Letter: Train wreck ahead

To The Editor, 

The latest edition of U.S. News & World Report has Ridgefield HS ranked #292 (out of over 22,000 US high schools) and #4 in CT. Why would anyone consciously try to harm this stellar reputation? There is a very small vocal group advocating for dramatic changes in school start and close times that could lead to very negative consequences. Not only is RHS superior in academic performance but its sports and extracurricular programs rank very highly in CT.

It is estimated that 45% of all RHS students participate in at least one sport. By lengthening the school day to compensate for later start times, it is estimated that over 5,000 7th period classes, or the equivalent of 750 school days, will be lost due to early dismissal. Currently athletes traveling (2:30 departure) to away games arrive back at RHS between 7:00-8:00. Adding an additional one hour, to compensate for later start time, is unacceptable.

Ridgefield’s extreme northwest geographic location exacerbates sports game travel times with most away trips lasting one hour or more.

There are other dramatic negatives with later exit times. Many students have after-school jobs and they cannot afford lost wages. Teachers currently support after school student tutoring and club activities. Will they still have that time available?

The Superintendent has stipulated that there is no fact based research indicating that student academic achievement is enhanced with school start time delayed.

A survey of CT high schools indicates that more than 90% have equivalent start and close times to Ridgefield.

It has been estimated that transportation costs could increase in excess of $500,000.

The National Institute of Health recommends 8-10 hours of sleep for high school students. This can be achieved by a 10:00-10:30 lights out. The recommended formula: a slight change in school start time with a dramatic increased control and direction from the home.

Stephen Cole