Saturday, December 16, 2017
Breaking News

For seven struggling schools, Hillsborough selects the least disruptive turnaround option

TAMPA - Faced with four possible back-up plans for seven D and F schools, the Hillsborough County School District chose the least disruptive for all seven: Partnership with an outside consulting firm.

That means that if Potter, Booker T. Washington, Sheehy, Foster, Oak Park, Mort elementary or Memorial Middle School don't improve to at least a C this year, the district will call for assistance -- but will remain in charge.

Potter and Washington have F grades while the other five have D's.

The state, under House Bill 7069, ordered up these contingency plans for all schools in that predicament. Other, more drastic options included closing the schools or turning them over to charter companies,

Citing assistance it's getting from volunteer groups and corporations, the district put out a statement saying improvement is under way.

"We believe our schools will receive an A, B or C at the end of this year, but the state is requiring us to choose an option just in case," the statement said. "This option provides the most flexibility in supporting our schools with outside experts, while maintaining our public school district as full partners in the process."

District leaders put out this fact sheet to explain the process.

History suggests it's a heavy lift.

Potter is in its fifth year as an F school while at Washington, only three of last year's fifth graders tested on grade level in reading.

Both schools have relatively new principals who spent their first year on the job establishing routines and setting expectations. Both schools are predominantly African-American and Albert Fields, first vice president of the local NAACP, issued a statement that criticizes both the district and the state.

The state, he wrote, issued an order that "was mission impossible" for the district. "Sending such short notice to this district to shape up did not really mean shape up. It meant ship out your (school) funds to our corporate buddies that fund legislative campaigns and school board elections. Despicable."

Fields also attacked the district's track record in staffing schools that are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic with lesser experienced teachers and administrators.

"There are successful teachers in the system that could help at these schools, but the superintendent has not shown the courage to deploy them to the most needed areas," he wrote. "The superintendent has shown more interest in keeping the CTA [teachers' union] content with status quo decisions."

The union has fought back against any plan to bypass the teacher contract, which protects teachers against involuntary transfers. District leaders, however, have vowed to find ways to attract top teachers at schools with the greatest needs.

 

Comments
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch had won nine straight heading into Friday’s game against Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental lea...
Published: 12/16/17
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 11 hours ago
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Updated: 12 hours ago
4 Palestinians killed in latest Jerusalem fallout clashes

4 Palestinians killed in latest Jerusalem fallout clashes

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and dozens more wounded along with an Israeli officer in clashes across the West Bank and near Gaza’s border Friday as the fallout continued over President Donald Trump’s announcem...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Winds temporarily calm on lines of huge California wildfire

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Calming winds Friday gave firefighters a chance to gain ground against a huge wildfire in coastal mountains northwest of Los Angeles but forecasters warned that conditions would remain dry and warm and the respite from gusts w...
Published: 12/15/17

Anger grows as Puerto Rico misses power restoration deadline

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Union leaders representing Puerto Rico power company workers slammed local and federal officials Friday as the U.S. territory missed a deadline to restore 95 percent of power as promised by the island’s governor. Puerto Rico i...
Published: 12/15/17