Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In wake of Armwood football scandal, school district vows improvements

TAMPA — Faced with an eligibility scandal in Armwood High School's championship football program, Hillsborough County superintendent MaryEllen Elia said Tuesday that the school district is working to improve the way it handles student enrollment and transfers.

Elia did not speak in detail about the Armwood situation, which could result in fines for the school and the loss of a Class 6A state title won in December.

Last week, the Florida High School Athletic Association accused five players of faking their addresses — in some cases using phony leases and electric bills — so they could play for Armwood.

"We will be responding to the FHSAA and at that time will give you an update on that situation," Elia told the School Board, adding that the school and the district athletic department are conducting their own investigation.

The inquiry comes at a time of statewide changes. A new law, prompted by a similar scandal in Lakeland, gives more discretion to school districts in deciding when a student can play for his new school. The old law required students to wait until the following school year unless they can show their entire family has moved; or in special cases such as a death in the family.

Board Chairwoman Candy Olson said the issue touches more than sports. Schools in her South Tampa district quickly become crowded, sometimes because people lie about where they live.

She proposed a more clear and stringent registration process that would ask questions of parents who have neither a homestead exemption nor a rental lease.

"We have updated so much of what we do," Olson said. "We've updated how we teach. We've updated our technology." Enrollment procedures should be updated as well, she said. "We need to make it clear that we don't accept lying as a matter of course."

Elia agreed that honesty should be a goal in itself.

"It is important for parents to understand that you are teaching your students when you don't tell the truth to a school and you enter that student into that school," she said.

In other business, Elia and board member Doretha Edgecomb thanked the nonprofit Hillsborough Education Foundation for working to fund college scholarships for the first year's graduates of the Urban Teaching Academy. The district program has struggled to honor a promise to provide tuition and book money for qualified graduates.

Elia said that besides tuition, the students will get up to $1,000 each year for books, as promised.

In wake of Armwood football scandal, school district vows improvements 05/22/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 11:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Soggy, yet hot, workweek ahead across Tampa Bay


    A soggy workweek is ahead across Tampa Bay as decent chances for scattered storms remain consistent over the next several days.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Travel ban, Kennedy retirement speculation the focus as Supreme Court prepares for break


    WASHINGTON — Before taking their long summer break, the Supreme Court justices are poised to act on the Trump administration's travel ban and a separation of church and state dispute involving a Missouri church playground.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown in 2007, has given no public sign that he would step down this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy's departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. [Associated Press]
  3. Florida education news: Guns, charter schools, drug education and more


    HOSTILE WORK PLACE: A legal review determines that while a University of South Florida technology center former director might have been boorish and hostile, …

  4. Fire crews battle blaze at apartment complex near Seminole Heights


    Fire crews are battling a blaze that broke out early Monday morning at an apartment complex near Seminole Heights, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

  5. PolitiFact Florida: Claim that 5.7 million noncitizens voted is wrong

    State Roundup

    President Donald Trump's unfounded allegations that millions voted illegally in 2016 is back in the news, with his supporters pointing to a new analysis that claims millions of undocumented immigrants voted in 2008.

    Instances of noncitizens voting have been reported, but evidence points to a small number among millions of votes cast.