Petition against start times takes aim at potential cost

Parents opposed to the start school later initiative have petitioned to have the plan thrown out, arguing against the potential cost to Ridgefield taxpayers. 

As of 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, the petition has gathered 448 signatures

"As a senior citizen I am begging that you not increase our taxes any more...use the money to improve the education of our children....later start time means later dismissal which means later to bed...doesn’t solve anything," wrote Sharon Collins in the petition."

"Academic achievement compromised," argued Stephen Cole. "...Unfair to student-athletes."

Sean McEvoy, a high school parent who has spoken out against the initiative, said several parents opposed to a later start will speak at the Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Several plan to wear red for “stop,” he told The Press.

Parents plan on “asking the board strongly to unwind their decision,” he said.

“Do you think the taxpayers really want to spend $2 million on buses not on classrooms?” he asked.

The Board of Education voted in October 2017 to adopt later start times — primarily at the high school where the starting bell would be pushed back at least an hour — beginning with the start of the 2019-20 school year. But with less than a year to go before students start busing in later, the board has not yet approved a new set of times for the district’s nine schools.

Starting school later will almost certainly come with additional costs for the district, according to multiple scenarios presented to the board, mostly due to extra buses the schools will need to get kids to school. Costs have ranged from around $434,000 for start times that would put the schools back on a three-tier busing system to an estimated $1.8 million.

The most recent scenario examined by the board would see five of the elementary schools start at 8, the high school and one elementary school at 8:30, and both middle schools at 9.