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Martin County School Board approves new school start time for elementary schools

Posted at 7:19 PM, Aug 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 04:21:16-04

UPDATE: The Martin County School District Board has approved a new start time for 11 elementary schools effective on the first day of school on Aug. 15. 

All elementary schools, excluding Port Salerno Elementary, will begin at 7:30 a.m. 

This is a 10-minute change from previous years.


Martin County parents were surprised Monday to hear school may start a little earlier this year. 

The district says a state law signed back in June requires students grades K through five receive 20 minutes of recess a day. 

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District leaders tell me they didn't want to take a full 20 minutes away from the academic schedule so they essentially split it up, taking away only 10.
“In order to mitigate some of that lost instructional time as required by the passing of this bill, principals asked for the school start time to be moved by 10 minutes,” says Dr. Tracey Miller.
Under the plan, 11 out of 12 elementary schools would start at 7:30, not 7:40.
The issue goes up for a vote before Wednesday, less than a week before the start of school. 
“Because we had such limited time with the timing of the passing of the bill, we didn't have a lot of time to change schedules to a great degree,” Dr. Miller says.
Some wonder why start the day 10 minutes early rather than end the day 10 minutes later. 
“If we were to end the school day at a different time for elementary, the buses would be late for the high school runs and the middle school runs, so we would have a ripple effect throughout the county,” Dr. Miller says.
Even with this potential last second change, she expects the impact on families to be minimal.
“Students were already on campus in our elementary schools, most students typically, by 7:30,” she says. “Bus schedules were not altered in the morning. So if the busses were due to arrive at 7:10, they're still arriving at 7:10.” 
Anna says more of a heads up would have been appreciated, but the change won't wreck her morning. 
“We get there by 7 o'clock anyway, and we have to wait 10 minutes for them to open up the gates. 10 minutes earlier is fine. But I don't know about the rest of the parents.”