TAMPA, Fla. — Hundreds of students and parents in Hillsborough County Schools have no idea who will soon be running their schools and right now, neither does the district.

After earning too many "D" and "F" grades from the state, eight schools in Hillsborough County will have what’s called an “external operator” take over the schools. Four of the schools will be run by Phalen Leadership Academies out of Indianapolis; the status of the remaining four is unknown.

That’s concerning for parents like Earlishia Oates. Oates works with a program to provide services for students and families in under-performing schools, and her son attends a school that was run by Phalen last year. Under Phalen, the school improved to a "C" and no longer is in turnaround status, but she says there was very little communication with parents about the company or what changes were being made.

The schools currently under Phalen include: Folsom Elementary, McDonald Elementary, Oak Park Elementary, Foster Elementary.

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James Elementary, Kimbell Elementary, Robles Elementary and Sulphur Springs K-8 are the schools that still do not have an external operator selected.

School board leaders say the district will decide on the second external operator during the Aug. 20 school board meeting.

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