Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

South Bend Schools Revive Old Indiana Debate: Central Or Eastern Time?

Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images for Waddeson Manor

A clock is wound to the correct time.

Debate over Indiana’s time zone was once thought to be a “third rail” of state politics until Gov. Mitch Daniels put the Hoosier State on daylight saving time in 2006.

But the South Bend school board wants to jump-start the debate once more, reports The South Bend Tribune:

At the board’s next meeting April 8, it’ll consider a resolution to join the Central Time Coalition, a statewide volunteer-run organization that wants to see all Indiana counties on Central Time.

“I get so many complaints during the winter about how dark it is when (school buses) are picking up the kids,” said Bill Sniadecki, the board member who initiated the resolution.

A switch to Central Time, which would push clocks back an hour, Sniadecki said, would make it safer to transport kids to school on dark mornings.

Information on the Central Time Coalition’s website says more than 30 school boards “have signed petitions in support of reuniting the majority of Indiana in its original Central Time Zone.”

The group’s president told The Tribune it’s now more than 40 school districts who have called for the move back to Central time in the winter and Central Daylight time for the rest of the year.


  • Andy Ray

    On Feb. 13 at 7:05 a.m. (Eastern Time), eight-year-old Jared Philbeck
    was hit by a car while crossing busy US Highway 27 in Union County. He
    died the following afternoon, which was Valentine’s Day. On Central
    Time, it would have been daylight at 7:05 a.m, and this tragedy could
    possibly have been prevented. In October of 2011, a New Castle boy was
    killed by his own teacher
    while walking to school in pitch-black darkness. Many such accidents
    have occurred since Indiana was moved to Eastern Time, but their
    regularity has increased substantially since our return to DST seven
    years ago. What kind of society are we that we allow our youngest and
    most vulnerable population to cross busy streets in the dark? We would
    never allow our grandparents to do so, yet we place our children in
    harm’s way throughout most of the school year.

    Some school districts have attempted to remedy this problem by
    pushing back the beginning of the school day until 8:30 or 9. While this
    sounds great on paper, many parents simply must be at work by 8. The
    only logical solution to this problem is for Indiana to return to the
    Central Time Zone. This simple step would squeeze the typical 7.5-hour
    school day into the available nine hours of winter sunlight. Students
    would no longer be forced to wait for buses or walk to school in the
    pitch-black darkness of our misplacement in the Eastern Time Zone.
    Parents would no longer be forced to try to put young ones to bed during
    our abnormally light spring evenings.

    The observance of Eastern Time is also detrimental to our businesses.
    In 2012, Zimmer Industries, Warsaw’s largest employer, moved its
    distribution center (and 350 Hoosier jobs) to Tennessee because their
    CEO was tired of waiting for Indiana to move to the Central Time Zone.
    Zimmer needs its distribution center in the Central Time Zone to “better
    serve their West Coast customers.” Lord knows how many other companies
    have moved out of state (or chosen not to move to Indiana at all)
    because of our incorrect time zone situation. We’re supposed to be a
    “logistics hub.” Let’s correct our time zone so we can be!

  • Mark J. Slutz

    I’ve been watching this debate from over the border. Ohio is also not in the correct time zone; at one time it was in Central, and the mathematical meridian runs through Columbus, essentially bisecting the state. I’ve also seen DST creep earlier and earlier from late April to early March.

    I’m still trying to figure out how getting up in utter darkness and turning on all the lights is making my life better and saving energy.

  • Jeffrey Dunham

    When I was growing up, my father was in the military, so we lived in different states when I was attending school. When I was in elementary schools and Jr. High, school started at 7:30am. I walked about a mile – in the dark – to my bus stop for 8 years, and survived. When I went to high school, we were stationed in Hawaii. We were stated at Hickam AFB, but the school I went to was located near downtown Honolulu – about 20 miles from my house. High school started at 7:20 AM. I had to get up by 6am to get ready for school, then had a 1/4 mile walk to the bus stop – in the dark – where I was picked up at 6:40 am, in order to get to school by 7:15am – again all of this done in the dark. After school, which ended at 3pm, I would often have after school activities that caused me to have to take the city buses home, often not getting home until 5 or 5:30 pm. After getting home I had a minimum of 3 hours of homework every night, including the weekends.

    The reason I’ve related the above is that I’m very tired of hearing about whether Indiana should be on CST or EDS and how students are suffering by having to get up for school while it’s still dark under EDS. Here’s an idea we used – we got our home work done and went to bed earlier (I use to do my homework as soon as I got home and before dinner so that if I wanted to have time for other activities, I could work them into my schedule. But then I was the one who was responsible for operating my schedule), so that way we could have more sleep. Were we tired when we got to school – yes at times we would be…but once at school and staff had the ability to rouse our interest in the days studies school was an adventure. The school I attended in Hawaii is called PUNAHOU SCHOOL. It is a private school, and the school Obama went to and graduated 12 years after I was there. As a private school It was a school that actually was determined that their students got the best possible education while in the class room, but was just as adamant that learning does not end with formal schooling – it’s just the beginning of the spark of curiosity that leads us learn how to answer the questions that confront us, and realizing that for every answer we find, a new question arises.

    Between my time in Bedford Mass for elementary to Jr high, and my time in high school, Neither I or any of the students I rode to school with ever complained about going to school in the dark, or having to walk in the dark on busy streets to get to the bus stop (which at no time was I ever escorted by either of my parents, or having school start so early. If anything it better prepared me for my life in college and the work a day world when I got out of college. Our generation took the responsibility of making the best of what the situation was, planned accordingly, and succeeded in life. Kids do survive uncomfortable situations like walking to school in the dark, far better than we give then credit for. Will some kids by injured – Kids will do stupid things, especially if the parents haven’t properly trained them to have and use common sense and take unnecessary precautions when trying to cross busy streets.
    In the 12 years I went to elementary, Jr High and High School, the time I had to get up to get ready for school, whether it was dark outside, and when I got home was never an issue for me or thousands of other students who had the same schedule. We got by just fine….and so will your kids if you let them.

    Here’s a thought, if you don’t like living in the EST why not move to a CST location within Indiana?

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