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Education

Hillsborough School Board Says ‘No’ To Six Charter Schools

The Hillsborough County School Board at its meeting 6-15-21, as seen from an online broadcast
SCREENSHOT
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Hillsborough County Schools
Potential conflicts of interest and financial problems were cited as reasons for denial of the charter school proposals

Reasons cited for the charters' denial included large class sizes, poor academic records, and financial difficulties.

The Hillsborough County School Board has voted to deny applications from six charter schools.

The Tampa Bay Times described Tuesday evening's vote as a "stunning departure from past practice."

Four of the schools that could face shutdown include Kids Community College High, Pivot, Southshore, and Woodmont charter schools.

The school board has 90 days to provide reasons for the denials. The charters may appeal if they choose, and can remain open until then.

A petition from a South Florida charter, Mater Academy, to build two new schools in eastern Hillsborough was also denied.

At Tuesday's meeting, board member Nadia Combs handed out news articles from the Miami Herald and Washington Post to her fellow members that described potential conflicts of interest and other problems.

"People are profiting — millions and millions of dollars — on this and we need to be aware. And do we want to approve a charter like this?" Combs said.

The school board's votes affect a few thousand of the district’s more than 200,000 students. They also come as the Hillsborough County school district struggles to emerge from a long-standing budget crisis.

Board chair Lynn Gray said Tuesday that the district loses $250 million a year in state funding to charter schools.

The for-profit companies that manage the affected charter schools may decide to sue the district over the decision.

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