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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough School Board lawyer is working extra hours

This will surprise no one who has followed Hillsborough County School Board politics this past year: Jim Porter is asking for a raise.

Porter was hired last year to advise and represent the board, a job that previously fell to longtime school district attorney Tom Gonzalez. Many districts the size of Hillsborough have two or more attorneys on staff; in Hillsborough, both jobs are contract positions. Gonzalez, a partner at Thompson, Sizemore, Gonzalez & Hearing, still oversees litigation and advises Superintendent MaryEllen Elia and the district's administrators. Porter's duties include attending all board meetings and workshops to advise members on what they can do under the law.

Porter, who works for the firm of Adams and Reese, initially negotiated a monthly fee of $8,000 for what was calculated as 30 hours of work.

That turned into more than 50 hours (in January it was 72.6), so the board will vote Tuesday to pay him $13,750 a month.

Where does the time go?

Nearly 80 of the 250 hours from November through March were spent attending or preparing for school board meetings and workshops. Add 18.3 more for agenda items.

But Porter's also sought out by individual board members who have questions and concerns. He spent 41.4 hours meeting with April Griffin, Cindy Stuart and Susan Valdes.

The other four members? Not so much. He spent a combined 12.1 hours consulting with Doretha Edgecomb, Stacy White, Candy Olson and chairwoman Carol Kurdell.

[Last modified: Monday, June 9, 2014 9:48am]


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