Bay County Parents React to Extra Hour of School Proposal

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BAY COUNTY - Bay County parents are voicing their opinions about an extra hour a day for elementary schools. School district officials are considering the proposal, which would cost about $5 million to implement.

Bay County elementary school parents are learning about a proposal that would extend their child's day by one hour.

School district officials are considering it because Springfield Elementary School teachers used an extra hour a day to greatly improve students' reading scores.

It will cost the school district $5 million to add an hour a day to each elementary school, or $3 million if the district only expands the schedule at Title I schools. The proposal is in its early stages.

"The information that's collected will be used by the board members to make decisions about best practices and to see if it's even feasible," said Denise Kelley, Bay District Schools Elementary Instruction Director.

Kelley says they're looking to state legislators to help fund the program. If not, supporters are suggesting cuts to other programs to come up with the funding.

They outlined potential cuts Tuesday, including school resource deputies, courtesy riders, athletics, art, music, and a paid lunch time for teachers.

"Items that are flexible in funding and they're high expenditures for the district. So the superintendent presented those as items not suggested to be cut but just here's some more information," said Kelley.

Not all parents like the suggestions.

"That's all part of them growing up too. Education is very important and for my kids to participate in sports and dancing and all, they have to get good grades, but they need that at school also," said Karen Arrigo, a Bay County parent.

"That's some children's only outlet. Some kids aren't athletic and that is their outlet and we should not take music and art out," said Sabrina Whitehead, another Bay County parent.

School Board members say they plan to hold another workshop about the issue.