Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough's Urban Teaching Academy scholarships still scrambling for funds

TAMPA — With the clock ticking until graduation, Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia will meet next with seniors in the Urban Teaching Academy to try and finalize the college scholarships they were promised.

They'll be asked to bring documentation to apply for scholarships through the Hillsborough Education Foundation. The nonprofit has Florida prepaid scholarships that it can redirect for up to 23 students who qualify based on their income, said president Phil Jones.

Another six whose family incomes are too high will likely get cash scholarships, Jones said. "We feel fairly high in our confidence level that we have it squared away."

Meetings will take place Wednesday at Blake High School, Thursday at Hillsborough and May 17 at Middleton, all from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

School officials have been scrambling since they realized recently they did not have the money to honor a promise of college tuition and book funds to students who completed the teaching program at the three schools.

That promise was also stated in the district's application for federal magnet grant funds. In exchange, the students were to return to the district after college and teach at inner-city schools.

After the Tampa Bay Times disclosed the problem in early April, Elia and Jones said they were counting on assistance from the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College. Elia said USF president Judy Genshaft made that assurance personally.

But officials at those schools said their resources were limited, and much of the assistance would come in the form of financial aid counseling.

Hearing Friday's developments, USF spokesman Michael Hoad said, "Dr. Genshaft's commitment was that we will help in any way we possibly can. What you are describing, from our point of view, is very good news."

In a letter to school board members on Friday, Elia wrote, "we remain optimistic about the future of the UTA."

The program, however, is being phased out of Hillsborough and Middleton and will remain only at Blake.

Launched in 2008, the academy has three more classes after this one that have been promised scholarships. That adds up to 100 students, Jones said.

Fundraising is ongoing to cover those scholarships and the six cash scholarships for this year's seniors.

"People have been really nice about $500 here and $1,000 there," he said. A donor has agreed to match $95,000 if the foundation can raise the other $95,000, he said. School district employees will soon receive email solicitations to contribute.

Reaction from school board members has been muted, with the exception of Susan Valdes.

On Friday, Valdes took issue with Elia's repeated statement that because the school year isn't over yet, no one has broken any promises.

"But we have," Valdes said. "Staff dropped the ball. And I do not feel it is appropriate now to go out to the community and ask for the money."

Staff writer Elisabeth Parker contributed to this report. Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or sokol@tampabay.com.

.

How to help

Anyone who would like to support the Urban Teaching Academy students can do so online through the Hillsborough Education Foundation's website. Donations can be designated to "Urban Teaching Academy Scholarships" through the Foundation's donation page at educationfoundation.com.

Hillsborough's Urban Teaching Academy scholarships still scrambling for funds 05/05/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 5, 2012 7:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.