Saturday, December 16, 2017
Education

Hillsborough school district to consider contract funded by Title 1

TAMPA — A South Carolina consultant who pioneered ladies' and gentlemen's clubs for low-income children is up for another set of contracts today with the Hillsborough County School Board.

The contracts call for five school training visits between Wednesday and Monday that will pay Stephen Peters a combined $17,500. He'll base the training on his book, Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? and will provide curriculum guides.

School employees will then be able to set up clubs serving 50 children at each of the five schools. The general idea of the clubs is to provide children with character and etiquette lessons and broaden their horizons by taking them on excursions, all of which is supposed to result in more ambitious goals and better academic achievement.

Participating are Just and Tampa Bay Boulevard elementary schools; Stewart and Madison middle schools; and Jefferson High School.

Funding for Peters' visit comes from Title I, a federal program that enhances instruction at low-income schools. Hillsborough gets approximately $60-million of this money a year and uses a small portion to pay authors and consultants anywhere from $1,800 to $9,500. Peters is paid $3,500 per school.

Such contracts drew some criticism last fall, and the School Board held a workshop to discuss better ways to document their need and evaluate their work. A 27-member committee said it would return to the board in February with a plan that could be implemented in March.

Jose Colindres, a nonprofit foundation director who has questioned the contracting system, said he will ask questions about Peters. "He makes a pretty good chunk of change, and of course it's Title I," Colindres said.

Peters has a long-standing relationship with the school district. Five years ago there were ladies' and gentlemen's clubs at Just and in several other Hillsborough schools.

He said he looks forward to returning. The fee of $3,500 per school is a bargain, he said, as his usual speaking fee is $6,500.

Consider the expenses, he said: two round-trip flights so he can return home for the weekend, a moderately priced hotel and materials for the children, including neckties for boys, pendants for girls and journals for everyone.

"I understand that people should be accountable for what's being expended," he said, adding that school officials vetted him thoroughly. "We've never gone through this much scrutiny for $17,000."

One of six children born to parents who never finished college, Peters is married to a chemist and working on his own doctoral degree in educational administration.

"I know the power of education," he said. "That's all my parents talked about, education."

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

Comments
Top USF Health official leaves amid questions of assistant’s special treatment

Top USF Health official leaves amid questions of assistant’s special treatment

TAMPA — A high-ranking University of South Florida Health official has resigned amid internal concerns that he was giving special treatment to his assistant.After an internal investigation, USF System President Judy Genshaft was poised last month to ...
Published: 12/15/17
Hillsborough school district and its teachers are at a bargaining impasse, but still talking

Hillsborough school district and its teachers are at a bargaining impasse, but still talking

TAMPA — A months-long conflict over planned pay raises has moved to a new phase with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association declaring a bargaining impasse with the public school district.The two sides, which began negotiations in late spring...
Published: 12/15/17
Pinellas schools sheltered thousands during Irma. Here’s what it cost

Pinellas schools sheltered thousands during Irma. Here’s what it cost

Three months later, the Pinellas County school district has totaled up the costs of operating 16 schools as shelters for 25,000 evacuees during Hurricane Irma.The district is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for a reimbursemen...
Published: 12/15/17
Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

SEMINOLE — It was hard for the second-graders at Orange Grove Elementary to resist the urge to rush into the school’s science lab and tinker with the colorful objects neatly arranged on each table.Thursday was just their second time in the lab this y...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant."Go home, Spencer!" they shouted, as the exasperated white nationalist paced the stage, pleading to be heard.Were the students exerc...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

BROOKSVILLE — The new year could bring about new beginnings for at-risk girls in Hernando County.Pending a vote by the School Board next month, PACE Center for Girls, an alternative education program for middle- and high-school students, could open a...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Pasco school district, employees reach contract agreement

The raises for Pasco County school district employees aren’t as high as anyone would like, but they’re now part of a signed tentative contract deal reached just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.If ratified by the staff and the School Board, the agreements ...
Published: 12/13/17
For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

LAND O’LAKES — At Bexley Elementary School in Land O’Lakes, students are throwing paper airplanes — with the help of a high tech computerized launcher. They’re also bowling — with a little aid from computerized drones. And when they get around to it,...
Published: 12/13/17

Proposal to rollback early learning programs could bring Citrus into Pasco-Hernando coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.The state Office of Early Learning has now issued ...
Published: 12/13/17
Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

TAMPA — Elementary school students programmed an electronic mouse to make its way through a maze.Middle school students directed an electronic vehicle to stop on a dime, then use its arms to locate and lift a tiny cube.When the demonstration was done...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/14/17