Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Despite protests, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School start time remains later

LARGO — It's official: Students at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School will be catching the bus two hours later this school year — to the chagrin of many parents.

Parents and students packed Tuesday night's School Board meeting in a last-ditch attempt to convince the board to let students begin their day at 7:20 a.m. instead of the proposed 9:30 a.m.

A motion to change the start time failed, 5-2.

The meeting was the last salvo in an ongoing debate over busing and start times at Thurgood Marshall in St. Petersburg. Superintendent Julie Janssen initially proposed that the district cut busing at the school to save money in the face of a $60 million budget deficit. But some board members objected, and Janssen proposed a compromise: keep busing at Thurgood Marshall in exchange for bumping back the first bell by two hours.

"You had valid points, but they are valid points that are held by many of our parents. We would like to make all middle schools earlier and high schools later," board member Peggy O'Shea told the audience. "The parents who chose this program, this school, knowing they had transportation now don't have another option if we were to pull transportation."

In the past, classes at Thurgood Marshall started at 7:20. The 9:30 a.m. start time saves money by allowing the district to rearrange its bus schedule, but has prompted concerns from parents.

Some have said they rely the earlier start time because they can't afford child care before school. Others rely on busing to get their children to school — having classes start two hours later is the lesser of two evils, they say.

But parents and students at Tuesday's meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to changing the start time.

"For those of us who have to work, who have really good jobs and want to keep those jobs, the 7:20 start time works really good," said Tracy Nicholl, who has two daughters at Thurgood.

And students said they wouldn't have time to finish rigorous workloads and attend extracurricular activities if their start time changed.

Times staff writer Ron Matus contributed to this report.

Despite protests, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School start time remains later 07/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. My AP Top 25 ballot: UCF moves into the top 15, Michigan falls out


    No major changes in my latest AP Top 25 ballot.

  2. Forecast: Cold front on the way, but still upper 80s in Tampa Bay Sunday


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay's heat is about to break, but Sunday will still see temperatures in the high 80s, meteorologists forecast.

    Tampa Bay should see temperatures in the upper 80s Sunday with a chance for showers late. [Courtesy 10News WTSP]
  3. Lutz driver dead after crash with semi on Dale Mabry Highway


    LUTZ — A 68-year-old driver died Saturday night in a crash with a semitrailer truck on Dale Mabry Highway, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  4. Toddler, 1, drowns in spa at birthday party in Trinity


    TRINITY — A toddler drowned at a birthday party Saturday evening and died at the hospital, authorities say, after his parents found him in a spa.

  5. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday


    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.