Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough public single-gender schools get $200,000 from voucher supporters

TAMPA — John Kirtley is known in Florida as the man who runs the state's tax-credit scholarship program and pushes private school vouchers.

But on Tuesday, the Tampa-based venture capitalist did something new, donating $100,000 to a pair of public schools in Hillsborough County. He said it will be matched by $100,000 in grant money from the Walton Family Foundation, a charity created by the founders of Wal-Mart that has supported public school choice.

Kirtley said the single-gender academies opening this fall at Franklin and Ferrell middle schools are "proof that the district is committed to ensuring that even our most disadvantaged children have high-quality options."

Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia has made no secret of her unease over the idea of using public money for private schools. At an earlier budget workshop, she said there's no good way to track whether special-needs students in a state voucher program receive a decent education.

But last year, she and the teachers union partnered with Kirtley's Step Up for Students organization to train private school teachers.

At Tuesday's news conference, Elia called Kirtley a "tireless advocate for children" and said his support for public magnet schools was something else they could agree on.

"All parents should have choice," Elia said. "We believe that."

Tom Marshall can be reached at or (813) 226-3400.

Hillsborough public single-gender schools get $200,000 from voucher supporters 05/24/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois


    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.

  2. What to watch this weekend: 'GLOW,' second season of 'Preacher'


    Ready to rumble: GLOW

    Four words: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Yes, the fluorescent, body-slamming soap opera GLOW starring a cast of exaggerated characters is back, this time as a fictionalized Netflix series. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) stars as Ruth, a down-on-her-luck actor …

    Alison Brie, left, and Betty Gilpin in GLOW on Netflix.
  3. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students


    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszlo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  4. Editorial: Trump, not military, should set troop levels in Afghanistan


    There is no task more solemn for any American president than the decision to send troops off to war. In delegating authority over troops levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has shirked his obligation to own and defend his Afghan policy, while further divorcing America's military strategy there …

  5. North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in U.S. student's death (w/video)


    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday called itself the "biggest victim" in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]