Hillsborough schools getting it right by changing with the times

While the district is frequently in the news for what goes wrong at its schools, the district deserves kudos for its efforts to prepare our students for the global economy — particularly as it relates to new technology.

Students in 27 of the county’s 44 high schools are now offered the opportunity to earn certificates. Those certificates show a student’s proficiency in programs such as Photoshop or Excel. Certificates are offered for Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Microsoft, Quickbooks and the COMPTIA A+ products. Last year 3,040 information technology-related industry certifications were awarded to Hillsborough students.

By Chris Ingram

Hillsborough County residents pay more in taxes to fund the county’s school system, which has a budget of $2.8 billion, than they do to run every other department or agency in the county combined.

The Hillsborough school system is the largest employer in the county, with more than 25,000 employees, of which nearly 16,000 are teachers. The system is the third largest in Florida and the ninth largest in the country with over 202,000 students (for comparison, the city of Tampa has about 350,000 residents).

Of those students, nearly 60 percent are eligible for free and reduced lunches. At last count, there were 168 languages spoken by students attending the county’s schools, which has a graduation rate of 82 percent.

The challenges of the Hillsborough school district are immense. The number of students, and the diversity of the population, adds to the enormity of those challenges.

While the district is frequently in the news for what goes wrong at its schools, the district deserves Continue reading “Hillsborough schools getting it right by changing with the times”

Miller pulls plug on rotation plan

Without explanation, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller pulled his proposal to drastically change how the county commission chairman is selected each year.

By Chris Ingram

Without explanation, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller pulled his proposal to drastically change how the county commission chairman is selected each year.

Miller’s plan would have removed any thought to the selection of the chair in favor of a process (visit www.IrreverentView.com for details). For unknown reasons, Miller pulled the plug on the idea late this afternoon. Perhaps supporters on the BOCC of Miller’s plan got cold feet upon learning the board would have had to suspend Continue reading “Miller pulls plug on rotation plan”

Irreverent Radio — live today 11-1:00 on 1470 AM and streaming at www.NewsTalkFlorida.com

Chris Ingram’s “Irreverent View” radio show with special guest Mark Sharpe.

Mark Sharpe to make major announcement regarding his congressional campaign LIVE on the air.

Listen to “Chris Ingram’s Irreverent View” radio show live today, February 10th from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Special guests Commissioner Mark Sharpe, Republican candidate for U.S. Congress during the 11:00 hour followed by Josh Burgin, conservative activist and gubernatorial appointee to the Board of HART during the 12:00 hour.

The show will be broadcast live on 1470 AM in the Tampa/St. Pete market and can be heard worldwide streaming on your PC by going to http://www.newstalkflorida.com Just scroll down to the “Listen Now” section on the right and then click on “1470 Listen Live.” An audio stream of the show will pop up in a new window. As long as you leave the new window up, you can continue to use your computer and listen at the same time.

Listener calls will be taken throughout the show. Dial 866-977-4820 to ask a question and join the show!


A better approach to chairmanship mess

A well-trained monkey could probably do the job, but that didn’t keep some commissioners and their puppeteers from jockeying for the position. It apparently got nasty and personal, with commissioners cutting deals behind closed doors — a clear violation of Florida’s sunshine laws.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published November 26, 2011

If all seven members of the Hillsborough County Commission were drowning and you could only save one, would you go to lunch or read the paper?

Last week the world’s greatest deliberative body within six blocks of the Hillsborough River demonstrated why good intentions don’t mean better government.

Before it got all well-meaning, the commission went about its business of organizing its “leaders” for the coming year. Mostly this means electing who amongst them will serve as chairman. The chairman signs legal documents, represents the county at official events and manages commission meetings. For his efforts, the commission chair earns an extra 10 grand in pay.

A well-trained monkey could probably do the job, but that didn’t keep some commissioners and their puppeteers from jockeying for the position. It apparently got nasty and Continue reading “A better approach to chairmanship mess”

Sharpe declares he won’t be beholden to Washington insiders

We need more people beholden to truth, good public policy and the citizens whom we represent, not those who wield power or a checkbook. So I make this pledge – which is not to sign one. I pledge to dedicate myself to the singular cause of restoring America to its once lofty and principled perch as a shining beacon of liberty and freedom for others to emulate.

Editor’s note: Mark Sharpe is a candidate for Congress in Florida’s 11th congressional district, currently represented by Kathy Castor who is running for a fourth term

Statement from Mark Sharpe

Let me be clear.  I am not running for Congress to join the insiders and eat bean soup at the Capital Club.  I am running to divert America from its present treacherous course.

Mark Sharpe

This week’s news that the congressional “super committee” has failed should surprise no one. It was designed to fail. Washington is little more than an insider’s club where good public policy takes a back seat to crony capitalism and partisan gain.

That is why I am determined to Continue reading “Sharpe declares he won’t be beholden to Washington insiders”

The dumbest thing Kathy Castor bragged about this week

To create jobs in the Tampa Bay area, we must play to our strengths. That means supporting small-business owners, and bolstering the Port of Tampa, MacDill Air Force Base, schools, colleges and universities, and tourism (Hey, what about widows and orphans? Seriously though, note how Mrs. Castor generically references small-business owners, and then runs down a long list of government. This suggests she has no idea how to create jobs or bolster the economy).

Rep. Kathy Castor

(Here’s the latest propaganda from Congresswoman Kathy Castor. My comments in blue italics within parenthesis.)

Comments by Chris Ingram big-government solutions by Kathy Castor

Dear Friend,

To create jobs in the Tampa Bay area, we must play to our strengths. That means supporting small-business owners, and bolstering the Port of Tampa, MacDill Air Force Base, schools, colleges and universities, and tourism (Hey, what about widows and orphans? Seriously though, note how Mrs. Castor generically references small-business owners, and then runs down a long list of government. This suggests she has no idea how to create jobs or bolster the economy). Last month, the Murray Company and Tampa Family Health Centers broke ground on a new health clinic in Sulphur Springs, we were encouraged to see the Port of Tampa receive a grant (Both examples use Continue reading “The dumbest thing Kathy Castor bragged about this week”

In 11th congressional, will GOP voters see forest for the trees?

Mark Sharpe is a candidate for Congress again. If he can survive whatever challenge any other Republican seeking venomous persecution in the general election may give him in the primary, Sharpe will face Kathy Castor in a bare-knuckled brawl next November.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published September 2, 2011

Mark Sharpe is a candidate for Congress again. If he can survive whatever challenge any other Republican seeking venomous persecution in the general election may give him in the primary, Sharpe will face Kathy Castor in a bare-knuckled brawl next November.

No doubt, Sharpe, a Hillsborough County commissioner, presents the best hope for Republicans to take this heavily Democrat-leaning district. But before Mr. Mainstream Conservative can get in the ring with Castor, he has to win a primary. Continue reading “In 11th congressional, will GOP voters see forest for the trees?”