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Pioneer Middle School's planning committee is reviewing a plan for universal starting and closing times at the middle school.

The issue is being debated by committee members made up of staffers and parents.

"Planning committee members are working together to make a recommendation that best serves middle school students," said principal Ravo Root.

District leaders said Pioneer Middle School currently starts seventh- and eighth-graders an hour earlier than fifth- and sixth-graders.

Under consideration is a common starting time, which would offer social, transportation and academic advantages, said officials, who want to ensure that parents, pupils and teachers are comfortable with the change.

"These advantages and disadvantages were voted on by all committee members to prioritize them by importance," Root said. "Once this step was completed, the committee began working together to make a recommendation to Dr. Jeff Bowen."

After collecting data, the committee will make a recommendation to the superintendent.

In January, the planning committee will begin holding additional meetings on the common start-end time, with membership expanded to include elementary and high school parents and staff. For more information, residents can contact Ravo Root at 492-9375.

Other community committees currently active include:

A facilities development committee that will make recommendations about maintenance of facilities, grounds, and pupil transportation system. School officials said a recently completed building condition survey will be used to develop long-range facility development plans, including possible capital projects.

A health and safety committee to review the district's safety plan, handling complaints with regard to health and safety, representation at an annual visual inspection and participation in post-construction inspections.

A Comprehensive District Education Plan to improve student performance that will be reviewed and expanded with the schools' shared decision-making committees.

The Key Communicators Group that offers opinions, disseminates news and reports community trends on education.

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