Friday, April 20, 2018
Education

Technical high school in Hernando is on path to accept zoned students

BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast Technical High School is one step closer to having a neighborhood attendance zone of its own.

With little discussion, the Hernando School Board on Tuesday gave informal approval to the proposed zone that extends several miles in each direction from the school on California Street, southwest of Brooksville. A formal vote is set for Feb. 1.

Since opening its doors in 2003, Nature Coast has accepted students from throughout Hernando County through an application process. Starting with the 2012-2013 school year, students who live in the attendance zone will be automatically assigned to Nature Coast unless they request during the open enrollment period to attend another school. Although the enrollment period ends Jan. 31, district officials have said that students affected will likely be granted more time.

The rest of Nature Coast's seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis by students from throughout the county who apply. That is also a new procedure. The seats had been filled by a 70-30 portfolio-to-lottery ratio.

The attendance zone will affect current eighth-graders who will start high school in the fall. District officials had also considered applying the change to current freshmen who attend other schools. Many families who attended a public meeting last month opposed that idea.

"Those kids were established at a school and it means disenfranchising them to move them," Blavatt told the board.

Created with input from a committee made up of parents, principals and district staffers, the Nature Coast zone approved Tuesday includes 92 current eighth-graders — 54 who had been zoned for Hernando and 38 for Springstead.

The plan offers the benefit of further downsizing Springstead, a school that got some relief for its crowded conditions when attendance zones were shifted before Weeki Wachee High opened last year, Blavatt said.

"Keeping neighborhoods together is real important," board member John Sweeney said. "I'm glad we're doing that."

The idea for the changes came from an advisory committee of parents, principals, teachers and district staffers, including Nature Coast principal Toni-Ann Noyes, who supported the revisions to allow broader access to the school and stabilize its population.

Board member Dianne Bonfield asked if the zone meant that Nature Coast, which offers a comprehensive curriculum along with half a dozen career academies, would become less of a technical school.

No, Blavatt replied. But the superintendent said his current vision for the school's future is to offer higher level technical courses at Nature Coast and reduce duplication at other schools.

Concerns that admitting neighborhood students will cause a watering down of Nature Coast's programs are unfounded, Noyes said.

"I think this is a positive step," she said. "We're just building on what we have."

• • •

In other action, the board selected applicants to interview for in-house legal counsel and for outside legal services. The board advertised for both with the intent to decide after the interview process whether to hire an in-house attorney or hire an attorney or firm on a contract basis.

Applicants for in-house counsel to be interviewed are Suzanne Brownless of Tallahassee; Christopher DeLorenzo of Jupiter; Deborah Glover-Pearcey of Lutz; Jeffrey Pegler of Vero Beach; Lori Tetreault of Weeki Wachee; and Richard Withers of Apopka.

The applicants for outside contract counsel are Glover-Pearcey; McClain, Alfonso, Meeker & Dunn, the Pasco County firm that is currently providing counsel services to the Hernando district on an interim basis; Denise Lyn of Inverness; and Bell & Roper, an Orlando firm.

Interviews are Jan. 25-26.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

Comments
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teachers’ aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer...
Published: 04/19/18
Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

LARGO — Starting soon, Pinellas County public schools could be using a nationwide violence prevention program founded by families of those killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December 2012.The nonprofit group Sandy Hook Promise, with ...
Published: 04/19/18

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Published: 04/18/18
After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

TAMPA — Sam Sharf’s parents thought he had the best position on the Plant High School football team. As back-up quarterback, he could impress the girls but rarely played enough to get hurt.Now a junior, Sharf is off the team so he can focus his energ...
Published: 04/18/18

Gannon University’s Ruskin growth includes $21 million addition

RUSKIN — Gannon University is experiencing some serious growing pains and as a result, SouthShore is going to see a big change in the landscape. When it opened its doors in 2015 as a satellite campus for its home school in Erie, Pa., Gannon occupied ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Enrollment growth anticipated for Pasco County charter schools, with two more to open in the fall

Most of Pasco County’s more established charter schools expect to see their student population remain stable in 2018-19.Even so, enrollment in the county’s charter schools is expected to grow by about 1,100 children — or nearly 25 percent — in the fa...
Published: 04/17/18
Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

LAND O’ LAKES — As a child, Taylor Young started doodling with crayons as a hobby. Now at age 16, this Sunlake High School sophomore has received a full scholarship, valued at $6,000, to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design Summer Pre-Colleg...
Published: 04/16/18
Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

A Florida high school student who said she was told to cover up her nipples after not wearing a bra to school is planning a protest in response. Lizzy Martinez’ "bracott" will take place today at Braden River High in Manatee County, according to Twit...
Published: 04/16/18

School news for April 20

School Calendar• April 27: Progress reports• May 17-20: High school graduations.• May 25: Last day of school for students.Theatre/Art/MusicCenter for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7382.• J .W. Mitchell Hi...
Published: 04/16/18