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Pasco County Schools announces proposed changes to bell times district-wide

school desk
Posted at 7:06 PM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 23:19:15-04

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — Pasco County Schools announced district-wide proposed changes to the bell schedule.

The district said the bus driver shortage is worse than ever and many school districts across the nation are facing the same challenges. The district said because of the shortage, students are arriving late to school in the morning.

Pasco County School Superintendent Kurt Browning explained the proposed changes in a video posted to the district's YouTube page.

The school board discussed the proposed changes in a workshop on Tuesday.

"The result of this acute shortage is that many of our students are late arriving at school in the morning which results in a loss of instructional time and they are late arriving at home in the afternoon and early evening, which put a strain on families," said Superintendent Browning.

The district said it tried several strategies to remedy the situation like financial incentives, pay increases, and job fairs. The strategies have helped but did not solve the problem.

"This proposed situation was not our first choice. It will have a district-wide impact on families, including those who do not rely on school buses for transportation. It involves changes to school bell times district-wide starting in January. In short, by having some schools start earlier and some start later, we can widen the window of opportunity for us to transport students on time," said Browning.

Here is a look at the proposed bell schedule changes:

Jocelyn Lipinski has three children who attend public schools. She said two of her children would start earlier and her third child would have a later start time. She said these proposed changes make it difficult for her as a working parent.

"It's really concerning that this is our best option. I would think with the school board, they would be able to come up with a better option," she said. "I understand there’s a shortage of drivers and I get that, but that’s not the kids' fault."

Superintendent Browning said in a letter to staff, "Changes to bell times are not unusual; we do it every year. What is different is that we are changing bell times mid-year. This will have a far-ranging impact- on students and staff."

The school board is expected to vote in November. If approved by the school board, changes to the bell schedule would start in January.