Leon County School Board votes to delay start to school year

The board hopes the move will give teachers and families more time to prepare for the school year.
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 9:56 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Leon County School Board has voted to delay the beginning of the 2020-21 school year to begin on August 31.

The board hopes the move will give teachers and families more time to prepare for the school year.

Tuesday’s meeting began with 13 public comments split between virtual and in-person learning.

“Those of us, the 60% who want brick and mortar to open next month, are still here and want to send our kids to the classroom,” one commenter said.

“Just wait and be patient and trust that all things will work accordingly,” said another.

Right now, the state is under an executive order that requires schools to open in August. The board is torn over the moving.

WCTV called the commissioners’ office four times on Tuesday for comment but received no answer.

LCS Board Chair Dee Dee Rasmussen says they will follow the ruling.

“Tax dollars have been entrusted to our school district to provide a service, that is an education,” she said during Tuesday’s meeting. “If they say it has to be done face-to-face, brick and mortar, then we run the risk of bankrupting the district.”

Superintendent Rocky Hanna rolled out a plan that was tweaked by the board, leading to the new August 31 start date.

The plan has the school year go into late June with no paycuts and an addition of a seven-person COVID-19 response team, with a Chief Medical Officer.

After a meeting that lasted nearly four hours, the hope is that the move provides more clarity for the start of school.

LCS’ plan has to be submitted to the state Department of Education by Friday.

With the new start date, there are some kinks that need to be worked out. Commissioner Wood and Jones both brought up concerns regarding teachers and how to make sure they feel secure and safe. Hanna says they will make it work.

Tuesday night they also approved a tentative budget for the school year. They approved a district coordinator for mental health in the school system.

This is a developing story and will be updated. WCTV’s Sophia Hernandez will have a live report on Eyewitness News at 11.

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