Monday, December 11, 2017
Education

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 [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Comments
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot in her stomac...
Published: 12/08/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

News stories about campus sexual assault often get the question, "Why do schools handle these cases, anyway?"Readers often wonder how universities got tasked with handling these convoluted cases in the first place. Where, they ask, do the police come...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Finalists were announced Tuesday for Hillsborough County Teacher of the year and other honors.Winners will be announced at a banquet on Jan. 16.The finalists for teacher of the year are: Jennifer Jackson, seventh grade science, Stewart Middle; Alexa ...
Published: 12/05/17