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Jeffrey S. Solochek - Education Reporter

Education Reporter

I've been an education reporter for more than 25 years, in Illinois, Texas and Florida. Why stick with it? Because I see education as key to our community, whether it's about children learning, teachers and staff working, or residents seeking the best for their tax dollars. Our school systems are critical to our society, and I strive to tell you what's going on there. I've worked at the Tampa Bay Times since 2000, covering statewide education issues as well as the districts in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Think I've missed something? Send your ideas my way. I read all my emails.

  1. BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times
Ballast Point Elementary, a popular A-rated school in South Tampa, is operating at 110% of its official capacity. Other schools in Hillsborough County are a third or even half empty, prompting officials to commission a boundary study that could mean new school assignments for many families.
  2. The Pasco County School Board is set to consider a proposal that would close an under-capacity elementary school and send its students to other nearby campuses.
  3. The facilities at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School in New Port Richey have begun showing their age after 56 years and need a significant overhaul, officials say.
  4. Al Hernandez, left, and James Washington are competing for the Pasco County School Board District 1 seat in the Nov. 8, 2022 general election.
  5. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis displays the signed Parental Rights in Education bill in March at Classical Preparatory school in Shady Hills.
  6. Rosie and her owner check in to the evacuation shelter at Manatee High School as Hurricane Ian slowly approaches on Sept. 27, 2022. Manatee County schools expect to reopen for classes on Tuesday.
  7. Kait Donnelly wheels a cart full of donated supplies Saturday at Big Storm Brewing in Clearwater, where items are being collected to send to those affected by Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida.
  8. Hillsborough County residents can take their storm debris to drop-off sites, as they did after Hurricane Irma, or wait for crews to retrieve the items from in front of their homes. [Times (2017)]
  9. Motorists seen stalled on I-75 North bound on Friday, September 30, 2022.
  10. Several Pinellas County schools opened as hurricane shelters on Tuesday. They expect to resume classes on Monday.
  11. Beulah Stang, a sixth-grade math teacher at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg, carries a pillow and suitcase into the Pinellas County special needs shelter at the school on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 in St. Petersburg. The shelter had a capacity of over 700 people.
  12. A sign inside Durant High in Plant City indicates in English and Spanish that the Hillsborough County shelter accepts pets as the Tampa Bay area prepared for Hurricane Ian on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. Area shelters began to empty Thursday morning as the storm passed without causing major damage in the Tampa Bay area.
  13. Tropical Storm Ian is moving across central Florida Thursday and is expected to make it's way of the east coast, toward Georgia and the Carolinas, according to the National Hurricane Center.
  14. Workers scrub a Wesley Chapel High School classroom after Hurricane Irma evacuees left the campus, which was one of several in Pasco County used as an emergency shelter during the 2017 storm.
  15. From left to right: Workers D Bowls and John Nelson unload a pallet of bottled water as Magdalia Nieves, 44 and John Dejesus, 15, bring their belongings inside one of Hillsborough County’s pet-friendly shelters in preparation for Hurricane Ian at Durant High in Plant City on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
  16. Alejandro Riddick, 18, who recently moved from Philadelphia to Plant City with his family, carries a mattress inside one of Hillsborough County’s pet-friendly shelters in preparation for Hurricane Ian at Durant High in Plant City on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
  17. Sep. 27• The Education Gradebook
    Headed to a school-based hurricane shelter? Be sure to bring your bedding, food and other basic supplies, as these evacuees from Hurricane Irma did in 2017.
  18. Families settled into their spots in the shelter at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg as Hurricane Irma approached in 2017.
  19. Hurricane Ian formed overnight Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters say the storm could be a major hurricane by Monday night.
  20. The Pinellas County school district will close some schools early Monday as it prepares for an expected hurricane.
  21. Students are evacuated by police out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
  22. Gov. Ron DeSantis shows an image from the children’s book Call Me Max by transgender author Kyle Lukoff moments before signing the Parental Rights in Education bill in March. Critics say DeSantis should spend more time supporting public education than creating divisive policies.
  23. The Hillsborough County School Board decided to retain its sex education curriculum despite a push to remove portions providing detailed descriptions. [Shutterstock]
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