Controversy swirls over selection of social studies books for Pasco elementary schools
A storm is brewing in the Pasco school district over the normally noncontroversial matter of textbook adoption.
After spending several months reviewing options for new elementary social studies materials, a committee that included dozens of Pasco County teachers supported the books by a publishing group called TCI.
Superintendent Heather Fiorentino and her staff overruled the recommendation — a first, according to many insiders — to back the committee's second-place choice by textbook giant McGraw-Hill. That firm was represented by a former district employee who is dating assistant superintendent for elementary schools David Scanga.
District spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said Scanga was not in the room when Fiorentino and her team reached its decision to differ with the committee. He was asked to leave, she said, to avoid any conflict of interest.
School Board members, who have received complaints about the process and the result, said they planned to delve into the situation before deciding whether to approve Fiorentino's textbook recommendation.
"I understand that Dr. Scanga may have been sent out of the room. And I understand that Ruth (Reilly, assistant superintendent for curriculum) has reasons which she told me of why they decided to overrule the committee," School Board chairwoman Joanne Hurley said. "I can also understand why the public feels there may be more to the story."