At Tuesday's news conference, the Superintendent said "it is important to explain why we need to change the bell schedule in some way, the existing schedule does not allow enough time for buses to complete their routes between schools, because of that, last year, more than 12,000 students were late to school every day and it was not their fault. That cannot continue in our district. Every student deserves a full day."
Under the proposed bell schedule, high school would start an hour later than it does right now. The bell schedule would be a significant change with elementary schools starting first, then high schools, and then middle schools.
“Is it rough when the alarm clock goes off?" asked our reporter Eric Waxler.
“Yea. Don’t want to get up,” said Hillsborough High School junior Cedrea Fowler.
“How many times do you hit snooze?” Waxler asked another student.
“Three times,” said junior Jhovany Merizier. “I don’t drink coffee. So it’s hard for me to get up. Sometimes I almost fall asleep in (my first class) there.”
Superintendent Eakins said studies show an extra hour of sleep helps with attendance rates, and graduation rates. It even reduces the number of students involved in fatal crashes and lessens obesity numbers.
“This allows them a little bit more of a comfort to know they have a little bit more time in the morning to get some sleep. To get into their first class,” said Eakins.“Our buses have literally had to show up at our high schools between 6:30 and 7 in the morning, that means high school students have been getting on the bus at 5, 5:15 a.m. That will no longer be the case in Hillsborough County.”
The schedule will need to be approved by the School Board. The School Board will vote on the 2018-2019 bell schedule on Tuesday, October 17. The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. at the district headquarters located at 901 E. Kennedy Blvd.
If approved, the new bell schedule would take effect August 2018. The district says this will give families nearly a year to make needed adjustments to their schedules.