It’s time to get serious about time.

High school start times, to be more specific.

Two weeks after hearing a passionate speech from State Representative Dave Rutigliano (R-123), the Trumbull Board of Education listened to additional arguments about why Trumbull High School’s start time should be moved back by one hour at its Jan. 19 meeting.

“Delaying school start times helps combat chronic sleep loss and can improve students’ physical and mental health, safety and academic achievement,” said Kathleen Fearon, who ran unsuccessfully for a board seat in November and cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in her speech to the board.

Among the many reasons she gave to the educators during the public comments portion of the meeting, Fearon said that after school activities would be impacted but “can and should be managed.”

She added that Wilton Public Schools studied a similar proposal over ten years ago and determined that by swapping high school and elementary school bus times they would incur no incremental costs, and that the changed schedule better meets the body clocks of both groups.

In his speech on Jan. 5, Rutigliano recommended for a change of schedule.

“Students learn better when they are awake,” he said.

And boarding a bus as early as 6:20 a.m. too often finds them “exhausted” at that hour, he added.

Other public comments

Jen Kehly, the district’s PTSA president, called herself “disappointed” by the board’s $377,000 cut in the school budget, particularly the $20,000 cut from the curriculum department and $150,000 that would have funded two technology integrators at the elementary level, as recommended by Superintendent Dr. Gary Cialfi.

Ms. Kehly told the board that the PTSA is holding an open meeting with curriculum Director Dr. John Budd on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the Long Hill Administration building to learn about Dr. Budd’s longer term plans for curriculum development and about the SBAC and and the new SAT tests.

National competition

THS Social Studies teacher and We The People Faculty Advisor Katie Boland requested and received approval to take her team to the University of Maryland for five days to compete in the national finals.

The team won the Connecticut state competition for the fifth consecutive year — and for the first time sweeping the event, as all six Trumbull groups won their competitions, including victories against Greenwich and Staples.

We The People is a senior elective designed as a debating competition on US Constitution issues. The class of 24 students students write essays over the summer and begin the year by memorizing 25 Supreme Court cases.

Ms. Boland said she is “proud of my students,” and noted that they spend 15 to 20 hours per week perfecting their We The People speeches.

Labor agreements

Attorney Floyd Dugas presented two labor agreements. Paraprofessional salaries will increase by 2.25% this year and next, and by 2.50% in 2017-18. Benefits will be brought into line with those of other Board of Education units and those of the town. The four board members present approved the contract.

The other covers the custodial and maintenance employees. It was a binding arbitration award, requiring only that the board not reject it — rejection, Dugas said, would necessitate a second arbitration board review, with no new evidence, and would only only cost more to obtain a probable “rubber stamp.”

None of the four board members rejected the contract.

This contract had the same terms as the paraprofessionals, and also brought this unit in line with other Board of Education and town bargaining units.