Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pop quiz: Students question Hillsborough school board members on issues

TAMPA — As a monstrous storm loomed outside the windows, a flurry of concerns stirred inside the Hillsborough County school board chambers.

There were frustrations about the school calendar, early release dates and exam schedules. Questions about Advanced Placement credits and fear of budget cuts. Suggestions for more healthy cafeteria options and requests to ease fundraising restrictions.

Almost 100 students from nearly 30 schools brought those issues and more to the county School Board Tuesday afternoon as part of an annual student forum. The two-hour conference was cut short due to an approaching storm, but the students pressed on nonetheless.

"For the past two years, first semester exams have been after winter break. Winter break is a long time, you know?" said Armwood High School student Travis Comrey. "Can't we have exams before winter break?"

He wasn't the only one to ask. And winter break wasn't the only schedule issue students raised.

Ruben Gonzalez, who attends Robinson High, wondered whether the school year could start earlier. Richelle Collins, from Hillsborough High's international baccalaureate program, asked officials to consider IB exams in May when changing school start dates and breaks. Gaither High student Joseph Tostige was curious about changes to early-release days and school day start times.

Melissa Perez, from Plant High, prompted muffled laughter when she suggested that the School Board might nail down a calendar before the year starts.

Board members said that because the Florida Legislature puts restrictions on the calendar, their hands are often tied when it comes to start dates and breaks. Board member Jack Lamb referred to that "school board in the sky," and Candy Olson suggested the students petition legislators.

And board members assured students that details of early-release days were being hammered out, citing a school board workshop on the subject that took place earlier Tuesday.

The students also offered a heap of other suggestions: student input on teacher evaluations, motion-activated plumbing, transportation for academic teams, on-campus security cameras and stress- or anger-management classes.

And then, toward the end, came this grievance from Leto High's Edward Newkirk:

"As seniors, we get to a point where we're done with all our required classes. … We have a couple left and then all electives. It's hard to get up and come to school every day, but we have to because our attendance counts toward exemptions from exams. I just don't know if I can do it anymore."

Said chairwoman Doretha Edgecomb: "You know what you just described? Senioritis."

Kim Wilmath can be reached at or (813) 661-2442.

Pop quiz: Students question Hillsborough school board members on issues 01/25/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 11:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  4. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington


    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.
  5. Former Marine from Florida dies fighting for Kurdish militia

    ORLANDO — A former Marine who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.