PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Three low-performing schools in Pinellas County could soon be run by a private company if they can't turn things around.
District leaders are now prepared to allow a private company to take over, if Azalea Middle, Lakewood Elementary, and Fairmount Park Elementary fail to get a school grade of "C" or better.
These changes may come as a result of HB7069, a massive education reform bill relates to turnaround options for managing low performing schools.
When school grades are received for the 2017-2018 school year, if any of these schools should receive a grade lower than a C, the district would have to submit a plan to the state to exercise one of three options.
- Option 1: reassign all students, which in essence, means to close the school.
- Option 2: close the school and re-open it as a charter.
- Option 3: close the school and reopen it through an outside entity; the district could serve as that entity.
The Pinellas County school district is working very diligently with each of these schools to raise the school grade, but should this occur, Learning Sciences International (LSI) would run the schools if the plan is approved.
LSI would continue with the tiers of support currently in place with the intent to return control of the school back to the district as quickly as possible, board members said.
The district already contracts with LSI. They work with Bear Creek Elementary and have proven to be very successful, board members said.
But, students at these schools are still facing a lot of unknowns. School grades are typically released in the second or third week of July, which presents concerns since school begins early August. The Florida Department of Education will not be approving turnaround plans until September.