School Choice limited by availability
It's school choice application time for Pasco County parents. Families who want to send their children to public schools other than the ones they're zoned for have until March 1 to file the necessary papers. Officials will consider all applications in a batch after the deadline passes, and not first-come-first served. Criteria will include availability of seats. Several schools already are frozen to transfers because they are projected to be at or over capacity. They are Anclote, Oakstead, Pine View, Chasco, Sand Pine, Connerton, Seven Oaks, Cypress, Taylor, Double Branch, Veterans, Hudson, Woodland and Moon Lake elementary schools; Centennial, Weightman and Long middle schools; and Wiregrass Ranch, Land O'Lakes and Zephyrhills high schools. For information, call (813) 794-2686 or visit http://tinyurl.com/pasco-choice.
Crumbley running unopposed so far
Pasco School Board member Alison Crumbley has filed papers to seek re-election to her District 4 seat. Crumbley first won her post in 2010, filling the unexpired term of Kathryn Starkey, who resigned for an unsuccessful run for a Florida House seat. Crumbley is now pursuing a full, four-year term. So far, she faces no opposition. Crumbley, 53, listed four chief priorities they she wants to pursue on the board. She hopes to continue looking for ways to spend money efficiently and keep it in the classroom. She wants to improve teacher morale and encourage parent involvement. And she wants to tackle what she considers a major substance abuse problem among students. "We have let those programs go by the wayside," Crumbley said. "We need to pick those back up." Official qualifying is in June. The District 2 seat also is up for election, with three candidates currently pre-filed to run.
Fiorentino lines up re-election backers
Pasco County schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino isn't waiting for an opponent to get her re-election bid started. The two-term incumbent has scheduled a campaign kickoff party for Tuesday evening, and she's boasting some powerful Republican leaders as her backers. Hosts for the event include Sen. Mike Fasano, Rep. John Legg, County Commissioner Pat Mulieri, businessman Tom Castriota and activists Peter Hanzel, Joanne Florin and Anne Corona. While Fiorentino has lined up support, Secretary of State Kurt Browning — whom many expect to challenge her in the August Republican primary — has stayed mum. Browning, a former longtime county elections supervisor, did not return calls seeking comment on his intentions. A political newcomer, Moon Lake construction worker Kenneth W. Benson, has jumped into the race, but said he remains short of the 2,918 petition signatures he needs to get on the ballot.