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12 Pinellas schools to get new starting times

The changes come from efforts to maximize bus routing efficiency.
A Pinellas County Schools bus is seen during dry runs in a Palm Harbor neighborhood in August 2020. A dozen Pinellas schools are slated to get new start and end times in fall 2022 because of bus routing changes.
A Pinellas County Schools bus is seen during dry runs in a Palm Harbor neighborhood in August 2020. A dozen Pinellas schools are slated to get new start and end times in fall 2022 because of bus routing changes. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Apr. 22|Updated Apr. 22

LARGO — Students at a dozen Pinellas County schools will have to reset their alarm clocks in the fall, if the School Board approves a proposal shifting start and end times for the coming year.

Five of the schools will see their schedules change by a half hour or more, while seven would face an adjustment of 15 minutes.

The biggest moves would come to Azalea and Sawgrass Lake elementary schools, which would begin the day at 8:45 a.m. and end at 2:55 p.m. Currently, the schools open for classes at 7:35 a.m.

Also getting a later start to the day would be children at Perkins Elementary, which would begin at 9:15 a.m. instead of 8:45 a.m., and James B. Sanderlin K-8, which would open at 9:25 a.m. instead of 8:55 a.m.

Seven elementary schools — Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfport Montessori, Lakewood, Maximo, Melrose and Sandy Lane — would start the day at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8:15 a.m., while still ending at 3:15 p.m.

Only one of the schools is recommended for an earlier class day. Clearwater Intermediate, which currently begins classes at 9:40 a.m., would move to a 9:15 a.m. opening bell.

No other schools’ schedules would be changed under the plan.

District officials said the proposal is the result of new bus routing software, which has helped create new routes that maximize the use of the district’s buses. Like other districts, Pinellas has experienced some troubles filling all its driver positions, and has been looking for ways to ensure all students get to class on time.

The School Board will consider approval of the bell schedule at its April 26 meeting.

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