MONROE - A proposal to require New Jersey’s middle and high schools to start later in the day is causing a stir among parents.
Under the plan, schools would start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
Studies have found that teenagers are not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, and experts say that a later school day could help students be more alert and learn better.
The New Jersey Department of Education is holding a series of public hearings about the plan. One was held Wednesday in Monroe.
At the meeting, parents and faculty had mixed feelings about starting school later.
Gina Bores says that her daughter is a sound sleeper, and waking her up in the morning is difficult. She testified at the hearing that a later start time would be beneficial.
“You have to shake [my daughter] and it takes life half an hour to wake her up in the morning,” Bores says.
However, Ridgewood Principal Tom Gorman cautioned later school days would bring higher transportation costs and scheduling conflicts.
“If you're going to start the school day later by an hour and then end the school later by an hour, that would force our sports and after-school activities…to go on one hour longer,” he says.
The final public hearing will be Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at Franklin Williams School in Jersey City.
Education officials are also accepting comments about the plan through email. Parents can send emails through May 20.