Friday, December 15, 2017
Education

Dade City commissioners, residents vow to fight for school

DADE CITY — Rampant rumors over the possible closing of a historic school drew city commissioners into a special meeting Monday, where they quickly agreed on a resolution urging the Pasco County School District to keep Moore Mickens Education Center open.

"We don't have any authority here," said Mayor Camille Hernandez, addressing a standing room-only crowd. "But we do have a voice."

Hernandez and other commissioners have been hearing from worried residents since late last week, when word spread of the school's possible demise.

"I've had a lot of calls," said Commissioner Jim Shive. "Shutting this facility down will have a tremendous impact; it's a lifeline for many in the community."

Close to 50 people came to the meeting; some shared their personal histories involving the school, others spoke of the difference it makes in the lives of youths and adults.

Commissioner Eunice Penix, a retired teacher and lifelong resident, urged those attending to sign a petition to keep Moore Mickens up and running.

"Nobody is assigned to Moore Mickens," said Bernice Mathis, a retired school administrator and advisory board member for the school. "They come here because they are not successful at the high school. We need to stand and fight for Moore Mickens."

Margarita Romo, founder of Farmworker's Self Help in Dade City and a recent inductee into the state's Civil Rights Hall of Fame, pledged her group's assistance in pressuring the school district to keep the school open.

"We've sent many of our people to Moore Mickens to get their GED," said Romo. "My community is here to fight with you."

The resolution will ask the board to continue investing in the school, which commissioners view as a valuable resource in the city and one of historical significance.

It was built in the 1930s as the county's first permanent school for black students and since 1987 has operated as an education center. It offers classes for pregnant students and those with young children; students with learning disabilities and other special needs; and adult education and vocational training.

Pasco school superintendent Kurt Browning, a longtime Dade City resident, has said he will hold a public meeting soon to dispel rumors, explain the district's ideas for the school and to listen to feedback.

Browning said there are no plans to tear down Moore Mickens — one of the rumors he has heard — but there are discussions about possibly moving programs to other campuses to better serve students.

Officials have pointed to rising maintenance costs and safety concerns with increasing train runs on nearby tracks as other reasons for considering closure.

Commissioner Bill Dennis complimented residents for their comments and advised them to speak out to those who can influence a decision on the issue.

"If you don't take these same presentations to the school board, it's for naught," said Dennis.

District staff plans to discuss ideas for Moore Mickens at the school board's meeting today.

Hernandez said she plans to be there to present the city's resolution.

Comments
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant."Go home, Spencer!" they shouted, as the exasperated white nationalist paced the stage, pleading to be heard.Were the students exerc...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

BROOKSVILLE — The new year could bring about new beginnings for at-risk girls in Hernando County.Pending a vote by the School Board next month, PACE Center for Girls, an alternative education program for middle- and high-school students, could open a...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Pasco school district, employees reach contract agreement

The raises for Pasco County school district employees aren’t as high as anyone would like, but they’re now part of a signed tentative contract deal reached just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.If ratified by the staff and the School Board, the agreements ...
Published: 12/13/17
For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

LAND O’LAKES — At Bexley Elementary School in Land O’Lakes, students are throwing paper airplanes — with the help of a high tech computerized launcher. They’re also bowling — with a little aid from computerized drones. And when they get around to it,...
Published: 12/13/17

Proposal to rollback early learning programs could bring Citrus into Pasco-Hernando coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.The state Office of Early Learning has now issued ...
Published: 12/13/17
Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

TAMPA — Elementary school students programmed an electronic mouse to make its way through a maze.Middle school students directed an electronic vehicle to stop on a dime, then use its arms to locate and lift a tiny cube.When the demonstration was done...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Caitlin Gille grew up in a union household in Wisconsin, where her mom was a long-time teacher in the small city of Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee.She was accustomed to seeing educators advocating for their working conditions and pay, having a sea...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Published: 12/12/17
Book tasting event lets Fox Chapel students indulge their love of reading

Book tasting event lets Fox Chapel students indulge their love of reading

SPRING HILL — As she perused the book, something about Night of the Living Worms piqued sixth-grader Inessia Richardson’s interest. So she decided to take it home from the Fox Chapel Middle School library.The opportunity to look at Night of the Livin...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/14/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17