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Pasco board approves principal for Land O'Lakes High

LAND O'LAKES — Land O'Lakes High School has a new principal. And Mitchell High School needs a new one.

Ric Mellin, who has led Mitchell High since 2005, was approved by the School Board on Tuesday to take over at Land O'Lakes effective March 23. He replaces Monica Ilse, who will open Anclote High in Holiday.

Mellin joined the district in 1994 as a social studies teacher at Stewart Middle School. He became an assistant principal five years later, spending six years at Wesley Chapel High before moving to Mitchell as principal.

The district has not determined how it will replace Mellin. "We could post the job, or we could transfer someone," said Jim Davis, assistant superintendent for high schools.

In other business, Pasco superintendent Heather Fiorentino told the board that her administration continues to work on ways to cut spending in advance of two more rounds of expected budget reductions from the state that could total as much as $41 million.

"We're trying to figure out where they're going. And right now, to be honest, they don't know," Fiorentino said.

She noted that one of the biggest effects for the district is a months-old hiring freeze. Whenever a teacher leaves, she said, the administration is consolidating classes and moving teachers to avoid hiring anyone.

"We have never transferred this many people in the middle of the year," Fiorentino said.

The district will be able to shift some money from capital projects to cover insurance bills. It also is considering whether to recommend canceling the purchase of some textbooks and putting the money into general operations.

"We utilized Plan A. We utilized Plan B. Now we're starting to work on Plan C," Fiorentino said.

"It looks like we might need Plans D and E," board vice chairman Allen Altman said.

Fiorentino also told the board that the administration is considering new rules on waiving fees for use of school facilities.

"We no longer can be providing all the services that we have been doing," she said. "It's just too costly."

To keep the food and nutrition services budget balanced, the board approved increases to all cafeteria meal prices.

A new budget advisory committee will meet Thursday to discuss the next steps.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614.

Pasco board approves principal for Land O'Lakes High 02/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 10:36pm]

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