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Short days only for high schools

Elementary school and middle school pupils who expected to be dismissed early on the last three days of school are in for some disappointing news: Early dismissal is for high school students only. The Pasco County School Board on Tuesday voted to clarify the school calendar to make sure that only high school students get out early on June 12, 13 and 14.

School Board members and Superintendent of Schools Tom Weightman apparently had intended for only high school students to get out early. Yet, the way the calendar reads, all students are affected.

Tuesday, the board voted to change the wording on the calendar. The calendar used to say "Early dismissal for students" for those three days. Now it will read, "Early dismissal for high school students."

That way, Weightman explained, young children would not be sent home early to unsupervised homes.

But Alan Jones, president of the school employees' union, said that will not be well received by teachers, especially those in elementary schools. Jones said that when the calendar was approved, the rationale for the early dismissal was clearly stated in a committee report about the calendar.

"This will assist elementary teachers especially, since report cards go home the last day of school," the report reads in part.

Jones said the union probably would challenge the change in the calendar.