Sunday, May 20, 2018
Education

Former Hernando school administrator sues superintendent over job transfer

BROOKSVILLE — Former longtime Hernando County School District administrator Ken Pritz has filed a lawsuit against superintendent Lori Romano, alleging he was wronged when he was assigned to new duties and then released from the district this summer.

Pritz was employed with the district for 34 years and was appointed assistant superintendent of teaching and learning in July 2012. He was a finalist for the superintendent's position before Romano was hired in 2013.

The complaint, filed in Hernando Circuit Court, seeks monetary damages in excess of $15,000.

Citing pending litigation, Romano declined to comment to the Times. Pritz directed questions to his attorney.

The lawsuit alleges that Romano transferred Pritz to the position of warehouse manager in December without notice or warning, a point Romano contests. The suit claims the superintendent then went on to draft a memorandum in Pritz's name, telling principals and district officials that he was excited about the new opportunity, creating a false, deceptive and misleading impression.

Pritz was not aware that the memo was sent out.

After he was moved, Pritz wrote a letter to the School Board and superintendent under the state Whistle-blower's Act, claiming violations of a number of Florida statutes, board policies and ethical codes.

The suit claims Pritz suffered unlawful retaliation after submitting the written complaint.

The evidence?

On May 30, Pritz was notified he would be assigned to the warehouse position for the 2014-15 school year, performing the same duties and responsibilities he had during the past school year, but for less pay.

When Romano moved Pritz to the warehouse in December, she did not strip him of his title or pay — $101,725 a year. His title would have changed to warehouse manager for 2014-15, with his pay reflecting that change. The new position would have paid about $61,453.

The superintendent recommended Pritz for nonreappointment when he objected to the change and did not accept the position. Pritz, like other employees serving on annual contracts, can be terminated without cause.

His attorney, Bruce Snow, says the termination was retaliatory.

Snow argues that Pritz is entitled to reinstatement to the same position as he held before, reinstatement of benefits, compensation for lost wages and other compensatory damages.

On June 10, an investigation by Tampa labor and employment lawyer Tammie L. Rattray found that the memo sent out in December in Pritz's name did not violate School Board policy.

While Rattray acknowledged it was not a best practice, she said there was no evidence that the memo was created or distributed for improper or personal gain.

Contact Danny Valentine at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes.

Comments
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

A Florida teacher was placed on administrative leave after school officials were told that he had students help him drown wild raccoons during class.A 14-second video published by CBS affiliate WKMG showed a group of students filling a tub of water u...
Published: 05/17/18
The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The federal government now spends less than it did about 30 years ago on some of the country’s poorest children, the result of cuts to federal welfare programs, according to a new research paper.In 1990, the government spent about $8,700 on every chi...
Published: 05/17/18
Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

ST. PETERSBURG — Sarah Agee and her friends never pictured themselves wearing Crocs to their graduation. But the foam shoes were comfortable, offered better footing than heels, and now the Seminole High seniors had a story to tell.It all started a li...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Romano: Instead of securing schools, lawmakers saved themselves

Romano: Instead of securing schools, lawmakers saved themselves

I said it two months ago, and it’s only become more obvious since then:The bipartisan school safety proposal passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor had more to do with protecting the rear ends of politicians than the lives of students.I...
Published: 05/16/18
High school graduations begin today across Tampa Bay

High school graduations begin today across Tampa Bay

Put on your gowns. Get in line. Cue Pomp and Circumstance .Tampa Bay’s high school graduation season begins in earnest today, with ceremonies for four schools planned at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Lakewood High will go first at 8:30 a.m., fol...
Published: 05/16/18