Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough School District seeks to lessen racial disparities

As the Hillsborough County School District develops new ways to reach out to students who are at risk of failing or dropping out, they are doing so amid a chorus of concern about racial disparities.

Speakers at Tuesday's meeting lined up to address the board about what is known widely as the school-to-prison pipeline. The theory holds that schools, through their disciplinary practices, are putting many students on the road to a life in the criminal justice system, particularly minorities.

"We don't intend to throw our children away, but we do," said Mike Pheneger, chairman of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Marilyn Williams, who filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, said that of the district's 42 middle schools, 41 disciplined black students disproportionately to their numbers.

The matter is now under investigation, with the district preparing its response.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia is moving ahead with the creation of "success teams" in the schools composed of administrators, counselors, special education teachers and other service providers. Working collaboratively, they will focus on groups of students who are considered at risk because of their grades, behavior and attendance patterns.

Elia and board members Candy Olson and Doretha Edgecomb recently visited the White House, where they joined other urban school district representatives in supporting President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative. Like Hillsborough's efforts, it aims to boost graduation rates and academic performance among minority students and reduce the need for discipline.

A workshop is planned for the Hillsborough board on Oct. 8.

In other business, the board:

•Held the first of two hearings on the property tax rate and its $2.9 billion budget. The rate will go down to $7.35 per $1,000 in value, although total collections are expected to increase with property values. The owner of a $100,000 house with a $25,000 homestead exemption would pay $551.25. The next hearing and final vote is Sept. 9.

•Voted 5-2 against member April Griffin's proposal to hire an auditor who would report directly to them. The district now has 34 different audits, some internal and some from outside, varying in frequency. Griffin said a board-directed auditor would help the elected body provide oversight. Others said the move would be duplicative and create too much bureaucracy.

•Named these principals: Danielle Shotwell to Riverview High, Dallas Jackson to Sligh Middle, Angela Vickers to North Tampa Alternative, Paul Gansemer to Brewster Technical.

Hillsborough School District seeks to lessen racial disparities 07/29/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Culpepper falls just short on 'Survivor' finale

    Human Interest

    In the end, Tampa lawyer Brad Culpepper fell just short, and the ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer lost Survivor: Game Changers and the $1 million prize to Sarah Lacina, a police officer from Iowa.

  2. Families dispute claims that slain Tampa Palms roommates shared neo-Nazi beliefs


    TAMPA — Andrew Oneschuk never liked making small talk on the phone, his father said, but the last time the two spoke, something seemed off.

    Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman lived in a Tampa Palms apartment with Devon Arthurs and Brandon Russell. Oneschuk and Himmelman reportedly planned to move out.
  3. Brad Culpepper makes it to final 3 on Survivor, but jury picks Sarah

    The Feed

    UPDATE, WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Tampa's Brad Culpepper make it to the final 3 on Survivor, but jurors chose Sarah as the winner of the $1 million.

    Original report follows:

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
  4. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  5. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents


    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]