State Rep. Dave Rutigliano (R-123rd) recently spoke in support of legislation that would implement a study to look at the starting times of schools across the state.

The bill, H.B. 5217: An Act Establishing a Working Group to Study Issues Relating to School Start Times, received bipartisan support at the Education Committee’s March 6 public hearing.

“I appreciate the Education Committee’s commitment to listening to existing data on school start times. There have been several studies that indicate school start times should be pushed back based on sleeping patterns of teenagers and how that impacts their overall academic performance,” Rutigliano said. “The goal of this bill is to provide local boards of education with a set of solutions to this identified issue.”

Trumbull resident and local Board of Finance member Marty Isaac joined Rutigliano to provide his personal comments on the subject.

According to Isaac, school start times are a public health issue.

“Connecticut high schools have an earlier average start time than high schools across the country,” he said. He added that teens tend to stay up later than 11 p.m. and require nine hours of sleep for their well-being.

“Starting schools prior to 8:30 a.m. severely cuts into critical resting time for students across the state, which has negatively impacted their ability to participate in class and retain information,” he said.

Rutigliano said the science is clear.

“When schools, specifically high schools and middle schools with greater teen populations, start later in the day, then students tend to do better,” he said.

The Education Committee will consider the public comments put forth on the bill. They must take action by Monday, March 23, to move this legislation along in the current session.