Friday, May 25, 2018
Education

Hernando School Board agrees to repair plan for Westside Elementary

BROOKSVILLE — Westside Elementary School students, teachers and parents have been waiting anxiously for more than a month to hear the fate of their school.

On Tuesday, they breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Hernando County School Board members approved replacing the school's failing roof and aging air-handling system and agreed to a temporary fix that will allow students to stay in the school next year.

That means no students will have to spend a year at a different school or in portables, which were options.

Westside principal Gina Michalicka said she was happy with the decision. More than that, she was happy that there was finally a decision.

"There was lots of stress at Westside," Michalicka said.

With the school facing an urgent need for costly repairs, School Board members last month were presented with a variety of options, including the school's permanent closure.

The estimated cost to repair the roof and air-handling system is about $3.5 million. It will cost roughly $190,000 for temporary repairs to the roof.

Facilities director Roland "Bo" Bavota described the temporary fix as a "huge Band-Aid," saying it essentially buys the district an extra year while plans for the roof replacement are drawn up. The replacement would occur after the 2014-15 school year.

The option for the temporary fix — described as a "top coat" — came before the board for the first time at Tuesday's workshop. Previously, Bavota had said he didn't think students should occupy the school next year because of the poor condition of the roof.

The board had considered temporarily busing students to Pine Grove Elementary or creating a cluster of portable classrooms at Westside. The busing option would have cost about $170,000; the portables would have cost upward of $1 million.

A majority of board members felt the temporary fix followed by the roof replacement was the best option.

"I really think we're in good shape doing what we can," board member Dianne Bonfield said. "I'm all for making the building safe, which I believe this will."

"It goes a long way," Bavota said.

Board member Matt Foreman, while he agreed with the plan, worried about where the money would come from and what impact it would have on the district.

Board Chairman Gus Guadagnino said he was concerned that Westside could become a money pit.

Comments
Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

ST. PETERSBURG — An Eckerd College student who was critically injured last weekend during an accidental fall on campus shortly before she was to graduate died today, the school announced.Rebecca Ryan "Becca" Lavin-Burgher would have graduated with a ...
Updated: 1 minute ago
A school resource officer allegedly told a gay student she would go to hell. Now he’s going away.

A school resource officer allegedly told a gay student she would go to hell. Now he’s going away.

The stares and whispers started on the first day of school more than two years ago, when Liv Funk and Hailey Smith silently declared their relationship in the halls of North Bend High School by holding hands.They knew coming out would be hard in the ...
Published: 05/24/18
What is a college’s responsibility to parents when a student is suicidal?

What is a college’s responsibility to parents when a student is suicidal?

CLINTON, N.Y. — In the days after her son Graham hanged himself in his dormitory room at Hamilton College, Gina Burton went about settling his affairs in a blur of efficiency, her grief tinged with a nagging sense that something did not add up.She fi...
Published: 05/24/18
Hillsborough teachers hope to get some, but not all of their raise money

Hillsborough teachers hope to get some, but not all of their raise money

TAMPA — Teachers in Hillsborough County came closer on Wednesday to reaching an agreement with the school district that would give them most, but not all of the pay they expected this past year.The deal, if it happens, will end a year-long conflict t...
Published: 05/23/18
Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

NEW PORT RICHEY — The line snaked through the hallways and into the cafeteria, as the Ridgewood High faithful waited for their chance to secure a piece of the school’s 40-year history.They came by the hundreds — current and former students, staff and...
Published: 05/23/18
Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

TAMPA — The pain of the Parkland shootings Feb. 14 was fresh on the minds of Hillsborough County’s graduating seniors when about 300 of them received an assignment. Write a 250-word essay on how decades of school shootings have touched y...
Published: 05/23/18
Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

WEEKI WACHEE — A 16-year-old was arrested Tuesday on allegations that she created a fake social media post threatening to shoot students at Weeki Wachee High School, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said the 16-year-old told...
Published: 05/22/18
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Published: 05/21/18
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18