TAMPA — With a battle brewing over the fate of several charter schools in Hillsborough County, people on both sides of the issue are speaking out.
What You Need To Know
- Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran wrote the school board a letter threatening legal action and asking for an explanation by 5 p.m. Tuesday
- The School Board is holding a Special Meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the letter and a response
- More Hillsborough County headlines
Gabriel Scarpetta, 8, and his brother, Castiel, 7, both attend Southshore Charter Academy in Riverview.
“We did a lot of research on the school and we liked the program that they have,” said their father, Thomas. “It fits my family perfectly. It fits everything that I need in a school.”
The Scarpetta’s joined other families outside the school on Friday to show their support.
They said their children have benefited from a charter school education.
The Scarpetta’s praised the school for parental involvement. They also said they like the uniform policy and that their children are doing well academically.
“I like being able to choose where my kids go,” said Jennifer Scarpetta, the boys’ mother. “I choose what they wear, what they eat, where they sleep, so I should be able to choose where they go.”
On the other side, there are people who are concerned about the number of charter schools in Hillsborough County and the impact it’s having on the public school system.
“The main concern is that children are not getting the best possible education that they could get,” said Patricia Hall, a former Hillsborough County teacher.
Hall said she worries about charter schools potentially draining resources and funding from traditional schools and whether there’s enough oversight.
“We need transparency and accountability. I know regulations are a negative word for some people but we’ve got to have our tax dollars spent on the public children,” she said.
Hall would like to see a moratorium on charter schools in the county.
She would also like to see performance evaluations for all schools posted publicly.
Meanwhile, the Scarpetta’s call their charter school a “community” and said they can’t imagine a better place for their boys to learn.
“We are hooked, we love it,” said Jennifer Scarpetta.
The school board has 90 days to provide reasons for the denials. The charters may appeal if they choose and can remain open in the meantime.