Hillsborough charter school enrollment, by the numbers
As the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this year, middle schools in Hillsborough County are losing enrollment while the rest of the school district grows.
Some of the losses happened because a handful of schools were converted in recent years from elementary to K-8 schools. The newest are Sulphur Springs and Tinker at the MacDill Air Force Base. The Tinker situation left Monroe Middle School with roughly 400 students, virtually half empty.
Principals told us another reason was a catch-up program last summer that enabled over-age students to skip a year and start high school with their peers.
But the latest Student Migration Report from the district confirms that charter middle and K-8 schools are growing rapidly and attracting groups of sometimes 100 and more from a single school zone, In some cases, the numbers suggest they also erode diversity in the district schools the children leave behind.
First, some big numbers:
While 3,393 Hillsborough children are now in charter elementary schools, 2,311 are in charter middle schools. The second number is smaller, but middle schools serve only three grades while elementary schools serve six.
Charter high schools, which serve four grades, have only 1,820 students.
It gets confusing when you add K-8 schools, which serve 7,782 students, to the mix. Nearly a third of those students -- 2,380 -- came from middle schools.
The Times looked most closely at situations in which large blocks of students were moving from one district school to one charter.
Among the most dramatic examples:
* 100 students from Reddick Elementary, all Hispanic, to RCMA. That school specializes in the needs of farmworker families, who nearly always come from Mexico or Central America.
* 136 from Eisenhower Middle, a group that was half white, to Bell Creek Academy.
* 128 students from Eisenhower Middle School to Literacy Leadership Technical Academy. That group was 71 percent white. (Eisenhower itself is one third white.)
* 103 from Rodgers Middle, again about half white, also to Bell Creek.
* 134 from Benito Middle School in New Tampa to Terrace Community School. This group included 42 white students and 44 Asian students, 18 black and 21 Hispanic students.
* 108 from Greco Middle in Temple Terrace, also to Terrace Community. The Greco group was almost two-thirds white and included only 8 black students. Greco itself is 60 percent black.
* 126 from Liberty Middle, also to Terrace Community. A full 100 of the students coming from Liberty were white or Asian. Only one was African American. (We checked the demographics of Terrace Community. That school is 67 percent white and Asian, 25 percent black and Hispanic. Those numbers are not out of line for New Tampa, but they are out of proportion when compared with the overall district population).
* 108 from King High School -- half white -- to Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate.
* 127 from Wharton High -- but a more racially balanced group -- also to Brooks DeBartolo.
* 143 students from Bellamy Elementary School to Henderson Hammock K-8. That group is about two-thirds Hispanic, but so is the neighborhood around Bellamy.
* 110 students from Cannella Elementary to Henderson Hammock. Again, more than half Hispanic, much like the neighborhood.
* 147 students from Pierce Middle to Henderson Hammock. More than two-thirds Hispanic, like the neighborhood.
* 117 students from Lowry Elementary, racially mixed, to the Hillsborough Academy of Math and Science.
* 120 students from Giunta Middle, racially diverse, to Winthrop K-8.