Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Policy allows Hernando magnet schools to boot troubled students

BROOKSVILLE — Beginning next school year, Hernando County's magnet schools will be able to send students with attendance problems, excessive tardiness, behavior issues or poor grades back to their zoned schools.

By a 4-1 vote, School Board members approved the change Tuesday night as part of the district's 2014-15 magnet program procedures handbook.

"It's not that the magnet schools are any greater," said School Board member Matt Foreman. "It's that at any time you're attending any school other than your zoned school, it's a privilege. If you don't live up to your end of the bargain, the privilege should no longer be extended."

A student at a magnet school would return to his or her zoned school for the following school year.

Aside from magnets, students attending a school outside their zone — the International Baccalaureate program at Springstead High, a career academy or another thematic program, for example — have long faced the prospect of being sent back to their home school during the year should any issues crop up.

Assistant superintendent of teaching and learning Ken Pritz said the policy, which the board is expected to align with the new magnet policy, has given principals leverage over students who are not motivated.

The magnet penalties will be enforced only after the school has made extensive efforts to correct any issues, the district says. School officials will meet with parents and keep them informed.

School Board member Dianne Bonfield cast the lone vote against the policy change. She felt that students should stay at a magnet or choice school regardless of any behavioral, attendance or academic issues.

"Once an enrollment is set, those are the students that are there to be educated at that site," she said. "I think we as a board need to, beyond this, think about the message we're sending to our zoned schools."

Bonfield said she has always had an issue with the district's policy regarding choice schools. Now, she said, is the time to address it.

Also on Tuesday, the School Board:

• Voted unanimously to terminate the employment of embattled Powell Middle School teacher Jesse Mockler.

Mockler, a social studies teacher, had been on unpaid suspension as he appealed superintendent Lori Romano's decision to fire him after the district found he falsified an application to renew his teaching certificate and failed to promptly report a July conviction for driving under the influence. He dropped the appeal Nov. 7.

• Elected a chairman and vice chairwoman during the board's yearly organizational meeting. Gus Guadagnino will serve as board chairman; Bonfield will serve as vice chairwoman.

Danny Valentine can be reached at or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Policy allows Hernando magnet schools to boot troubled students 11/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]