Hillsborough plans earlier start for high schools, late start for elementaries

- Hillsborough County schools are proposing shifts in the timing of the school day for all grade levels.

The proposal would mean elementary school students would start their day between 8 and 8:35 a.m. Middle school students will start between 9 and 9:30 a.m. and high schools will go earlier, starting between 7:15 and 7:33 a.m. 

The superintendent says the key is to space out start times between high school and elementary, from 27 to 62 minutes.

"I feel for people who might have to make adjustments in their day," Superintendent Jeff Eakins said, adding defense of the proposal. "It is a proposal that we believe will allow our students to have maximum minutes of instruction in school." 

School officials say they hope the extra time will prevent elementary kids from arriving late, and allow more drivers to do several trips.

It could also save $2.7 million, which they hope to put into physical education, art and music.

The end of the day, however, will also change.

The elementary day will let out at 3:05 p.m., middle school at 4:25 p.m., and high school at 2:10 p.m.

LINK: See the proposed school-by-school bell times

While middle and high school will lose 20 and 32 minutes in their days, respectively, administrators promise to take it from between classes and homeroom. The idea is to get high schoolers off to extra curricular activities more quickly.

Even though the times for some of the school day will decrease, the superintendent says they will still be meeting state requirements, and days at Hillsborough schools will still be longer than other neighboring districts.

Officials are asking for feedback via the email address BellSchedule@sdhc.k12.fl.us. There will also be meetings to vote on the proposals leading up to a final vote on April 25.

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