TAMPA — A rumor that the teachers union had requested more early release days for Hillsborough County students attracted more than 700 people within a week to a Facebook page opposing such an idea.
But at Tuesday's School Board meeting, only five parents voiced their concerns on the issue.
Word circulated last week that teachers had requested increasing the number of early release days to every week instead of the current twice a month. A spokesman for the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association told a St. Petersburg Times reporter that was untrue.
Still, parents are worried.
"Half days cause a tremendous loss of learning," Chrysa Dunser told board members.
"It's just a lost opportunity for our children," said the mother of two students at Gorrie Elementary in Tampa. She said having half days even twice monthly is too much of a disruption.
School Board member Candy Olson said something needs to be done to address the reason half days are taken: planning.
"Teachers must have planning time, there's no doubt about that, but students also need to have school," Olson said.
A recommendation was made that the teachers union form a committee to discuss the matter.
Also during Tuesday's meeting, the School Board approved the district's tentative $2.8 billion budget, a more frugal insurance plan and property tax levy.
The school's portion of the property tax is proposed at $7.59 for every $1,000 of taxable value. A second and final hearing on the budget will be held in September.