New start times considered for Nashua schools

NASHUA – A busing system that would allow students to start school between 8 and 8:30 a.m. was presented as the option of choice at a public meeting held Thursday evening by the School Times Committee.

Currently, Nashua students are bused to school in three separate phases. The proposed system would bus students in two waves.

However, the two-tiered busing system would cost more than $1 million, which, according to Kim Shaw, president of both the Board of Education and the School Times Committee, is not a viable option now due to this year’s tight education budget.

“Most agree that a two-tiered bus system rather than a three-tiered (one), across all levels would be best. If that option is not financially possible, then most agree that oldest students should go earliest and get out earliest,” said John Nelson, assistant superintendent of schools.

The meeting was held to present the results of surveys sent out by the committee asking parents, teachers and high school students what time school should start.

The committee was formed after a study by the National Sleep Foundation found that high school students are lacking sleep.

The survey results showed that 41 percent of parents, teachers and students felt that the high school should continue to start at 7:20 a.m., 24 percent said it should start at 8 a.m., 16 percent said 8:30 a.m., 11 percent said 9 a.m. and 8 percent were unsure.

Sonia Powell is a parent with children in elementary, middle and high schools. She said the two-tiered system is the best solution.

“I’m more than happy as a taxpayer to pay for more buses,” Powell said.

Amy Hagen has one child in high school and two in elementary school. She said the two-tiered schedule should definitely be looked into.

“Children should be awake when they are at school,” Hagen said.

Shaw said there would most likely be more meetings held on the subject.