Hillsborough Schools shuts down pharmacy tech program

District unable to find qualified teacher
Posted at 6:36 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 18:36:10-05

Dozens of students and parents are concerned after a Hillsborough County High School abruptly shuts down its pharmacy tech program.

This comes after the students at Spoto High School have had no regular teacher for weeks. The closure affects more than 40 students.

For the past three and a half years, Kaitlyn Plusser, now a Spoto High School Senior, says the pharmacy tech program has been chaotic to say the least.

Plusser says there have been several pharmacy tech instructors that have come in and left shortly after. She said after holiday break, their last teacher left with no warning.

"I was really disappointed because I had really hoped that this teacher would have been different," she said. "We got left in the dust."

While the school district listed the position, they only had one applicant who was not qualified to teach. Unable to find anyone else to teach these students, the district has opted to shut the program down for good.

"I think I've gone beyond frustration," said Angie Tyler, Plusser's mother. "I'm angry because this is my daughter's future."

She said kids have been coming to class and getting the same worksheet and have not been developing their skills to pass a state certification exam.

"I feel like it has failed these kids," Tyler said.

Hillsborough County Schools said they too have been troubled by what's happened with the program.

"The staff at the school have been frustrated as well," said Tanya Arja, a Hillsborough County School District spokesperson. "They had high expectations for this program."

Arja said even though the program is shutting down, seniors will still have the chance to complete clinical labs in February. They will also be moved to other classes so they aren't just sitting there during the time block they would have been in pharmacy tech classes. The district said they will also provide an instructor from the Career and Tech Program to help students prepare for the state certification exam they take after graduation in May.

But Plusser feels despite these assurances, she will not be prepared.

"There's too much to learn," she said. "Most of the seniors just gave up. They don't care anymore."

Parents will meet with school administrators Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. to discuss this issue.