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Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer

Jeffrey S. Solochek

Jeffrey S. Solochek writes about schools and education for the Tampa Bay Times. Solochek has covered the school districts in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties since joining the Times in 2000. He also oversees The Gradebook education blog.

Phone: (813) 909-4614

Email: jsolochek@tampabay.com

Blog: The Gradebook

Twitter: @JeffSolochek

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  1. Rezoning committee changes course on east Pasco County middle, high school boundaries

    Blog

    To cheers and jeers, an advisory committee of Pasco County parents and school district officials changed direction Friday on a proposal for revised Wesley Chapel-area middle and high school attendance zone boundaries.

    The Meadow Pointe subdivision, which originally had been slated to move out of Wiregrass Ranch High and John Long Middle, would remain in place under the latest recommendation. The Seven Oaks subdivision instead would be rezoned into Wesley Chapel High and Weightman Middle....

    The newly recommended map moves the Seven Oaks subdivision instead of the Meadow Pointe subdivision.
  2. Latvala bristles at freshman senator's attempt to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants

    Blog

    Without mentioning any names, or even the issue at hand, Florida Sen. Jack Latvala took a clear swipe Thursday at a newly minted Senate colleague who filed legislation to undo a university tuition measure that Latvala worked hard to broker two years ago.

    Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, proposed a bill Wednesday to void a law granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students who graduate from Florida high schools. Latvala initially had little to say about the proposal, which he hadn't yet read....

  3. Sen. Latvala takes issue with bill to revoke Florida in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students

    Blog

    Without mentioning any names, or even the issue at hand, Florida Sen. Jack Latvala took a clear swipe Thursday at a newly minted Senate colleague who filed legislation to undo a university tuition measure that Latvala worked hard to broker two years ago.

    Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, proposed a bill Wednesday to void a law granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students who graduate from Florida high schools. Latvala initially had little to say about the proposal, which he hadn't yet read....

    Key Florida senators speak at the FSBA conference at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay on Thursday.
  4. Florida education news: School funding, bus rides, discipline and more

    Blog

    IN THE SENATE: Key Florida senators declare themselves strong backers of public education, speak of need to streamline testing, improve teacher pay and equalize accountability for all schools that receive tax dollars.

    FREE RIDERS: The Hillsborough County school district considers ending "courtesy" bus rides for nearly 7,500 students who live closer than 2 miles from their schools. ...

  5. Key senators to push for less testing, more support for public schools in 2017 session

    K12

    TAMPA — Florida education funding could face tight times in the coming legislative session, with revenue low and competition for resources high.

    But key state senators told the state's school board members this week that they remained staunch supporters of public schools, and they would work to direct as much money as possible into the system, while also looking for ways to conserve....

    Sens. Dana Young, from left, Bill Montford, David Simmons and Jack Latvala speak on Friday at the Florida School Boards Association conference in Tampa.
  6. Florida school report cards fall short in key areas, report shows

    Blog

    Florida long has provided online report cards of the state's public schools for parents and others to study.

    But its model falls short in several areas, according to a newly released review of similar report cards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    According to the Data Quality Campaign's Show Me the Data, Florida is among 18 states to require three or more clicks through websites to find the report card information, making navigation more complicated than it needs to be. ...

  7. Florida education news: In-state tuition, dual enrollment, performing arts and more

    Blog

    TUITION: A conservative state senator files legislation to end in-state college and university tuition for undocumented immigrant students who attended high school in Florida.

    COLLEGE BOUND: Pasco County's Dayspring Academy charter school launches a "structured dual enrollment" program aimed to get all its high school students a degree....

  8. Proposals keep coming in east Pasco school rezoning effort

    Blog

    Despite its unanimous vote for a new set of east Pasco middle and high school attendance boundaries, an advisory committee to the School Board plans to revisit its decision this week with several added proposals in hand....

  9. Dayspring charter school students find PHSC classes to their liking

    K12

    NEW PORT RICHEY

    Christian Sampson admitted to sometimes being a little overwhelmed.

    A Dayspring Academy junior, he and his 18 classmates had embarked upon a different path than most Pasco County high schoolers. They all attend courses exclusively at Pasco-Hernando State College on Monday through Thursday, visiting their charter school only on Fridays for guidance and academic support....

    John Legg pushed for statewide collegiate programs when he was a state senator and then started Dayspring Academy.
  10. Raise proposal for non-union workers heads to Pasco School Board

    Blog

    In a break with longstanding tradition, the Pasco County school district administration has asked the School Board to approve raises for workers not covered by collective bargaining before reaching a contract settlement with the rest of the staff.

    The proposal for pay increases up to 2.65 percent -- the same amount offered across the table to the United Employees of Pasco -- goes to the board on Tuesday. It would affect about 10 percent of district workers, including all administrators but the superintendent's inner circle....

    Contract talks for Pasco County school teachers and staff last took place Nov. 9.
  11. Florida education news: Recess, bullies, bats and more

    Blog

    PLAY TIME: Florida lawmakers again will consider a proposal to mandate daily recess at elementary schools.

    BULLYING: Students at Pasco Middle School take a stand against bullying....

  12. Pasco school district, employee union officials might return to contract talks

    Blog

    The Pasco County school district and United School Employees of Pasco could resume collective bargaining as early as next week, officials from both sides told the Gradebook.

    "We are reviewing our options," said Jim Ciadella, USEP operations director. "Chances are we will go back to the table next week in an attempt to hear a counter proposal from the school district."

    The sides broke off talks nearly three weeks ago, after USEP president Kenny Blankenship declared the negotiations to have reached an impasse. They had not met since August before that....

  13. Florida Senate education leaders announced

    Blog

    Some new faces will oversee the education policy debates in the Florida Senate during the 2017 session, while a familiar hand will run education appropriations in the chamber.

    Senate President Joe Negron announced Tuesday that Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Volusia County Republican, will chair the Education Committee with Sen. Debbie Mayfield, an Indian River County Republican, as vice chair.

    Sen. David Simmons, a Seminole County Republican, will lead the education appropriations side, with Sen. Dana Young, a Hillsborough County Republican, as vice chair....

  14. Pasco elementary rezoning committee finishes work, as high school effort heats up

    Blog

    A committee of parents and school district officials spent just 15 minutes Tuesday finishing their work redrawing elementary school attendance zones in the booming Odessa area of Pasco County -- an effort that featured none of the drama associated with similar efforts for central and southwest county middle and high schools.

    The panel had little to say when planner Richard Tonello asked if they had heard anything from the community that made them want to change their recommendations, which have students headed to still under construction Bexley Elementary or well regarded Lake Myrtle Elementary to ease crowding at Oakstead and Odessa elementary schools....

    The final committee meeting to consider new elementary school boundaries for the Odessa area lasted 15 minutes.
  15. Still no alternative plan to Florida's Best and Brightest bonus from state

    Blog

    Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart has yet to present her ideas to replace the state's controversial teacher bonus plan that's based in part on educators' college entry exams, well after she told the State Board of Education she'd give them a plan....