There's a big change coming for a big portion of TISD students next fall. Middle and high school students are set to begin and end school at a later time. That decision has some parents angry.
The moment they found out, we received several calls and e-mails from parents saying they had no input on the district's decision to push back the start times.
"As a parent, I believe I have a right to know instead of being told three days before, two days before school is out that this is the way it's going to be. I firmly believe that." Kelly Bennett is just one TISD parent who told us she's angry she had little prior knowledge and no say in the district's school time change.
When the new times take effect next fall, her daughter will start school 45 minutes later. Under the new changes, classes at elementary schools will stay the same beginning at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Middle schools will begin and end 40 minutes later, and high schools will start class at 8:55 a.m. and end at 3:55 p.m.
"This isn't something we decided yesterday, it's something we've been working on since the beginning of the semester," said TISD Director of Secondary Education Dr. Karen Raney.
"The input comes through a decision making process at the campus level and the district level. A district education improvement council," said Dr. Raney. "That's made up of community members, parents, a representative of each school."
The biggest factor in the decision: instruction time. The state requires seven hours of instructional time and at least one hour of available tutor time.
With the current time schedule and bus routes, some students were not getting all of the one on one time. For example, at Boulter Middle School, classes are from 8 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. That means kids get 7 hours and 25 minutes of instruction time, but only 35 minutes of after school tutoring, making teachers have an 8 hour work day. It's the same at several other schools.
"We put out all different kinds of proposals and we got back all kinds of feedback," Dr. Raney said. She said this new schedule was the best of all proposals. Kelly Burnett said she and other parents will have to find a way to get their kids to school on time.
Dr. Raney said she will speak with any parent who has concerns about the changes.