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District leaders consider changing school schedule to save money

Proposed changes could impact student's schedules
Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 29, 2017

Hillsborough district leaders are considering making significant changes to student’s schedules.

If approved, high school students would go in 15 minutes earlier, while middle and elementary students would to in a half an hour later.

Here’s the proposed schedule:

  • Elementary: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Middle: 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
  • High School: 7:15 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

District leaders think the changes could help save money and get children to school on time.

The district has had problems with buses getting to school late because of traffic and little time between each shift.

Now, drivers would have an hour between each shift and could take up more routes and save leaders money from having to hire extra drivers.

A district spokesperson says they wouldn’t make any cuts to the current drivers.

They'd use the money saved for elective courses like music and art.

“It's so great,” said Grace Winkler, a sophomore at Sickles High School, “because it's only 15 minutes that you’re taking in the morning.”

Winker would get out an hour earlier, including short days every Monday, which she looks forward to working into her busy schedule.

“I dance like 20 hours a week and I work on weekends,” she said, “so it’s a lot to pack into my schedule.”

She was part of a small discussion group with her principal on Wednesday to discuss the proposed changes and let students give input and suggestions.

The more than a dozen students involved all like the idea of getting out early, even if they have to sacrifice some sleep.

However, parents of elementary and middle schoolers worry about having to wait an extra 30 minutes before taking their kids to school.

“It’s not just everyone’s used to it,” said Jonathan Lundgren, a parent, of the current schedule, “its that’s how day shifts usually work in Tampa, so changing those hours would probably cause everyone to be more late.”

A spokesperson for the district says they'll consider extending their Host program, which offers early child care before school, to accommodate parent's schedules.

The superintendent for Hillsborough Co. Schools sent a letter via email to parents informing them of the possible changes and encouraging them to give their feedback by emailing bellschedule@sdhc.k12.fl.us.

A final proposed schedule draft should be ready by next week before board members make a final vote at the end of next month.