erin Schlachter has a more positive outlook saying, “I don’t like getting up early, but I don’t think a small change will make a huge difference, plus getting out earlier will be nice!” Not only does this affect current high scholars, but eighth graders who only have to be at school by 8:15 will also see a huge change in their schedules. Most of the student body is not looking forward to this change, but the school board has to move forward with what is best for the large majority of the county.
The proposed changes of early start times will be voted on by the school board on March 21. Stay tuned to local media to find out what time you should set your alarm next year!