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Hillsborough school leaders ask state, new charter school rep about IDEA Public Schools

Posted at 5:26 AM, Apr 13, 2021

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County School leaders are working to learn more about the impact of two new charter schools going up in the East Tampa area, operated by the privately-managed IDEA Public Schools.

A school of hope is a charter school that serves students from one or more persistently low-performing schools, is located in the attendance zone of a regularly low-performing school and is Title I eligible, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Hillsborough County has two schools of hope opening this fall in East Tampa on two separate sites through IDEA Tampa Bay.

In 2021, IDEA Tampa Bay will serve a total of 960 students between their academy and college prep campuses. They will open with grades K-2 & 6, and will grow to serve grades K-12 when fully scaled, according to the charter school's website.

Charter schools are a big reason funding is disappearing from Hillsborough County Public Schools, as well as many other districts across Florida.

Superintendent Addison Davis said a few key things need to happen to keep children in public schools, including better customer service and a better marketing plan of what public schools have to offer.

"If we do all those elements, we'll be able to keep students in district brick and mortar schools," Davis said. "I'm all about choice. I think parents should be able to select where their children go. But the end of the day, my job is to run and operate and make the district make schools the most attractive option in the Tampa region."

This comes after the district recently eliminated around 1,000 positions, including teachers, administrators, counselors and instructional aides in order to make payroll this summer and work to avoid a state takeover.

An informational session is scheduled on Tuesday, April 13 at the Instructional Services Center, Room 102, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. That is where the school board will be able to ask questions about IDEA Public Schools from their representative and representatives from the Department of Education.

The session is open to the public, but they will not be taking public comment.