BRIDGEWATER, NJ — Bridgewater is resuming its efforts to possibly come up with a plan for later start times for schools in the district.
Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School district officials met on Nov. 11 to discuss where they left off before the coronavirus pandemic hit and the options outlined by former superintendent Russell Lazovick.
"We reviewed what happened last year, where we were, and when COVID hit and everything ceased," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra at the Tuesday night Board of Education meeting.
Talks over making this change have gone on for quite some time with many in favor of pushing back start times to allow students to have more sleep, which has shown to be beneficial in learning.
Ficarra said the next steps are now to consult with the transportation department to see what costs would be associated with any school schedule change.
The findings would then be presented to the committee, which was established in January by the Board of Education. The committee is made up of board members and other concerned residents, to study the situation.
Ficarra said the district would also look at other internal costs on the administrative level that would be associated with changing start times.
The options would then be presented to the Board of Education for approval and then a series of Town Hall meetings would be held to hear the public's opinion.
"One of my main concerns was that this was brought to the community," said Ficarra. "We will hold numerous town hall meetings to hear what the public thinks and possibly reassess and come back to the board again. We really do want the public's input."
Ficarra is hoping to get the plan approved soon so that the district can make decisions on bussing contracts and budget for it. Ficarra was hoping to possibly implement the new start times with in September 2021.
However, "given the timeline for the necessary input from the community, addressing budgetary concerns, redefining schedule changes, bus routes, etc., the decision could not be made any earlier than March 2021 and a more realistic implementation date, if approved, is September 2022," according to Suzanne Calabro, executive secretary to Ficarra.
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