READY TO GO: Tampa Bay area parents talk about their preparations for their children's first day of school. (Multimedia)
SLOW DOWN OR PAY UP: School starts next week. Drive with care in school zones or you'll pay the price.
RUNNING LOW: State revenue estimators say Florida will have $1.5-billion less than it needs to meet the 2008-09 budget.
BUSING COSTS UP: Pinellas schools expect to pay about $1-million more for diesel this year, but can't cut bus routes much because of an expected spike in ridership as more parents use the system rather than drive their kids to school. St. Lucie cuts its number of bus stops to make up for a budget shortfall, the Port St. Lucie Tribune reports.
FRUSTRATED PARENTS: Hillsborough parents are growing increasingly angry that they can't get bus route information before the start of school. Superintendent MaryEllen Elia has apologized. Meanwhile, several Pinellas moms and dads are still trying to get their children into the schools of their choice under the district's new assignment plan.
PINELLAS TEACHERS FILE COMPLAINT: The staffs of Azalea and Palm Harbor middle schools file grievances against a controversial change to their teaching schedule. Union leaders say more such complaints are expected.
NEW PASCO PRINCIPAL RARING TO GO: Katie Lail looks forward to working with the Shady Hills community to make Mary Giella Elementary an even better place to go to school.
HOW TO ACE THE FCAT: A Destin seventh-grader shares her tips on how to make perfect scores on Florida's annual exam with the Destin Log.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Lee School Board members say they aren't a rubber stamp for the administration, they just work individually with the superintendent ahead of time to make sure he brings them proposals they can support, the Naples Daily News reports. That does not sit well with some residents, though, who want more transparency.
FILLING THE GAP: The Orlando Breakfast Rotary Club helps a struggling elementary school in more ways than it ever expected, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
THE LITTLE SCHOOL THAT COULD: Duette Elementary in Manatee, Florida's last one-room school house, survives budget cuts to stay open for another year, the Bradenton Herald reports.
ATHLETICS TAKE A HIT: Some Panhandle districts cut sports programs as budget revenue dips, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.
Visit the Gradebook at noon today for an interview with Colleen Wood, a St. Johns mom who has co-founded 50th No More, a group aimed at pushing for improved education funding in Florida.