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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

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KEEP KIDS CLOSER TO HOME: Or at least give them a chance, a Pinellas County school district task force recommends, offering its proposal to end the current incarnation of the district's school choice program. The priority would go to neighborhood schools and move away from racial balancing, reflecting a clear desire of most parents, who consider a school's racial makeup secondary to its academics and its proximity to home. Next stop, the School Board.

SUPER FINALISTS: Hernando County's School Board narrows its field of candidates for superintendent to six, none of whom are local. The hopefuls to replace retiring Wendy Tellone are Craig Bangtson, a former superintendent; Wayne Alexander, a school district administrator in Connecticut; Ray Kwak, superintendent of Haledon, NJ, schools; David Piccolo, Brevard County area superintendent; Harry John La Cava, Broward County area superintendent; and Lorenda Tiscornia, a high school principal in Duval County.

A FRIENDLY PLACE? That's what parents want school to be for their kids. But recent events involving sexual predators on campus have parents and school district officials talking about what they can do to make sure school doesn't get too scary.

VENUS AND MARS: He studied engineering. She, genetics. Could the two Wharton High scientists hit it off? Check out this scene from the science fair.

GROWTH HAS SLOWED, BUT ... Florida's class-size amendment still is forcing Hillsborough County schools to add wings to several schools. District officials will present recommendations for northern Hillsborough and south and east Hillsborough in upcoming parent meetings.

ANOTHER REASON FLORIDA HAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS: Look no further than this Scottsdale, Arizona, community, where the New York Times reports that neighbors set up their own school district with no students just to avoid paying higher school taxes.

HAND IT OVER: The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, that is. A recall of Peter Pan and other brands of peanut butter led Houston cafeteria workers to confiscate homemade versions of the kid favorite and hand out those tasty off-brand school-made ones, the Houston Chronicle reports. Overreaction? Or the right move? Well, Houston appears to be the only district in all of giant Texas to make such a swap.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:14am]


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