1. Pasco

Pasco schools still feel pressure of students with behavior disorders

The Pasco County school district opened its own standalone program for elementary-aged students with emotional and behavior disorders this fall, while also taking over a similar program for middle and high school students.

The goal of the Achieve Centers was to provide better services to these students with special needs by centralizing the locations.

The effort has been successful as far as it reached, but district leaders indicate it hasn't completely handled the challenges at two west Pasco elementary schools that still have some children who could have gone to Achieve. Calusa and Hudson elementary schools -- two F-rated schools with several other problems to deal with -- continue to house "a number of EBD students that are significantly disrupting these campuses and injuring staff," superintendent Kurt Browning advised the School Board in a Sept. 7 memo.

To handle the situation, the district has assigned a behavior analyst and an assistant principal to each school, with the sole purpose of addressing the behavior issues.

Browning called the scenario a "crisis" and said it could not wait any longer to be tackled. He said he would answer any questions as needed. The board next meets on Tuesday, where the appointments are likely to appear on the agenda for approval.