Ask School Board hopefuls questions
Got a question you're dying to ask Pinellas School Board candidates? Well then, fire away.
The Gradebook, the Times' online blog, is rounding up questions for an Aug. 3 candidates forum co-sponsored by the Pinellas Education Foundation, the Pinellas County Council of PTAs, WPDS-Ch. 14 and the St. Petersburg Times.
Questions posed to candidates that night will be taken from this Gradebook post. The deadline for submission is July 16.
If you want to remain anonymous, that's okay. But if you'd like to include your name and other pertinent information, that would be good too. It would be nice if we could tell the candidates whether a question came from a parent, a teacher, a student, a businessperson, etc.
Okay? Let 'er rip. Go to blogs.tampabay.com/schools/pinellas_county
Library association concerned about budget cuts in middle schools
Add another group to the growing list of those unhappy with proposed budget cuts in Pinellas: the Pinellas Association of Library Information Specialists. The group recently sent this stern letter to superintendent Julie Janssen and the School Board, urging them to back off from a potential hit to library services in middle schools.
As part of a plan to absorb $14.4 million in class-size reduction costs, the district is recommending that middle school media specialists teach two classes.
That "sounds harmless enough, but it effectively closes middle school libraries to all middle school students for three periods each day (the two class periods plus a planning period)," the group writes. That will cause "significant, school-wide harm" and hurt black and Hispanic students the most, it says.
The group doesn't buy the notion that volunteers can fill the vacuum: "Volunteers have no professional training or certification to assist struggling readers, collaborate and teach 21st century information literacy skills or support curriculum-based information technologies such as Scholastic, Learn 360, the Gale databases or Smart Board technologies," the letter says.
Charity wants school uniforms
Clothes To Kids is critically short of school uniforms, and 23 Pinellas schools will require students to wear uniforms. New or gently used uniform pants in khaki and navy, and uniform polo shirts in white, light blue and navy can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at two Clothes To Kids locations:
• St. Petersburg, 3251 Third Ave. N, Suite 145.
• Clearwater, 1059 N Hercules Ave.
Cash donations are also welcome. Clothes To Kids is a nonprofit that provides free clothing to low-income, school-age children in Pinellas County. For information, call (727) 441-5050 or go to ClothesToKids.org.