We Want Sheehy Elementary to remain in District

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New state law targets seven Hillsborough schools

TAMPA — The state is telling Hillsborough County to have contingency plans ready by Friday for seven struggling schools in case they don't receive C grades or better at the end of the year.

The directive affects D-rated Foster, Mort, Oak Park and Sheehy elementary schools; D-rated Memorial Middle; and Potter and Booker T. Washington elementary schools, which are both rated F.

Districts have four options for such schools, assuming they do not improve to a C.

The first, shutting them down, is not on the table. "We're not closing any schools, so you can put that in bright lights," superintendent Jeff Eakins said Wednesday.

Nor is the second option, turning the schools over to private charter operators.

That leaves two more — entering a partnership with an outside consultant who would help run the school, or creating a district-run charter school.

Under that fourth scenario, the school would have a governing board, as privately run charter schools do. The district would manage the school. But union contracts would not apply, giving the district greater latitude in deciding who would work there.

Eakins and his chief of schools, Harrison Peters, said they are optimistic that all seven schools will earn at least a C. Four of the D schools were within two points of a C when the last year's grades came out.

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