Friday, January 19, 2018
Education

Browning, union discuss Pasco teachers' workload grievance

LAND O'LAKES — Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco sat with superintendent Kurt Browning last week to discuss elementary teachers' complaints of being overburdened with testing, meetings, paperwork and other assignments beyond what their contracts require.

They walked away feeling more comfortable that a solution might be reached without having to appeal former superintendent Heather Fiorentino's rejection of their grievance to the School Board. USEP and the administration have agreed to hold the union's formal appeal of Fiorentino's November ruling in abeyance while they seek common ground.

"He was very open to listen," USEP negotiator Jim Ciadella said. "I think he's going to challenge some of the processes that have been in place. … We hope there is some flexibility on his side."

Ciadella looked to new Duval County schools superintendent, Nikolai Vitti, as a possible example of how to proceed. Vitti, who recently took over the Duval district, eliminated several district-mandated tests as one of his first acts. He also has called for less time in meetings and more time focusing on student achievement.

"We're hoping that Mr. Browning will look at the bigger picture and do something similar to what Mr. Vitti did," Ciadella said. "That superintendent felt empowered to do what he thought is right, and to my knowledge nobody has challenged him."

Browning told the Tampa Bay Times before his meeting with the USEP that he wants to ease the burden on teachers if possible. He said he would sit with his leadership team to assess requirements coming from the state and federal government, and compare those to what the district imposes itself.

"Teachers need to be able to teach," he said.

Still, Browning cautioned, depending on what he learns, "We might end up in the same place that the former superintendent ended."

Ciadella said the USEP was hoping to get an answer from Browning in the coming week about what the next steps might be.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected], (813) 909-4614 or @jeffsolochek on Twitter.

Comments
Hillsborough, Pasco schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

Hillsborough, Pasco schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

The Florida Department of Health is reporting a sharp increase in flu activity in the last several weeks, prompting area schools to send out letter warning parents about the virus. At least two districts, however, say that flu activity in their schoo...
Updated: 17 minutes ago

More than 400 apply to Pasco technical high school

School choice for 2018-19 is in full swing, and district officials said they’ve been pleased with the interest they’ve seen so far.The window for applying to the district’s magnet schools closed Jan. 12, except for applications for the new Wendell Kr...
Published: 01/18/18
Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

"On Nov. 3, 2017, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 1012 Buena Vista Drive … in reference to a death investigation."So begins a charging document in the case of Andrew Coffey, the 20-year-old Florida State University student who was foun...
Published: 01/18/18
In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In the state capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers breezed through the bullet points of a higher education bill. They skimmed past a hot-button proposal to consolidate the University of South Florida System into a single university without a peep of pushba...
Published: 01/18/18
Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

TAMPA — They were hoping to receive between $15 million and $17 million in scheduled pay raises. But the Hillsborough County school district says it can’t afford to give its teachers anywhere near that much, while the teachers say they deserve nothin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

NEW PORT RICHEY — At age 28, things were really shaping up for Joel Santos-Gonzalez. Fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, he had just completed his third year at Gulf Middle School."I always liked to talk to people on an intellectual ...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
In Pinellas and beyond, deadlines for school choice are closing in

In Pinellas and beyond, deadlines for school choice are closing in

It’s decision time in Pinellas County and other local school districts as several school choice deadlines are upon us.For Pinellas families who want to apply for a magnet, fundamental or high school career program for the 2018-19 school year, the dea...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
For FSU fraternity, a wild night turned tragic

For FSU fraternity, a wild night turned tragic

The night of initiation was the most that the brothers of Florida State University’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter said they had ever seen their pledge class drink.That was the plan, court records said: Pledges would arrive at the fraternity house Nov. 2 and ...
Published: 01/18/18
9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

TALLAHASSEE — The death of a fraternity pledge from alcohol poisoning has led to hazing charges against nine Florida State University students.State attorney Jack Campbell filed charges on Wednesday in Leon County Court.All nine will be charged with ...
Published: 01/17/18
From the archive: USF St. Petersburg’s long journey to autonomy

From the archive: USF St. Petersburg’s long journey to autonomy

As the Florida Legislature considers undoing the current governance of the University of South Florida by folding the three branches of its system into one entity, here is a look at some Times coverage of the long-running struggle for independence at...
Published: 01/17/18