Janssen: I wouldn't recommend Boca Ciega High go fundamental
Pinellas superintendent Julie Janssen said today she would not recommend that Boca Ciega High School become a fundamental school, given the potential repercussions on other high schools and the complications that will come with increased state oversight this fall.
"As far as bringing a recommendation (to the School Board) on Boca Ciega becoming a fundamental school, I would not do that," Janssen told the Gradebook. One reason is "the impact on other schools. The other thing would be the state intervention. That would be too much for the faculty to handle right now."
Janssen's position came to light today at a meeting of an influential group in the black community, the Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students.
Group leader Watson Haynes and St. Petersburg city administrator Goliath Davis said they told Janssen in a meeting a few months ago that the conversion of D-rated Boca Ciega to a fundamental school will have a negative impact on F-rated Gibbs High, which already has among the highest numbers of at-risk students in the district.
"Kids with discipline issues would be shifted somewhere ... and it would be Gibbs High School," Haynes said. "When you take discipline issues and you put them all in one school, the principal is not able to manage."
Haynes told about 30 members and visitors at the meeting that Janssen said she would not support the conversion. In a phone interview afterward, Janssen said that was correct. "I would not recommend that," she said. "I would give the board all the information and tell them other things they need to consider."
The board, of course, is under tremendous pressure from fundamental school parents to expand the number of fundamental high schools. Boca Ciega, Clearwater and Dunedin high schools have applied to make the switch.
The board is expected to begin a detailed discussion about the possibility of more fundamental high schools on Aug. 17.