APS parents, daycare providers express concerns over potential changes in start times

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(ABC 6 News) – The Austin Public School board deferred its decision on school start times until more community feedback is given.

Parents and daycare providers are concerned about these new times if they were to be implemented as the school system is considering solutions to the district’s busing shortage.

"A change needs to happen but I don’t think making these start times later is the answer, unfortunately," Jennifer Purkapile, a mother of three in Austin Public Schools, said.

All three of Purkapile’s children are in different schools.

"I don’t know if I’ve actually heard of a family that’s for this," she said. "There are a lot of families out there that are going to have all three different start times."

Purkapile said she along with other parents would have to go to work later in order to get their kids to school on time.

"Is it upon the parents to try to adjust their work schedule if they’re able? Otherwise daycare," she said.

Not to mention daycares are struggling right now, too.

Serena’s Pumpkin Patch in Austin, a daycare owned by Serena Brolsma, currently takes care of seven children.

"Really the only thing I see are cons," Brolsma said about the start times.

She said it’s hard to make schedule changes when running a daycare like hers with a lot of different age groups.

"You get in kind of a routine and so that will really shake it up a little bit I think," Brolsma said.

If these new start times were to be implemented, she might have to change her start times too.

"I might have to be open at 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.," she added. Brolsma might even have to stay open later, making her days well over 12 hours long.

"I think it’s hard for everybody to be on board with something like this when there are just so many more questions out there to be answered," Purkapile said. "I don’t know what the right answer is but definitely not the three different start times."

The school board is talking about this issue at its next meeting on March 14. Purkapile encourages other families to voice their concerns to the school board.