LAND O'LAKES — Naming schools never seemed so easy.
In less than five minutes, with almost no discussion, the Pasco School Board Tuesday decided what to call new elementary schools that will open next fall in the Connerton and Watergrass subdivisions.
The chosen names? Connerton Elementary and Watergrass Elementary.
"They're geographically easily identifiable," said board member Kathryn Starkey, echoing the board's recent explanation for naming the county's newest high school Anclote High.
Unlike in the past, the board had few submissions of beloved educators to consider. In fact, it received just five recommendations for the school now called Watergrass, and only one of those was for a human — the Bellamy Brothers.
One idea did receive some attention, that of "Memorial," in honor of all past district employees.
"I hope in the future we'll have the opportunity to name a school Memorial and have a garden with a memorial for teachers and special people," Starkey said.
In addition to naming schools, the board adopted a new anti-bullying policy. The district already had a policy dealing with bullying and harassment. These revisions reflect recently adopted state law.
The board was poised to reject a request by Mavericks in Education to open a charter school for high school dropouts and potential dropouts. But the Fort Lauderdale-based company, which has applied to start charter schools in several Florida counties, withdrew its application.
Before the board meeting began, newly-elected member Joanne Hurley told the Times that she has already made good on her campaign promise to be a full-time board member. She's submitted her resignation to Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, where she's worked as a spokeswoman for the past several years.
"My last day is Dec. 12," Hurley said, adding that she expects to spend several of the days until then tending to board business, such as training.
Hurley won election to District 3 during a three-way race in September. She took the oath of office to replace Marge Whaley, who retired, on Tuesday evening.
Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.