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School Board will update Web site's fashion, function

Travel to the Web pages of most school districts, and you'll find a wealth of options.

Check out the Web page for Pasco County schools. It has several nice photographs as background and many neatly organized links, including one for employment opportunities.

Hillsborough schools' Web page boasts links to job openings for educators, online School Board agendas for upcoming meetings, even information about student nutrition.

And Hernando? Enter the district's Web address, www.hcsb.k12.fl.us/ into an Internet browser, and you'll land on a site that looks like it hasn't been changed in years.

It's hard to find links for basic information like job vacancies for teachers or additional information about schools. The Web site doesn't have much in the way of pictures or graphics.

Now, School Board members have taken note of the district's meat and potatoes Web page. And they want change. They asked staffers at a workshop Tuesday afternoon to fix up the Web site.

Board member Pat Fagan, who brought up the issue, said he wants to see more information on the Web site, such as maps of School Board districts, as well as more appealing graphics and eye-catching fonts.

"We all know that businesses, school systems and others throughout the country use their Web sites to sell their product," said Fagan. "What we're trying to sell here is the Hernando County school system. The better Web site you have, the better contacts you're going to have from the outside."

Roy Gordon, the district's public information officer, told board members that school district officials update the Web page frequently. He also said district staffers "communicate in a lot of different ways." For example, Gordon said, they send out brochures and televise School Board meetings.

Still, he acknowledged that the Web page could use some touchups. Fagan will work with Gordon and staffers with technical expertise to redesign the Web page.

So what else would Fagan like to see online? The budget, for starters.

In November, Fagan was the lone board member to vote against a financing plan for school construction that could cost as much as $222-million over 30 years. The plan would require the district to issue up to $109-million in certificates of participation, a type of loan program, and make payments over 30 years.

Put the budget online, Fagan said, and people would become aware of such issues.

"We're borrowing a lot of money," he said. "And people want to see."

Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

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