Minutes will matter for these Pasco schools next year

Students at nine schools are slated to start classes earlier each day.
A school bus travels the early morning streets of Pasco County on the way to the first day of classes in 2017. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
A school bus travels the early morning streets of Pasco County on the way to the first day of classes in 2017. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
Published May 15

As some Florida school districts, including neighboring Hillsborough County, have looked to later starts for high school classes, several Pasco County campuses are moving in the other direction.

The changes proposed to start school earlier at nine Pasco schools shift the start times by 10 minutes at most. But anyone living with a teenager can testify that getting them up and out the door in the predawn hours is a push, and minutes matter.

Students at Sunlake High and Achieve Center of Pasco are likely to feel the pinch the most, as they have been recommended to begin school at 7:20 a.m. — five minutes earlier for the Seahawks, and 10 minutes sooner for the Achieve Center. Sunlake also would end the day three minutes later, at 1:54 p.m.

Sunlake officials requested the new times in order to ensure students receive enough instructional hours during the year, while the Achieve Center wanted more time for students to arrive and transition into classes each morning.

Other schools facing earlier bells each morning include Wesley Chapel High (4 minutes earlier), Wiregrass Ranch High (1 minute), Mitchell High (1 minute), Hudson Middle (5 minutes), Stewart Middle (5 minutes), Chasco Middle (1 minute) and James Irvin Education Center (5 minutes).

Land O’Lakes High would be the only school to shift its start time later, by 5 minutes to 7:30 a.m., as time added for passing periods during construction no longer is needed.

All other schools are recommended to keep their bell schedules unchanged. See the full list here. The School Board is supposed to consider the recommended start and end times at its meeting Tuesday.

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