‘It’s a Disgrace’: Parents Speak Out on Proposed Earlier Start Time for Elementary Schools

Pushing the start of elementary school back to 7:45 a.m. would cost local families with two working parents important time together, create problems with respect to childcare and otherwise harm New Canaan’s youngest students, parents said Monday night. When the Board of Education’s recommended in June that the district pursue a new schedule that also would push the start of New Canaan High School back to 8:20 a.m., it wasn’t clear that the elected body was ruling out a more expensive option that would see all of Saxe Middle School and NCHS start at 8:15 a.m. and all three elementary schools at 9:10 a.m., according to Jennifer Dalipi, mother to one child at South School and one at Saxe. “That was obviously the one that most beneficial to all of our students, no matter their age,” Dalipi told the Board at its regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at the high school. Saying it’s understood that a scenario where New Canaan buses its public schoolchildren in two tiers rather than three would be more expensive (because it would require more buses), Dalipi said she still “cannot fathom that our children’s health, the wellbeing from our tiniest 5-year-old, to be made to get up earlier, in the dark, and get to school, we cannot find the solution.”

“So shame on us as a community if we cannot make it happen. Our high schoolers should not suffer for the little ones, and the little ones should not suffer for the older ones.