Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Charter school groups to meet with Hillsborough officials

TAMPA — Two groups that run charter schools in Hillsborough County agreed Friday to meet with the district, a step that could resolve a conflict affecting three schools.

After meeting this week, the Florida Charter Educational Foundation and Bay Area Charter Foundation said they're willing to have face-to-face discussions about their roles at the Woodmont, Winthrop and Henderson Hammock schools.

The offer comes a day after superintendent MaryEllen Elia assured families that even though the district might terminate the schools' charters, she won't close them this school year.

"Under no circumstances will we disrupt the education of students," Elia wrote, seeking to quell fears at the schools, which serve more than 2,000 students.

At issue, Elia wrote, is whether the schools are governed by local boards or the Florida board, which has close ties to the for-profit Charter Schools USA, the schools' management company.

For months district officials have tried to get clarity about the boards' roles.

Unable to arrange a meeting, Elia warned the schools last week that she would seek to terminate their charters. That warning touched off a letter-writing campaign from parents at the schools.

It also prompted a harsh response from Bay Area Charter Foundation chairman Rod Jurado, who called Elia's act "pathetic" and the district's record "abysmal."

Since then Jurado's tone has softened.

In a letter Friday to parents, he said he appreciated their support. He urged them to be patient as the two sides work toward a resolution.

"I ask you to remain positive," Jurado wrote. "We have truth and the law on our side and are very confident that this will be resolved quickly.

"We strongly encourage you to continue voicing your concerns to the School Board as well as Superintendent Elia.

"The more they understand how tremendous our school is, the better the chance they will begin supporting our success."

Charter school groups to meet with Hillsborough officials 08/08/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 8:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]
  2. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor's race has been making headlines for nearly two months as Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker have been making speeches, pressing the flesh at fundraisers and gathering their ground forces for an election battle that has already broken fundraising records.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  3. Tampa moves to pause permits for 5G wireless equipment to assess impact of new Florida law


    To business groups, the bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed Friday will clear the way for superfast 5G wireless communications and give Florida an edge in attracting high-tech companies.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other local officials have worried that a new state law aimed at facilitating the installation of 5G wireless technology could clutter scenic corridors like Tampa's Riverwalk.
  4. Trump takes another swipe at CNN after resignations over retracted Russia story


    NEW YORK — President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  5. Clearwater woman dies after losing control of SUV, flipping in Palm Harbor


    A Clearwater woman died early Tuesday morning when she lost control of her SUV and crashed in Palm Harbor, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.