21 Aug 2014
78° Clear
Patch Instagram photo by legallyblonde27
Patch Instagram photo by legallyblonde27
Patch Instagram photo by ermyceap
Patch Instagram photo by taratesimu
Patch Instagram photo by taratesimu
Patch Instagram photo by lilyava299
Patch Instagram photo by _mollfairhurst
Patch Instagram photo by thecontemporaryhannah
Patch Instagram photo by lucyketch

A.T. Jones Academy in Carrollwood Faces Closure

The charter school at 4903 Ehrlich Road has been recommended to shut its doors by Hillsborough County officials.

A.T. Jones Academy in Carrollwood Faces Closure A.T. Jones Academy in Carrollwood Faces Closure A.T. Jones Academy in Carrollwood Faces Closure A.T. Jones Academy in Carrollwood Faces Closure

A Carrollwood charter school may be forced to close its doors a month before school starts after Hillsborough school officials learned of a financial deficit and allegations that teachers' insurance was suspended after they continued to pay for it.

Meanwhile, two members of the six-member governing board for A.T. Jones Math, Science and Technology Academy resigned as of Thursday morning, said Jenna Hodgens, the school district's supervisor of charter schools.

It was recommended this spring by MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of schools for Hillsborough county, that the academy close. The school is named after the Rev. Arthur T. Jones, pastor of Bible-Based Fellowship Church, and is located on the same campus as the church on Ehrlich Road.

"They have some outstanding bills they have not paid, and they were in a financial deficit at the end of last year," said Hodgens. "They continued to create a deficit."

Allegations also surfaced that teachers are paying for insurance out of their paychecks even after their insurance was suspended in March of this year, Hodgens said.

Now, officials at the academy face a formal hearing before school district officials at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 30, at the Raymond O. Shelton School Administration Center to determine its fate.

"Since nothing changed, there's a hearing," Hodgens said. "Anytime a charter school doesn't meet standards, the superintendent has authority to make recommendations to the school board regarding the school."

The Carrollwood academy - one of five schools in Hillsborough county that have faced possible termination - , which was up from the 'F' it received from the school district last year, Hodgens said. The academy didn't have enough students with previous year's test scores to garner a state grade for years prior to last, Hodgens said.

About 160 kids are enrolled for the 2012-13 school year, Hodgens said, which starts on Aug. 21. That's down from over 200 students that were enrolled last school year, she said.

Hodgens said parents have expressed their concerns to her about issues at the school, which didn't have an operable website on Thursday evening.

"I had a very vocal parent with a group behind him who wanted to keep the school," said Hodgens. "This week, that same parent and group of parents sent out an email saying they wanted everyone to withdraw. At this point, they're so disgruntled with how the board is managing and governing the school, the sway is now against the school rather than for it."

This isn't the first time the former private school has closed.

In early 2009, the school closed due to decreasing enrollment and money problems, reopening its doors as a charter school in 2010, according to a story in the Tampa Bay Times.

What do you think about the potential closing? Do you think the school should be forced to close? Tell us in the comments.

Share This Article