JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some students will be spending an extra hour in the classroom next school year.
It's a new state mandate. The Florida Department of Education is cracking down on low performing schools in our area in a new effort to get those scores up. Every year students spend a lot of extra hours preparing for the dreaded FCAT exams. This year, the scores weren't good, especially for reading.
The state has a plan. Students in 100 of the lowest performing elementary schools will have to spend an extra hour in school every day to improve reading scores. Seven schools are right here in Duval County.
District spokesperson Jill Johnson says they welcome the extra hour of learning, but still have concerns. "We're going to do additional review to see if the money they provided is sufficient to cover that," said Johnson.
The state set aside 15 million dollars to help districts cover the cost of teachers for the extra time. In Duval County, Hyde Grove, SP Livingston, Ramona Boulevard, Sadie Tillis, Pinedale and West Jacksonville Elementary Schools, as well as Tiger Academy will all have longer school days. "This is a benefit to your child. Embrace it. It'll help your student in the long run," said Johnson.
Some students are allowed to opt out of the extra hour, but that's only if they scored a level five on their reading assessment. This extra hour will start in the new school. Districts who don't comply with the new requirement will lose state funding.