April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

Superintendent's Message

It’s time to start talking salary increases again.  The governor signed the state budget earlier this month, modestly increasing the education budget.  The increase turned out to be about $5 million less than we anticipated for Pasco County Schools, and the news came just as the 2016-2017 allocation process was getting underway.  This means that some of the areas where we wanted to increase support for schools probably will not get funded.  That’s because my goal is to budget for most of the increase to go toward my top priority, to provide employees with another 3 percent raise for the 2016-2017 school year.  We’ve reached out to USEP to start negotiating the salary increases right away, so that employees can see the extra money in their paychecks as soon as possible. We are working to schedule dates in mid-April.



River Ridge High School Robotics Team

Congratulations to the River Ridge High School Robotics Team for winning the Rookie Inspiration Award at the Orlando FIRST Robotics Regional. This award celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as in their community. In the competition, River Ridge ranked 29 of 63 overall, and were in the top 5 for total autonomous points for the entire regional. Additionally, the team co-captain, Allysa Allen, was selected as a FIRST Dean's List Finalist. This award celebrates outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary. Similar to the National Merit Scholarship, as a finalist, she will be competing to win the scholarship at the World Championship in late April. The River Ridge High School Robotics Team will be competing again at the South Florida Regional at the end of the month. 

Julie Hedine

Julie Hedine, the Food and Nutrition Services Director, was recently nominated to join the Alliance Director Network for her "commitment to reforming the procurement process and ability to craft mutually beneficial partnerships with industry." Click here to view a letter from David Kaplan, Executive Director of Alliance, which highlights her achievements.


Cards for First Responders

The Code 9 Project is collecting thank you cards and letters to send to first responders. They are organizing the Steps For Change Walk, where they will be walking 75 miles on April 25-27 through Virginia into Washington D.C. Along the way, participants will stop at police and fire stations to hand deliver your cards and letters. Would you like to thank our brave men and women for all they do for us? For more information, please visit their website. All cards and letters must be submitted by April 21 to Code 9 Project, P.O. Box 852, New Port Richey, FL 34656.



Vietnam War Commemoration

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War and recognize the service and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families during a ceremony on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The event will take place in the courtyard located buildings 2 and 37 on the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center campus. The event is open to all veterans, their family and friends, and the general public. Click here for more information.

All-American Art Walk (East Side)

At the beginning of the year, the district’s fine arts coordinator, Tom Viking, shared with art teachers his vision to increase Pasco County Schools’ fine arts footprint around the county. Conveniently, Pasco Clerk & Comptroller’s office administrative assistant, Laurie Ansorge, connected with Mr. Viking to explore the possibility of displaying student artwork around the county.  Teachers shared the idea with their students, and three of those teachers spearheaded the efforts (Michelle Kurasz, Donna Law, and Michelle Vasko). The teachers collected the artwork and Clerk & Comptroller Paula O’Neil’s office purchased the frames.

Students from 23 Pasco County Schools submitted artwork.  Blending tradition with creativity, the Pasco County Courthouses are hosting the artwork in both the West Pasco Judicial Center in New Port Richey and the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City.  While the artwork will be on display for a year, these student artist receptions have been planned to celebrate and bring attention to their work. Music will be provided by students from Pasco County Schools music programs during the receptions at both locations. Cake and punch will be provided, sponsored by the Florida West Coast Credit Union.  Students from the following schools will have artwork on display. The East Side Art Walk take place on Wednesday, April 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center, 38053 Live Oak Ave., in Dade City.

Retirement Planning Workshop

Pasco County Schools will host its Annual Retirement Planning Workshop at 5:30 pm on April 6, 2016 at Land O’ Lakes High. Employees who are considering retirement within the next five years should plan to attend. Employees who RSVP by Thursday, March 31, will receive a personalized FRS retirement estimate at the workshop. If you are married, to receive for a more complete estimate, please include your spouse first name and date of birth when you RSVP. RSVP to Melanie Parham at and provide the number of attendees that are accompanying you.

Special Olympics 5K Fun Run

The Special Olympics 5K Fun Run will be held on Saturday, April 9, at the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center. Overview:

  • Friday, April 8
    • Packet Pickup: 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 9
    • 5K: 8 a.m.
      • Adult Fees: $30
      • Student (22U) Fees: $20
    • 1 Mile Walk: 8:45 a.m.
      • Fees: $5.00/person or $10/family (max 5)

Waivers will be available at pre-registration or day of the race. Make all checks payable to Special Olympics Florida-Pasco County. For more information, please contact Val Lundin.

3rd Annual Family Fun Cyclone Run

Centennial Middle School's 3rd Annual Family Fun Cyclone Run will be held on Saturday, April 16, at Centinnel Middle School, 38505 Centennial Road, in Dade City. The 5K begins at 8 a.m. and the 1 mile family fun run starts at 9 a.m. All proceeds will be going toward Centinnial Middle School's program and activity fundraising goals. After the races, there will be music, food, drinks, and awards. Click here to register and choose "3rd Annual Family Fun Cyclone Run." For more information, check out the event flyer or visit the event website.

2nd Annual 5K Color Run

Sunray Elementary School's 2nd Annual 5K Color Run will be held on Saturday, April 16, at Gulf High School, 5355 School Road, in New Port Richey. During this color run, only liquid color spray will be used. The participant fee is $25, which includes race bib and t-shirt. However, you must register by April 4 to secure your shirt. Sunray's own Girls Running and the Boys "Run Hard" clubs are scheduled to participate. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m. For more information, including registration forms and payment, please visit Sunray Elementary School’s website.

18th Annual Special Olympics Florida Golf Tournament

The 18th Annual Special Olympics Florida Golf Tournament is a four person scramble and will be held on Saturday, May 14, at the Lexington Oaks Golf Club. The Lexington Oaks Golf Club is located at 26133 Lexington Oaks Blvd., in Wesley Chapel. Check-in begins at 12 p.m. and there is a 1 p.m. shotgun start. The participation fee is $65 and is tax deductible. It also includes green fees, cart, range balls, goody bag, raffle ticket, and a buffet dinner. Registrations must be received by May 6. Please print, complete, and send the registration form, with a check (payable to Special Olympics Florida - Pasco County) to:

Special Olympics Florida - Pasco County
Attn: Judy Brunner
38203 Henry Dr.
Zephyrhills, FL 33541
Phone: 813-794-6476 Fax 813-794-6438

10th Annual Long Run at the Ranch

Dr. John Long Middle and Wiregrass Ranch High are hosting the 10th Annual Long Run at the Ranch 10K, 5K & 1 Mile Family Fun Run & Walk on Saturday, April 9. The Long Run at the Ranch will be held at Dr. John Long Middle School beginning at 8:30 a.m. Please click here to register online or visit the Long Run at the Ranch website for a downloadable entry form. All proceeds benefit the athletic departments of both schools.



Sally Scott, a volunteer, and Ms. Bauer's mom commented how clean our campus always looks. They said we have a beautiful school! The custodians that are doing such a tremendous job here at Cotee River Elementary are:

  • Adrian McKay – Plant Manager
  • Taylor Savastano
  • Barbara Hinds
  • Gale Huntington
  • David Jormeque
  • Robyn Kahn
  • Ralph Pennino, Jr.
  • Charles South

It's so wonderful to hear our guests and volunteers on campus comment on what a beautiful and well kept school we have. They are doing an incredible job. -Jenny Jackson, Parent Involvement Assistant, Cotee River Elementary School

Scotty Carroll, I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU for all that you do! You have truly made such an impact on my son’s life, and I am so appreciative. He comes home everyday with something to talk about from your class.  You excite, ignite and motivate him to learn more, do more, be more…He has said to me on a couple of occasions that he would love it if he could just have your class all day, everyday. What a compliment from a high school senior…He even arrived to school bright and early on the day of his grandfather’s funeral last week just to attend your class, before taking off the rest of the day for the services. You have inspired him in many ways, and for that…THANK YOU! Your impact will continue in his life, well beyond his graduation from ZHS in June. -Kimberly Poe, Strategic Initiatives and Allocations Program Manager

Brian Dean, thank you for attending and engaging in the learning of MYP assessments and unit planners yesterday. I know the 7th grade math teachers benefited from your guidance and knowledge in the standards for the planning and implementation of the unit planner while making connections to our work within our county. We appreciate the support of you and District Office with our Journey as becoming the first MYP school in Pasco County. -Kyle Ritsema, Assistant Principal, Pine View Middle School

Thank you to everyone who celebrated our student artists at the All-American Youth Art Walk at the West Pasco Judicial Center!

All-American Youth Art Walk Student Artist Reception

Art work created by Pasco students is being displayed for one year in the West Pasco Judicial Center.

Student Spotlight

Viraj Patel
J.W. Mitchell High School

Click here to read his interview.