Local government boards convene to discuss school hardening

On Monday, May 21, 2018, the Hernando County School Board met with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis.  The special Interlocal Governmental Meeting’s purpose was to bring the two boards together with the primary focus of finding funds to comply with new school security mandates, which are described in Senate Bill (SB) 7026.  The school district estimates the cost of compliance to begin at $22-million, and a state grant up to $720,375 is available to the county.

School Board discusses how to secure funding to improve school safety

Following the Marjory-Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida, officials passed legislation requiring counties to harden school security and make schools safer.  Specific details of what is to be done “remains in the shade,” according to School Board Chairman Mark Johnson,  since security strategies are the focus.  The board elected to hold an “in-the-shade meeting,” where they will discuss the specific items and costs in order to increase school safety, expected to start at $22-million.

Springstead High School Air Force JROTC Awards Presentation

Springstead High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Awards Presentation took place on April 26, 2018.  The unit is under the command of Lt Col Darryl Sweetwine, USAF (ret) as the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor. The event was well attended and the student cadets were spirited and professional.


Article submitted by Dennis E. Foley, Lt Col, USAFR (ret)
Vice President, Waterman Twining Chapter, Air Force Association

Alison Pager semifinalist for Presidential Scholars Program

Alison Pager, a graduating senior at Hernando High School, is part of an elite group of students across the nation.  She is one of 630 semifinalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. There are only 31 semifinalists from the state of Florida.  There was an initial pool of 5300 student candidates from around the country.

Emotions run high for Moton at school board meeting

An emotional hour and a half discussion took place at the Hernando County School Board Regular Meeting on April 24, 2018 in the aftermath of the school district’s firing of all Moton Elementary teachers.  

Community members, teachers and parents an opportunity to voice their concerns about the district’s recent actions.  School board members expressed sympathy for the situation the hard working teachers are now facing.  Superintendent Dr. Lori Romano delivered an explanation of her position and the reasons behind the difficult decision.  

Charter application denied for advanced learning high school

At the April 24, 2018 workshop, the Hernando County School Board (HCSB) discussed the charter school application review of the proposed Chehuntamo (chay-hun-TAH-mo) Advanced Performance High School, which was denied unanimously at the regular board meeting later that day.

The school had planned to serve Hernando and Pasco County students beginning with the 2019-2020 school year if the application had been approved.  

Springstead High School students and staff organizing walk-a-thon, scholarship in memory of teacher

Students and staff members who knew Maria Rybka are working to make her proud and keep her memory alive.

“Maria Rybka was the embodiment of love and care for so many students in Hernando County for many years. She was a teacher and administrator in Hernando for years before she passed away quickly from cancer this past fall,” explains Tori Selby, Springstead Beta Club Sponsor and Social Studies teacher. 

Man trespasses at Explorer K-8 and delivers a strange message

A man by the name of Danial David Lee Dombkowski, 26, was arrested on April 23, 2018 for trespassing on the grounds of the Hernando County School Explorer K-8.

The arrest report states that the defendant, “made entry to a secure area of the school structure through an unsecured door without permission. He remained in the ‘mall area’ of the school and when approached by staff, he advised, ‘There is a black cloud over the school and God told me to come in and pray over the kids.’ He was then escorted out of the building where he was taken into custody.”