TAMPA, Fla. - The Hillsborough County School Board voted 6-1 Tuesday to approve a contract between the district and the teachers union.
One of the many stipulations in the contract creates 14 early-release days during the current school year in which students would be released from school two hours early.
All of the early-release days are Wednesdays. Teachers would use the two hours for planning purposes.
On Tuesday, passionate speakers on both sides of the issue spoke before the board.
Many parents argued their children needed as much instruction time in the classroom with teachers as possible. They felt early-release days would negatively impact the education of their kids.
Many teachers and principals also spoke, arguing the additional planning time would actually make teachers more prepared for the time in the classroom they would be spending with the students. In the end, they felt taking some time for planning would make the education of the kids better.
After a couple hours of discussion, the board voted in favor of the contract.
The contract also makes changes to off days during the school year. During the week of Thanksgiving in November, students will be off the entire week.
Students will now be in class, though, Oct. 29 and Feb. 21.
March 18 and March 21 are now days off as well. That move is an attempt to compensate for a late spring break, which doesn’t begin until April 25.
Teachers ratified the contract with more than 96 percent approval through online voting over 10 days, ending at midnight Sunday.
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