Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County School Board essentially shelves superintendent's plan to reorganize administration

BROOKSVILLE — They liked the structure but balked at the potential price tag.

All four School Board members at Tuesday's workshop commended new superintendent Bryan Blavatt for his vision to reorganize the administration at district headquarters. But despite promises from Blavatt to keep costs to a minimum, the board essentially told him to shelve the plan for now.

"Your organizational chart is a chart for a perfect world," board member Dianne Bonfield told Blavatt. "Unfortunately, we don't have a perfect world right now, nor do we have the financial resources to support that."

Blavatt sought permission to bring back a formal proposal based on the general plan he presented Tuesday. The reorganization would add an assistant superintendent, among other changes.

An assistant superintendent for "teaching and learning" would oversee most of the district's instructional components and departments, such as principals, curriculum and assessment, community and adult education, and professional development. Another assistant superintendent would be for student support services, overseeing federal programs such as Title I, exceptional student education, student services, and the nuts-and-bolts departments of facilities, maintenance and transportation.

The district has one assistant superintendent who oversees most departments. Hernando County ranks at the bottom for spending on administration, a point of pride that has now become a liability because service from the district to the school level is suffering, Blavatt told board members.

"Putting all the eggs in one basket under one assistant superintendent is not the most beneficial way to address the concerns of a school district with more than 22,000 students," he said. "Sometimes you've got to do a little more to become efficient. Believe me, it wasn't easy for me to come to the board at this point after we've gone through so many other (budget issues) and say we need to do this."

During the discussion, Blavatt promised not to bring back a proposal with a significant cost. But while board members acknowledged the logic of the plan, they were hesitant or outright opposed to moving forward if it meant spending more money that could be used at the school level.

"My first priority right now more than anything, Mr. Blavatt, is to make sure we have enough teachers in the classroom," chairman Pat Fagan said.

Property value estimates released last week show the school district's taxable value has decreased by more than 12 percent. That could translate to a $7.3 million hit to the budget compared to last year, chief financial officer Desiree Henegar said Tuesday.

Board member James Yant said the board needs to act like a business by keeping Blavatt's plan in mind and then jump into action when financial conditions are right.

"I think we need to be as conservative as possible and position ourselves to take advantage when the business cycle goes up," Yant said.

Board member Sandra Nicholson agreed.

"We can't keep going and have less and less supervision and accountability," Nicholson said.

Board member John Sweeney was traveling out of state and did not attend the workshop.

After the meeting, Blavatt said he would try to come up with a restructuring proposal that wouldn't cost money.

"I've got to get it to the point where it's a wash," he said.

The board did give its blessing Tuesday to another strategy that Blavatt said would help him run the district.

Blavatt will organize several standing advisory groups that will be given the task of keeping up on a certain issue and reporting back to the superintendent. Among his recommendations is a committee to study the issue of student activity fees to help offset the costs of providing sports and other extracurricular programs. Another group would study ways to keep the student code of conduct up to date.

Blavatt also will form a student advisory group composed of student leaders from each school to meet with him regularly.

"I could get direct input from our stakeholders," he said.

The board agreed to dissolve its existing magnet school committee, which will be replaced by an advisory group on the topic that would report to the superintendent.

Tony Marrero can be reached at or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando County School Board essentially shelves superintendent's plan to reorganize administration 06/01/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 8:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.