Changing schedules

Pasco County school time changes impacted students.

Jacob Flynn (‘24) boards bus 714, heading to his seat after school. He squeezes through the narrow and crowded walkway.

Breanna Valentine

Jacob Flynn (‘24) boards bus 714, heading to his seat after school. He squeezes through the narrow and crowded walkway.

Bella Melby-Mazzei, Staff Reporter

On Jan. 4, Pasco County Schools shifted their bell schedules due to the problems with bus drivers. According to Ms. Maria Virgilio (FAC), the staff member tasked with daily bus duty, the change failed to reduce the number of late buses.

“It may [help] according to transportation, but as far as having buses being here late no, but it may be helping for other reasons that I’m unaware of like, transportation wise,” Ms. Virgilio said.

Only one thing changed for Jacob Flynn (‘24), and that was his afternoon bus. In the beginning, his bus was not packed, then all the bus drivers left causing his bus to become a double run for the rest of the semester. When talk of the time change happened, Flynn thought this would help the problem.

“They stopped doing double runs and they put our bus in an actual row instead of sitting on the curb. Now it’s just completely packed again, I don’t know why it changed, they just packed an entire other bus onto our bus and it’s two to a seat, sometimes three to a seat,” Flynn said.

One student, Emma Thompson (‘23) hasn’t been impacted by the school time change.

“I don’t feel too bad about it since it was only a five minute change, and I don’t have to wake up earlier. ​​I mean, I would like to revert back to normal time because I’m so used to it, but I’m indifferent,” Thompson said.

Flynn preferred that school started earlier in the day.

“I’d rather get home earlier because that means there’s more time in the day to do stuff. I’m not really going to do anything at like seven or six in the morning. I have more time that day to do stuff,” Flynn said.

For Harmonie Blankenship (FAC) and her family, the time change caused some problems. Her first son Brent, goes to Seven Springs Middle School, while her husband and second son Tanner are at Sanders Memorial in Land O’ Lakes. Seven Springs is just a minute behind Mitchell, while Sanders memorial moved their start time from 8:30 am to 9:00 am, which brings their end time to 3:30 pm, including the commute home.

“It’s not a big deal if it serves the greater good. [It’s an] inconvenience now having family dinners and things like that are ruined,” Mrs. Blankenship said.

The time change affected parents, and as a result it impacted those with younger siblings at different schools.

“This schedule is fine for us here at Mitchell. Especially with the middle school because I know we have a lot of siblings and children over there. So it works out well for us to be on the same schedule. But if you have a kid in elementary school or you have a sibling across districts, it definitely does kind of impact things,” Blankenship said.

According to Baynews9.com, the district tried multiple solutions like pay increases and job fairs, to try to bring more bus drivers in. Those effects helped, but didn’t fix the problem. “Other solutions and ideas are being talked about, but the board agreed that changing bell times seems to be the only option right now,” Spectrum News Staff of baynews9.com reported.