School surveys ask parents for advice, opinions
The Pasco County school district is once again seeking parent thoughts about their children's schools and how to improve them. The district launched its annual parent survey on Tuesday, and will accept responses though Dec. 15. It's a new set of questions from those of past years, and district officials are hoping for a better response rate than they have seen. Last year, only 9 percent of parents answered the questions, down from 11.9 percent the year before but nowhere near the 2006 rate of 6.4 percent. Principals and superintendent Heather Fiorentino plan to make automated phone calls to families during the survey period to encourage participation. To see the survey, visit tinyurl.com/pasco-survey.
Smoke in area from state burn
Smoke blanketed much of eastern Pasco County Tuesday morning as the state Division of Forestry began a 1,000-acre "prescription burn'' in the Richloam tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest. By noon, smoke had made its way to the coast. The burn was scheduled to end at 3 p.m., according to Don Ruths, a wildlife mitigation specialist and public information officer for the division.
Deputies to vote on representation
Detention center deputies at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office are casting ballots today to decide whether to contract with one of two collective bargaining units. A few years ago, about 315 detention deputies, corporals, sergeants and lieutenants were represented by the Fraternal Order of Police, which currently represent road patrol deputies. Then last year, the detention center deputies dropped the FOP in a 132-62 vote. That allowed them to be solicited by the Police Benevolent Association, which collected signatures from jail deputies expressing interest in unionizing. That led to this week's election featuring a ballot with three choices: no union, contracting with the PBA, or with the FOP.
Legislative meeting is rescheduled
The Pasco County legislative delegation's annual meeting scheduled for Friday has been canceled because of the planned special session of the Legislature in Tallahassee. The meeting is now scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 26 in the gymnasium at Wiregrass Ranch High School.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Holocaust talk is relocated
Pasco-Hernando Community College has changed rooms for one of the Dec. 10 presentations by Holocaust speaker Ephraim Kaye. His presentation "Combating Holocaust Denial — the Challenge for Educators" will be offered at 2 p.m. at the conference center, Room R-151, and again at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, both on the New Port Richey campus at 10230 Ridge Road. For information, call toll-free 1-877-879-7422 or visit www.phcc.edu.