Hillsborough Schools chief to recommend postponing bell schedule change

By Audrea Huff, Senior Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017, 3:36 PM EDT

After a massive public response to a proposed change to the Hillsborough County Schools bell schedule, the superintendent will recommend postponing plans to change the schedule for one more year.

  • Hillsborough superintendent: Wait a year on bell schedule change
  • School district received massive public response to change plans
  • Buses are 'chronically late,' superintendent says

Superintendent Jeff Eakins sent an email to parents and guardians Monday, thanking them for the thousands of emails the district received and focus-group feedback from more than 1,000 people — feedback which he said impacted his decision on a proposed new bell schedule.

"I am going to recommend we wait a year before making any change to the bell schedule," Eakins said in the email.

The proposed change stemmed from discussions on how to resolve "chronically late" buses and to save the district money. In August, Hillsborough Schools began discussions on how to improve bus route efficiency.

"We need to act in order to improve the schedule so that our students are in class, on time. We feel the proposed schedule is in fact, the best for our community," Eakins said in the email to parents and guardians.

But after the district received more than 4,000 emails on the proposal, and almost 1,300 people attending focus groups on it, Eakins said they're putting off plans.

"We care about how our parents feel and much of the feedback we have heard centered around the fact that families do not have enough time to plan for these changes," he said. "This additional time will allow the school district and families to make any necessary adjustments and clarify questions or concerns that exist."

Eakins will make the recommendation at the April 25 school board meeting.

Recommended bell times for the 2018-2019 school year will be posted online Tuesday at http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/1855/administration/resources/belltimes/, the school district said.