Fort Worth

Elementary students in this district can add five more minutes to the school day

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Fort Worth elementary students will have five more minutes added to their academic day next year, according to a calendar approved Tuesday by the school board.

The board approved a 435-minute day calendar that adds five minutes for elementary school children. This calendar doesn’t add minutes to the school day for middle and high school students. The board voted unanimously in favor of the calendar with a 6-0 vote. Trustees Christene Moss, Jacinto Ramos and Ann Sutherland were not present for the vote.

The elementary school start and end times will be adjusted to include five more minutes in the day. Currently, most of the elementary schools start at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

The 435-minute day calendar was presented to the school board on Tuesday with a recommendation for approval.

The recommendation came after families were asked to help the district choose between two calendars — the 435-minute day calendar and another one described as a 450-minute day calendar. The latter would have added 20 minutes to the elementary school day and 15 minutes to secondary schools.

The district asked students, parents and employees to vote on the calendars. Voting ended on Feb. 22.

Clint Bond, spokesman for the district, said 10,032 votes were cast. with 6,167, or 61 percent, in support of the 435-minute day calendar. He said there were 3,865 votes (39 percent), in favor of 450-minute day calendar.

Under the Texas Education Code, school districts are required to have at least 75,600 minutes of instruction, with one day defined as 420 minutes.

The approved calendar starts on Aug. 19 and ends on May 28 — after Memorial Day. There are two snow days built into the calendar.

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Diane Smith, a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 1997. Smith, who has covered municipal government, immigration and education, has won multiple awards for reporting, most recently as part of a Star-Telegram team recognized by the Headliners Foundation of Texas for coverage of child abuse and Fort Worth’s Las Vegas Trail area.