Saturday, September 22, 2018
Education

Hernando School Board, superintendent spar over secretary's proper place

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County school leaders on Tuesday spent nearly two hours debating the location of the School Board secretary's desk, ultimately deciding it will be moved closer to the board's office and further from superintendent Lori Romano.

The talk centered on where the desk should be — then turned to a bigger discussion about who should decide where that is.

Board Chairwoman Beth Narverud suggested the change at an informal meeting, after three weeks ago finding the School Board office at district headquarters had been moved without notice.

At the meeting, Narverud told board members that their secretary Kelly Pogue's current spot inside the superintendent's office suite presents concerns about privacy and accessibility, especially without the board's presence. Both concerns are reminiscent of criticisms about Romano's management style brought to light in a recent districtwide survey of her performance.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Hernando school leaders question value of evaluation of superintendent

When Narverud first suggested that Pogue should instead move near board offices, the board was split.

Quick to agree was board member Susan Duval, followed by board member Linda Prescott, who echoed Narverud's privacy concerns but offered up a compromise in which Pogue's office could be relocated to an office between the two spaces. Board members Mark Johnson and Gus Guadagnino both gave a hard no, Johnson later changing his mind.

"This is definitely passing the line of micromanagement," Guadagnino said, throwing his hands in the air multiple times through the meeting. "I haven't heard one thing that says the process of work would be better by making this change. What is it that we are reaching for here?"

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Guadagnino says he was 'embarrassed' by discord over survey of superintendent

Guadagnino, the only board member to recuse himself from the survey of Romano, called Narverud's idea "ridiculous" and "a waste of time." But she said her reasons were simple.

"She is the board's secretary, so she should be housed near the board," Narverud said, adding that she has been asking for the switch for nearly three years but has been met with resistance from Romano.

In a prepared statement to the board, Narverud laid out the time line. She said after former board secretary Iris McNeal, whose office was in the School Board suite, resigned in 2015, Pogue was hired and placed in the superintendent's suite.

Narverud said for two years in a row — both when Guadagnino and Matt Foreman served as chairman — she asked that Pogue be moved closer to the board's quarters. Both times Romano refused, she said, and told her the decision is one traditionally left up to the board chairperson.

At the meeting, Romano fired back at Narverud's claims, calling them "inaccurate," and said the location of Pogue's desk "is absolutely a board decision."

"If you want to talk about facts related, I am more than happy to do that," the superintendent said.

When elected chairwoman in November, it was Narverud's chance to make the change herself. But she said Romano again refused, and instead offered up space for the board to move into her office suite near Pogue. Soon after that, Narverud came in to find the board's office had moved.

"A few weeks ago without consult or courtesy, the School Board offices were relocated ... again separating us from the School Board secretary," Narverud said at the meeting. "As chairwoman, I exercise my right to instruct the superintendent, who works for us, to have the School Board secretary office relocated."

After discussion, the board reached a consensus, with everyone but Guadagnino agreeing the offices will move immediately.

After the meeting, Narverud said Romano's actions "validate some of the results found in the survey. ... It's supportive of it."

Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] Follow @mareevs.

Comments
How do you explain active shooters to a first-grader? For educators, school safety is a ‘work in progress.’

How do you explain active shooters to a first-grader? For educators, school safety is a ‘work in progress.’

Active assailant. Run-hide-fight. Barricade the classroom. The language of preventing a shooting like the one this year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is often filled with terms that can stir up fear in students, often out of necessity.But f...
Published: 09/22/18

Two acclaimed authors to speak about water at USF St. Petersburg

Pulitzer Prize winner and University of Florida professor Jack Davis thinks people need to humble themselves more toward water."The water doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the water," he said. "Without water, humanity would not exist, life would not...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough school district releases referendum wish list

Hillsborough school district releases referendum wish list

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District on Friday released a long-awaited, school-by-school list of 1,785 projects to be funded by a proposed half-cent sales tax hike.The list, now on the district website, includes playgrounds for Anderson El...
Published: 09/21/18
Pinellas education news: college fairs, lectures and more

Pinellas education news: college fairs, lectures and more

Students, parents invited to three upcoming college and career fairsThree events are scheduled over the next two weeks that are designed to help students plan their next steps after leaving the Pinellas County school system. The University of South F...
Published: 09/21/18
Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

TRINITY — Julie Michael stood in the metal bleachers, flute poised at her lips, ready to play the national anthem with the Seven Springs Middle School advanced band.As the band segued into the school fight song, the eighth-grader continued per...
Published: 09/20/18
Romano: We need education solutions not slogans from DeSantis, Gillum

Romano: We need education solutions not slogans from DeSantis, Gillum

And 200,000 third-graders just rolled their eyes.I swear, even they can see through the education proposals offered by gubernatorial candidates Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum this week.Let’s see, the Republican wants more privatization. And the Democ...
Published: 09/20/18

Local rapper encourages elementary students to attend school every day(w/video)

Local rapper Corey Thornton performs original songs on Wednesday Sept. 18, 2019 about the importance of school attendance at Walsingham Elementary School during a school wide assembly. During Attendance Awareness Month, Pinellas County Schools and th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
USF faces a reality as it prepares to consolidate: This is going to be hard.

USF faces a reality as it prepares to consolidate: This is going to be hard.

TAMPA — All summer, while most students were gone, the University of South Florida has been toiling away on a blueprint for the complex merger of the USF System.Its three universities in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota will soon consolidate into o...
Published: 09/19/18
Employee pay dominates Pasco schools budget debate

Employee pay dominates Pasco schools budget debate

LAND O' LAKES — The Pasco County School Board unanimously adopted a $1.26 billion budget Tuesday with a slightly lowered tax rate and funding for new school construction in both east and west Pasco.But the spending item that grabbed most of th...
Published: 09/19/18
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...
Published: 09/18/18