Public Workshop Addresses Possible School Changes - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Public Workshop Addresses Possible School Changes

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What your child can wear to school is at the center of discussion for the Bay District School Board. At a workshop Thursday morning, Superintendent Bill Husfelt presented some dress code change recommendations.

"Styles and things have changed," says Superintendent Bill Husfelt. "The intent for the way things were worded when they were done were different in what things have evolved in now. There were some concerns about the amount of wasted time that was spent by administrators and teacher enforcing some things that they just didn't feel comfortable enforcing."

According to Husfelt, the current policy has been in effect since 1997, with only minor revisions. Husfelt says revisiting the policy came at the request of teachers and students because some of the elements were a little out-dated and wasting class time.

Some of the main recommendations for change included allowing

-allowing black colored pants and shorts

-allowing untucked shirts

-allowing hoodies and long sleeve sweatshirts in school colors with no logo requirement

-allowing scarves

-no belt required to be worn with pants as long as they are seated appropriately

The recommended changes were received positively by many administrators at the meeting like Mosley High School Principal Sandy Harrison. "The subtle changes that they are proposing make good sense especially at the high school level, like being able to untuck the shirts the belt rule," says Harrison.

The Bay District School board is re-evaluating school start and end times for students, something also discussed at Thursday's workshop.

"We think these changes that we are recommending are solid," says Husfelt. "They're research based, and we think they will be good for our students. That's been the main focus."

After evaluating surveys from the community, the superintendent is recommending changing the high school start time to beginning class an hour later in the morning. The middle schoolers would start earlier than the current start time. Another recommendation is to add a few extra minutes to the elementary school day.

The recommendations would have the elementary students start at 7:45AM and get out at 2:15PM, adding an extra 20 minutes to their day. The middle school would start at 8:10 in the morning and get out at 2:40PM, and the high school would start at 8:30AM and get out at 3.00PM.

A later start time for the high schoolers is something parent Holly Lasecki thinks would greatly benefit her daughter. "My daughter went from middle school getting to school at 8-o-clock to getting to school at 7-o-clock, and it's been a big transition for her," says Lasecki. "If she were getting on a bus, she'd be getting on a bus at 5:55am. It's very early, and kicking her out of bed every morning has been difficult."

Adding additional time to the elementary school day would require negotiations with the teachers union because it exceeds the contract time with the students.

The last topic discussed at Thursday's workshop took a look into expediting school improvement projects on the half cent sales tax list.

The idea is to take advantage of the current low interest rates and completive construction prices to not only save money, but provide a better learning environment faster.

There are three main sources of revenue for capital projects:

-Local Capital Improvement money- from the property tax millage

-Public Education Capital Outlay- or PECO money, coming from the state

-Half Cent Sales Tax

According to the District, LCI funds are as low as ever, and there is zero PECO money, leaving the Half Cent Sales Tax with the only positive projections. With less than two percent interest rates and extremely competitive construction prices, the superintendent is asking the board to consider the possibility of bonding part of the Half Cent Sales Tax money to get construction done faster and at a lower cost. A decision Husfelt wants to make relatively soon.

"I don't want to drag this out the interest rates are not going to go much lower. They're pretty good right now. When you can borrow anything for under 2 percent, the cost of construction is going to go up faster than that, so we know we would save money in the long run," says Husfelt.