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Controversy over longer school days for PCSSD students

Registration for the Pulaski County Special School District kicked off Monday. Before kids actually head back to class there are a few things parents need to know. On the list, a longer school day for elementary students.
Registration for the Pulaski County Special School District kicked off Monday. Before kids actually head back to class, there are a few things parents need to know. On the list, a longer school day for elementary students.  It's brought about some concerns among parents. The district and some parents believe it'll have a positive impact on learning.

It's registration time in the Pulaski County Special School District. Parents like Leslie Davies hope this school year will be problem free.

"I'm hoping they get everything settled with the teachers and their union," says Davies.

Getting things back on track is certainly the mission of new Superintendent Charles Hopson.

"It's imperative we maintain normalcy for our students. We have a lot going on but first and foremost our commitment is to keeping students first," says Hopson.

To start, the district wants to do a better job staying in touch with parents . So this year they have to register each child even if they're attending the same school.

"It's kind of a hassle a little bit cause it's the same thing we filled out last year and the year before," says Davies.

The district is also adding extra time to the days of elementary students. They'll start at 7:30AM and end at 2:55PM.

"That is to allow us to comply first with state law specific to additional instructional time for students. Our students will gain an additional 40 minutes," says Hopson.

Some parents say they don't think it's a good idea for elementary students to have to get on the bus earlier each morning. Others say the change doesn't fit their schedules.

Some parents are happy about the extra time in the classroom because they believe it gives their children more opportunity for learning. And Hopson says that's what it's all about.

The longer school day affects about 9,600 students. Registration will continue for PCSSD until Friday. To register, parents are required to bring proof of residency.

Every student, new and returning, must register at their school. The district is piloting a new student database for the state called eSchool plus and it requires parents to go to their child's school with proof of residence.

Registration goes from 10AM until 6PM Monday through Wednesday and 9AM until 4PM Thursday and Friday.

Two schools will host off-site registration. Pine Forest Elementary families have to go to the Jess Odom Community Center. Robinson Middle School students have to go to the Robinson High School cafeteria.

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