2012 RNC Tampa: School starting a week early at Rampello School in Tampa to avoid GOP Convention crowds

7:31 AM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Most students in Hillsborough County are waking up to one more week of summer Tuesday, but not at Rampello Downtown Partnership School.

But for students at that K-8 magnet school, it's back to classes a week early, since their school is going to find itself right in the middle of one of the country's biggest political events.

Rampello is a special school. There are no kids zoned to attend it. All of the school's students are either part of a magnet program, or they have a parent who works very close by in Downtown Tampa.

Also very close by -- right along the southern edge of the school, in fact -- is Washington Street. That road is part of the official protester parade route during the Republican National Convention.

And the convention itself, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, is just four-and-a-half blocks away.

Earlier this year, the decision was made to close the school during the week of the GOP convention.

Members of the school community got to vote: Should they hold classes at an alternate site during the week of the RNC? Or should they come back from summer break a week early to make up for that week they'd miss?

The answer was overwhelming. All of the staff voted to cut summer break short. And around 80 percent of parents felt the same way.

So, they'll come back Tuesday, August 14th, and then get ten straight days off, including the Labor Day holiday.

That's not the only change at Rampello prompted by the Republican National Convention. Protective film, like what you see in this 3M promotional video, has been added.

It's now on all of the first-floor windows at Rampello and at Hillsborough District Schools headquarters, right around the corner.

That project cost around $100,000. If angry protesters got into a building, they could do more than $100,000 in damage in no time.

The eastern part of Downtown Tampa, where Rampello sits, will be mighty busy during the 2012 Republican National Convention.

The approved protester parade route winds back and forth toward the Forum from near the school.

And the public viewing area -- where protesters have a constitutional right to be within eye- and ear-shot of the Tampa Bay Times Forum -- is just south of the school. It's located under part of the Selmon Expressway and in a big lot just north of the Forum.

The first day for the rest of Hillsborough County is Tuesday, August 21st. Citrus County is already back in school. The Morning Show on 10 News took you there live when they started up on August 8th.

The first day of school for Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Manatee, and Sarasota counties is Monday, August 20th.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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