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Glens Falls schools keep later start time for 2012

Glens Falls schools keep later start time for 2012

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GLENS FALLS -- Beginning next fall, students at Glens Falls High School will have to be in class by 8:30 a.m.

The Glens Falls City School District Board of Education rejected an attempt Monday to rescind a decision the board made in May to change the school start time.

In a 5-4 vote, the board made its decision after hearing from numerous parents and students who opposed changing the start time from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m.

The vote was made at the board's regular meeting, which was conducted in the high school auditorium because a large audience was expected. More than 50 people attended, many of them parents and students.

Board members who favored the later start time said it would give students more time to sleep. As a result, students will be more alert, which could lead to better academic performance.

Anna Poulos, president of the board, said other schools across the nation have changed to later start times and have seen positive results. She said studies have shown students will benefit from the extra rest.

"Any extra sleep you can get is beneficial to you," Poulos said.

Matthew Conrick, a board member and teacher, said students are less alert in morning classes.

"For me, I'm for this," he said. "The research is clear."

In May, the board voted 5-4 to change the start time starting in September of 2012.

But last month, Peter Casertino, a board member, requested a motion to be added to the December board meeting agenda to rescind the May vote.

If the motion to rescind had been approved, the start time would have remained 7:45 a.m., as it is now.

Casertino wanted the topic brought back to give residents an opportunity to discuss it. It also allowed the board's two newest members - Conrick and Kevin Rosa, who were not on the board in May - to have a chance to decide on the start time.

During Monday's meeting, Casertino said everyone he has spoken to has opposed the new start time. In addition, with a decision earlier this year to close the Sanford Street Elementary School, the district has gone through too much change.

"I'm standing up for the people I have heard from," Casertino said. "We have been through enough changes, and I'm not willing to go through another at this time."

A committee that included high school administrators and teachers spent nearly two years studying the pros and cons of starting classes later in the day. The committee found students benefited from the extra sleep.

In addition, the high school principals and superintendent supported the new start time.

On Monday, about 15 people addressed the board. Most of them were against the 8:30 a.m. start. Some parents said students would go to sleep later in the night. Others said the new start time will create inconveniences for parents who have to get to their jobs and drop off their children.

Parents also felt it would have a negative impact on some students.

"We are going to hurt as many students as we help," said a man who spoke at the meeting.

A parent who supported the new start time said it was worth trying if it could benefit students. If it did not work, the board could change the time again.

"I think we are hurting our kids by not giving it a try," she said.

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During Monday's meeting, a motion was made to rescind a board decision to change the high school start time. The board voted 5-4 to reject the…

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