Tampa school should be booted from voucher programs, judge recommends

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A Tampa private school, whose administrator allegedly mishandled scholarship money at another school, should be booted from the state voucher program, a judge recommended on Tuesday.

Siding with the Florida Department of Education, Administrative Law Judge William F. Quattlebaum disqualified the Hodge Pavilion Stem Academy from the state’s de facto voucher programs known as the McKay scholarship for Students with Disabilities and Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Programs.

Hodge Pavilion administrator Arthur Jenkins, while serving at another school, supposedly deposited scholarship checks into non-school bank accounts, according to allegations by the Department of Education.

Hodge Pavilion filed an appeal with the state Division of Administrative Hearings.

In an 11-page recommendation order issued Tuesday, Quattlebaum agreed Hodge Pavilion should be banned from the programs.

“The banking activities referenced herein were contrary to the welfare of the public and are sufficient to warrant denial of the application filed by Mr. Jenkins on behalf of the Petitioner (Hodge Pavilion) to participate in the McKay and FTC scholarship programs,” the decision says.

Quattlebaum’s recommendation returns to the Department of Education for final determination.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.