The 2013-2014 school year for the Pasco School District is under way. It should be an interesting nine months or so.
For one thing, this will mark the first full school year for Superintendent of Schools Kurt Browning. Many in the school district rank and file were glad to see Browning replace former Superintendent Heather Fiorentino, but Browning has had to make some tough decisions, including combining the jobs of media and tech specialists and literacy coach into one hybrid position. This move ruffled a lot of feathers, and critics will be looking for signs the composite job isn’t working.
The district, as well as the rest of the state, will be in the midst of the transition to the Common Core Standards for assessing student — and teacher — performance. It will do this while still having to deal one more time with the much-maligned Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, on which school grades will be based one last time. Even as the transition is underway, some members of the Legislature, including House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, are questioning Common Core and the test that will go along with it, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
Meanwhile, the school goard, again faced with avoiding a budget deficit, has decided it won’t even feign interest in complying with the state’s constitutionally mandated class-size limits. The calculation is that paying the resulting fine will be cheaper than hiring the teachers needed to comply.
As always, we just hope Pasco County’s public school students don’t get lost in all the distractions.