Given that backdrop, some parents at one of the most popular magnet schools in Manatee County, Fla., say it’s obvious why they want to convert the district school into an independent charter.
They’re worried Rowlett Elementary will lose the special programs and dedicated teachers that made it so successful. And they don’t believe district leaders, mired in a budget crisis that promises drastic cuts, know what they’re doing.
Asked if she had doubts that district administrators could keep Rowlett a top performing school and properly run the district, parent Jessica Nehrboss said this: “Absolutely. I have no doubt in my mind. I have no doubt in my mind and it’s more apparent than ever that they can’t. The county has absolutely proven they cannot handle it.’’
Nehrboss is a mother of four with a fourth-grader at the school and a rising kindergartner. She and other parents will be voting next month on whether to convert Rowlett. Teachers will also be voting. If a majority of each group says yes, the school will apply to the district for a charter.
If Nehrboss’ assessment sounds harsh, consider this: The 44,000-student district is under a spending freeze that has at least one middle school principal so desperate, he is asking parents for donations to make it through the end of the school year. Meanwhile, the proposal to eliminate 182 teaching positions next fall has prompted a petition from a parent who doesn’t believe the district’s projections are accurate. Continue Reading →