📚 NJ’s great “high school start time” debate is renewed
📚 A majority of NJ residents think starting later makes sense
📚 The central issue of the debate is high school sports

It’s been talked about for years.

A measure that’s pending in the Legislature, S2462, that would push back high school start times in New Jersey has the support of a majority of Garden State residents.

Dan Cassino, the executive director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll, said New Jersey residents were asked if they think high schools should start their day later and 55% support the idea of pushing back start times to at least 8:30 a.m., 30% are opposed to it and 15% said they weren’t sure.

“We didn’t see a big difference between parents and non-parents," he said. "We figured that parents who have to get up with their kids would be more likely to say yeah, we should push back those start times but we don’t see that."

What’s the controversy really about?

Cassino said the central issue is high school sports because if you delay the start of school it will also push back the end of school, “and that’s also going to push back when athletics start.


Another big issue

He said the other issue here is parents having to go to work.

“If you have to go to work and the start time is pushed back enough, that could interfere with your commute, so we imagine some parents don’t want the start time to be pushed back too much cause it might make it hard for them to get to work on time.

The survey found while 65% of Democrats favored pushing start times back, only 42% of Republicans thought it was a good idea, and 62% of women support the idea of a later start time compared to men (48%).

The survey was conducted Feb. 1 to 6 using a certified list of adult New Jersey residents carried out by Braun Research of Princeton, New Jersey. Respondents were randomly chosen from the list, and contacted via either live-caller telephone interviews, or text-to-web surveys sent to cellular phones, resulting in an overall sample of 808 respondents.

How to force schools to open later

The legislation, which is now being considered by the State Senate Education Committee specifies in order to receive any state aid, a school district, charter school, renaissance school project, county vocational school district, or county special services school district that includes grades 9 through 12 will be required to begin regular instruction for high school students no earlier than 8:30 AM.

How much your school district gets under Murphy's proposed 2024 budget

Gov. Phil Murphy's porposed 2024 budget includes $1 billion in new spending for school funding including pre-K funding, pension and benefits, and an additional $832 million in K-12 aid, which is listed below by county and district.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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