Thursday, June 21, 2018


Marlene Sokol

Marlene Sokol

Marlene Sokol has worked at the Times as a reporter, editor and columnist since 1988. After launching North of Tampa in 1996, she served first as its editor and later as a general assignment reporter specializing in the suburbs. She now covers education in Hillsborough County.

Sharon Waite is the new principal of Potter Elementary School. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]

Sharon Waite will return to Potter Elementary as principal

To continue progress at East Tampa's Potter Elementary School after five consecutive F grades from the state, the Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday approved onetime Potter assistant principal Sharon Waite.Waite, 51, replaces...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Hillsborough school district will pursue two kinds of local taxes

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School District officials took an important step Tuesday toward asking the voters to pay higher taxes for schools that, they say, are not getting enough money from the state.The board voted 5-0 to submit a tax...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Once a Republican, School Board candidate Scott Hottenstein says his values on education are more aligned with the Democratic Party.

One school board candidate changes parties, another changes races

Updating Sunday's report on the Hillsborough County School Board races:Scott Hottenstein, one of six candidates for the at-large seat...
Published: 06/18/18
Candidates for Hillsborough County School Board at a recent meeting of the Tiger Bay Club: From left: Stacy Hahn, Sally Harris, Scott Hottenstein, Robert Pechacek, Bill Person, Mitchell Smithey, Kelso Tanner. Not shown: Melissa Snively, Steve Cona, Rod Mayhew, LaShonda Davison, Shake Washington. MARLENE SOKOL | Times

School board races attract new faces

TAMPA — When long-time Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes resigned this month from the board to run for the State House of Representatives, the decision affected more than just her seat in west Hillsborough’s District 1.It...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/17/18
ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times   Crowded Mort Elementary School narrowly missed a C last year and needs one this year to avoid takeover.

Hillsborough test results point to continued struggles in reading

It's not yet clear if this year's Florida Standard Assessment results will free seven Hillsborough County schools up from...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Land O'Lakes High ninth-graders await the start of the Florida Standards Assessments writing test in March 2015. [Pasco County School District]

School test scores are up all around the state

Gov. Rick Scott is doing a victory lap and touting the level of state education funding, with standardized test scores inching up around the state.The numbers released Thursday show a one-point gain in English proficiency rates on the...
Published: 06/14/18
Susan Valdes has served on the Hillsborough County School Board since 2004. [HCPS]

Valdes fires back, and draws a blistering response from Alvarez

[SEE UPDATE AT THE END FOR FIGHTING WORDS FROM ALVAREZ]Victor DiMaio on Thursday released this announcement on behalf of Florida State House hopeful and Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes:"Susan Valdes hoped the...
Published: 06/14/18
Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association announced a pay deal with Superintendent Jeff Eakins on June 6. After more than a year of negotiations, Hillsborough starting teachers' pay, at $38,200 a year, still lags behind many other Florida districts. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]

Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

TAMPA — Money that the Hillsborough County School District needs to build schools and replace air conditioners might be farther from reach, thanks to a new state law and a bureaucratic process required before the voters can decide on a tax...
Published: 06/14/18
@20153110 West Azeele StreetTampa Florida 33609813-870-0349

School board race gets first candidate

Business leader Steve Cona filed Monday to run for Hillsborough County School Board in the District 1 seat that Susan Valdes will vacate to run for the State House.He is the first to file since Valdes filed her resign-to-run letter on...
Published: 06/12/18
Susan Valdes has served on the Hillsborough County School Board since 2004. [Times files (2016)]

Susan Valdes will leave Hillsborough School Board to run for State House

She moved against one of the most powerful school superintendents in the nation – and won. She championed the rights of Latino students while running afoul of the teachers' union.Now Hillsborough County School Board member...
Published: 06/11/18