BILLERICA, MASS. (WHDH) - Billerica school officials met Tuesday to consider making the school day longer for students.

The school district tonight said they made the decision behind closed doors due to legal reasons, and now want to use that extra 30 minutes to also benefit the students.

“We need more to be able to meet the needs of our kids today and where they are at right now,” Billerica School District Superintendent Tim Piwowar said.

The school district said the extra time could be used for different things, from transition time between classes to hands-on learning subjects like art, music, and physical education, where students may currently feel rushed.

Billerica’s superintendent said the district has one of the shortest school days compared to others.

Some parents who attended the meeting said the idea of keeping kids in school for longer concerns them.

“By the time my daughter comes home and eats a snack, and focuses on her homework, it really is almost dinner time, and then they have soccer, and stuff like that,” Melissa Black, a parent, said. “Their free time is limited and it’s good for mental health to just, have a break. For all of us.”

Other parents said they think the teachers should make the use of the 30 minutes.

“Why does it have to affect the kids?” Paul White said. “If the teachers need the half an hour of prep time, either at the end of the day– they’re still gonna be, their day doesn’t end when they leave the school building.”

The school district said it’s still early in the conversation.

“I presented 10 different options that directly relate to students with what we could do with that time, it doesn’t make sense to do each of those things for three minutes, right?” Piwowar said. “So we need to have a conversation with the community about, if we are going to extend the day, what do we prioritize with that extended time? And that’s really what this input gathering phase is about.”

Tuesday was a presentation meeting. The school district said they will hold a few more meetings in the next couple of months until the end of January, when they need to come up with a decision.

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