Bay County Students Face Changes This Fall

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PANAMA CITY-- Northside Elementary School teacher Jessica Valeski said big changes are coming.

"The rules and expectations are the same, I'm going to put more responsibility on them," Valeski said.

Valeski taught first grade last year and will be following a majority of her students to second grade.

"The campus is just abuzz with excitement, teachers are getting their rooms ready, and we've got some things that we've done over the summer that the kids are going to be very excited about," said Army Harvey, Northside Elementary Principal.

Twenty nine new buses will be rolling into schools, with more cameras and GPS's. Officials said the biggest change is the elementary drop off time.

Students will be dropped off at 7:10 a.m. "The routes should run a lot smoother, and be more on time," said Bob Downin, Bay District Schools Transportation.

Start times will change too. Elementary school will start at 7:45 a.m., middle school at 9:00 a.m. and high school at 8:30 a.m. K-8 and K-12 school times will be the same.

Lucille Moore and Oakland Terrace will add an extra hour of reading time to their days. That's state mandated.

Springfield and Patterson will reduce their school days by 30 minutes. "The reason we cut those hour schools to half hour schools is because the district is funding those and the board approved the additional funding," said Denise Kelley, Director of Elementary Instruction.

District officials will also implement new USDA regulations. "The USDA has specifically trimmed cups, in terms of calories, sodium, sugar level, and all that. We have to restructure going back to our vendors that we reformulate some of items like the cookies we're going to offer this year are going to be low fat cookies," said Julio Narvaez, Chartwells Resident District Manager.

FCAT is out and the new Florida Standards Assessments are in. Lunch prices will go up by 25 cents.

Free and reduced rate students will not be affected.