School board approves change to school start times

Ridgefield educators are trusting in the research — and listening to the people.

Despite survey results that voiced hesitation in changing school start times last week, the Board of Education has approved a change in school start times that will go into effect in the 2019-20 school year.

The decision follows more than a year's worth of community dialogue dating back to the in the fall of 2016 when residents Colleen Broderick and Gigi Christel first raised issue through petitioning the board  and founded a chapter of Start School Later in town.

The extra year — original plans aimed to implement a later schedule for the 2018-19 school calendar — gives the district more time to move forward with its plan.

Which plan is that exactly?

Out of the three they were choosing from — four if you count not taking any action, the board selected to review the option that has the district’s two middle schools starting at 7:55 and getting out 2:45 and pushing back the high school’s start time to 8:30. This option nets $90,000 in savings next year, according to consultants.

But there's a lot of work to be done with this scenario, board members said Monday night before reaching the final decision.

The board's list of items to check off following its meeting include:

The board's decision Monday night came after a recommendation from Superintendent Karen Baldwin.

“I recommend that approach number 1 be further reviewed, refined, and evaluated and that school start times change in alignment with the research on adolescent sleep and health in the Ridgefield Public Schools for the 2019-20 school year.”

Read more of this story at tomorrow morning and in Thursday's print edition of the paper.