OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County Public Schools officials spoke of substantial growth and progress
, at the annual State of the Schools address.
Superintendent Debra Pace spoke to community members at the Osceola County School for the Arts, boasting of increased graduation rates from 82% to 86%, increased enrollment in AP and dual enrollment courses and a strengthened relationship between the district and Valencia College, which many students attend.
The school district has faced some financial strains this school year because of an influx of new students brought in from Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria.
Despite the sudden enrollment of nearly 2,000 students by the end of 2017, the district did not receive any additional funding from the state. Pace says they are now receiving funding for the new semester, but had to make due and stay within budget.
"We're asking our teachers and our principals to roll up their sleeves and do a little bit more, but we're also trying to push them as much support as we possibly can," Pace said.
The district has also hired new teachers and support staff to help the students, many of whom do not speak English. This year's State of the School's address will not yet take into account the changing demographics of the district.