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New Jersey state leaders consider later school start time

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Tuesday was the last opportunity for parents to appear in person before a state panel that could recommend that schools start later in the morning. But there was little turnout. Out of three speakers signed up, only one appeared.

The sole speaker was former democratic Governor Richard Codey, who wrote the bill ordering that the state study school start times. Governor Christie signed it into law last year.

“All the studies show a correlation between coming in early and failing,” said Codey.

Currently, many New Jersey high schools begin at around 7:00 a.m. or 7:30 a.m.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that high school classes start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

“If he go to bed at 11 or 12, you know, they don’t want to wake up early,” said parent, Agueda Espinal, who says her son has stayed up that late before to finish his homework.

Governor Codey said some parents have complained about homework and sports being pushed back, but no one turned out to voice any concerns at today’s hearing.

“When people are upset they come out to meetings. So the fact there is almost nobody here other than myself is good. It’s a very, very positive sign,” he said.

The panel is expected to publish a report of it’s findings in the coming months. If later school start times are recommended, a pilot program could be coming to select schools across the state.

Parents and students unable to make it to any public hearings can still write to: laterstarttime@doe.state.nj.us.

The deadline for public input is May 20th.