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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

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HANDS OFF: Hundreds of parents intend to swamp the Pinellas School Board at its meetings and in its mailbox. They're organizing to fight the possible closure of some schools, and the proposed uprooting of their kids from other schools. "We've just got to keep making noise," one parent says.

Nocell719808 NEW RULES: Kids who harass others via e-mail rather than on the playground will find themselves punished all the same in Hillsborough schools in the new school year. They'll also find more strict bans on the use of cell phones on campus, among other things in the district's newly revised student handbook.

Florida has one of the highest levels of funding nationally for the no sex 'til marriage lessons. The message has been heard. But are teens listening? The percentage of teens having sex in Florida, as nationally, is not declining.

THIS IS RELIEF? If voters approve the Legislature's proposed "super homestead exemption," schools would be far from held harmless, Hernando school finance officials say. The reality would be more like 40 percent staff cuts as the money source dries up, they say.

FREE SUPPLIES: The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office gives away backpacks filled with school supplies to some needy families. That way when classmates compare what they have, the kids won't feel left behind.

JUST LIKE ITS NAMESAKE: Florida A&M's K-12 school looks just as troubled as the university that houses it, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

GAETZ ON BUDGET CUTS: As Panhandle area school districts prepare for budget cuts, one of their key lawmakers - powerful Senate Education chairman Don Gaetz - suggests the slashing should start in Tallahassee. "There are 2,500 people who work in the DOE. Not one of them touches a student," Gaetz tells the Northwest Florida Daily News.

CRIST CHIMES IN, TOO: Gov. Charlie Crist suggests that the Duval school district dump its waterfront administration headquarters as one way to cope with the coming budget cuts, the Florida Times-Union reports. Facing swift and angry reaction, the one-time education commissioner is now backtracking.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:20am]


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