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Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Investigation into Pasco superintendent begins today

30

July

Pasco School Board officials meet today with former Hillsborough School Board attorney Tom Gonzalez to get the ball rolling on an investigation into whether Pasco superintendent Heather Fiorentino attempted to coerce her staff into supporting her reelection bid. Fiorentino has vociferously denied any such accusations and said the review is politically motivated.

School Board members, several of whom support Fiorentino's chief opponent Kurt Browning, proposed this outside review earlier in July after former district principal Barbara Munz, also a Browning backer, made public allegations that her friends had been pressured by Fiorentino and her staff to actively support the campaign.

They approved the investigation, and its $175 per hour price tag, at their July 24 meeting.

Board attorney Dennis Alfonso told the Gradebook that the investigation aims to depoliticize the allegations by putting it in the hands of an outsider who has no vested interests in the outcome. Alfonso said he recommended the move based on more than just comments by Munz, and added that there are no specific allegations of any criminal activity by the superintendent or anyone else.

He also acknowledged that the very nature of the situation -- not to mention the timing -- is political and it will be seen that way by many. He said he is not asking Gonzalez to move either quickly or slowly, but rather to let the review flow naturally. If the result comes before the Aug. 14 Republican primary, so be it.

The Tampa Bay Times has editorialized that the investigation is a politically motivated waste of time and money. What do you think?

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:33am]

    

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