Sunday, October 21, 2018


Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer

Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer

Jeffrey S. Solochek has reported about Florida's public education system since the first school tried to return recognition funds from Jeb Bush's then-new A-Plus plan. Currently based in Pasco County, he covers state, regional and local education issues for the Tampa Bay Times both in print and online, including weekly podcasts and whatever new formats he can figure out. Follow on Twitter @jeffsolochek.

Crowded classrooms prompt class-size concerns

Teachers and students raise concerns about the district's use of school-wide averages for class size calculation. Plus other news from the district.
Published: 10/18/18
Election Day is Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018.

Goliath candidate for state Senate takes first-time opponent seriously

Sen. Wilton Simpson scheduled to become state Senate president in 2020
Published: 10/18/18
2018 school board races
Pasco County School Board candidates Megan Harding (left) and Tara O'Connor

Pasco School Board candidates focus on experiences, support in campaign to replace retiring incumbent

One is a teacher. The other is a lawyer and parent. Each believes her experience gives her the edge.
Published: 10/10/18
Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, seen here at an August rally, has proposed raising the starting pay for Florida teachers to $50,000, calling it the

Andrew Gillum wants to pay starting teachers $50,000. Could that ever happen in Florida?

When Valerie Chuchman moved to Florida from Wisconsin eight years ago, her new principal joked that while she was taking a significant salary cut, she would be repaid in sunshine.Unfortunately, the Riverview High School chemistry teacher said,...
Published: 10/10/18

School Board seeks to protect teachers leading health courses out of field

And Plato Academy Trinity moves into its new buildings.
Published: 10/09/18
First grade teacher Stephanie Bacot works with student Bryson Zachman on identifying words that begin with D during West Zephryhills Elementary's daily WIN (What I Need) time. JEFFREY S. SOLOCHECK | Times

Off state's watch list, West Zephyrhills Elementary aims to stay off

ZEHPYRHILLS — Stephanie Bacot raised her voice above the din of West Zephyrhills Elementary first-graders arriving for the start of classes on a recent Wednesday."It's time for WIN!" Bacot announced, as she projected a writing...
Updated one month ago
Dawn Brown, a civics teacher at Crews Lake Middle School, leads students in a discussion about the English Bill of Rights and other documents that laid the foundation for the U.S. Constitution. Florida has required the course since 2012. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK   |   Times]

Ron DeSantis and others want to put the Constitution ‘back’ in Florida schools. It’s already there.

Dawn Brown cued up a Discovery video about the 1689 English Bill of Rights, and told her seventh-grade civics students to pay close attention to the details."This is where the ideas for our Bill of Rights came from," Brown said, referring to...
Updated one month ago

New Pasco Middle School principal sent in to improve climate, provide leadership

Plagued with low staff morale, Pasco Middle School got a new principal Sept. 21 who was charged with improving the climate of the Dade City campus.Danielle "Dee Dee" Johnson, principal of Wesley Chapel High since early 2017, was...
Updated one month ago
Dressed in her shoulder pads and jersey, eighth-grader and varsity football player, Julliana Michael, 13, holds her flute as she looks toward the football field before playing the National Anthem with the Seven Springs marching band at Seven Springs Middle School in New Port Richey on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Michael plays the National Anthem and the school’s fight song before starting the game as kicker. She also plays linebacker and wide receiver.

Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

TRINITY — Julie Michael stood in the metal bleachers, flute poised at her lips, ready to play the national anthem with the Seven Springs Middle School advanced band.As the band segued into the school fight song, the eighth-grader...
Updated one month ago
Pasco County School Board vice chairwoman Alison Crumbley reviews the district's 2018-19 budget proposal before the board's final public hearing and adoption Tuesday. Crumbley later lamented the state's unwillingness to allow districts to keep their tax rates flat so they can take advantage of rising property values.  JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times

Employee pay dominates Pasco schools budget debate

LAND O' LAKES — The Pasco County School Board unanimously adopted a $1.26 billion budget Tuesday with a slightly lowered tax rate and funding for new school construction in both east and west Pasco.But the spending item that grabbed most...
Updated one month ago