School yard dash

Ah, the first day of school. Between tears and kisses — so humiliating, not in front of school! — it's easy to forget something essential. Here's a checklist to survive the mad rush out the front door:

Milk money

Ante up, parental dearest. The lunch lady wants an extra 50 cents this year in Hillsborough, so a meal will cost $2.25 in elementary and $2.75 in middle and high.

Pinellas lunch costs ($1.75/$2), Pasco ($1.80/$2.30 or $3), Hernando ($1.70/$2)

Paper, pencil, pen … flash drive

No pain, no gain. The typical parent expected to spend $98.47 on school supplies this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Just guessing that was before anyone knew USB flash drives made the list of must-haves.

Ergonomically correct backpack

An unbelievably expensive bag is required to cart around that small fortune of school supplies. And the lunch money. And the books, which are still free in public schools.

On the bright side, that backpack investment could avoid years of chiropractor bills. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a loaded backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a child's total weight.

Oh, one more thing to do: a morning weigh-in.

Cell phones

Call it mission impossible, but schools actually seem to think they can force students to obey the no cell phone in class rule.

Hillsborough is cracking down this year with a "we see it, we take it" mantra. Elsewhere in the Tampa Bay area, the philosophy is similar: Keep those things stored away, if they must be brought to school.

Hand sanitizer

It is cold and gooey and smells weird. What's worse? The germ petri dish called a classroom. Want to spend weeks dealing with runny noses and thermometers? Heck no!

Better to declare war on germs and load up Junior with mini-sanitizer, the most effective one on the market. After the first day of school, who can afford doctor co-pays?

First day of school

Monday: Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando

Tuesday: Pinellas

Have a school bus problem?

Hillsborough: (813) 982-5500

Pinellas: (727) 587-2020

Pasco: (727) 774-0400, (813) 794-0400, (352) 524-0400

Hernando: (352) 797-7003

Last minute questions? Find answers and contact numbers online:

Hillsborough: www.sdhc.k12.fl.us

Pinellas: www.pinellas.k12.fl.us

Pasco: www.pasco.k12.fl.us

Hernando: www.hcsb.k12.fl.us

Projected student enrollment

Hillsborough: 184,901

Pinellas: 105,000

Pasco: 66,951

Hernando: 23,454

New schools opening by district

Hillsborough: (3)

Reddick Elementary, Wimauma

Kimbell Elementary, North Tampa

Sgt. Paul R. Smith Middle, northwest county

Pinellas: (0) Three schools were closed, due to declining enrollment.

Largo Central Elementary, Largo

South Ward Elementary, Clearwater

Riviera Middle School, St. Petersburg

Pasco: (2)

Crews Lake Middle School, Shady Hills

Veterans Elementary, Wesley Chapel

Hernando: (1)

Explorer K-8, Spring Hill





Milk money

The lunch lady wants an extra 50 cents this year in Hillsborough, so a meal will cost $2.25 in elementary and $2.75 in middle and high.

Pinellas lunch costs ($1.75/$2), Pasco ($1.80/$2.30 or $3), Hernando ($1.70/$2)

Paper, pencil, pen, flash drive

The typical parent expected to spend $98.47 on school supplies this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Just guessing that was before anyone knew USB flash drives made the list of must-haves.

First Day of School

Monday: Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando

Tuesday: Pinellas

Last minute questions?

Find answers and contact numbers online:

Hillsborough: www.sdhc.k12.fl.us

Pinellas: www.pinellas.k12.fl.us

Pasco: www.pasco.k12.fl.us

Hernando: www.hcsb.k12.fl.us

School yard dash 08/17/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2008 4:40pm]

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