Monday, March 12, 2018

Wiregrass Ranch High Students Stand Against School Violence, Honor Victims

Who: Wiregrass Ranch High School students

What: Voluntary student vigil against school violence and in support of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

When: 9:50 a.m., Wednesday, March 14

Where: Wiregrass Ranch High School, 2909 Mansfield Blvd. in Wesley Chapel

Why: Students will peacefully protest violence in schools and honor the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

How: Students who wish to participate will gather in the school’s front courtyard and stand silently for 17 minutes to honor the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In addition to the vigil, groups of students have written letters that protest gun violence and ask for more effective gun legislation, and sent them to legislators. For more information, contact Wiregrass Ranch High School at (813) 346-6000.

Gulf Middle Student Council Shadows City Leaders

Who: Gulf Middle School Student Council members, New Port Richey government agencies, and city officials

What: City of New Port Richey Job Shadowing Day

When: 7:45 a.m., Thursday, March 29

Where: New Port Richey City Hall, 5919 Main St.; New Port Richey Police Department, 6739 Adams St.; New Port Richey Fire Department, 6333 Madison St.; New Port Richey Wastewater Plant, 4730 Main St.; New Port Richey Water Plant, 9747 DeCubellis Road; New Port Richey Public Works, 6132 Pine Hill Road in Port Richey

Why: Gulf Middle School Student Council members from seventh and eighth grades will participate in an exciting job shadowing day with city officials, where they will learn the ins and outs of local government service and enjoy a complimentary lunch.

How: Gulf Middle School Student Council members will work alongside various New Port Richey city leaders, including the city manager and those from police and fire administration. Students then will enjoy a special lunch and discuss what they learned with city personnel. For more information, contact Liz Kuhns at (727) 774-8018.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Pasco Superintendent Urges Pasco Delegation to Reject State Budget

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (March 9, 2018) – Pasco County Schools superintendent Kurt Browning wrote to members of the Pasco Legislative Delegation today, urging them to vote “No” on the state budget.

In the email, Browning points out that the proposed Base Student Allocation (BSA) increase of $.47 per student (.01%) equals an additional $34,613.29 for Pasco County Schools for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“This amount is not even close to one starting teacher’s salary,” Browning wrote.

The BSA is the amount of money the state provides per student, and is the main source of flexible funding school districts receive to pay for new or continuing educational programs and teacher and staff salaries.  It is one part of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP).

The overall FEFP per-student increase for Pasco’s children is only $88.49 each, compared to the statewide average of $101.50 per student.  Although legislators will suggest that this is a significant increase, the Legislature mandates the specific programs on which almost all of that increase must be spent, primarily on safe schools and mental health programs, removing any flexibility districts have in deciding how best to appropriate the funds.

“Although I strongly support funding school safety measures, the majority of the increased FEFP is for student safety at the expense of educating our students,” Browning said.

The increase in funding per student will not cover inflation (increased costs for utilities, property insurance, and health care coverage for employees), student enrollment growth, or teacher raises, Browning noted.

The Legislature is expected to vote on the state budget Sunday.

Pasco Superintendent Urges Veto of School “Guardian” Funding

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (March 9, 2018) – Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning is urging Governor Scott to veto the portion of SB 7026 that funds armed school marshals.

Instead of directing the $67 million in nonrecurring funds to pay for school marshals, Superintendent Browning and his colleagues in the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) are urging the governor to direct the Legislature to reallocate those funds so school districts can use them at their discretion, based on each individual district’s safety needs.
           
“I strongly support funding for school safety measures, but putting this money into a program that virtually no one supports is misguided, and infringes on elected Constitutional officers’ local control,” said Browning.  “For the life of me, I can’t understand why they provide more funding for the marshal program than for placing a law enforcement officer in every school,” he added.  The Florida Sheriff’s Association estimates that it would cost about $400 million for every school in the state to have an SRO.

The governor is expected to sign SB 7026 today.

Crews Lake Middle Students Stand Against School Violence, Honor Victims

Who: Crews Lake Middle School students and staff

What: Student vigil against school violence and in support of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

When: 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 14

Where: Crews Lake Middle School pavilion, 15144 Shady Hills Road in Spring Hill

Why: Students will protest violence in schools and honor the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

How: During this vigil, students will discuss why such events are needed to protest school violence. Students then will hold a moment of silence to honor the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting; sing “Lean on Me;” and give closing remarks. Students would like everyone to wear orange at the event to represent gun safety. Students also will collect donations for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/cause/stoneman-douglas. For more information, contact Crews Lake Middle School at (727) 246-1600.

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