Why the switch on Jamerson Elementary?
The Pinellas County School Board is once again in favor of ending the feeder pattern from Jamerson Elementary to Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle. Instead, students could get priority to Bay Point Middle or Azalea Middle.
Parents came out Tuesday to voice their concerns, saying that Thurgood Marshall is an A school with a waiting list. Bay Point is a C, while Azalea Middle is an F. The parents and some of their children said those options weren't as good.
Tuesday's vote in favor of the change was only the first step. Board members plan to discuss it again at a workshop in September and then will hold a final vote at another public meeting.
One point that didn't make it into the story Tuesday was that the proposal looked much different a week ago at the board's workshop. District officials then proposed adding Bay Point Middle to Jamerson's feeder pattern along with Thurgood Marshall. There was no discussion about adding Azalea Middle to that feeder pattern. Superintendent Mike Grego indicated then that he wasn't in favor of immediately ending the link to Thurgood Marshall.
He said, "If both programs are comparable then let's pull the plug. If they're not comparable, let's get them there, and then pull the plug."
It wasn't clear what happened between last week and this week to change his mind. But the proposal that came to the board Tuesday had no mention of keeping Thurgood Marshall.
Grego did say Tuesday that the document was just a beginning. He's been asked by the School Board to revitalize struggling programs and this is part of that effort, he said. He said the purpose of the first reading of the proposal was "to gain input."