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It's the first day of school for students across Tampa Bay!

11:47 AM, Aug 20, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- It's the first day of school for students across Tampa Bay. 

Students in Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee, and Sarasota counties are all heading back to the classroom this morning.

Hillsborough County students go back to school tomorrow.
Citrus County students have been back to class since August 8th.

In Pinellas County, students can expect a few changes this school year.

One change will greet students as they walk through their school's front door. All schools are offering free breakfast to all students. Last year, free breakfast was only available at certain schools.

School lunch prices are also up this year. Elementary students are paying $2 for lunch, .25 cents more than last year. Middle and high school students are paying $2.50 for lunch, up fifty cents.

This is a federal requirement under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 which requires school districts to raise the price of full price students lunches to match the rate of federal reimbursement for free student meals. Another price increase will come in 2015 to fully meet the requirement.

Students and parents can also expect to shell out another $1 for tickets to football, flag football and basketball games to help pay for uniformed security at games.

Eleven schools are implementing stricter, modified dress codes.

Students attending Northeast High School in St. Petersburg will start the school year with a newly renovated auditorium. A small fire caused the sprinkler system to go off, resulting in significant water damage to the auditorium. It was closed last school year while repairs were made.

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