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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pritz not a topic in Hernando in first meeting since his transfer



The Hernando County School Board’s workshop and meeting Tuesday included a number of interesting topics of discussion: an update to the district’s strategic plan, a presentation on the state of the district, the approval of a mandatory 5 percent fund balance policy and a discussion of the controlled-choice plan.

Just as interesting was what went unmentioned.

One name, in particular, stood out: Ken Pritz.

Pritz is technically still the district’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, though in title only.

None of the board members brought up his name during the workshop or meeting, the first time they had met since superintendent Lori Romano transferred the longtime employee to the warehouse to perform the job of the warehouse manager. Romano says it was not a demotion because he kept his title and pay.

Pritz has retained a lawyer and is considering filing a lawsuit, arguing the move is a violation of his contract because the superintendent didn’t follow proper procedures and that he is now performing responsibilities outside his job description.

The only mention of Pritz came during the citizen input portion of the board meeting, when local businesswoman Anna Liisa Covell addressed the move, among other topics.

“Mr. Ken Pritz would have been a better choice as your superintendent of schools,” Covell said. “The problem in your school system is because you do not promote form within. … In my personal opinion, and as a business owner, for some of the things that have happened in the school system and in Hernando County in the last month, Mrs. Romano should have been terminated immediately.”

At the workshop, the board also discussed the district’s fingerprinting and background screening policy. Board members directed their attorney to tweak the policy and come back to them. They did not reach any consensus.

Not mentioned during the discussion was Pastor Clarence Clark, who was the impetus for the background-check policy review.

Clark, a respected volunteer, coach and mentor in the district, was told he could not longer volunteer last year because of a failed background check. In November 1996, Clark pleaded guilty to grand theft and uttering a forged instrument after he admitted stealing three checks from his employer at the time, court records show.

In July, Clark came before the board to plead his case. The board agreed to schedule the workshop to review the policy concerning background checks for volunteers.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:55am]


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