As students in The Laker/Lutz News coverage area head off to school for the 2022-2023 academic year, those arriving at Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation will be helping to usher in the new school’s traditions.
Kirkland Ranch, at 32555 Innovation Drive in Wesley Chapel, is a magnet school that will specialize in preparing students in career fields and technical trades such as automotive maintenance and repair, including diesel; biomedical sciences; building trades and construction technology; cybersecurity; digital media and multimedia design; engineering and robotics; welding; electricity; and, patient care technology.
Students at Saint Leo University, 33701 State Road 52, in St. Leo, will have an opportunity to learn in the school’s new robotics and artificial intelligence lab, on the first floor of Kirk Hall.
The lab is part of the university’s new School of Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Data Science (CARDS), which brings together several popular areas of study and degree.
At Pinecrest Academy Wesley Chapel, 33347 State Road 54, a new middle school building will help to accommodate students at the growing charter school.
Those are just a few changes that await, as a new academic year gets into full swing soon.
The first day of school for students is Aug. 10 in Pasco and Hillsborough public schools.
The beginning of the school year varies for private schools, Pasco-Hernando State College, Saint Leo University and the University of South Florida, as well as for home-schooled and online students.
Typically, the beginning of the school year means that families are doing some shopping, or taking advantage of school supply giveaways.
For those still needing to shop, the Florida Back-to-School sales tax holiday remains in effect through Aug. 7. In general, the tax holiday means no taxes are due on the retail sale of:
- Clothing, footwear and some accessories (selling for $100 or less per item)
- Certain school supplies(selling for $50 or less per item)
- Learning aids (selling for $30 or less per item)
- Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories for personal use (selling for $1,500 or less)
Public school students in Lutz and Odessa attend schools in either Hillsborough or Pasco, depending whether they live north or south of the county line. Some Hillsborough students also attend Hillsborough schools in New Tampa.
Students in Central Pasco attend schools in Odessa, Lutz and Land O’ Lakes, while those in East Pasco attend schools in Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills, Dade City, St. Leo and San Antonio.
There’s some overlap between communities, since the shapes of school zones vary and there are magnet schools that draw students from beyond traditional boundaries.
As the school year kicks in, the impact on area traffic will be noticeable, as students, teachers, cafeteria workers, assistant principals, principals and other staff members make their way to their respective campuses.
And before heading back, it’s a good idea for students and parents to do a little homework to find out more about what to expect in the coming school year.
School websites often offer a wealth of useful information about school rules and expectations, how to sign up for various activities, fees that are due, and so forth.
Be sure to check the Twitter and Facebook social media channels for individual schools and your school district, too, to see if there’s any current news that’s helpful to you.
For instance, those following the Pasco County Schools’ website would know that the federal government is ending free meals it had been providing for all because of COVID-19 relief funding.
Some students will qualify for free or reduced price meals. But here are this year’s charges for paid and reduced price meals.
Elementary: Breakfast: $1.60 paid, 0.30 reduced; lunch, $3 paid, 0.40 reduced
Middle: Breakfast: $1.75 paid, 0.30 reduced; lunch, $3 paid; 0.40 reduced
High: Breakfast: $1.75 paid, 0.30 reduced; lunch, $3.75 paid; 0.40 reduced.
As the new school year begins, both Pasco and Hillsborough public schools continue to work to fill staff vacancies.
The school boards in both districts also are urging voters to approve a tax increase that they say will help them to attract and retain quality staff.
In Pasco, the ballot question asks for a yes or no vote on whether to levy an additional tax, not to exceed 1 mil, beginning July 1, 2023 and ending no later than June 30, 2027.
The proceeds, according to the ballot question, will be used “for essential operating expenses to maintain salaries competitive with the market, attract and retain high-quality teachers, bus drivers and other non-administrative school support employees.”
In Hillsborough, the tax increase also would last four years, unless extended by voters, according to the district’s website.
At least 75% of the proceeds would go for increased compensation for teachers, counselors, media specialists , bus drivers and transportation assistants, classroom assistants, and other non-instructional support staff.
Hillsborough also would use proceeds to protect and expand art, music, physical education and workforce education.
Voters will decide the outcome of the ballot initiative, in their respective county, during the Aug. 23 Primary Election.
Published August 03, 2022
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