Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County School Board wants investigation of Nature Coast Tech's ineligible students

BROOKSVILLE — The controversy over the ineligible Nature Coast Technical High School students isn't over yet.

School Board chairwoman Dianne Bonfield on Tuesday asked superintendent Wayne Alexander to launch an investigation into how the students who live beyond Hernando County's borders were admitted to the magnet school despite a policy limiting admission to county residents.

"I would like to see where the accountability lies," Bonfield said during the board's regular meeting. "If we don't know the who, what, when, where and why, we can't be assured it isn't going to happen again."

Board member Sandra Nicholson agreed, adding that any punitive action against district staffers would be up to Alexander.

"To find out where the breakdown occurred may be beneficial to everyone," Nicholson said. "I don't want to turn a blind eye to it."

Bonfield didn't have the full consensus of the board, but she didn't need one to request the investigation, School Board attorney Paul Carland said.

Board members Pat Fagan and James Yant said the district should move forward.

"I don't support spending the time on that specific issue when we made it clear what we expect," Fagan said. "Going back in the past doesn't help at all."

"My feeling is, move on and not do anything punitive," Yant said.

Alexander asked Bonfield to clarify her request.

"You're not asking me to fire anyone in error, because everyone in this room is in error to some point," Alexander said.

Bonfield didn't answer that question, saying, "We need to find out why it happened in the first place, and that's going to go back a number of years."

The district learned earlier this year that 19 out-of-county students were attending Nature Coast. Parents of students said the policy wasn't made clear to them.

School services director Sonya Jackson told the board at the time that the addresses should have been checked at the school level. Nature Coast principal Margaret "Tizzy" Schoelles has accepted responsibility for a few of the ineligible students, saying she wasn't aware that some Spring Hill addresses extend south into Pasco County.

The students who weren't currently seniors were told they wouldn't be allowed to stay. Ten students appealed, and the board voted June 2 to allow three students who will be seniors next year to return to the school.

School Board attorney Paul Carland told the board Tuesday night that an attorney representing two of the denied students has contacted him and that the district should probably expect some legal action.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

Hernando County School Board wants investigation of Nature Coast Tech's ineligible students 06/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  3. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse


    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  4. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker


    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.