Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

School Board steps in to oversee Hillsborough charter school

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School Board terminated a Riverview charter school's contract Tuesday after a majority of the school's directors resigned.

District officials said they would step in to oversee Tampa Bay Academy for the rest of the year before deciding what to do with its 63 special-needs students.

"We have to make sure we're able to support their needs, in whatever venue," said superintendent MaryEllen Elia. "Nothing will change (today) for the parents or the students there."

The move followed weeks of efforts to stabilize the school, which was founded more than 15 years ago to serve students with emotional and behavioral problems.

In December, a residential treatment center and group homes for youths next to the school were closed, and in January officials say the school's management company abandoned it.

Officials said the Tampa Bay Academy charter school was not directly connected with the neighboring residential treatment facility, which shared its name and supplied many of its students.

But it was a state inquiry into reports of violence and runaways at the treatment facility — as well as the loss of Medicaid funding — that prompted the management company to close it, throwing the charter school into jeopardy.

The charter's four board members stepped in to run the school but quickly became overwhelmed.

"We had no option but to resign our positions," said member Joe Chillura, adding that he supports the district takeover. "We believe this suggestion is the only viable one that's going to keep the school operable."

Principal Bill Orris said he blamed the Texas-based management company Youth and Family Centered Services, rather than the board, for the troubles.

"Nobody on this campus did anything wrong," he said. "We've just done our jobs the best we could."

Orris, eight teachers and 27 aides will remain at the school.

Rhonda Brown, the only member of the school's board who refused to resign, urged the district to find a solution.

"The only appeal I am truly making is that you allow that school to stay open," she said.

Staff writers Sarah Whitman, Robbyn Mitchell and John Martin contributed to this report. Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

School Board steps in to oversee Hillsborough charter school 04/05/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: Senate bill sacrifices health care for tax cuts

    Editorials

    No wonder Senate Republicans drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean. This remains a massive tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of the poor, the middle class and the elderly, and it would cost …

    No wonder Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, above, drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean.
  2. UberEATS expands to more cities within Tampa Bay

    Business

    TAMPA — UberEATS is expanding its service area in Tampa Bay. Starting today, users in Gibsonton, Odessa, New Port Richey, Riverview and Tarpon Springs can have food dropped off at their location.

    UberEATS is expanding its service area in Tampa Bay. [Courtesy of UberEATS]
  3. Tenants face eviction as county and Dade City landlord battle

    Human Interest

    DADE CITY — Lianette Hernandez had hoped she and her family would soon move out of their one-bedroom home in Lazy Breeze Mobile Home & RV Park. But not like this.

    Sarah Bryant-Lewis sits outside her home at Lazy Breeze Mobile Home & RV Park in Dade City. Bryant-Lewis and her family are among 10 households at the park that are being evicted. [Photo by Laura Newberry]
  4. Jameis Winston stats: How the Bucs QB performed under pressure

    Bucs

    Every quarterback's performance declines when he faces pressure from the defense.

    Of the 35 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 400 passes since 2015, Jameis Winston ranks 30th in completion percentage. He is third, however, in yards per completion. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]
  5. Could Lightning deal for a defenseman today?

    Blogs

    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been trying to further bolster his blueline, and he may have a chance to acquire one by tonight's first round of the NHL Draft.

    The Lightning is reportedly in on Travis Hamonic (Islanders), though New York is rumored to be asking for two-first round picks.