South Bend school board votes in favor of resolution to support switching to central time zone

It's a debate years in the making, and now the South Bend school board is joining the fight.

Monday night, it voted in favor of a resolution to support a move to Central time for the state of Indiana. The debate came down to which would be better for students--moving to Central time, or staying in the Eastern time zone.

“Eastern time applied to the wrong geography kills children, " said John Gaski, who works in the department of marketing at the University of Notre Dame. Gaski authored a paper titled, “Detrimental Effects of Daylight-Saving Time on SAT scores,” published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics in 2011 and “Indiana Time Law and Its Detrimental Effects,” published in The Geographical Bulletin by the honor society, Gamma Theta Upsilon in 2012.

A member of the St. Joseph County Council said the council debated the issue in 2005 and had concerns then about sending students to school while it was dark out.

"The known statistical data which has been compiled and tallied in the last couple of years paints a very unfortunate picture of morning darkness related injuries deaths from traffic accidents, " said Mark Catanzarite, St. Joseph County Council member.

A lot of people spoke forcefully to the South Bend school board Monday night in favor of Indiana moving to Central time.

"South Bend has 245 days that the sun does not come up until after 7 o'clock as compared to 93 days for Chicago and 75 days for New York City," said Holly Easterbrook, a South Bend mother of three.

With the passage of this resolution, South Bend joins 45 other school districts in Indiana that want to let the state know they believe moving to Central time would be best for students.

“I'm asking the people from St. Joe County to write their representatives and tell 'em to save our kids and write their representatives to put a bill in there to change it to central time,” said William Sniadecki, who represents South Bend District 3 on the school board.

"If you want to improve education, we just need to change the clock. We're in the wrong time zone," said Jim Dillon, a member of the Central Time Coalition.
There was some discussion on whether changing the start time for school could be a viable alternative, but the majority of the board felt moving to central time was the best solution.

Goshen schools also voted Monday night to join the Central Time Coalition.

No data was presented at Monday night’s meeting to support the assertion that being in the Eastern time zone benefits businesses in Indiana. Sixty years ago when counties in Indiana started switching to eastern time, it was in order to facilitate financial transactions through telegraph with New York city, but Sue Dillon, spokesperson for the Central Time Coalition told school board members that with modern technology, many feel that reason is no longer valid. Dillon said the coalition has tried to find businesses that have benefited from the change and have not been able to do so.

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