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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

School start times issue coming back in Pinellas



School bell In speaking to teachers at St. Petersburg High this afternoon, superintendent Julie Janssen said she hopes high school start times will be closer to 8 a.m. next year instead of the current 7:05 a.m.

“Change is hard,” she said, “but everything we know says our high school kids need to start later.”

Debate over school start times in Pinellas isn’t new. Former superintendent Clayton Wilcox pressed the issue in 2005 but backed off after a backlash from some parents. Last year, the School Board decided against a new busing plan that would have moved high school start times to 7:30 a.m. and middle school start times from 9:45 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Janssen mentioned start times at a “listening tour” forum organized by the Pinellas teachers union. Deputy superintendent Jim Madden told the Gradebook after the event that the issue will resurface in coming months. School Board members are “receptive to having that discussion,” he said. “It’s time to put it on the table again.”

“We’re going to get a little push back,” Janssen told about 25 teachers who attended the event, “even though we know it’s the right thing to do.”

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:46am]


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