Pasco County school in for big changes after bad grades - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco County school in for big changes after bad grades

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Pasco Schools spokeswoman Linda Cobb talks at a press conference about the restructuring of Lacoochee Elementary School because of its "D" rating. Pasco Schools spokeswoman Linda Cobb talks at a press conference about the restructuring of Lacoochee Elementary School because of its "D" rating.
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

For the past two years, Lacoochee Elementary in Pasco County has earned a "D" from the state of Florida.

The school principal and Pasco County School District officials expect the school to earn another "D" this year.

Two weeks ago, staff from the Florida Department of Education sat down with Pasco County School District officials and directed them to make major changes at the school.

The options were harsh. Pasco could close the school, turn it into a charter school, contract with an outside company to run the school or the school district could submit a turn around plan to the state.

Pasco took option four, but even that will have major consequences.

The school district put all 24 teachers, the school principal, and assistant principal on notice, they will have to reapply for their jobs to stay.

Principal Shirley Ray says her staff is dealing with the news as best they can.

Ray says, "I think we have to do what's best for the school and the students at the school and if that means all of us re-applying for our positions, that's what we'll do."

No one says a new staff will have an easy job.

Tammy Rabon is the Supervisor for teachers and learning in Pasco County.

Rabon says, " We know that the characteristics of the school, the high poverty, the high minority and it's location have made it hard for us to maintain staff there. There's been an almost 50 percent turnover in staff."

Pasco County School officials says 94 percent of the students at Lacoochee receive free or reduced lunches, meaning they come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. 73 percent of the students are minorities and many speak English as a second language.

Principal Ray says that presents teaching challenges, "The children need to extra time to read, to build background knowledge to build vocabulary."

Ray was brought to the school after it earned an "F" from the state.

Pasco County says the district will offer financial incentives to qualified teachers and administrators who come to the school and increase the incentives if they stay.

Stay with WFLA.com for more updates.

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