Bill for later CHS start time actually closer to $500,000

Bill for later CHS start time actually closer to $500,000

CUMBERLAND – As it turns out, the cost to let local high school students sleep later each morning is nearly $500,000, significantly more than an earlier suggested price tag of $260,000.

In 2015, school officials estimated a cost of about $550,000 to add the buses needed to accommodate a later school start time for Cumberland High School students.

Last year, the estimate was between $400,000 and $1 million, depending on the number of buses needed and the times they’d be on the road.

Then at a Feb. 20 meeting, in comments made at a joint forum reported the next week in The Valley Breeze, school officials made a 2019-2020 budget presentation to town officials, complete with a digital slide presentation, that the buses needed for the proposed change would cost $260,000. That amount, listed as the entire bill for the later start time, stated that the total would cover the cost of four more school buses.

Asked about the dramatic difference in the older cost projections and the one presented Feb. 20, Supt. Bob Mitchell said officials spent a lot of time with the bus company, Durham School Services, and considered many options. School Business Manager Alex Prignano included the four-bus estimate in the Feb. 20 presentation based on the “most recently identified” busing scenario that would have the least impact on the local budget, said Mitchell. Durham offered one option suggesting that increase of four buses, he said.

Three weeks after that joint meeting with the town, where no one raised questions about the figures, Mitchell is now suggesting that the price tag for the later start time will likely be around $481,000.

“With the configuration we’re looking at right now, we’re looking at the possibility of seven additional buses,” he said.

Each of six new large buses would come at an extra cost of $65,000, he said, and an additional special education bus would come in at about $91,000. Combine those figures, he said, and the total is $481,000. Based on the most recent information provided, said Mitchell, “I think this is a more realistic number.”

The schools are requesting an additional $1.8 million from the town this year, and educators say they must also close an additional gap of $1.43 million.

An earlier start time at CHS has been discussed for years, with school administrators suggesting this year they’d like to push the current start time from 7:15 to 8 a.m.

Though the ideal start time for high school students is no earlier than 8:30 a.m., and most members of a committee studying this concept favor that time, said Mitchell, it’s going to come down to presenting a plan officials believe people will support, which probably puts the start time no later than 8 a.m.

“Anything’s better than 7:15,” he said.

The bottom line, he said, is that even if the School Department had “all the money in the world, changing the start time is going to be a challenge.”


So we are talking 45 minutes . So if that cost $500,000 divided by 45 if I am correct that"s $11.111111 per minute? I got a idea get your sleep on weekends

The later start time was not included in the Superintendent's budget request, which was presented at the recent school committee meeting (Tuesday, March 12).

The proposed budget is here:

My apologies for my last post. As you can tell I lack in math skills. Forgot to enter the 180 days. I promise never to teach math. Once again my apologies

Bill, as of today it's still on the table. The budget is still in flux.