By Beth Treffeisen
The Boston City Council filed for a hearing order to address the Boston Public Schools new start and end times. Council members shared that they have received numerous phone calls on the matter that has raised many questions on how it will impact both students and their families.
Councilor Matt O’Malley said, “This is a far worse system. The science is there and is solid but that should not come at the expense of an unworkable elementary school. I’ve received more calls and e-mails and other social media comments on this than anyone else. It is affecting literally every block in my district.”
“We need to hit pause on this plan now and having a hearing makes sense. The student assignment process will begin in earnest a month from now.”
Annissa Essabi-George said, “It is good policy on paper but the role out across the district is not even close to good, it is actually awful for so many of our families. It is important that we don’t sacrifice our youngest kids in order to do what need for our oldest.”
She said the policy looks good on paper with high school starting after 8 a.m. and elementary schools not being let out after 4 p.m. but that shouldn’t mean start time should be 7 a.m. and let out time at 1 p.m.
There where a lot of calls from parents worried that they wouldn’t be able to afford the extra childcare they would need for students being let out earlier.
City Councilor Andrea Campbell said that she has received several calls from constituents both positive and negative but that this policy related to new times needs to be looked at.
Campbell said, “I’ve heard from residents that are happy with changes but at the same time am troubled by parents who didn’t know anything about new times around elementary schools and the anxiety around the new start and end times.”
“It has to happen in January but at the end of the day it has to do with communication. Sometimes great things we can do better and I urge my colleagues to take some sort of steps and action to do something on this.”
Tito Jackson brought up the point that the City Council will not have a time to hold a hearing before registration begins on January 3, 2018. He urged that the school committee should meet before that.