Heated words and restated promise to scholarship students at Hillsborough board meeting
The fur is flying in the Hillsborough County School Board meeting.
Jose Colindres, head of the nonprofit Brink Foundation in the Town ‘N Country area, did what he does at nearly every board meeting: He challenged the board for actions he contends are incompetent. Specifically, he argued against an item on the agenda that would give the administration the authority to negotiate grants without board oversight through December 2013.
He called the board members “potted plants.” He said the ongoing difficulties of the Urban Teaching Academy, a federally-funded magnet program whose graduates are supposed to get tuition paid for college, is a prime example of a grant that turned out to be problematic. In four years, the district raised only $17,000 toward the scholarships.
Maybe Colindres went too far with the “potted plants” remark.
Member Jack Lamb said he thinks Colindres, who lives in Pinellas County, might want to go back to Pinellas County.
Member Carol Kurdell said she has $500 -- suggesting, apparently, that she is about to make a donation to the scholarship fund – and Colindres or his foundation might want to help the kids instead of simply bashing the school district.
That exchange was prelude to a brief discussion on the teaching academy and the uncertainty of those scholarships for the first graduating class.
Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, as she has said in the past, declared that no promise has been broken.
She acknowledged, “this was done later than it should have been.” But she reminded the board and the audience that she is working with the University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College and the Hillsborough Education Foundation to make sure every qualified graduate is sent to college, as promised.