K-Park adds five minutes to school day

Sarah Martell, Photo Editor

Five minutes can feel like an eternity or it can feel a blink of an eye. This year, for the students of K-Park, five minutes is the difference between the freedom of being out of school or the burden of being stuck in the classroom.

Instead of getting out of school at 2:45 p.m., the end time of the school day for the past nine years, students will now be released five minutes later due to House Bill 2610. The law, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015, requires students to be in class for at least 75,600 minutes rather than the previous requirement of 180 days (equivalent to 86,400 minutes). Districts were not required to put the bill into effect until the 2016-17 school year.

“Humble ISD was not meeting the number of minutes that they required,” Lisa Drabing, K-Park principal, said. “In order to meet them they had to add five minutes on to the school day.”

The Texas Education Agency now calls for districts to turn in calendars each year to insure that schools meet the time requirements. Districts that fail to do so lose funding in proportion to lack of minutes. Humble ISD added the extra time to this school year to meet the new standards from this bill.

“It doesn’t bother me,” junior Gaby Lopez said, “I felt like it was dumb at first but now that I’ve gotten used to it, I haven’t noticed.”

The bill is intended to help reduce inclement weather make-up days, which take away from graduation plans, teacher work days and student holidays. Each school year, districts in Texas are given two excused inclement weather days that do not need to be made up. Districts that use those two days must make up any extra missed days by adding time to the school day or opening school on student holidays. By extending the school day from 2:45 p.m. to 2:50 p.m., students are less likely to need to make up lost time.

K-Park added time to seventh period, but the schedule is set the change again.

“Next year, we will take those five minutes and spread them throughout the day,” Drabing said.

In 2017-2018, the five minutes will be split between class periods. Students will still be getting out at 2:50 p.m., but the classes will be evened out.