Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Questions remain after reports of corruption at Spoto High. Will superintendent Jeff Eakins answer them?

His response so far has been a written statement following an explosive report alleging abuses by the former principal.
Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins said in a two-paragraph statement that the investigation centering on Spoto High "shows that our culture at Spoto and across our district is not one of 'results at any cost.'" [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins said in a two-paragraph statement that the investigation centering on Spoto High "shows that our culture at Spoto and across our district is not one of 'results at any cost.'" [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Aug. 16, 2019

The Tampa Bay Times requested an interview this week with Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins concerning reports of corruption and abuse at Spoto High School last year, which is own staff reported and ultimately investigated.

The superintendent declined the request, and issued this emailed statement:

This is an HR issue, so I am limited in what I can directly address.

The investigation report describes several situations when our school staff and leaders objected to overly aggressive steps. The fact that our staff pushed back repeatedly and spoke up — leading to this investigation — shows that our culture at Spoto and across our district is not one of “results at any cost.”

While we all work with an expectation of high performance, the leaders in our schools right now make smart decisions every day to do right by students and stay focused on what’s best for students as their priority.

Eakins did not answer several key questions that remain. Among them:

  • Why did the district wait five weeks between Jan. 7, when seven allegations of serious wrongdoing arrived at the Office of Professional Standards, and Feb. 11, when the office was authorized to begin its investigation? The teachers union had detailed these concerns in writing even earlier — in December.
  • Glennis Perez, the former Spoto High principal at the center of the allegations, resigned her position before the district could serve her with a letter that said her contract would not be renewed. Has her situation been formally reported to the Department of Education, which controls her professional credentials?
  • Of broader significance, what is being done to find out if the abuses described in the report — discouraging students from attending school if it appears they will drag down the graduation rate, and falsifying withdrawal information to improve the graduation rate — are happening at other schools? Will there be any audit or inquiry?

The Times will keep asking.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Custodian James Berrien, (center) and Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins are pictured at Cypress Creek Elementary for the opening of a time capsule buried in 1991 when Eakins was a 4th-grade teacher. It was the first year that Berrien, present at the burial of the capsule, worked at the school. Febuary 27. Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 in Ruskin.  [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  2. Hillsborough school superintendent Jeff Eakins holds a time capsule at Cypress Creek Elementary Thursday in Ruskin. Eakins, who retires soon, was a fourth-grade teacher at the school when the capsule was buried in 1991. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  3. Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, has pushed for changes to Florida's restraint and seclusion laws for nearly a decade.  (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) [Associated Press (2016)]
  4. Health officials recommend washing hands frequently and sanitizing toys, clothes and other items as often as possible to avoid the spread of viruses.
  5. An artist's rendering shows one view of Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg after a $28 million renovation. Work is expected to start in February 2021. The Pinellas County School Board approved a contract with Rowe Architects Inc. to work on the project. [Pinellas County Schools]
  6. Graduates enjoy fireworks at Bright House Field.
  7. A bill to merge Florida Polytechnic into the University of Florida keeps advancing, even as most lawmakers say they don't approve.  [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2018]
  8. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D- Orlando  [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  9. More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
  10. Hudson High student Kaitlyn Helzer introduces herself to a curious corn snake during the Nature Coast Envirothon, held Feb. 19 at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Sumter County. Students from Pasco, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus counties tested their knowledge on aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife while vying for a spot at state competition. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
  11. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ  |  Times]
  12. Teacher Dequita Parker guides youngsters to lunch from the playground Sept. 20 at the PromiseLand Early Childhood Education Center in Tampa.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement