We have a very outspoken teacher at school who definitely wants our school to change to a later start time. This was proposed a year or more ago, a parent group really wanted it, but for a variety of reasons (which I won't go into here) the proposal didn't pass.
Today that teacher again offered a proposal at our staff meeting. In a nutshell it was this: start all classes a half an hour later. In addition, we'd offer more "zero period" classes that would start at 7:20 (instead of the few we currently have, that start at 6:50) and our 1st period classes would start at 8:20 instead of 7:50. Teachers would get to choose if they wanted to teach a "zero through 5th" track or a standard "1st through 6th" track.
On the surface it sounds like a great idea; however, think a little about it and all sorts of issues arise. It's not my purpose here to debate the pros and cons of the proposal or each of the impacts, but just to give an idea of how many impacts there are, I'll state a few: busing for special ed students, janitorial support, administrative presence, athletic practices, scheduling students into 0 period courses whether they want them or not, cafeteria worker scheduling, secretarial staff, instructional aides (who, if present for 0 period, wouldn't be available for 6th period), after-school detention, "roamers" on campus during 6th period, families with younger siblings at other schools on other schedules--I'm sure there are other considerations that were brought up that I'm not remembering, but you get the idea.
The point is that changing our start time by a half an hour impacts so many different people; we're not an island, we're part of a community. Change the start time by 30 minutes and look at all the dominoes that fall. Come up with a fix for one, and unintended (or unconsidered) consequences ensure another domino falls.
It occurred to me that this is why command economies and big government don't work--because no one person has all of the information needed to make a good, informed decision. It gets even worse if you don't care about the fallen dominoes, as long as the person in charge gets what he or she wants. When you have to consult with others you get "problems", which is why some people prefer to dictate rather than to solicit input from others; some people do not want to be presented with "problems".
I saw government in the microcosm of our staff meeting today.