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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pasco County school district sends Romney campaign bill for $34,000 to cover rally damage



Pasco County school district officials didn't know what might happen when they agreed to allow Mitt Romney to rally at the Land O'Lakes High School football field a week ago.

The district had never hosted such a large event before.

Now 15,000 attendees and more than $25,000 in damages later, they plan to closely review their policies and procedures for future big draw activities. The district treated the rally as a simple facilities rental request.

"I'm sure it's something the administration and School Board will discuss in the future," said board member Cynthia Armstrong, who's expected to become chairwoman on Nov. 20. "We didn't have any past history to go on. I'm sure the superintendent made the best decision she could make at the time."

As the Oct. 27 rally neared, critics questioned whether schools were improperly promoting the event and whether student groups were being encouraged to participate. Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor in 2010, blasted the district for using a double standard by allowing the GOP rally but denying her request to rent a classroom to film a campaign ad two years earlier.

The United School Employees of Pasco has requested several records to determine whether any laws or policies were violated, and has consulted a lawyer.

After the event, the talk turned to the damages left behind — a twisted goal post, torn up sod and rows upon rows of bent metal bleachers chief among them. The district submitted a bill for $33,783 to the campaign on Wednesday, with another $180 added Thursday.

Story here.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 1, 2012 4:13pm]


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