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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

The cost of Wilcox's promise: $956,294.34

26

October

Clayton Wilcox's $1.5 million promise to the Pinellas Education Foundation -- which peeved School Board members because the former superintendent made it last year without their knowledge or approval -- won't cost the district that much after all.

Instead it will cost $956,294.34, which is the difference between how much the district loaned the foundation to build the Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy at Tarpon Springs High and the $3.4 million the foundation initially agreed to spend.

The issue will come up at Tuesday's board meeting, where members are expected to approve a promissory note from the foundation that spells out a loan repayment schedule through 2016. A thumbs up for the note means they'll be writing off the $956,294.34 as a contribution.

"The contribution directly benefits the Board because the funds were used to make enhancements to the project -- a state-of-the-art culinary teaching facility benefiting our students and school community," superintendent Julie Janssen says in recommending approval (see page 96 of the agenda packet). "Such enhancements would not have been made without the expenditure of such funds."

No funds were improperly transferred to the foundation and "it would be wrong of us to expect them to pay more," School Board Attorney Jim Robinson told members during a workshop last week. Members aren't knocking the project -- or the pending contribution -- but they continued to voice concern about how Wilcox could have left them in the dark.

"I don't know the answer to that," Janssen said. "But I can guarantee you that it won't happen under our watch."

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:39am]

    

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