BOSTON

Backlash Over Boston Public School Time Changes

Frustrated Boston parents sounded off at a Boston School Committee meeting in Roxbury Wednesday night.

"Anger does not describe what us parents are feeling," said Jane Miller.

The school district announced last week that start and dismissal times will be changing next year for most schools.

"I'm disappointed that, once again, you asked us what we wanted, and then you went ahead with what you wanted," said parent Susan Lombardi-Verticelli.

Parents are worried about overtired children, as many elementary schools will start at 7:15 in the morning.

"If this goes through and she has to wake up at 6 to get to school at 7:15, by 3 o'clock, she's going to be napping in after-school, and that is not what I want for my kid," said parent Gisel Pena.

They're worried about money, as well. With so many elementary schools dismissing at 1 p.m., they'll be forced to pay for costly after-school programs.

"This has been an extremely flawed process with a complete lack of transparency," said parent Julie Muse-Fisher.

The Boston Teachers Union was among those protesting changing start times.

"The 7:15 a.m. start times, we had advised against that," said BTU President Jessica Tang. "Or the times when a school went from 9:30 to 7:15, or on the opposite end, from 7:30 to 9:30."

School officials say research shows both younger and older students will benefit from the changes.

"We knew we needed to move start times for high school students later," said Superintendent Tommy Chang. "And move elementary school departures times earlier."

School officials will have eight community-wide meetings to get more feedback from parents, but at this point, this appears to be a done deal.

"At this time, BPS is moving forward with the 2018-19 school year start-times plan that was announced last week," the district said in a statement. "Research has shown not only the benefits of making high schools start later, but that it is more developmentally appropriate to have elementary students in the earliest start times."

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