Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Education

Hernando School Board member says he was 'embarrassed' by discord

BROOKSVILLE — Two weeks after a heated Hernando School Board workshop, board member Gus Guadagnino used a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 5, to address his fellow elected leaders about the recent public discord among them, spurred by a districtwide evaluation of superintendent Lori Romano.

"I was kind of embarrassed at our last meeting at what took place . . . the interrupting, the accusations, the breakdown of teamwork," Guadagnino said. "All of us are looked up to in our own worlds, but (not) when we come together as a team."

Guadagnino said that after meetings on Aug. 22, during which the board got a second look at the results of the evaluation survey, people came to him to "question why certain people hate certain people," proving to him that the public's perception of the board could be improved.

Guadagnino wouldn't elaborate on specific issues among board members, saying he is "not one to put dirty laundry out." But he did say the problems became apparent during last month's meetings, at one of which University of South Florida professor George MacDonald, who facilitated the survey, made a presentation.

During the meeting, Romano interrupted the professor multiple times, arguing against his survey method and the results themselves. While Guadagnino and board member Mark Johnson both agreed with her wariness of the survey — saying four "indicators of performance" in Romano's four-year contract should serve as the main standards of evaluation — board members Beth Narverud and Susan Duval said they would be open to the results.

After the meeting, Romano told the Tampa Bay Times that Narverud and Duval "advocated for this survey with negative intent and not for the benefit of moving the district forward," a claim the women denied.

"Us, as a board, we need to be a united front," Guadagnino said Tuesday. "Right now we look like we are fragmented."

Johnson spoke up and called the board "a bunch of siblings" before later telling the Times that the last meeting was "just a flare-up" and discord is not the norm.

"It's just like families. . . . All families don't get along all the time, every day," he said, jokingly blaming the drama on "beginning-of-the-school-year jitters" or a phase of the moon. "I think it was healthy and maybe cleared the air on some issues."

Duval, who called into the Aug. 22 meeting via telephone and found herself in a heated exchange with Romano, agreed and said that differences of opinion on the board are healthy.

"If we were all in lockstep all the time, I would be worried," she told the Times. "I can't see five people agreeing on the same things all the time. If we did, what's the point in a school board?"

Duval said she finds value in the differences among board members because they create "dynamic conversations."

Narverud agreed and said decisions by the board should always be a "collective give-and-take."

Like Duval, she said differences are a good thing.

"It would be nice to all be sitting around together holding hands singing Kumbaya, but that's just not realistic," she said.

Comments
Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

After he graduated from a Maryland high school, Rickey Murray had a number of opportunities awaiting him at a number of four-year institutions.He eyed the University of South Florida, applied to Florida International University and considered Virgini...
Updated: 9 hours ago
School buses, technology updates and teacher recruitment on Hernando schools legislative agenda

School buses, technology updates and teacher recruitment on Hernando schools legislative agenda

BROOKSVILLE — Busing concerns, security technology updates and teacher recruitment efforts could headline the Hernando County School District’s concerns in Tallahassee next year. As the district’s legislative picture for 2019 sha...
Published: 09/18/18
Pasco-Hernando State College leader Robert Judson dies at age 77

Pasco-Hernando State College leader Robert Judson dies at age 77

Robert Judson, who spent a decade as a community college president, died Monday afternoon. He was 77.In 1994 Judson took the helm at Pasco-Hernando State College, then called Pasco-Hernando Community College. He became the college’s second president ...
Published: 09/17/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Sept. 21

Re: Pasco deal for teachers another 'slap on the face' | Sept. 7 letterKenny Blankenship’s recent letter to the editor confirms why he is a social studies teacher and not a math teacher. Like the Tampa Bay Times, Pasco County Schools has a fac...
Published: 09/17/18

Pasco Schools employees union seeks tax referendum to support pay raises

The president of Pasco County's school employees union is calling for a referendum in which voters can decide whether to increase local property taxes so teachers and staff can get raises."USEP feels that the burden for coming up with additional...
Published: 09/17/18
Betty Castor would head up spending oversight if voters approve school sales-tax hike

Betty Castor would head up spending oversight if voters approve school sales-tax hike

TAMPA — Betty Castor, long-time educator and former president of the University of South Florida, will head up a committee charged with ensuring responsible spending of a sales-tax hike for Hillsborough public schools improvements if voters approve t...
Published: 09/17/18
Palm Beach County mayor charges sexism, says school body-shamed her daughter over ripped jeans

Palm Beach County mayor charges sexism, says school body-shamed her daughter over ripped jeans

A West Palm Beach teen’s slightly exposed knee was too much for her male classmate’s hormones to handle, according to Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay.In a Facebook post Thursday, McKinlay went on a self-styled "mom rant." She said her teenag...
Published: 09/14/18
Pinellas Technical School welcomes students

Pinellas Technical School welcomes students

SEMINOLE — The county’s first full-time technical high school recently opened its doors to students.Pinellas Technical High School, 12611 86th Ave. N., welcomed nearly 200 incoming freshmen, as well as 150 returning upperclassmen. These older student...
Published: 09/13/18
After graduates were forced offstage, UF changed commencement. Nearly 10,000 signed a petition to protest.

After graduates were forced offstage, UF changed commencement. Nearly 10,000 signed a petition to protest.

GAINESVILLE —The controversy started in May. During commencement at the University of Florida, family members and friends booed as an usher used physical force to rush more than 20 dancing graduates across the stage. It didn’t take long for the video...
Published: 09/13/18
With a college fair geared to black students, Shorecrest Prep reaches for more diversity

With a college fair geared to black students, Shorecrest Prep reaches for more diversity

ST. PETERSBURG — Janiece Simmons wasn’t expecting much when she arrived at Shorecrest Preparatory School last year for its inaugural fair for historically black colleges and universities.She wandered through the 20-some tables, taking a pamphlet here...
Published: 09/13/18