Thurgood may ask School Board to end busing
We told you yesterday how parent outrage over the change in bell times for Thurgood Marshall Fundamental School has prompted a School Board member to suggest they reverse course. Now the school itself is weighing in, holding a meeting today at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the library to gauge parents' reaction to presenting a plan to the Pinellas County School Board to end busing in order to preserve the start time.
The School Board voted to change the times last week as a cost-cutting move, from 7:20-2:05 p.m to 9:30-4:15. Parents have been furious. Student Sam Joyce (whose father works for the St. Petersburg Times) started a petition drive that has nearly 200 signatures, and School Board member Terry Krassner said she will bring up the issue at the June 14 meeting.
At the school, 73 percent of those who responded to a district survey said they would provide transportation to Thurgood in order to keep the same start times; 27 percent said they would not. So, the school is working on ways to sway that 27 percent. A phone call went out to parents last night saying that "Thurgood Marshall is a decentralized decision-making school, which means we have the authority to present a plan to the board ... for consideration. The specific reason for this communication tonight is to to find out if you would favor an agenda item presented to the board to eliminate busing to restore start and end times for the school, which is 7:20 a.m. to 2:05 p.m."
"We will have a meeting at 2:30 tomorrow and at 3:30 for you to stop by and share additional comments," principal Dallas Jackson said in the phone call. "We will welcome any comments and make a decision if this is something the Jaguar community would like to make before the school board."
Also on Thurday night, the school's PTSA board voted to sponsor the TBARTA Car Pool Program, pending approval by the school administrators. A parent has volunteered to be the school's coordinator for the program to work with the school, parents and TBARTA.
- Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer (Wynne's son attends Thurgood Marshall)