Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Opinion

Joe Henderson: Peeved at school bus schedules? Be an example to your kids

If you are the parent of a public-school student in Hillsborough County, your life might become more complicated.

Assuming the school board approves, next year the starting and closing times for schools in the district will be changed. Elementary schools will start and end 20 minutes earlier than the current time.

Middle schools will start 25 minutes later and close five minutes later than normal. High schools will start an hour later and let out 25 minutes later than now.

It doesn't sound like a lot, frankly, but any change is guaranteed to be seen by some as seismic and specifically designed to annoy the individual being affected.

I will be as gentle and understanding as I know how to be here, because that's just the kind of guy I am. But listen up — just roll with this.

Instead of venting anonymously online or storming into the next school board meeting to scream about how personally upsetting this is in your particular circumstance, put on your big-person pants.

That might be helpful for your children to see.

It is true that many parents will have to make adjustments to the plans they had already worked out to get their children to class on time.

A quick sampling of a Facebook page popular with peeved people who like to gripe a lot about the school district showed a strong negative bent after the new schedule was announced. I guess we could have predicted that.

Inconvenience is, well, inconvenient. In this case, it also was inevitable because consultants say that will save the cash-strapped district $2.7 million. Money talks.

Of course, some are no doubt wondering why they didn't find a way to save that money without creating all this hassle. I'm sure there will be the suggestion that they could save $225,000 a year by running off Superintendent Jeff Eakins, who introduced this new schedule, and then proceed to the rest of the board members.

Calm down.

On a good day, problems like juggling school start times and bus schedules for about 200,000 students make leading a district the size of Hillsborough seem like drinking from a fire hose. Dealing with those issues is why Eakins makes the big bucks though, so who cares?

Besides, this is all about you, dear inconvenienced parent. Right?

Your blood likely is boiling because that stupid school system doesn't care that you have to be at work, and now you won't be able to stay on schedule because you can't drop off Buffy and pick her up at the same times you were used to.

It messes with after-school activities, homework, jobs, and maybe even dinner time.

This could mess up the whole carpool schedule. If your child is an elementary student, you will have to get them up, ready and out the door earlier to get them to school on time for the 7:40 a.m. bell.

After they get used to it though, chances are most people will find it isn't as bad as they think.

High school students will probably like the change. They get to sleep later, and studies show they're more attentive in class when that happens. That will make their teachers happy.

This change probably is years overdue. Eakins has pointed out how the current schedule resulted in a convoluted busing scheme that had students often arriving late to class. In addition to saving money, this change is supposed to help that.

The board has been talking about this for months, so people have had plenty of warning that this change was coming. It's not personal, but it did mean a lot of people were always going to face a new normal that could be complicated.

This this is a good time to learn it's not always the other guy.

Comments
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18