Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cathi Martin may not quit Pasco School Board after all

LAND O'LAKES — It's been two weeks since Cathi Martin announced she'd be quitting the Pasco School Board.

Now it turns out she might not go after all.

Martin has yet to submit a resignation letter to the governor, and she's been conferring with county Democrats who suggest that the letter won't be in the mail any time soon.

"I believe she is rethinking," said Alison Morano, chairwoman of the Pasco County Democratic Party. "This is being blown up as a way to force her to leave, and it is not something that she has chosen."

Without naming names, Morano suggested that the county's Republican bigwigs have pushed to get Martin ousted — either through resignation or by the governor's removal — in order to obtain a political appointment to the School Board for someone "who may or may not be set up for a future political position."

That would be Richard Corcoran, an ally of state Sen. Mike Fasano who has made noise about running next year for State House District 45, after Rep. Tom Anderson retires.

Corcoran, who hasn't had a high political profile in the county, recently put his name in for Martin's seat if she leaves the post. He also snagged a contract attorney job at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, and he's a co-host of Jeb Bush's May shindig for the arts in St. Petersburg.

He's got School Board member (and House hopeful) Kathryn Starkey nervously checking him out as a potential opponent not only for Anderson's seat, but also for debate time at the School Board table.

Rep. John Legg, one of three Pasco GOP lawmakers to call for Martin's removal, said it's not about political jockeying.

"Richard Corcoran has never been in the equation, in my mind, as far as why she should be removed," Legg said.

It's Martin's poor attendance record that's driving the train, he said.

Martin had missed more than half the board meetings in the months immediately following her 2006 re-election, and then a spate of meetings in late 2007. The drumbeat for her ouster began this month, after a teacher disciplinary hearing had to be delayed because Martin was not there.

Morano argued that Martin's health, and not local politics, should be at the heart of how Martin gets treated. She noted that other county officials with health problems — particularly former clerk of courts Jed Pittman, a Republican — have been "cut some slack" when they had poor attendance.

Martin deserves the same consideration, she said.

Martin has previously said her health problems included complications from knee surgery, high blood pressure and a seizure. She has missed other meetings because of her son's illness, the death of her dog and a car accident.

Part-time job in theory

There are some, including Fasano and other Republicans, who contend that the School Board deserves full representation and not an empty chair, particularly as the district enters tense discussions over possible budget cuts. And even though the job is technically defined as part-time, a School Board member has almost daily responsibilities, earning a salary that comes out to $103.32 a day.

Board member Joanne Hurley, for instance, said she has used her time between board meetings to attend committee sessions, read up on legislation, respond to parent e-mails and visit two or three schools a day.

It's not likely that Martin could keep up such a pace.

As she noted in her e-mail announcing her intent to resign, "due to on going health issues, I feel that I will be unable to finish my term."

In that March 12 e-mail to fellow School Board members and superintendent Heather Fiorentino, Martin said she would resign "effective at the convenience of the superintendent and governor." She signed off, "Catherine E. Martin, Formerly District 3."

Whether she will follow through now is unclear. Martin did not return calls seeking comment.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

Cathi Martin may not quit Pasco School Board after all 03/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 10:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent


    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend


    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)