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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough to get millions for choice



To expand school choice options, the federal government is awarding Hillsborough schools $2.16 million next year, the first year of a 5-year grant that could bring as much as $14 million into the district.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said the money will be used to create targeted, theme-based programs for two dozen middle and high schools. Plans call for "Rigorous Academic Programs" at high-poverty middle schools and an "Advanced Placement/College Prep" theme at five high schools. Check out the full list of projects here: Download choiceattractors.doc

Hillsborough also is going to experiment with single gender classes at James Elementary. It will expand the offerings at Tampa Bay Technical High School to include a health administration academy. 

This is the second time that Hillsborough has been picked for a choice grant. Since 2002, the district has received almost $11 million to promote choice programs. The initial funding was used to create a choice program intended to maintain diversity when forced busing for desegregation ended. While that program saw disappointing participation, more than 35,000 Hillsborough students took advantage of other choice options to attend schools outside their neighborhoods last year. These included the district's popular magnet school programs, special assignment and charter schools.

Hillsborough is one of 14 projects nationally awarded the choice grant, and one of seven to receive funding twice. Others in Florida include Miami's public schools and the Florida Department of Education.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:20am]


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