Start times change at 8 Pasco County schools

Board: Deer Park's start time will stay the same

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - The Pasco County School Board voted Tuesday night to change the start times at 8 different schools in the county.

The changes will go into effect this upcoming fall at Fivay High, Harry Schwettman Ed. Center, Moore Mickens Ed. Center, Ridgewood High, James Irvin Ed. Center, Bayonet Point Middle, New River Elementary, and West Zephyrhills Elementary.

The only name missing from that list that could have been there was Deer Park Elementary. On Tuesday, following Superintendent Kurt Browning's recommendation, the board unanimously decided against changing the start time at Deer Park from 8:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. 

Several Deer Park parents, like Judy Lambert, have recently spoken out against the proposed change. The main argument against it was that it would be a financial burden for a lot of the working families in the community.

"Not everyone has the flexibility to be able to change their schedule, especially on such short notice like this," Lambert said.

The district is changing the times to cut costs. The new start times at 8 area schools will save the school district more than $800,000. They're consolidating busses and cutting 30 bus routes.

Browning said the reason Deer Park was not included is because most of the students that attend that school are "walkers."

"We have found that we could generate the same cost savings by not adjusting their schedule," Browning said.

"I believe many people will sleep much better tonight because that was something that was weighing heavily on all of our hearts and minds," Lambert said after the vote.

According to Browning, they plan to revisit this issue again next year. He says 36 elementary schools in Pasco County are already on the 9:40 a.m. start time.

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