Stewart to Lastinger: Show me the invoices and I'll show you the money
Pinellas County's interim superintendent John Stewart told board members Tuesday that the district has not received any itemized invoices from the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning. He wants invoices, "that will let us see exactly where our money was spent."
"I’m a real bulldog when it comes to latching onto something like that," Stewart, left, continued during the board's workshop in Largo. "Until they give me that documentation, we are going to ask and we are going to ask and we are going to ask. And more importantly, we’re not paying the invoice. Period. When they give us the information, we will pay the invoice. Happily. We believe that Mr. (Don) Pemberton will make that right. Because he promised that he would. He is a man of honor. But I want to see it."
Pemberton is Lastinger's director.
Since 2007, Pinellas has spent $3.7 million on Lastinger, a mainstay of former superintendent Julie Janssen's efforts to revitalize teacher training. It was designed to help a few teachers in high-poverty schools earn master's degrees and to help a larger group of teachers learn a systemized approach to solving problems.
So far, most of the money Pinellas spent on the effort came from state and federal grants. Since taking the reins of the district in the wake of Janssen's departure (she was terminated effective Sept. 2), Stewart has moved forward revamping the partnership.