A group continues in its efforts to put all of Indiana in the Central Time Zone, and with more than 25,000 signatures on their petition, the movement is gaining momentum. Sue Dillon, president of the Central Time Coalition, said previously that 42 school districts have expressed their support for the movement.
Dillon said the Central Time Zone is the “correct” time zone for Indiana, but it was changed in the 1960s to the Eastern Time Zone based on “assumed convenience “ to businesses. Dillon, however, said this only benefited a select group of businesses – not all of them.
One of the big advantages to Central Time in Indiana is fewer school delays. Dillon said the roads will be clearer, because more sunlight in the morning helps to stimulate melting compounds to help clear the roads. She said schools in the Eastern Time Zone have an inordinate number of two-hour school delays, and since those are never made up, that’s lost time – and money.
“If you calculate the cost of salaries, it averages out to about $7 per hour per student to educate students. This year, in the Eastern Time counties, that tallies up to $91 million of money that has been spent to educate students while students are waiting at home for the roads to be cleared. So it’s wasted money,” Dillon explained.
Dillon said if schools started even one hour later, school delays could be cut in half, along with the cost.
Another disadvantage to the Eastern Time Zone, Dillon said, is the lack of evening darkness. This postpones campfires, fireworks, outdoor movies, outdoor concerts, and even stargazing.
The group has filed a petition for redress of grievances with the Department of Transportation and the department that makes time zone decisions, Dillon explained.
“What we want is for these issues to be given a fair hearing. If they don’t stand up, we’ll have to live with us, but we think all of the facts are in favor of Central Time and there are no facts in favor of Eastern Time in Indiana,” Dillon said.
What’s worse, the Eastern Time Zone in Indiana could actually be driving business away, Dillon said.
“Indiana is losing some businesses. There’s a high-tech business, Zimmer Orthopedics in Warsaw moved their distribution center to Memphis, Tenn., simply – and they stated it in the paper when they did this – because they cannot get same-day delivery of their products from the Eastern Time Zone. They can get it from Memphis and the Central Time Zone. So there are a lot of businesses that are being adversely affected,” Dillon said.
The group continues to collect signatures on their petition, but the easiest way to express your support is to go online to www.hoosiersforcentraltime.com and sign their online petition.