We'll continue to follow the story about the financial challenges in Hillsborough County as the school district seeks to reseverse years of operational deficits that triggered two negative reports in the bonding community.
We'll live-tweet this morning's new teachers welcome at Armwood High School, where the top brass and the teacher's union will greet 800 new educators....
TAMPA — In the last four years of superintendent MaryEllen Elia's administration, the Hillsborough County School District went on a spending jag, tearing through more than half of its $361 million reserve fund, officials revealed this week.
Left unchecked, the pattern would have resulted in another operating deficit this year — a $75 million hit that would bring the fund down near its legal minimum threshhold....
The Hillsborough County school district has released school-by-school results of the past year's climate survey, allowing for comparisons from one school to another.
Giant caveat: This year, because students were so over-burdened with state testing, the district decided to give the survey to a sample of students and not all 207,000. Officials said they are confident the sample was large enough, especially for identifying districtwide trends. But responses came from only about 30 percent of the students....
Students at these schools will be greeted by new principals for the 2015-16 year. Here's a look at who they are and what they have done so far:
Boyette Springs Elementary: Tamethea Simmons, 37
Simmons joined the district in 1999 as a teacher at Riverview Elementary. She also taught at Sessums and Collins elementaries before becoming assistant principal at the USF Patel Partnership Elementary in 2009. She worked most recently as assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary....
TAMPA — Without discussion, the Hillsborough County School Board voted 6-0 on Tuesday to suspend a music teacher accused of duct-taping a kindergartener's eyes.
The next step: firing teacher Lindsay Blanc.
The 29-year-old, who earns $42,000 a year, remained on the payroll and was working at the district's Manhattan administrative center. But as of the board's vote, she was suspended without pay. In April, she was removed from the classroom at Potter Elementary School because of the duct-tape allegation....
Anna Rothenbush will be the new principal of Symmes Elementary School, subject to a Hillsborough County School Board vote this afternoon.
Rothenbush, 41, replaces Julie Hasson, who resigned.
Rothenbush joined the district in 1996 as a teacher at Essrig Elementary. She also taught at Gibsonton and Symmes before being promoted to assistant principal at the Riverview school in 2009.<...
TAMPA — Even after three out of six members said they had "reservations," the Hillsborough County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to make sweeping changes in how students are disciplined at school.
One of the eight area superintendents will have to sign off on suspensions of more than five days. Students will not be suspended for being late. And "inappropriate behavior" — a vague but commonly used label — will no longer be an offense....
Another group of teachers are up for termination at Tuesday's Hillsborough County School Board meeting for failing to comply with certification requirements, and once again they were concentrated largely at high-needs schools.
Sixteen of the 21 had been assigned to so-called Title I schools, which get federal aid because of poverty in their communities. Of the 16, six were at the poorest "renaissance" schools including three at Middleton High School. The group fired in June also included two from Middleton....
At least one new principal will be named at Tuesday's Hillsborough County School Board meeting. Julie Hasson, the principal of Symmes Elementary School in Riverview, has resigned, and the board plans to name her replacement.
The meeting, which we will live-tweet, could be eventful.
The board is set to vote on the student handbook, which contains changes recommended by a task force on minority student discipline. At week's end members Melissa Snively and Doretha Edgecomb said they wanted to study the changes carefully, and Snively said she looks forward to a thoughtful discussion Tuesday -- and perhaps beyond....
By Marlene Sokol
TAMPA — The numbers showed black students in Hills-borough County were getting suspended at roughly twice the rate of white students.
The federal government launched an investigation. A task force was assembled with members from the teachers union, nonprofit organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Now, more than two years after the School Board held its first workshop on student discipline, the board is poised to sign off on sweeping reforms Tuesday. ...
TAMPA — The kindergarteners at Potter Elementary School liked music teacher Lindsay Blanc. She was "nice," they said. She let them watch movies.
But there was another side they described when police visited in April and interviewed 19 children.
If you were "bad," they said, she put you in the corner. If your behavior didn't improve, she would threaten to "tape you up" with one of many rolls of colored tape she kept to section off the classroom floor....
A little while ago the Hillsborough school district posted the revised Student Handbook the board will vote on Tuesday.
As the agenda reads, they are voting on the handbook, not a discipline plan. But some of the changes that have been discussed and debated for two years are contained in the book....
Think the Hillsborough schools are too lenient?
Take a trip to Circuit Judge Denise Pomponio's Wednesday drug court.
That's when she does intake for juveniles. "I talk to them about how long they have been using drugs, how they are doing in school, their home life and everything else," Pomponio said.
Soon after she began this assignment about four years ago, she noticed a trend....
TAMPA — An elementary music teacher could lose her job next week because of an allegation that she punished a kindergarten student by putting duct tape over his eyes.
Lindsay Blanc, 29, is accused of immorality, incompetency and misconduct in office, according to the Hillsborough County school district's office of professional standards. The School Board is set to vote Tuesday on whether to fire her....
Ted Hamilton, a parent in Lutz, addressed the board recently about behavior problems in his daughter's high school. He has since moved her to another school, but here is some of what he wrote in a follow-up letter to the Tampa Bay Times and School Board member Cindy Stuart....