Pasco superintendent's proposals leave him fighting on two fronts
In recent weeks, Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning has proposed closing the Moore Mickens Education Center that serves a largely poor, often marginalized community, and eliminating all school media specialist and literacy coach jobs.
As he enters his fifth month on the job, Browning's honeymoon appears to be over. The people who stand to be affected by his changes are fighting back.
More than 200 people showed up Monday evening to hear the superintendent's presentation on Moore Mickens, but after listening contended that the next chapters already had been written for the Dade City campus that once served as the county's first permanent school for black children. Some even booed Browning as he called the audience "you people," which he then quickly changed to "you folks." Members of the crowd started using religious metaphors to describe their school and their dedication, with some casting the scenario as another east Pasco v. west Pasco dispute, with the east losing again.
Meanwhile, opposition also mounted against the plan to drop media specialists from the schools. Many district educators started using words like "shortsighted" and "dangerous" to describe the idea, while even students wrote letters to the editor blasting the pending move.
"Mr. Browning said to 'do it for the children,'" wrote Gavin Shauan of New Port Richey to the Times. "I'm one of the students, and I can tell you that this decision is not for the children. Mr. Browning has doomed media centers across the district."
What happens in the end will fall to the School Board, if the superintendent decides to bring his recommendations to the members. Any guesses as to whether he'll stand firm?