Does a start time change for grades 7-12 mean other grades have to start at 7:30?

Not necessarily. The calculation is fairly simple. If parents in New Canaan do not want any child going to school as early as 7:30, then we will likely need to pay for more buses. There are multiple options and multiple costs for making the change. What is clear is that change is necessary - we cannot continue to inflict systematic sleep deprivation on our teens. We have to give them more time for sleep. As a town, we have to come together to decide which option for doing that is the best one.

Why is busing such a factor in later start times?

Because busing drives the cost of the change. It is also a major constraint in determining what start times are possible for each school.

New Canaan has a 3-tier bus system. This was adopted sometime in the 90s as a way to save money on busing. Instead of two start times in the system, both after 8AM, they added a 3rd time - 7:30 a.m. It is unlikely we would make that decision again, now that there is so much research about the impact the 7:30 start time and the resulting sleep deprivation has had on teens.

What does the research say about elementary schools starting at 7:30?

There isn’t as much research on the impact of earlier start times for elementary age kids as there is on adolescent sleep. Several districts have made the change in a cost-neutral way by swapping start times. However, many districts decide to fund more buses so that no school has to start as early as 7:30.