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be present to distribute additional school supplies. For information, call (352) 540-3835, or visit

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The Pasco County Schools free and reduced-price meal online application is now available for the 2017-2018 school year at Under the National School Lunch Act, families who are below the federal income eligibility guidelines may qualify for free or reduced-price meal benefits.A new application must be submitted at the start of each school year, and only one application can be completed per household. Families that have received a letter indicating the student is directly certified, do not need to apply. For information and questions, call Megan Sexton, Food and Nutrition Services finance specialist, at (813) 794-2480.


Rasmussen College, an accredited private college, hosted its ninth annual Community Service Day July 21. Approximately 900 employees and students from the college’s 22 campuses and three central offices participated in the national service day event in communities across the United States. The Land O’ Lakes/East Pasco and New Port Richey/West Pasco campuses chose Metropolitan Ministries Pasco, Meals on Wheels East Pasco (Dade City), and the the PACE Center for Girls as beneficiaries of its service work. Students, faculty and staff from both campuses prepared lunch, stocked the food pantry and helped in the resource center at Metropolitan Ministries. Employees volunteered at Meals on Wheels East Pasco, and painted a large mural and worked in the food pantry. Employees also volunteered at the PACE Center, and organized the center and provided resources for young women in the New Port Richey area.


The 2017 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m.,Aug. 4 and end at 11:59 p.m.,Aug. 6. Qualifying items will be exempt from tax, including certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item; and, personal computers and certain computerrelated accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use selling for $750 or less per item. For information and a list of qualifying items, visit


The District School Board of Pasco County approved the 2017-2018 school calendar. The calendar sets the first day for teachers as Aug. 7 and the first day for students as Aug. 14. Its weeklong practice of Thanksgiving break will continue, with the Monday and Tuesday of the week set as possible hurricane makeup days. Winter break will begin Dec. 23. Employees will return on Jan. 8, 2018 and students will return on Jan. 9, 2018. Spring break for students will be March 16 through March 25, and spring break for employees will run March 17 through March 25. The last day of school for students is scheduled for May 25, and the last day for teachers will be May 30.


Caps of Love presents 72nd wheelchair Michael Ledford, a rising fourth-grader at Woodland Elementary School in Zephyrhills, received a new wheelchair from Saint Leo University. The wheelchair was purchased using funds raised by Saint Leo and its community partners through the Caps of Love program. Saint Leo students, faculty and staff, along with community and business partners in five counties, collected 12,000 pounds of plastic bottle caps, which were shipped to Commercial Plastics Recycling in Tampa. This is the 72nd wheelchair Caps of Love has presented.

Other non-school days include Labor Day on Sept. 4, Teacher Planning Day on Oct. 16, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 15, 2018. High school graduations will take place May 17 through May 20. For more details, visit

The backpacks will be filled with basic school supplies for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. One backpack per child; children must be present with an adult. Several vendors and supporters also will


U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) is accepting applications for nomination to the U.S. service academies. Each year, Bilirakis has the opportunity to nominate high school students from Florida’s 12th District to be accepted to the U.S. Military Academy, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy or the Merchant Marine Academy. The office will accept submissions through Sept. 29, and applicants will be interviewed starting in late October. For information or to download an application, visit and click on Services. The Laker/Lutz News likes to spotlight local school news in our Chalk Talk section every week. Send us your photos, events, accomplishments, etc., so our communities can see what your school is up to! Submissions can be emailed to

Local artist visits capital

River Ridge High School will kick off the new school year with a Welcome Back Event Aug. 7 at 8:45 a.m.The high school’s band will play as community members, and the football, cheerleading and weightlifting teams assemble along the cafeteria and theater’s adjoining walkway, to clap and cheer to welcome teachers back for the year’s first faculty meeting. For information, call (727) 774-7200.

Clare Hernandez, of Dade City, was the 2017 winner of the Congressional Art Competition for Florida’s 12th District. U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) welcomed Hernandez to the nation’s capital, where her winning artwork, ‘Portrait of an Unknown Soldier,’ will remain on display for a year in the Capitol Building.


Friends of the Children Inc., will host a free backpack giveaway Aug. 5 from 10 a.m., until supplies last, at the Jerome Brown Community Center, 99 Jerome Brown Place in Brooksville.


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