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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

No go on earlier start times for Thurgood Marshall



Pinellas County school board member Terry Krassner promised to ask her fellow board members to change Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School's start time back to 7:20 a.m.

On Tuesday, she fulfilled that promise and got an answer she didn't like: Not this time.

By a vote of 5-2, the board voted down Krassner's motion to reverse course on their earlier decision to change the school's start time from 7:20 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The board made the original decision as a way to save money on transportation.

Krassner and fellow board member Lew Williams -- who both supported the reversal --  said the district has been bombarded with emails from Marshall families complaining about the change.

But board members Peggy O'Shea and Linda Lerner cited the financial impact of moving the time back to 7:20 a.m. and busing students to the school at that hour. The district's head of transportation said it would cost about $573,000 more to go back to the earlier time.

And though members of the school community conducted surveys indicating parents were willing to forgoe transportation in order to get the earlier start time, neither Williams, Janet Clark or Lerner were willing to do that.

"The applicants thought there was transportation," Clark said. "To me, that's much more important."

But board members did indicate they would be willing to reconsider busing and start time arrangements in time for the 2012-13 school year.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 4:51pm]


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