Previous efforts in Montgomery included intensive study and a range of options, said Patricia O’Neill (District 3), a school board member whose tenure goes back to 1998. The best option, she said, was to buy more buses and hire more drivers, but the cost was prohibitive. “Do you buy more buses or hire more teachers?” she asked.
“There are no simple answers,” O’Neill said, noting that concerns were raised about teens’ after-school jobs and families that depended on teens to care for younger siblings while their parents worked. Some advocates of later start times suggested that younger children be the first ones taken to school, but many objections were raised about them walking or waiting for buses in the dark.
Still, O’Neill said, “I’m happy to take a look at it again.”
The petition is to be presented to the school board this month.
But not everyone is persuaded of the need. Some suggest that tired teens should just get to bed earlier — and stop their late-night texting and messaging on Facebook and Twitter.