Kyle Stokes has an item entitled South Bend Schools Revive Old Indiana Debate: Central Or Eastern Time? pointing to a South Bend Tribune article about a proposed resolution for South Bend Community School Board for it to join the Central Time Coalition.
The coalition, as the name suggests, supports a switch to Central Time for Indiana. This is fall out from the Daylight Saving Time debate from several years ago. Prior to that, most of the state was on Eastern Standard Time, year round. This was the functional equivalent of year round Central Daylight Time. Eastern Daylight Time causes the hours on the clock to roll around earlier in relation to the sun – that’s why, mornings are suddenly dark again when we were given a taste of daylight in the mornings not so long ago.
In terms of schools, the argument goes, this is pernicious because kids internal clocks aren’t set to let them be as productive that close to sunrise. And, in terms of direct, objective dangers, there is concern about kids waiting for buses in the dark. St. Joseph County is an interesting case – they had petitioned to be on Central Time shortly after Troy Woodruff broke his promise and cast the deciding vote in favor of daylight saving time for the state legislature. Despite the promise that counties would be free to pursue their own preferences on the time zone issue with the Department of Transportation; the State intervened in opposition to St. Joseph’s request based on the protests by Elkhart County that St. Joseph’s time zone ought to serve the convenience of Elkhart County. The feds took notice of that and rejected the request of St. Joseph County to move to Central Time.
For my part, I don’t like the idea of Central Standard Time in the middle of the winter, with its 4:30 sunsets; but I also don’t like Eastern Daylight Time in early spring with its dark mornings. Given our geographic location, year round Eastern Standard Time/Central Daylight Time was the best balance of distributing the available daylight between morning and evening.