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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
South Tampa News

President of successful Robinson High foundation passes torch

By Elizabeth Behrman
Tribune staff

Published:

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TAMPA — Jane Rothschild has helped the Robinson High School Foundation raise thousands of dollars for improvements since 2011.

The foundation funds the South Tampa school’s College and Career Center, which won a state award for parent involvement last year. It also bought, among other things, the marquis at the school entrances and helps teachers pay for professional development training, class trips and academic competitions.

Now, three years and more than $125,000 later, Rothschild is resigning her post and passing the torch to another Robinson High parent.

“I think that any organization needs new blood,” said Rothschild, the group’s president and founding member. “The only way to get that is to get out.”

Rothschild, who has two children still at Robinson, got involved with the foundation in 2010, when the school’s principal asked her to come up with a way to supplement money the school receives from the Hillsborough County School District.

Because of Robinson’s diverse mix of International Baccalaureate students, traditional students and students from MacDill Air Force Base, it isn’t considered an impoverished or Title I school, said Principal Johnny Bush. But like every public school, he said, there’s always something the school needs that requires extra money.

So in 2010, Rothschild spoke with some friends who are involved with the well-established Plant High School foundation, and developed a model that suited Robinson, she said.

During the past three years, the foundation has relied on donations and money raised at the yearly fundraiser, Rothschild said. But now the foundation is starting to get more support from local businesses and grants.

The money is spread among the College and Career Center, sports teams, the marching band, school beautification projects, teacher grants and other places within Robinson’s budget.

The foundation’s next goal is to replace the audiovisual equipment in the school’s auditorium — so Robinson can host more conferences and academic competitions — and update the technology in the classrooms, Bush said.

“It’s not possible to do that without the foundation,” he said. “The district doesn’t have that money to give us.”

Students learn better in an environment that is safe, well-maintained and meets their needs, he said. The foundation helps Robinson provide that.

Starting the foundation was hard work, Rothschild said. It required a lot of time from many parent volunteers.

But Rothschild likes to keep busy, she said. Her husband, former Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Larry Rothschild, always is on the road during baseball season — he now is the New York Yankees’ pitching coach — and she likes to have something to do. The foundation definitely took up a lot of her time in the past three years, she said.

“It’s just been the most amazing journey,” Rothschild said.

And she still will be around to help, she said. As the outgoing president, she has a seat on the foundation’s board of directors. Her children are a freshman and a senior at the school.

Robinson High School has come a long way in the last decade, Rothschild said. The school hasn’t always had a good reputation.

But now it has a well-established IB program and maintained an A grade this year, she said.

Rothschild loves the sense of pride the students, faculty and parents have in Robinson now.

“Everything we’ve set out to do we’ve done so far,” she said.

Ebehrman@Tampatrib.com

(813)259-7691

Twitter: @LizBehrmanTBO

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