Some JP parents upset over extended school days - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Some JP parents upset over extended school days

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Jefferson Parish, La. - Balancing classes, homework and after-school activities may become even more difficult for students and their families in the Jefferson Parish Public School System.

Jen Zeisloft says her daughter brought a note home from school, notifying parents that, starting Monday, October 1 through March 1, there will be an extra 30 minutes added to the school day.

The school board voted to add the extra time because of the seven days missed during Hurricane Isaac.

"It's going to start getting darker earlier. Some kids aren't going to get off the bus until 5 or 5:30. That's not safe to have a bunch of elementary or any student off the bus that late," says Zeisloft.

Zeisloft isn't alone. Stephanie Bellow is the president of the "parents club" at Pittman Elementary and she says she's already hearing complaints.

"Our first meeting was last night and a lot of parents are upset. A lot of the teachers are also upset. For an elementary school, I think the days are going to be too long," says Bellow.

Parents say it will be extremely tough to rearrange child care.  And in some cases, they say their children will be forced to miss out on after-school activities.

Zeisloft started two petitions, one online and another on paper.  In all, nearly 500 people have expressed their concerns.

Meladie Munch of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers says the administration surveyed principals, asking them to get input from the teachers.  "This was from the tallies they got from the input. I don't think it won by a large percentage but it was the determining factor," says Munch.

Munch says she believes the principals were looking for a way to make up the time before standardized tests in April, plus limit the amount of absentees.

"As we know, when the school year calendar comes out, people make vacation plans," says Munch.

Zeisloft has already given her petitions to school administrators and says she'll continue to fight for the board to find a different way to make up the days.

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