North Hyde Park school rezoning passes School Board vote

Published March 7, 2017

TAMPA — Future residents of North Hyde Park will send their children to Just Elementary, Madison Middle and Blake High School, the Hillsborough County School Board decided Tuesday.

Before the rezoning, the area, which is embarking on a real estate renaissance, was in the attendance area for A-rated Gorrie Elementary, Wilson Middle and Plant High School.

Just, Madison and Blake are rated D, C and C. But those grades reflect last year's students, and the neighborhoods are changing rapidly. North Boulevard Homes, a public housing complex that provided many of Just's students, is empty and awaiting demolition.

The boundary changes will ease overcrowding at the three A-rated schools and fill some empty seats at Just and Madison. Blake, which has a performing arts magnet program, is filled almost to capacity. But many are magnet students, and that's a number the district can control.

The board also approved new and revised policies, including one that establishes criteria for a high-needs, or "Elevate" schools.

Before they voted, board members debated whether to include a provision that allows the superintendent to transfer staff to Elevate schools at will. The teachers' union objected to that idea. A majority on the board agreed with the union, with board member April Griffin pointing out that state law already forces the district to fire any teacher who has two consecutive unsatisfactory ratings.

Eakins added that he did not want to "send the wrong message" to teachers. The policy that was adopted did not include the provision about transferring staff at will.

The board also named Cindy Land as principal of Turner-Bartels K-8 School in New Tampa. Land was last principal of nearby Pride Elementary. She replaces Jonathan Grantham, who left to become a deputy superintendent in Marion County.

Contact Marlene Sokol at (813) 226-3356 or Follow @marlenesokol.