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School Committee votes to move start time later at Northampton High beginning in 2014

  • The Northampton school board voted at its meeting Thursday night in favor of a later high school start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to be implemented by fall of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS<br/>

    The Northampton school board voted at its meeting Thursday night in favor of a later high school start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to be implemented by fall of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Northampton school board voted at its meeting Thursday night in favor of a later high school start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to be implemented by fall of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS

    The Northampton school board voted at its meeting Thursday night in favor of a later high school start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to be implemented by fall of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Northampton school board voted at its meeting Thursday night in favor of a later high school start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to be implemented by fall of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS<br/>
  • The Northampton school board voted at its meeting Thursday night in favor of a later high school start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to be implemented by fall of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS

Voting in favor of moving the high school bell from 7:30 a.m. to a time between 8 and 8:30 a.m. were Mayor David J. Narkewicz, chairman of the School Committee, and members Downey Meyer, Stephanie Pick, Andrew Shelffo, Blue DuVal, Alden Bourne and Howard Moore.

Committee Vice Chairman Edward Zuchowski and member Lisa Minnick voted against changing the start time. Board member Michael Flynn was absent.

The board’s motion directs the superintendent to implement a later-start plan by no later than the start of the 2014 school year.

The vote on the start time occurred shortly after 11 p.m., following a lengthy discussion among board members and numerous opinions voiced on both sides of the issue during the public comment portion of Thursday’s meeting.

Among those who spoke was Bryan Lombardi, an associate principal at Northampton High who will succeed Principal Nancy Athas when she retires in July.

Lombardi told the school board the high school faces “more important issues of concern and priority” than a later start time.

“If you vote yes I urge you to allow me to work with the teachers” on an implementation plan, he said.

Several school board members cited Lombardi’s comments as the reason they wanted to delay changing the school bell until 2014 and also leave it to administrators to set a specific start to the school day.

“I think we should give them the latitude to work between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.,” Meyer said. “We don’t want them to have to come back to the committee with different people sitting here.”

Last month, a study panel recommended a high school start time of 8:15 a.m. beginning this fall. That plan would be accomplished by shortening the school day by 10 minutes and reducing passing times between classes by two minutes.

Comments
Legacy Comments8

tmag - don't waste your time. Facts, reason, and polite discussion doesn't get you anywhere with the "Get Off My Lawn" crowd.

You're so right. Sadly.

A (false) sense of smug superiority doesn't help any at all. Neither does imagining you've created an accurate profile. THAT is close mindedness, sadly, and it also continues and/or exacerbates the existing rift(-s). Divide and conquer, right?

No. Not divide and conquer. We're all in this together - we are all affected by the broken system that allows the *state* to collect taxes from us with no guarantee that it will distribute appropriate shares of those state funds back out to communities like ours. The Prop 2-1/2 state law limits how much cities can collect from residents. The state doesn't take care of our community's needs, and the city is prevented by law from doing what needs to be done. The only safety valve allows residents to agree to increase local taxes to take care of their own community. It is helpful if people understand the differences between state government, city government, and the school system's governing board/committee. The School Committee doesn't tax anybody. How can their decision about a non-monetary issue be related to Prop 2-1/2, which is strictly about money? If we're interested in healing those exisitng rifts in our community, let's start by pointing fingers in the right direction, toward Boston. Those state laws need to change. Pointing fingers at our local leaders and confusing the issues does no good.

And if we'd been able to vote on the start time it would have passed a long time ago.

Five years to debate a start time. Propose a sweeping tax override without a moment's pause.

These two things are not related, start time and tax override. The School Committee does not propose tax overrides; that's the domain of the city leaders i.e., the Mayor and the City Council. And those who pay attention to the complex budgeting issues that face our *entire* community (not just the schools) know that no one has proposed the tax override "without a moment's pause." Hundreds of people all over this city spend huge amounts of time every year agonizing over ideas about how to continue to deliver services to the community, given the limited resources that are available. Remember that the State government's cuts to funds it provides to cities and towns every year for the last ten years have gotten us into this mess.

Actually these two are very much related and this time change should have been placed on the ballot for voters of this city to decide and NOT the override. I can't wait for this to blow up in the face of all these "later is greater" supporters.

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