Start times could be changing in Hillsborough County schools this August. You had lots of questions about how it will affect parents and students. Here's what we know about the plan so far:
Buses start running before the sun comes up in Hillsborough County. High schoolers get an early start with the first bell at 7:30 a.m. Then the rush is on to get back out and get the elementary kids to them ready to start learning at 8. At that point, there's a little bit of breathing room to get middle schoolers picked up and delivered to class by 9 ... but it's not all adding up. Tanya Arja is a spokesperson for the district.
"We need to ensure that our students get to school on time because in many cases our bus drivers just don't have the time that they need to get from one school to the other," she says. She adds that the school board is discussing adjusting those start times to be more efficient and save the district money in the process.
"The idea is that if we can have an hour in between the start times, it would give the bus drivers time to get from one school, go pick up the other kids, get them to their school, go back out again and get kids to the middle school."
What we don't know yet, and what many of you are asking on Facebook, is which start times will be changed. And how that will affect release times?. One parent commented: "If they push it back for all, middle schoolers won't get out until nearly 5:00 PM. Crazy!"
Arja says, "After spring break we are going to be holding meetings where we will have teachers, parents and students come out to some of these meetings at some of our schools and talk to them about some of their concerns."
Another concern is how this will affect working parents. A mom commented: "There's no way parents can work and make this happen. My elementary kids will literally start their day two hours before they even start school." Arja says they understand and will look at whether changes need to be made to care already offered at many middle and elementary schools.
The school board is expected to make this decision by May. That will give parents the summer to plan for the changes.