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      Columbia school start times to be finalized in March

      Controversy continues to surround the debate over new start times and bus schedules at Columbia Public Schools.

      School leaders held a work session Thursday morning where they tried to come up with a plan that is best for all of their students.

      The original plan of starting high school classes at 7:20 a.m. is not going to happen. Columbia school officials say their earliest possible start time would be 7:40 a.m.

      School officials originally wanted to make a final vote on the proposal at their work session after their meeting on February 11.

      It appears that final decision will now be made in March.

      Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said, â??They still want to have enough time to be able to look at all of the scenarios and address all of the possibilities and consider as many variables as they could possibly consider in order to come to a good decision.â??

      School board members are leaning toward the idea of having a three tier system where middle schools start classes first, followed by high schools and then elementary schools.