To the Editor:

Right now only three of our schools have bell times that are developmentally appropriate for health and optimal learning. The Board of Education unanimously voted to rectify that problem for the fall of 2019. This allowed 22 months to do the work to achieve healthy start times. There are still 16 months until the beginning of the 2019-20 school year — more than enough time to finish that work. Most of the 400-plus successful districts took 10 months or less for the process.\

The Board of Education and administration has listened to the community every step of the way. They threw out the scenarios that didn’t support elementary students. Their continued transportation work already saved $90,000 in the upcoming budget, and work continues to optimize bus stops, athletic schedules, and length of the school day. They have a responsibility to support student health.

Dr. Miller has ably and professionally led this effort since October. He acknowledges that with the additional duties of acting superintendent the work has slowed a bit, but it is still continuing at an adequate pace. All support staff and community volunteers involved are still working on the effort. Starting July 1, we will have an interim superintendent until a permanent one is hired. At that point, Dr. Miller will resume the project in full.

The  interim superintendent will not be asked to develop new practices for the district. Interims are hired to continue work in progress, like optimizing transportation and implementing programs that have been voted upon, like healthy start times. Interims are also bound by the district’s mission statement, which includes “Promote wellness of the body and mind.” The AMA, CDC, APA, and over 70 local health professionals support this initiative, which is why school times are changing to help all kids.

Gigi Christel

Ridgefield, April 30