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Hillsborough County has one in five of Florida’s lowest performing schools

The state’s annual list grew in 2019, as lawmakers expanded the definition of ‘low performing.’
Published Aug. 2, 2019

For the second consecutive year, the Hillsborough County school district has the largest number of schools on the state’s list of persistently low performing schools, released Friday.

It logged in 39 campuses, far more than any other district including those of similar size. Miami-Dade County had 7 schools on the list, which is still preliminary, while Broward and Orange had 12, and Palm Beach had four. Only Duval County came close, with 22 on the annual report.

Locally, seven Pinellas County schools and three Pasco County schools appeared.

The overall number increased from a year ago, as a result of the Legislature’s decision to expand the definition of ‘persistently low performing.’

This year, it meant any school that received a D or F grade in at least three of the past five years, without receiving an A or B in either of the two most recent years. Last year, to land on the list a school would have had to receive a grade lower than C for three consecutive years.

The Legislature altered the rule in part to ensure that schools that have just one successful year in five don’t get eliminated from the list that focuses added attention on them. It also expanded the areas in which “Schools of Hope” charter schools would be eligible to operate.

That controversial program was a priority of education commissioner Richard Corcoran while he served as House speaker.

RELATED: Proposed charter school expansion in poor neighborhoods is latest rift in Florida education debate

The Florida Board of Education began approving those charter operators to enter the state in 2018. Some have already indicated their plans to open campuses in Tampa and Miami. A proposal in Jacksonville was not accepted.

Schools on the persistently low performing list shared some significant statistics.

All listed their percent of economically disadvantaged students at 80 percent or higher. Only three were below 85 percent.

All but three had more than 50 percent minority students, with most of them higher than 75 percent.

School districts have until mid-August to file any appeals with the state, if they believe their schools appear incorrectly on the list. You can see the full list here.


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