Early-release workshop scheduled in Hillsborough
TAMPA -- The Hillsborough County School Board will soon take a crack at reforming one of its recurring problems, the school calendar.
The workshop scheduled for January 25 will drill down on the particularly irksome issue of early-release days. As we previously reported, a district subcommittee is proposing that the district either drop the 12 such days in next year's calendar and pay teachers extra for planning and meetings -- a $94.7-million expense -- or start school an hour late one day per week at no additional cost.
But the board may also grapple with a larger question: Why has the school calendar become such a political football here in Hillsborough, with fiery debates over religious holidays and the academic usefulness of shortened days, while other counties pass their schedules each year without a whisper of controversy? Board members Candy Olson and April Griffin have both called for changes that would make the process less fraught, perhaps by finding a way to take planning days out of the pot of the potential teacher contract offerings.
Will they find a way? Stay tuned.