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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

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RELIGION OUT OF HILLSBOROUGH CALENDAR: The Hillsborough School Board is poised to adopt an academic calendar that doesn't give days off for religious holidays, saying policy already allows students and teachers can take their holidays off without penalty. Now we'll see if the community agrees or, like last year, spills forth with an outcry that landed the district on the national news. The final vote is scheduled for next week.

PASCO BOUNDARIES APPROVED: PTAs, get cranking. Five new schools in Pasco County now have attendance zones, meaning parents, students and principals can begin planning for the coming year when they officially open. Sunlake High students should expect a ballot on what their school mascot should be any day. Leading choices are the Spartans and the Hawks. For more, click here.

MOTHERS AGAINST MEAN KIDS: Their children were attacked by bullies at school. Now two moms want the Citrus County School Board to crack down on bullying. They protested outside the school district office on Tuesday. "There is no difference between a terrorist and a bully," explained Tracy Seavers, one of the protesters.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE TEACHERS GONE? Hernando County school officials want to know why teachers, who make lots of contract demands, think it's OK to quit mid-year and leave their schools and students in the lurch. They're contemplating holding teachers to their annual agreement. "It makes no sense to have a contract that's one-sided," said board member Sandra Nicholson.

BE SURE TO CALL BEFORE MARCH: 11,000 kids want 7,000 seats in Pinellas County's magnet school program. The lottery is done. But parents must call in to confirm the choice by Feb. 28 or they'll lose their space. Only the Dunedin High electrical engineering academy drew less applicants than seats.

MORE STAR: Pinellas County approves what some call its "absurd" teacher performance pay plan. Sarasota County teachers vote on the issue soon, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. And Seminole County moves ahead with its plan, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

IS WIKIPEDIA RESEARCH? Middlebury College in Vermont says no, the New York Times reports, citing incorrect information that often appears in the Web site, which can be edited by anyone. It's a growing academic question involving the St. Petersburg-based company.

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


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