PR firm will help Hillsborough district spread its message
Hillsborough County public school officials want to do a better job keeping the public informed.
And they're poised to pay a corporate public relations firm $30,000 to help them.
Tucker/Hall, one of Florida's largest PR firms, had the winning bid for a one-year contract that can be renewed if district leaders like what they get.
The firm, which offers a host of service including crisis management and issues management, would help the district pull together a strategic communications plan, subject to a School Board vote Tuesday.
Superintendent Jeff Eakins pointed to communication as a weakness the self-evaluation he turned in earlier this year.
"Although the communications staff has done a terrific job during the first six months, I must do a much better job of proactively communicating information to all stakeholders, including the board," he wrote. He did not list any examples.
Hiring outside firms for public relations is not unheard of in the public schools, although it often happens in small school districts, and in times of crisis.
Since Eakins assumed leadership on July 1, the district has already made changes in its messaging strategy. The internal and external communications departments were consolidated under Jason Pepe, a former principal.
Announcements and promotional articles are posted regularly on the Newsdesk section of the district's website. District leaders also make regular use of Twitter, and encourage school principals to do so as well.