Local & State News - Tampa Bay's 10 -...

Local & State News - Tampa Bay's 10 - tampabays10.com

There are 32 comments on the WTSP Tampa Bay story from Apr 23, 2007, titled Local & State News - Tampa Bay's 10 - tampabays10.com. In it, WTSP Tampa Bay reports that:

WTSP - Tampa Bay's 10 News - Tampa / St. Petersburg Local & State News Parents say school choice is no choice Oldsmar, Florida Kids play in an Oldsmar cul-de-sac and many of them have shared laughs for years.

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Steve Harris

Spring Hill, FL

#1 Apr 23, 2007
Choice is a joke. It should be named no Choice.
Kathy Sawyer

Saint Petersburg, FL

#2 Apr 23, 2007
Choice is not fair. My son has gone to south ST Pete for middle school. His friends are going to St Pete High. The school system lost my application for IB at St Pete. Instead, he's assigned to Clearwater where he won't know one soul.
Lisa Gose

Madison, AL

#3 Apr 24, 2007
Remember when we went to school with all our friends in the neighborhood all the way through high school? We had stability. We didn't have to worry where we were going to school each time we had to move up. Our parents would come to school functions, we could actually join extra activitives. It didn't take us an hour to get to school on the bus. Our parents didn't have to worry about us being dropped of at the wrong bus stop. What happened to those days? Oh yeah, someone thought giving parents a "choice" was a better idea. This system is a joke!

Largo, FL

#4 Apr 24, 2007
keep in mind Safety Harbor MS, Carwise MS, and Palm Harbor MS are the "best" schools in the county and are in high demand... Dunedin, Tarpon and JFK end up with the "leftovers" so to speak in the northern most section for MS choice. None of those later schools are horrible and they have excellent staff. I can say that w/o malice but perhaps a bit of bias I am one of them.

Largo, FL

#5 Apr 24, 2007
I am a product of the of the bussing system in Pinellas County. Those days weren't so great in some cases either. I did Fundamental in MS, but HS.. all those years growing up I was headed to Northeast... wrong again I was a Viking turned Spartan. I lived off of Gandy and 4th ST and went all the way down to Lakewood for 2 years (it was a good school) getting on the bus at 6 am... I grewed up fast because I had to get myself up. My mom wasn't getting up at 5. Then students who had it worse... south St. Pete kids bussing to Osceola in Seminole (now that is far!) Its a toss as to which system is better. Clearwater really is a good school, but yes, it is absurd coming from st. Pete. Hopefully you tornado can become a green devil soon ;).
Lorna Moore

Largo, FL

#7 Apr 24, 2007
How can stability be promoted when you have a chid that has bonded with friends be placed in an environment where they have to start over. Is it wrong for families to have consistency?
Donna Torretta

Palo Alto, CA

#8 Apr 24, 2007
This is ridiculous what the school system is doing to the children in Florida. In Michigan, those who live in the school district and pay those taxes get in the schools FIRST. At that time if the schools have any openings - those become available as schools of choice and are open to other districts.
Lori Steele

Austin, TX

#10 Apr 24, 2007
When we first moved to Florida from Ohio 3 years ago we looked at 2 homes in Pinellas county and went through the registration for the choice program ahead of the move due to already having family in the area and being well informed. We met all the deadlines, etc. but when my son receieved his letter they were going to bus him 40 minutes away to the furthest area possible and it was not a highly rated school, and his proposed day care would not have picked him up there. We saw crying, banging the doors and wall, etc at the registration building in Pinellas county during the visits there. This program has many problems and flaws and is causing anguish is parents and students that is not needed. We made the last minute decision to move to Pasco county just over the county line where the neighborhood school is still available and the children in the same neighborhood where their friends are get on the same bus and go to the same school. It is an old fashioned concept that works. Why change it?

Saint Petersburg, FL

#11 Apr 24, 2007
Pinellas Choice is dramatically unfair for families living on the outside edges of the county/district. Children in Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Feather Sound, and on the barrier islands are dramatically more likely to have no choice in their school than children living anywhere else in the county. This basic unfairness needs to be recognized and addressed by the Pinellas County School Board


#12 Apr 24, 2007
Sue from St Petersburg

Clearwater, FL

#13 Apr 24, 2007
All Middle Schools should offer the same courses, classes, attractors, should be updated for appearances. Magnet programs should be offered in more schools, at least one in each area and then all would have a fair chance and a fair choice.

Saint Petersburg, FL

#14 Apr 24, 2007
My daughter didn't get any of her three choices for highschool even though we live within 5 miles of those choices and our neighbor across the street rec'd their first choice. I appealed to the Unity Director and we were assigned to our second choice school by yesterday afternoon. You have to know who to call, pester, email, and what well placed, thinly veiled threat to level.

Zephyrhills, FL

#15 Apr 24, 2007
I'm tired of my daughter being referred to as a number in their Choice lottery. She is a 10 year old human being who just wants to go to school with her friends.
Karen Murray

Port Richey, FL

#16 Apr 24, 2007
My 7yr old daughter did not receive any of our 3 choices. I am just interested to see how the County can justify some people getting a choice and some getting none?
Kim Oldsmar FL

Tampa, FL

#17 Apr 24, 2007
Pinellas County School choice program needs to be overhauled. This is the 1st year where long time residents no longer receive extended grandfather rights. Not only are children being separated from long time classmates, but they are also being separated from children within their own neighborhoods and not by their choice. I think it would be interesting to look at the transportation cost for busing all these kids around this year vs. prior years transportation costs.
Matt Davis

Zephyrhills, FL

#18 Apr 24, 2007
I believe that the "School Choice" process is flawed, if not corrupt. The school district wants to ship these 11 year old children accross the county in school buses to prop up schools with low FCAT scores. Playing politics with our children is shameful.

Saint Petersburg, FL

#19 Apr 24, 2007
Karen Murray wrote:
My 7yr old daughter did not receive any of our 3 choices. I am just interested to see how the County can justify some people getting a choice and some getting none?
They can't justify it and you'll be hard pressed to find someone willing to stand up and explain it. I asked everyone and I was told that there simply weren't enough places available for all the students at certain schools. Those certain schools are overwhelmingly north county A and B rated schools. You will find plenty of spots open and available in schools C and D rated schools because no one wants to go there. Why spend the money paying the teachers more, updating the books and computer equipment when you can pay it on the Choice staff salaries and bussing and computer programs that don't give the desired effect. Having been a victim of the choice program for the first time ever this year was without a doubt the most frustrating and physical/mental drain I can remember. Pasco County has it right - if you don't get your choice you are guaranteed a spot in your zoned school. Why can't Pinellas get on board with that plan?

Saint Petersburg, FL

#20 Apr 24, 2007
Matt Davis wrote:
I believe that the "School Choice" process is flawed, if not corrupt. The school district wants to ship these 11 year old children accross the county in school buses to prop up schools with low FCAT scores. Playing politics with our children is shameful.
I totally agree. My daughter is a gifted, deans list studen and I feel certain we did not get our choice so I would be forced to bus her to a C or D rated school in an effort to pump up their grade.

Tampa, FL

#22 Apr 24, 2007
depending on the choice attendance area you live in you could have 7 school buses picking up for 7 different middle schools in your neighborhood. I am sure given that fact 17% of the 5th grade children from our school did not get any of their choices at least 5 buses will be picking up in our neighborhood.
Robin Allred - Oldsmar

Dover, FL

#23 Apr 24, 2007
I have been fighting "school choice" since it's inception. Two of my four children are still in school and I will continue to fight.There is NOTHING right with it. It costs more for buses and gas as well as having children all over the county. When I bought my home part of the reason I bought where I did was the schools my children would go to .. alot of good that does now. I would love nothing more than to see it go back to going to the school that is in your district according to where you live!

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