Failing Tampa Bay area schools to be reviewed by State Board of Education

Several schools graded a "D" or "F" by the state
Posted at 6:11 AM, Sep 23, 2016

Many Tampa Bay Area students attend poorly-graded schools, and today Florida’s Board of Education is in town to try to change that.

The changes could be decided during a special meeting of the State Board of Education in Tampa. Among those attending the 9 a.m. meeting at the Tampa Airport Marriott will be Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, according to the meeting agenda.

“School districts continue to make every effort to spend resources efficiently, wisely, and focused on the classroom. However, we cannot achieve or sustain high quality education system without sufficient funding,” Eakins wrote in a letter to the Board ahead of the meeting. The letter was made public by the Board.

“We continue to face fiscal challenges and rising fixed costs,” Eakins added.

Florida public schools that receive a “D” or an “F” grade are automatically entered into the state’s “Differentiated Accountability” (DA) program. DA schools are provided assistance of “escalating intensity to schools not meeting accountability standards” by the DA staff, says the state.

Click HERE to see a list of the schools in the state’s DA program, including several in the Tampa Bay Area.

There are a total of 69 schools in 24 school districts requiring implementation of turnaround option plans for the first time. The Board says they will be addressing 46 of those schools today.

46 of those schools earned D or F grades for three consecutive years beginning in the 2012-13 school year and those are the schools the Board says they will be addressing today.

According to the Florida Statutes, any school earning a D grade for three consecutive years must implement the district-managed turnaround option. 

Previous improvement plans have included more resources and support for teachers. Past plans have also added after school events where parents can get more involved in their child’s education.

Obviously, changes like that can cost money, and Eakins seems to be asking the state for more.

“A very small surplus is projected which means a substantial budget gap will need to be addressed,” Eakins tells the board.