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Proposed Bell Times F.A.Q’s

  1. Why is the District considering changing bell times?

    Our current bell schedule does not allow enough time between our high school, elementary and middle school start times, to get students to school on time. The district must correct this in order to secure the appropriate number of instructional minutes for students. Across the State of Florida, the standard time between bell times are at least 55-75 minutes for successful pick-up and drop-off of students. Currently, our district only has 27 minutes between our high school and elementary start times.

  2. When will we know if and when the bell times have been changed?

    After hearing from the community, a final proposal will be presented to the School Board on April 25, 2017. If passed, the changes will begin in August of 2018.

  3. How will my child benefit from the proposed bell time schedule?

    • Our high school students will be dismissed nearly an hour earlier. This will allow opportunities for them to begin homework, get to practice, go to after-school activities and begin their jobs sooner.

    • Our elementary students will gain an extra 15 minutes of Art, Music and Physical Education, which facilitates learning in other subjects and improves the overall health and well-being of students.

    • Our middle school students, along with our high school students, keep a 7-period day which affords them the opportunity to take more classes (including Advanced Placement and electives such as Art, Music and Band).

    • Students benefit when teachers plan and collaborate. This schedule protects and in some cases, gives additional teacher planning time.

  4. How does the proposed bell time schedule compare to other districts?

    Refer to the chart below to see how HCPS bell times compare to other surrounding districts.

    County Bell Times
    Charlotte Elementary 8:35 – 3:05
    Middle School 9:35 – 3:55
    High School 7:35 – 1:55
    Orange Elementary 8:45 – 3:00
    Middle School 9:30 – 4:00
    High School 7:15 – 2:10
    Pasco Elementary (most) 9:40 – 3:50
    Elementary (some) 8:40 – 2:50
    Middle School (most) 8:40 – 2:50
    Middle School (some) 7:30 – 1:55
    High School (most) 7:30 – 1:55
    High School (some) 8:30 – 2:55
    Pinellas Elementary 8:35 – 2:35
    Middle School 9:30 – 4:00
    High School 7:05 - 1:35
    Polk Elementary 8:00 – 3:00
    Middle School 9:00 – 4:00
    High School 7:00 – 2:00

  5. Why are Hillsborough County Public Schools students in school longer than students who attend other districts?

    Most districts offer six (6) periods per day. In Hillsborough County, we provide seven (7) periods per day. This allows students the chance to benefit from valuable learning opportunities such as Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, Credit Recovery and various electives, allowing them to reach their graduation requirements and go on to college or a career.

  6. Is it true that Elementary schools will gain more instructional time?

    Yes, the district will add 15 minutes to the elementary school day. This will provide our elementary students with an extra 15 minutes of Art, Music and Physical Education, which facilitates learning in other subjects and improves the overall health and well-being of students.

  7. How will you cut the length of the day in high school and middle school, without cutting instructional time?

    School principals have been collaborating on some options. A 50-minute class period may be reduced to 48 minutes. Homeroom periods may be shortened and can be added to the end of an existing class period. Passing times between classes and lunch may be reduced slightly. Announcements at the beginning or end of the day can be shortened. The district will keep the 7-period day, to give students time for Advance Placement, Dual Enrollment, electives and credit recovery classes.

  8. Will before care and after care be offered at all sites in order to support families who cannot adjust work schedules and other commitments?

    Before care and after care is currently offered by Hillsborough Out of School Time (HOST) at many elementary and middle schools. Our goal is to offer this program at all schools where there is a need before the new bell schedule would be implemented. Please visit this link to stay informed of HOST.

  9. Can the district offer families assistance to help defer the cost of HOST?

    We are currently working with our community partners to see who may be able to offer our families assistance to offset the cost of the before and after school care.

  10. What time will buses arrive in the morning?

    Our transportation department is currently working on bus routes and schedules. With close to 90,000 students being transported every day, creating a new bus schedule is a massive undertaking. If this should pass, parents would be notified over the summer, as in years past, via a postcard mailed to your home address. The postcard would include the new bus schedule and bus route. A Parentlink message will also be sent to families.

  11. With high school starting 18 minutes earlier, how much earlier would our kids be picked up?

    In looking at preliminary information, the bus schedule for 38% of our students will stay the same. 62% of the bus schedules will change slightly and students may be picked up 5-7 minutes earlier.

  12. Will athletics begin earlier?

    The earlier dismissal at our high schools will allow for sports practices to begin earlier and end earlier.

  13. Are we still going to have Early Release Days?

    Yes, we will continue to maintain our early release days every Monday.

  14. One of our Magnet school’s pick up time is 4:56am. What should we expect next year?

    Our goal is to make sure no one is picked up before 5am.

  15. Is there a cost savings for the district to make changes to the bell schedule?

    Yes, by adjusting the bell schedule, our school bus drivers can transport three tiers of students (Elementary, Middle and High School). This shift translates to a cost savings of over $2.5 million dollars for our school district.

  16. How can I stay informed with the most up-to-date information and news regarding bell times?

    As we examine feedback we will continue to update the bell schedule page. Please continue to check this page for the most current information.

  17. How can I express my opinion about the proposed bell time schedules?

    We encourage the community to provide input and make their voices heard by emailing the District at

  18. Are parents going to be able to drop off students 30 minutes before school begins?

    Individual school sites will determine drop off times, but they are traditionally 30 minutes before the bell schedule.

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