Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando School Board should have voted on move to six periods, member says

BROOKSVILLE — Without public discussion or a formal vote, Hernando County School District superintendent Lori Romano recently directed all middle and high schools to reduce their instructional schedules to six periods a day for the 2014-15 school year.

That decision didn't sit well with School Board member John Sweeney.

During a workshop Tuesday, Sweeney let the superintendent and district staff know his feelings about making the switch without board approval and pledged to seek an outside opinion regarding the appropriateness of the action.

"When we deal with an issue that's broad and sweeping, I believe it's within our responsibility and authority to actually vote on it as a board," Sweeney said during the meeting. "I think we should have a direct say in it."

Later, he added: "I want to make sure that we're doing what we are charged to do."

School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso said the district does not have a policy dealing with how many class periods should be offered, and historically the board has left the issue up to the superintendent.

"There didn't seem to be a clear directive by policy or otherwise specifying what Dr. Romano should look to for guidance on this topic," Alfonso said.

Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday that such a major change typically would go before the School Board for a full discussion, public input and a vote.

"I understand what the superintendent's responsibilities are, but you've got five elected School Board members that need to answer (to their constituents)," Blanton said. "It has ramifications on a number of different things."

The move to six-period days was made to provide greater instructional time in core subjects, create more equity among schools and to better comply with state statutes, according to the district staff. It also may come with cost savings, though an exact figure was unclear. Currently, schools are offering between six to eight periods.

Romano has said the changes are necessary, given the district's current "C" grade from the state.

On the flip side, six-period days will reduce the number of electives students can take and could provide fewer opportunities to take credit-recovery classes during school hours.

Sweeney worried about the impact on students, noting that he has received calls from students about certain electives that will no longer be offered. He said there will be more conflict for students seeking to participate in such programs as allied health and ROTC.

"Incompatible," he said.

"I don't think reducing the exposure is the way to go," Sweeney said. "That's an intangible that we'll never be able to replace."

Sweeney did not get support from other board members.

Member Matt Foreman said he believed the decision was the superintendent's to make.

Chairman Gus Guadagnino said he doesn't take the changes lightly, but ultimately said it was Romano's call.

"In my eyes, that's micromanagement (by the board)," he said.

Sweeney promptly disagreed: "I think we were elected to do a job and this is one of the jobs we were elected to do."

Romano said she was hired to run the district.

"Never before in this district has the board voted on scheduling types," she said.

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

Hernando School Board should have voted on move to six periods, member says 04/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 8:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  4. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse


    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  5. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker


    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.