Pasco board member wants more information before voting on employee discipline
On just about every meeting agenda, the Pasco School Board votes on employee suspensions or dismissals.
More often than not, the board has no details on why they're disciplining these workers.
"We're asked to approve that," board member Steve Luikart told the Gradebook. "But we don't even know what they did. I have a problem with that."
The generally accepted explanation is that the board might have to sit in judgment of the employee if he or she appeals the superintendent's recommended penalty. If that were to happen, the board would have to consider only the information presented during a hearing, and not any other factors or information.
The thing is, the formal letters of reprimand that the superintendent sends to disciplined staffers are public record 10 days after the employees receive them. So while the board votes blindly on the proposed action, the general public often has, at the very least, the district's side of the story available.
This week, for instance, the board is asked to dole out unpaid suspensions in these cases:
Nancy Martin, Woodland Elementary teacher, three days without pay for "inappropriate interaction with staff members." Martin is reported as having had an animated argument with colleagues in front of her students, at one point telling one of the co-workers to "screw you." She also is reported to have lost her temper with an assistant principal in 2009, calling that supervisor an "a--hole" and a "bitch." Her discipline is to include an anger management assessment.
Anik Pepin-Rossow, Oakstead Elementary teacher, three days without pay for allowing a student to present a speech that was derogatory to a former teacher and that teacher's son, who still attends the school. The son is said to have had an emotional breakdown after being taunted, after the student read the speech to the entire school.
Janet Deshotels, Gulf Middle teacher, five days without pay for inappropriate handling of FCAT testing materials, causing the invalidation of 28 students' exams. Deshotels is reported to have handed the wrong testing booklets to the wrong students, and then having students switch the booklets after the testing already had begun.
Luikart said he might pull these types of items from the board's consent agenda to get more details. If none is forthcoming, he said, he might vote against them -- not because he opposes the superintendent's proposals or her right to impose discipline, but because he simply doesn't know if they're just.