tampabay.com

Parents, set alarms the same

The School Board keeps bell times that start high schools first and middle schools last.

By DONNA WINCHESTER
Published May 9, 2007


For at least one more year, Pinellas schools will follow the opening and closing times that families already organize their lives around.

That means a 7:05 a.m. start time for high schools, 9:45 a.m. for most middle schools, and between 7:45 and 8:55 a.m. for elementary schools.

Pinellas School Board members approved the start times at a Tuesday morning meeting, following a recommendation that maintaining the current bell times would balance the workload among three "tiers" of busing and allow the transportation department to continue its efforts to improve routing and scheduling.

Last year, district officials tried to compress the time between the early morning wave of buses and the third wave, but realized there was no room in the schedule to make the changes and still be able to deliver more than 40, 000 students to school every morning.

In an unrelated matter, board members approved a plan that will allow high school students who are admitted to college halfway through their senior year to participate in school-sponsored athletics and other activities for the rest of the year.

Those students also will be allowed to walk with their class in their high school's graduation ceremony.

Fast Facts:

School start times

for 2007-08 year

7:05 a.m. - high schools

9:45 a.m. - most middle schools

7:45 to 8:55 a.m. - elementary schools