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Pasco's Wiregrass Ranch High students to get earlier wakeup call

Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 9:41am

Forget later start times.

Students at Pasco County's Wiregrass Ranch High School soon will have to set their alarm clocks a little earlier to make it to class on time.

Wiregrass Ranch, in a fast-growing section of Wesley Chapel, continues to burst at the seams despite a 2010-11 attendance zone shift aimed at offering it relief. Average daily attendance there after a month of classes was just over 2,300 in the classrooms built for about 1,700 students.

A proposal to let kids attend classes from home twice a week to ease the load fell apart due to a lack of parental interest. But now it's so crowded that students struggle to make it to their classrooms on time.

The answer? "It has become necessary to increase the length of the passing periods between classes to allow the students extra time to reach their next class," district officials stated in a document going to the School Board on Tuesday.

Why the School Board? Because the added minute per passing period means extending the school day by six minutes -- five in the morning, one in the afternoon. That would mean starting at 7:25 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m.

In the meantime, officials continue to look for other ways to relieve the booming school.