New start times could save Pasco school district a million bucks

Some parents are upset with proposed changes

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - "It's going to be a financial strain on a lot of families, because both parents are still working," said Deer Park Elementary school parent Christine Hall.

Under a proposed change, Deer Park Elementary School in New Port Richey would shift it's start time from 8:40 am to 9:40am.  It might not seem like a big deal, but for parents like Hall, it is.

"Most people start at 9:00, and if they change to starting the day after 9:00, you have other arrangements for your kids," said Hall.

The Pasco school district says the time change plan comes after the their transportation department found they could cut 30 buses by consolidating routes.

Linda Cobbe/Pasco School District spokesperson said,"that translates into between $800,000 and a million dollars in savings, for one thing."

So now you can see why the district thinks it's a good idea, even if it does shake up parents morning routine.

"Sometimes you can't make changes just to help a handful of changes, you have to look at the big picture," said Cobbe.

For some parents, a later start time at Deer Park could cause other issues. They worry that a new Dollar General opening next door will bring more morning traffic at the same time kids are walking to school.

"Well I wish it never opening there. For one, it's a bunch of housing developments and then just the schools, so I didn't see why a business would pop up there," said Hall.

The district is looking at adjusting start times at nine different schools. They says they will make an extra effort to make sure kids are safe around the store next to Deer Park elementary.

And they already have the place program at most schools which provides childcare starting at 6:30 a.m. The cost for that is going up to $26 for a half day, $45 for before and after school.

Parents will have a chance to speak up one last time Friday night, before the school board votes on the changes. The school board meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. in Land O' Lakes.

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