September 14, 2013 8:27:54 PM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lowndes County School District is changing the time of their early release Wednesday, effective immediately.
School board members voted to change the early release time to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays to comply with standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education. Before Friday's vote, students were being released from school at 1:15 p.m.
On July 30, MDE changed its required time students must be in the classroom to 330 minutes each day. Before the July change, students were required to be in the classroom 330 minutes a day or 27-and-a-half hours a week.
When questioned by board members as to why the change was taking effect six weeks after school started, superintendent Lynn Wright said he was only recently made aware of the change.
Board member Dr. Wes Barrett asked if the students would have to make up the time.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robin Ballard said she spoke with MDE officials who assured her that because the schools are on block scheduling, they were already receiving "extra" time.
"They said we're already getting extra on the block schedule so we were good with that," Ballard said.
Ballard added that there were other districts throughout the state that were encountering the same problem of having to adjust their release times well into the school year. Ballard said she questioned MDE officials on why they were not notified of the change earlier. Ballard said they replied, "I guess we didn't do a good job of getting the word out."
Caledonia, New Hope and West Lowndes will all be affected by the change in release time. The change will take effect this Wednesday.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.