Board of Ed Votes 6-2 in Favor of New School Start Times Schedule; Plan To Take Effect Next April

The Board of Education on Monday voted 6-2 to change to a school start times schedule that will see elementary schools start first in the morning (at 7:50 a.m.), followed by grades seven through 12 (8:30 a.m.) and then grades five and six (9:15 a.m.). Dubbed “Scenario A” by New Canaan Public Schools officials, the schedule would take effect next April. The Board had also been considering a “Scenario B,” which would have seen grades five and six start first (7:45 a.m.), follows by grades seven through 12 (8:30 a.m.) and the elementary schools last (9:15 a.m.). Saying additional school buses could be hired on a trial basis, Board member Dionna Carlson urged the elected body to either adopt Scenario A on the condition that the district “solve for” an elementary school start time no earlier than 8 a.m., or else adopt Scenario B.

“We need to sharpen our pencils—7:50 is nice but 8 o’clock is not an unreasonable request and I think that because we have these local schools, you could add a few more buses in the early tier and then those buses would be done getting those kids back quicker than they normally would be if it was a Saxe or high school drop off at the end of the day,” Carlson said during the meeting, held both in persona and via videoconference. “The research that I read about elementary start times is when you are looking at giving high schoolers more sleep, don’t ever do it at expense of the younger kids,” she added.

Board of Finance Chair: ‘We Will Approve 100% of the Board of Education’s Operating Spending Requests’

What follows are comments that Board of Finance Chair Todd Lavieri made at the start of a budget hearing Tuesday night. Several residents addressed the appointed body during the meeting. They spoke mostly on the question of funding for the Board of Education as it relates to additional buses needed to introduce a new start times schedule that would take effect in the middle of the 2021-22 academic year. 

Comments from two parents, one on each side of the issue, are included below the transcription of Lavieri’s remarks. The chair did address those speakers during the hearing, saying in part, “As you know, I think, the Board of Finance already completely supports our great school system. And obviously we have for over 20 years.