Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough School District creates job to oversee charters

TAMPA — As part of a $1 million reorganization, the Hillsborough County School District will hire a charter schools director, a new position.

"We currently have 42 charter schools, and that's not the last one," assistant superintendent Lewis Brinson told the School Board on Tuesday. "It's continuing to grow, and we just feel that we need to give some additional support in that division."

The job, which will pay $76,000 a year, is one of many the board approved in overhauling nine of its divisions. After holding tight on spending in recent years, the district also is hiring people who will pay close attention to student behavior on the school bus and examine trends in student discipline.

The changes, contained in a stack of documents several inches thick that landed Monday on the board's online agenda, elicited questions from some board members who said they would have liked more time to study and discuss them.

"I was very concerned that we were saying we had an uptick in revenue this year, let's go ahead and spend some money," said member Stacy White. But he was reassured that most of the new jobs would be "in the trenches" and not in upper management.

The plan passed unanimously.

Like the state, the district is seeing growth in charter schools, which are tax-funded but independently operated. Charter enrollment in Hillsborough rose to 11,383 in September 2012, up from 9,255 a year earlier.

The impact on traditional schools varies widely. A district report shows that Eisenhower Middle lost 240 to charters last year. McLane Middle lost 212. And Forest Hills Elementary lost 116.

Also Tuesday, the board heard from four parents who are concerned about services to disabled students and from educators who defended their school.

The parents included Tonya Whitlock, who is new to the area and has a son with cerebral palsy at Bloomingdale High School.

"I can't imagine, as a 5-year-old, stifling him into a classroom and saying, 'I don't believe in your potential,' " she said. Her son, Tres, then addressed the board, speaking through an adaptive device.

"I want people like you to stop judging me," he said. "The fear of being judged by your appearance is one of the worst feelings a person can ever have. You start to dislike life."

Parents have been meeting in recent months to compare experiences with the district's exceptional-student education staff. Some created Facebook pages in support of their children.

They spoke Tuesday in favor of inclusion, a principle in ESE that holds children are most successful when placed in classrooms with their typical peers.

The parents were directed to meet outside the boardroom with assistant superintendent George Gaffney, who later said he does not believe the district discourages inclusion.

Near the end of the meeting, the board heard from three employees at Grady Elementary, one of the schools the parents discussed.

ESE specialist Margarita Baxter said, "Grady embraces students of all abilities, and I am truly blessed to be part of their family."

Principal Kristine Dosal said her own daughter was enrolled in a class for physically impaired students at Grady. "I can't tell you what a fabulous school Grady was, and that was before I was even on the track to become a principal," she said. "They took wonderful care of her. They followed the IEP (individual education plan) to a tee."

Maryann Parks, the district's general director of ESE, said she is willing to meet with parents, who are part of the IEP process.

"I don't think we are moving away from inclusion," she said. "But I am pulling the data together and we will evaluate it."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or

New appointments

Jeff Eakins was named deputy superintendent of the school district. Stephanie Woodford becomes chief human resources officer. These principal appointments also were announced: Raymond Padgett to Pierce Middle School; Teresa Evans to Chiles Elementary; Russell Wallace to Bailey Elementary; Paul Gansemer to Orange Grove Middle Magnet; Jaime Gerding to Shore Elementary; Barbara Mercer to Apollo Beach Elementary; Ann Marie Perez to Temple Terrace Elementary; Carol Brown to MOSI Partnership; Anthony Montoto to B.T. Washington Elementary; Tricia Simonsen to Valrico Elementary; Marlou Bates to Oak Park Elementary; Joyce Miles to Lee Elementary Magnet; Toynita Martinez to Frost Elementary; and Edward Cristiano to Gary Adult Center.

Hillsborough School District creates job to oversee charters 07/16/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.