Good for the University of South Florida for coming to the rescue of Hillsborough County school officials who overpromised and underdelivered. USF president Judy Genshaft has offered to help provide scholarships to qualified students who were promised them. That takes some of the heat, if not the embarrassment, away from Hillsborough school officials who promised college tuition to students who attended the Urban Teaching Academy at Middleton High School and agreed to return to the community to teach. It turns out the school district doesn't have the money to meet its commitment, but now USF is coming to the rescue.
It seemed like a great idea at the time. Four years ago the school district created the academy, which promised qualified students college tuition and money for books if they agreed to return to Hillsborough County and teach for a minimum of three years. But the good intentions of the ill-conceived program quickly withered with anemic fundraising, shifting qualifying criteria and muddled communications with students. Only $17,000 was raised, and it's unclear who knew what when.
There are still questions about how such a program advanced so far without a clear means of fulfilling the promise. But USF's generous offer takes some of the sting away by ensuring that the students won't be collateral damage.