Proposed school times will be released soon in Hillsborough

Published April 4, 2017

For months, there has been buzz about new start times for the Hillsborough schools -- what they are, what they mean and whether they are a good idea.

But just what are the proposed times?

School district officials are working on a master list that they will disseminate soon. We'll post it as soon as it's available, in advance of our coverage of today's School Board meeting at 3 p.m.

The district has called a special board meeting for April 25 at 3:30 p.m. to discuss and vote on the new times, which take effect when the new school year begins on Aug. 10.

Until now, precise times have been hard to come by. That's because the district wanted to gather input in focus groups before releasing a school-by-school list, spokeswoman Tanya Arja said.

The district also has pushed out letters and videos, reassuring parents and staff that the new times are intended to get students to school on time, enhance activities such as art and music in the younger years, and give teachers more time to plan their lessons.

Absent from the messaging is any discussion of cost, even though the Gibson Consulting Group advised the district it can save $2.7 million a year by spacing the bus runs at least an hour apart. Doing so gives each bus and driver a chance to serve three schools. Under the current arrangement, nearly have only one or two.

Whatever the real reason, much of the discussion assumes an earlier -- and shorter -- day for high school. And that suggestion has led to heated discussions about how early teenagers can be expected to be awake and alert; and whether their after-school jobs and activities should be a priority.

Return here later in the day for the schedule, when it becomes available. The Tampa Bay Times will report on public reaction as the process continues. And we will live-tweet today's board meeting.