Pasco schools adopt new safety measures

An initiative to place school safety guards into Pasco County’s elementary schools attracted 125 applicants for 53 job slots. Training for the safety guards is scheduled to begin in June, with a goal of having the guards prepared for duties by August. Some applicants were retired law enforcement officers. “We’re excited about the level of interest and the caliber of people who are … [Read more...]

Pasco Schools seeks to address students’ mental health needs

Pasco County Schools is searching for additional ways to better serve its students’ mental health needs. As part of that effort, the school system brought together student services staff and community mental health providers on May 4 for the district’s first-ever Mental Health Symposium. The seminar’s aim was to raise awareness of students’ mental health, build capacity of staff to respond, and … [Read more...]

Pasco elementary schools to get safety guards

The Pasco County School Board approved Superintendent Kurt Browning’s proposal to hire a director of safety and security, and to add up to 50 school safety guards for the district’s elementary schools, according a district news release. The school board’s action was in response to a 2018 bill that the Legislature passed and the governor signed into law. It requires all school districts to … [Read more...]

Browning reports on school issues

Practically no education-related topic was off limits during Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning’s recent visit with The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce. At a recent breakfast meeting at the The Edwinola, Browning touched on everything from teacher pay and performance standards, to acceleration programs and school safety. “We live in a crazy day and time in education,” … [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...]

New school safety measures greeted by controversy

In the aftermath of a Valentine’s Day shooting spree that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law new restrictions on firearms and increased funding for school safety and mental health care. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, also known as Senate Bill 7026: Raises the minimum age for purchasing firearms … [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...]

Rezoning of some west Pasco schools invalid, judge says

A circuit court judge has invalidated school rezoning actions by the Pasco County School Board for some of the district’s west schools, citing violations of a public notice requirement and of the state’s Sunshine Law. In a ruling dated Jan. 10, Circuit Court Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd determined that members of the district’s boundary committee “held discussions on Boundary Committee business … [Read more...]

New district park opens in Starkey Ranch development

Pasco County residents have a new district park, shaped and landscaped out of a former cow pasture at Starkey Ranch. But, before children could run bases at the new ball fields or play hopscotch at the playground, the “premier” park got its official unveiling at a ceremony on Oct. 31. About 30 people attended, including members of the Starkey family, the development team for the … [Read more...]

Hurricane Irma: A disruptive force

With Hurricane Irma threatening Florida last week, officials weren’t taking any chances on where or when the massive storm would make landfall. The deadly storm was churning in the Atlantic, when Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Sept. 4, warning residents that Irma is a “a massive storm” that could prove devastating. “This storm is bigger, faster and stronger than … [Read more...]