New East Pasco school gets a name

A new high school that will focus on technology, STEM and business programs on the east side of Pasco County will be called the Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation. The Pasco County School Board approved that name unanimously during the board’s Feb. 18 meeting. The school is located at Curley Road and Keifer Road in Wesley Chapel on the former Kirkland Ranch property. Program plans for … [Read more...]

Political Agenda 01/29/2020

Corley issues warning Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley has issued a warning that The Voter Participation Center (VPC) again has launched a voter registration mail campaign targeting Pasco County voters, according to a news release from Corley’s office. The mail campaign contains “inaccurate information that is often alarming and confusing,” the release says. Previously, … [Read more...]

School district expands mental health services

The Pasco County school district has been ramping up training and tapping into outside sources, in its quest to build a better mental health support network for students. Statistics from across the school district underscore a compelling need for increased services. District figures show that more than 1,200 suicide assessments were done last year of students in elementary, middle and high … [Read more...]

Pasco to open K-8 school in fall 2021

The groundbreaking last week for Starkey Ranch K-8 School was celebrated in grand fashion —  at a gathering that included a high school jazz band and color guard, preschoolers, a private developer partner, elected leaders and government officials. The school is the second phase of a partnership between Pasco County Schools, Pasco County government and Wheelock Communities, the private … [Read more...]

‘Engage’ kids: Improve attendance

Students typically don’t decide to drop out of school overnight. And, there’s typically more to the story, when a student starts missing school on a regular basis. At least those were a couple points of discussion last week during a Pasco County School Board workshop on the topic of school attendance. “Attendance is really a symptom of something else that is happening with our … [Read more...]

Project needs outpace funding in Pasco County Schools

As Pasco County Schools heads into a new school year, the district faces a perennial issue: There’s not enough money to cover district construction and maintenance needs. “Our current debt is about $525 million,” Chris Williams, director of planning told Pasco County School Board members during a workshop last week. Pasco’s rapid growth continues to create demand for new or expanded schools, … [Read more...]

Pay raises elusive in Pasco schools

Pasco County school officials are still searching for ways to provide some sort of raise for district employees — although the prospect did not appear promising at a board meeting last week. At the board’s July 24 meeting, numerous teachers and other support personnel took turns urging the Pasco School Board to make employee pay a budget priority. The current budget proposal does not include … [Read more...]

Raises unlikely this year in Pasco County Schools

Pasco County School Board members have expressed a desire to give teachers a raise, but according to Superintendent Kurt Browning, there’s no money available to make that happen. Browning’s remarks came during a budget workshop last week in the board room at the district’s headquarters in Land O’ Lakes. Olga Swinson, the district’s chief financial officer, provided a run-through of budget … [Read more...]

Pasco school district considers hiring security officers

Budget restrictions could prompt Pasco County Schools to hire armed school security officers to work in the district’s 47 elementary schools. The district is considering using that approach — instead of using certified law enforcement officers — because of finances, said Kurt Browning, superintendent of schools. “The money that they’ve (the Florida Legislature) given us is not enough to go … [Read more...]

Debate continues over best response to Parkland killings

Students, faculty and staff are expected to begin the long journey back toward normalcy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week in Parkland. But, the debate over the best response to the Valentine Day’s slaying of 14 students and three teachers remains embroiled in controversy. In the aftermath of the shooting spree, conducted by a lone gunman using an AR-15 semi-automatic … [Read more...]