Opinions differ on impact of later school start times
NEW CANAAN — As the discussion continued for later school start times, one parent spoke of the negative aspects of the potential decision.
At the Board of Education meeting on Dec. 3, co-president of the teacher’s assistant union Hank Ellett said a decision to change the start time could lead to a hard impact on teachers.
“That would double their commitment time in the morning and then in the evening,” he said. “Many of your teachers are also coaches.”
He added this could also affect practice for sporting teams with the school day being pushed later. With many assistant teachers also being coaches this could affect student athletes negatively. Ellett said pushing the start time an hour later would mean later practices, and games for student-athletes.
“If you move us an hour later, we’re going to have to move to morning practices again,” Ellet said. “I urge you to consider both sides of the equation.”
Some parents spoke in favor of the decision and also urged the board to create a subcommittee as well as target milestones to track the process. New Canaan parent Hue Gilbert said it’s a matter of when, not if.
“The question I have is which generation of parent leaders, student leaders and public servant leaders like yourselves will flip that switch,” he said. “Increasingly my hope is this one here and now.”
At the board’s previous meeting, four options were proposed. The options could lead to later start times as well as an increase of up to $1.4 million annually.
“We’ll be deciding if we want to do something significant, insignificant or nothing,” Hayes said. “We may decide not to do anything because we don’t have any information.”
Board member Maria Naughton also proposed a subcommittee to get parents involved. Naughton said this could allow the community to get constant updates and be in the conversation prior to board meetings. However, Hayes said a subcommittee would slow down the process.
“They would have to go and do their work and then report back to us,” he said.
Board vice-chairwoman Dionna Carlson added the information provided by Superintendent Byran Luizzi is made public in their regular meetings. She said the public is updated as the board is throughout their meetings. Carlson also said forming a subcommittee would be more appropriate once information about the traffic study is provided.
“If at that time we chose to do that, whoever brings that forward needs to bring it forward in the approved way the board has designated for committees,” she said.