Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Education

Hernando County School Board willing to offer incoming chief more money

BROOKSVILLE — They're willing to give more.

That's the message a divided Hernando County School Board sent its negotiating team Tuesday during a sometimes tense meeting called to hash out the unresolved details of incoming superintendent Lori Romano's contract.

The biggest point of contention: Romano's salary.

During a face-to-face meeting last month, the district offered Romano, 41, a package that included a $115,000 annual salary, an amount that fell in middle of the advertised salary range for the position.

It was also up from district's initial offer of $101,000.

Romano, the current director of adult, community, secondary and virtual education programs in Martin County, asked for $125,000, dropping down from her initial request of a $130,000.

Board chairman Matt Foreman, who led the district's negotiations, said the total compensation package amounted to about $150,000. He said he was unwilling to go any higher without getting further direction from the board.

"That's my comfort level," Foreman said at Tuesday's meeting.

Board member Cynthia Moore also indicated she didn't want to go higher, saying it would hurt students. She said the additional $10,000 Romano is requesting would make a difference at schools that continue to face cuts.

"I am not real comfortable," she said. "I think the salary is too much. She does not even meet the qualifications for a principal in Hernando County."

Board member Dianne Bonfield quickly disagreed.

"She meets the qualifications of superintendent," she said.

Bonfield said she supported going a bit higher on the salary offer.

"I would be comfortable with a little bit less or a little bit more," she said.

In retrospect, Bonfield said the salary range for the position was very low.

School Board members Gus Guadagnino and John Sweeney also said they were comfortable increasing the salary.

The divided board is not a big surprise.

In March, the board voted 3-2 to enter contract negotiations with Romano.

Foreman and Moore voted against Romano, supporting assistant superintendent Ken Pritz.

During Tuesday's meeting, the board also addressed two other sticking points in the current contract negotiations.

Romano and her lawyer are pushing for contract language that would require a supermajority of board members — four of five — to vote to terminate the contract with cause. Previous contracts have only required a majority.

"That bothers me tremendously," said Moore.

Bonfield disagreed, saying she didn't think it was an outrageous request.

"If I was coming to Hernando County, I think I would ask for a supermajority in my termination," she said.

The final sticking point: The board's initial contract offer included a stipulation that, if Romano was terminated for cause, she would need to pay up to $25,000 for the district conduct a superintendent search.

Romano's contract deletes that item.

A majority of board members indicated they would be okay with those changes.

Sweeney said Romano's requests were within normal parameters.

"Nothing is an outlier," he said.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Comments
Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

BROOKSVILLE — The new year could bring about new beginnings for at-risk girls in Hernando County.Pending a vote by the School Board next month, PACE Center for Girls, an alternative education program for middle- and high-school students, could open a...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

LAND O’LAKES — At Bexley Elementary School in Land O’Lakes, students are throwing paper airplanes — with the help of a high tech computerized launcher. They’re also bowling — with a little aid from computerized drones. And when they get around to it,...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Proposal to rollback early learning programs could bring Citrus into Pasco-Hernando coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.The state Office of Early Learning has now issued ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Caitlin Gille grew up in a union household in Wisconsin, where her mom was a long-time teacher in the small city of Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee.She was accustomed to seeing educators advocating for their working conditions and pay, having a sea...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Published: 12/12/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17

Pasco class notes for Dec. 15

School Calendar• Dec. 22: End of second grading quarter.• Dec. 23-Jan. 7: Winter Break.• Jan. 8: Teacher planning day. No school for students.Arts/Music/TheaterCenter for the Arts at River Ridge Middle High, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17