Parents continue push for later start times

Words mean little without action to back them up.

That’s the stance a group of Ridgefield parents took at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, growing tired of hearing board members say they support later start times at Ridgefield High School only to hide behind budgetary constraints as an excuse for inactivity.

“It’s time for the board to show the community that the well-being of high school students is a priority for this year’s budget,” said parent Meredith Harris.

Harris was one of three parents who spoke during the meeting’s public comment session.

Dozens of others have spoken at previous meetings, advocating to make the change a top priority for district administrators.

“If wellness of body and mind is truly one of your commitments, then you cannot make excuses,” said parent Gigi Christel.

“What good is making new investments if our kids are too tired to benefit from them?”

Board member Doug Silver raised his own concerns about the direction the 2017-18 school year budget has taken in addressing students’ health and wellness.

“The thing is to get them there healthy before they can even learn,” he said. “These are the things that concern me, and I’m looking for them in the budget.”

In the meeting’s operating budget presentation, Superintendent Dr. Karen Baldwin did not include later high school start times.