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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Questions surround the ethics complaint against Susan Valdes

Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes said, through her lawyer, that political rivals made a baseless allegation that she obtained free child care at a school site for her grandchild. The state is investigating, which is routine after such a complaint.

Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes said, through her lawyer, that political rivals made a baseless allegation that she obtained free child care at a school site for her grandchild. The state is investigating, which is routine after such a complaint.

4

January

Did Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes cross ethical lines in making sure her grandchildren had access to good child care?

Or was she targeted unfairly by political rivals who are making a big deal over nothing?

Without details about how things work at Leto Little School, it's hard to know.

So, now that school is back in session and everyone is back from vacation, the Times has posed a list of questions to the district. We asked for details on the following:

1. How much does Leto Little cost and how is it paid for? Is it $100 a week? Does everybody have to pay that rate, or is there some kind of sliding scale based on parents' income? (district spokeswoman Tanya Arja said Tuesday that there is no sliding scale.) Does tuition pay the full cost of the program, or is there some sort of subsidy or state funding, as the instructors are training to become childcare providers?

2. Who exactly is eligible to use Leto Little? Are the children's parents all school district employees? Is that a strict rule? Arja said it is for school district "families," and that description can include a grandparent. Our question: Does the grandparent need to have custody of the child? Live with the child? And how broad is the idea of family? Can the employee be an aunt, uncle or cousin of the child?

3. What happens if a parent has trouble paying, as happens to many working parents? Is there a scholarship program? Arja is researching this question too, but she reminded the Times that district employees often put families in contact with government or nonprofit organizations that can help them with rent, utilities and other expenses when the need arises. What she described was an informal process. There also are offices in the district that coordinate social services for families in need. Our question: Is that the norm? If so, why the email from teacher Sandra Cavadias in which she said she had never heard of such a program, and would love to be able to access it for other parents in need?

We will post the answers when they arrive. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 1:51pm]

    

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