1. Archive


Got a question you're dying to ask the Pinellas School Board candidates? Well then, fire away. The Gradebook is rounding up questions for an Aug. 3 candidate forum that is being co-sponsored by the Pinellas Education Foundation, the Pinellas County Council of PTAs, WPDS-Ch. 14 and the St. Petersburg Times. The questions posed to candidates that night will be taken from the Gradebook online. 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'd 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.

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Colleges check student rap sheets

Higher education is supposed to give people a leg up to move ahead in work and society.

But in light of some recent high-profile campus massacres, a growing number of colleges and universities have begun checking applicants' criminal histories along with their high school transcripts, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Not everyone is sold on the idea, which comes with its share of problems even as it seeks to resolve a huge concern.

Darby Dickerson, vice president and dean at the Stetson University College of Law, described criminal background checks to the publication as a "legal and policy jigsaw puzzle" of intertwined concerns about campus safety, legal risk and individual rights.

Others, meanwhile, suggested that it's the wrong approach to essentially post a Keep Out sign to people with a criminal past, people who need a fresh start as much as if not more than others.

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Around the state

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Florida gets $170 million in federal funds to help turn around persistently struggling schools, the AP reports.

WHO SETS TUITION? The three-year turf battle over the tuition at Florida public universities is now in a judge's hands, the AP reports.

FREE BIBLES: A religious group sues the Collier school district for the right to distribute free Bibles on school campuses, the Naples Daily News reports.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Edison State College builds a $13 million nursing lab to give students real-life skills, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL: Former Broward School Board member Beverly Gallagher heads to prison to begin her 37-month term for accepting bribes, the Miami Herald reports.

HEY! NO SMOKING! The University of Florida goes tobacco-free, but that doesn't stop people from smoking on campus anyway, the Gainesville Sun reports.

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This week


Pasco School Board, 9:30 a.m., 7205 Land O'Lakes Blvd., Land O'Lakes.

Pinellas School Board workshop, 10 a.m., 301 Fourth St. SW, Largo.

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Poll question

Should school districts hike student fees to help offset budget shortfalls this year?

To vote, go to