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Tulsa Public Schools and kindergarten start times

Updated:
More fallout from Tulsa Public School's controversial decision to change school start times. TPS decided to make elementary school students start school earlier. Now, some Tulsa parents are wondering where that leaves children who attend half-day programs.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims did some checking and says they are some of the district's youngest students and one mom thinks they've been forgotten in the debate over school start times.

Sarah Smith: "the biggest concern I have is the EC program going half a day what times are they going to start." Sarah Smith has a four-year-old who will be going to school half-day for the first time this fall. She says TPS didn't make it clear how the new times will affect her and other half-day students. For most elementary school students, the school day will start at eight o’clock in the morning and the last bell will ring at 2:45 in the afternoon.

I checked with Tulsa Public Schools and they're recommending that morning half-day programs start at 8 o’clock and end at 10:45 AM. The afternoon session will start at noon and end at 2:45 PM.

Sarah Smith says the new times will cause child care problems for her family. She's arranged for her daughter to be picked up by her grandfather, but he doesn't get off work until after 3 PM. "Now she has to worry about am I going to be picked up from school today her sitting there wondering and that’s not good for a 4-year-old in her first year of school."

Smith says she's joined many other Tulsa parents in signing a petition to protest the change. "With me being a single parent that works eight hours a day and I have day care to work around its going to be some trouble.” Its trouble many Tulsa families are facing.

The campaign to change the start times back continues to heat up. The group of parents opposed to the changes has added another location where you can sign their petition. It’s in the Stein Mart parking lot at 51st and Harvard. It should be set up every night this week and this weekend.

For a complete list of new start times, visit Tulsa Public School's web site [pdf file].
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