1. The Education Gradebook

Pinellas education news: new tax rate approved, five college fairs planned

New Pinellas tax rate supports $1.5 billion budget, school projects

The Pinellas County School Board this week approved a $1.5 billion budget for 2016-17 and a new property tax rate of $7.32 for every $1,000 of taxable value. The rate is lower than last year's rate of $7.77, but property owners could see an increase in their tax bills because values across the county are up 7.1 percent. For example, a resident with a home valued at $250,000 and a $25,000 homestead exemption paid $1,748 in school taxes last year. If that same home went up in value 7.1 percent, the school tax bill would rise to $1,777 this year, despite the lower rate. The new budget includes money for proposed renovation and construction projects at seven schools: Pinellas Park Middle ($28.4 million); Melrose Elementary ($19.4 million); Career Academies of Seminole ($11.3 million); Tarpon Springs High ($10 million); Lakewood High ($7.2 million); Orange Grove Elementary ($4.5 million); and Cypress Woods Elementary ($4.1 million).

Attention high school students: Five college events ahead

The number of upcoming events for Pinellas County high school students searching for colleges is up to five, with most scheduled over for the next few days. The details:

Sunday: The Pinellas County College Fair will be from 1-3 p.m. on the USF St. Petersburg campus, with representatives from some 70 colleges and universities in the southeastern United States. No registration required. For more information, contact Summer Finck at (727) 873-4754 or

Monday: The first of two college and career fairs sponsored by Pinellas Schools will be from 6-8 p.m. at Countryside High, 3000 State Road 580 in Clearwater. Representatives from 150 colleges and universities, technical schools, military branches, businesses and other employers will be there. For more information, call (727) 725-7956 ext. 2079 or email

Tuesday: Pinellas Schools' second college and career fair will be from 6-8 p.m. at Pinellas Park High, 6305 118th Ave. in Largo. Representatives from 150 colleges and universities, technical schools, military branches, businesses and other employers will be there. For more information, call (727) 725-7956 ext. 2079 or email

Oct. 3: The Clearwater High College Showcase will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. at the school, Hercules Avenue and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. Representatives will be there from 47 colleges and universities in- and out-of-state, including technical colleges and military academies. Open to all high school students, including freshmen and sophomores starting to plan for college. Contact Clearwater High graduation coach Kathy Biddle at (727) 298-1620, or PTSA vice president Pamela Iusi (727) 709-3668.

Oct. 19: Pinellas County high school students can take a day off from classes to visit St. Petersburg College from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event counts as an official college visit day and is open to high school juniors and seniors. Students can visit any of the school's seven campuses, take a tour and get information on classes, financial aid and how to apply.

SPC Foundation taking scholarship applications

The St. Petersburg College Foundation is accepting applications for scholarships until 5 p.m. Sept. 28 for the spring 2017 term. Applications for 2016-17 Study Abroad Scholarships will be accepted through 5 p.m. Nov. 1. For more information, visit

Elementary school lunch menus

Monday: Chicken sandwich, pizza crunchers, chef salad, turkey and cheese hoagie, crinkle oven fries, veggie dippers.

Tuesday: Herb-roasted chicken with noodles and roll, corn dog, farmer's salad/Jamwich Kit, oven-baked beans, romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Beef dippers with rice, stuffed shells marinara, fruit and yogurt plate, ham and cheese croissant, broccoli, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Chicken and dutch waffle, grilled cheese, Cobb salad, chicken caesar wrap, tomato soup, mixed or tossed side salad.

Friday: Pizza, potato crusted fish sticks and corn muffin loaf, chicken popper salad, Italian sub, green beans, veggie dippers.

Up next:Class notes