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Despite statewide court ruling, Hillsborough students to return to class next week

Coronavirus

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Many Hillsborough County school students will still be returning to class on Aug. 31.

School board members were advised Tuesday morning they could not take action to change the plan already put into place.

On Monday, a Tallahassee based judge ruled in favor of a Florida Education Association lawsuit against the state of Florida.

Hillsborough School Board attorney Jim Porter advised the board the lawsuit was under appeal and they could not take action at this time.

“The judge recognized that the decision about opening of schools and running of schools belongs solely and squarely within the realm of local school boards not in Tallahassee,” said Porter.

School superintendent Addison Davis advised the board the county could lose millions of dollars in state funding if they do not bring students back to the classroom next week.

“Right now my recommendation would be to plan as previously approved previously so that we can continue to stay within the funding model outlined by the department of education,” said Davis.

The decision frustrated board member Tamara Shamburger who believes it’s still to dangerous to bring students back to classrooms because of the coronavirus.

“The state has really put us into a difficult situation. We have been back and forth with decisions, we’re going to open, we are going to close, we’re going to open, we’re going to close and on August 6th we got it right and the judge agreed with us,” said Shamburger.

Board member Steve Cona says he believes parents need options.

“At this time, for the sake of our community, it’s our time to provide the services that we told our parents we would provide them and that was choice. So, on 8-31 at this time we have the opportunity to open up our schools brick and mortar and I think at this time that’s the best choice for our parents,” said Cona.

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