Letter: Start times are not rocket science

To the Editor:

“‘I think that Edulog is seeing the impediments instead of the opportunities to look at it for success because of their [less flexible, concrete] software,’ said Superintendent Karen Baldwin.” (“Board to decide on later start times in October,” Ridgefield Press, 5/25/17)

Maybe the most disingenuous statement since Obama’s if-you-like-your-plan-you-can-keep-your-plan. C’mon, Ms. Baldwin, this isn’t rocket science, it’s math. Give me your proposed school start times and I can spit out 16 different bus schedules with the associated cost structure using nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet. It’s not the software that you have a problem with, it’s the result. And let’s face it, the result is the elephant in the room. Unless you are going to push back the start times for all the schools by the same increments — which is simply not realistic, as you would have Veterans Park, for instance, starting at 10:10 — you are going to wind up with overlapping start times, instead of staggered as now. And if you wind up with overlapping start times, you are going to need a boatload more buses, which is exactly what Edulog told you. And that boatload more buses will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million, which is exactly what Edulog told you. Which to my mind makes this entire exercise a non-starter. Or should.

That aside, for the life of me, I cannot understand why this is such a pressing issue all of a sudden. My wife and I have lived in Ridgefield for 25 years, during which time we managed to put our four children through grades K-12. All participated in extracurricular activities, both athletic and scholastic, all excelled in the classroom, and with all that all were able to get the rest they required with start times as they are now. (And no, they weren’t on Adderall.) The system is not broken. Don’t tie yourself in knots, and throw good money after bad, trying to prove that it is.

EdAdvance may well come back with a study result that will be more to your liking, but assuming they use the same variables as Edulog, I don’t see how they can. At which point, you won’t be able to ignore that huge tusked pachyderm sitting beside you any longer.

James P. Bucher