BPS Get Earful On Proposed School Start Times Change

(Photo Credit: Lana Jones/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

Photo Credit: Lana Jones/WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) - The Boston School Committee faced scores of angry parents Wednesday a week after approving new school start times for next fall.

The new schedule proposes that most high school students start school after 8 a.m. and children who attend more than 3 dozen elementary schools and middle schools across the city to start class by 7:15 a.m.

The parents didn't expect and don't want the early start times for the younger kids.

Tommy Chang, BPS superintendent, and the school school committee spent 40-minutes defending the policy---amid a barrage of shouts and boos before opening the floor to public comment.  

Someone in the back shouted "traitor" when committee member Michael Loconto said he heard the parents concerns.

"That does not take away from the fact that this is good policy and it's founded on something that we created over an extended period of time with an awful lot of public comment and an awful lot of public input," Loconto told the audience.

One parent, Antonia Rodriques directed her anger at The Superintendent.

"This world is not easy and we know that. But for our children that live in poverty and low-income, it's much harder for our Black and Hispanic children...it's much harder. I mean Tommy Chang you're a minority like the rest of us. It took a lot to get to where you got to right? So, why do you wanna down on us to where we got to get to? Why you gotta make it harder for us single mothers that are struggling? that we can't get a job that's going to start everyday at 10 o'clock in the morning. We don't have careers we have jobs, we're not on a union...we are laborers," Rodriques said.

Susan Lombardi-Verticelli told the committee that this policy will not stand.

"So your homework assignment is to look at what a 7:15 a.m. start school would look like for a child and when you have done that and have actually looked at the data that the parents have given you, then... and only then...we can have a discussion about what is best for our children," she told the school committee.

Both of comments from parents yielded a thunderous rounds of applause from the audience.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also spoke out on the issue. 

Speaking with Dan Rea, Host of NightSide with Dan Rea on WBZ NewsRadio, changing the school schedule would be beneficial financially long-term.

"This is about "getting these buses under control" and "getting less money into transportation and more money into education." Walsh said. 

 "We are putting kids ahead of transportation to put the money back into schools," he said.

WBZ NewsRadio1030's Lana Jones reports.

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