BOARD TO DIS­CUSS SCHOOL START TIMES

The News-Times - - NEWS - [email protected]

Later school start times are back on the agenda for the Mon­day’s Board of Ed­u­ca­tion meet­ing.

The board will dis­cuss a bus­ing sce­nario that will re­turn the schools to a three-tier bus sys­tem.

Since the board voted to pur­sue later start times in Oc­to­ber 2017, it has faced in­tense crit­i­cism from par­ents and res­i­dents who have called for the project to be de­layed to an­other year, or scrapped al­to­gether.

Town res­i­dents op­posed to the change re­cently filled the con­fer­ence room where the board was hold­ing its bi-weekly meet­ing, to de­mand the board do away with the change — even though the start times project was not on that evening’s agenda.

While many said they were con­cerned that later starts would neg­a­tively im­pact aca­demic achieve­ment, after school pro­grams, and town busi­nesses that rely on high school work­ers, the cost to tax­pay­ers was the most com­monly raised is­sue.

Not every­one is against the change, how­ever.

In a joint state­ment, par­ents Colleen Brod­er­ick and Gigi Chris­tel, who head the Ridgefield chap­ter of the non­profit Start School Later, said they ex­pect the board to im­ple­ment the change next fall.

“That rec­om­men­da­tion, that school should start no ear­lier than 8:30 a.m. for ado­les­cents, is based on decades of re­search. Many dis­tricts across the coun­try have fol­lowed the rec­om­men­da­tions, and RPS is now in the scant 10 per­cent of ear­li­est-start­ing school dis­tricts with start times as early as 7:25 a.m.,” they said.

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