Three-tier busing for later start times comes with $434,000 price tag

Rolling back Ridgefield Public Schools to a three-tier bus system to create later start times next fall could prove costly, according to an analysis presented to the Board of Education Monday, Sept. 24.

Switching back to the three-tier bus system as the district had in 2008 — without changing bus routes needed to make later start times plausible — would require five more buses and cost about $434,391 today, board secretary Margaret Stamatis said.

Stamatis said that the estimated cost is slightly less than the amount the schools saved when it went to its current four-tier system.

Stamatis heads the board’s strategic planning committee, the committee overseeing the district’s plan to move school start times back in time for the 2019-20 school year.

At the most recent committee meeting, Stamatis said high school Principal Dr. Stacey Gross voiced concern over the project.

“Dr. Gross shared that this is a major change that requires significant time,” Stamatis told the board. “She said they can do it but cautioned about the potential negative consequences.”

One resident spoke against the start times project at the board’s Sept. 24 meeting.

“As human beings and parents, we often create our own reality and forget to consider the impact this will have on everyone” said Bryan Hawran, a father of three young children. “Teenagers will simply take advantage of the added time and stay up later YouTubing and Snap-chatting.”