Recently, the School Board of Pinellas County voted 5-2 to change the school times of Thurgood Marshall Fundamental from 7:20 AM-2:05 PM to 9:30AM-4:15PM. They did this in order to preserve busing at that school. Thurgood is the only fundamental school in the county to have busing; fundamental schools are not supposed to have busing. Before they did this, a survey was sent out, that asked whether parents want a start time change. The overwhelming majority did not, preferring cutting busing instead. However, the district went ahead with the plan, despite hundreds of angry emails from parents.This change does not only affect parents of current Thurgood students, however. Several families chose this school over other middle schools because of the start time; changing it now is cruel to those families. Many students will probably switch schools to Madeira Beach Fundamental if this change occurs, as many students come from working families, where their parents have 9-5 jobs and can't take their kids to school with these new times.
Survey Statistics: 808 surveys were handed out to Thurgood students. 81% (650) were returned. 73% (475) favored keeping the start times instead of busing. 27% (175) favored keeping busing and changing the start time (this is apparently a "compelling" number of students). If 175 is a "compelling" number of students who need busing, then 175 signatures should be a "compelling" enough number to keep the start times. We have a NEW goal of 475 signatures (one for every yes response).
I myself know at least one student who shall be changing schools if the 9:30 time is maintained. Many parents work jobs that require them to be at their job early, at least by 9 AM; those people would then not be able to drive their children to school. Yes, there is currently busing, but busing runs contrary to Thurgood being a fundamental school; the busing is also on the table to be cut next year. According to the survey recently sent out, 73% of parents would rather keep the current start time and remove busing than change it and keep busing. And yet the school board did not do what the majority of the parents wanted. To be fair, the survey was only returned by 81% of those surveyed, but even if all those who did not respond, did, those who wanted to to keep the start time would be a majority.
We, the undersigned parents, students, and teachers, request the School Board of Pinellas County to keep the current start times at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School, and to remove busing instead to balance the budget of the school system.