New School Start Times for Bay County Students Next Year

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BAY COUNTY - Bay County students, parents, and teachers will have to get used to different school times next year. Board members had two different proposals to consider Tuesday afternoon.

Bay County school board members were split on whether to adopt Superintendent Bill Husfelt or Board Member Steve Moss' recommendation for new school start times.

School officials say transportation issues are at the heart of the problem, but before board members made a decision, principals from middle and high schools voiced their opinions.

"If we back the school day up, then they miss maybe 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th periods. So they miss half the school day to get to an athletic contest that they don't have any control over," said Sandy Harrison, Mosley High School Principal.

"For me, it's about safety issues because we do have kids that show up at 7:00, 7:15 in the morning and I do think that's different than a high school student showing up at 7:15 in the morning waiting for school to start," said Shirley Baker, Everitt Middle School Principal.

Superintendent Husfelt's recommendation would start elementary schools 5 minutes earlier from 7:50 A.M. to 7:45 A.M. Their day would end at 2:00 P.M.

Both middle and high schools would start 15 minutes later. Middle schools would begin at 9:00 A.M. instead of 8:45 A.M. They'd get out of school at 3:30 P.M.

High schools would begin at 8:30 A.M. instead of 8:15 A.M. and would end at 3:00 P.M.

School board member Steve Moss presented an alternative to the superintendent's proposal. He recommended board members switch the proposed middle and high school times.

Board members sided with the superintendent's recommendation after a 3 to 2 vote.

"Either way would have solved the transportation problem. My point was I was trying to avoid creating other problems. We're still going to create some problems," said Bill Husfelt, Bay District Schools Superintendent.

"I understand that it's important that we deliver them both in the morning and in the afternoon safely and on time. That being said again, I wish academics was more of the discussion today versus transportation," said Steve Moss, a school board member.