Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough School Board requires financial disclosures for top staff

TAMPA — Senior staff in the Hillsborough County school district will have to file financial disclosure forms, the School Board decided Tuesday.

"My goal is to ensure that we have transparency in this district, to restore the public's confidence," said chairwoman April Griffin, who introduced the motion late in the meeting.

When Griffin raised the issue on Aug. 27, it was voted down.

This time, with two board members absent and information available for the rest to consider, Griffin got the votes she needed. Susan Valdes and Cindy Stuart sided with her while Candy Olson and Carol Kurdell voted no.

Attorney Tom Gonzalez cautioned against voting because the item was not on the agenda. Griffin said the board often takes votes spontaneously in the course of discussion. But Gonzalez said the move seemed problematic because Griffin came prepared to bring it up. "If the board member knows he or she is bringing something to the board, absolutely, positively that should be on the agenda," he said.

MaryEllen Elia, her chief budget officer, principals and procurement officers already file disclosure forms with the elections supervisor. The new rule extends the practice to Elia's staff of about a dozen, including deputy and assistant superintendents.

Griffin said she raised the issue because while larger contracts come before the board, staff members spend lesser amounts of money without much oversight.

The vote was a victory for Griffin, who has clashed with Elia and early this year could not get board approval to hire an independent auditor.

Also on Tuesday, the board agreed to have a workshop to discuss a June letter from the NAACP. The civil rights group alleges the district allows "enormous educational deficiencies" that have "gone on without solutions for several decades."

The organization wants a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions, which disproportionately affect black males; and to hold the superintendent accountable for learning gains among minority students.

Later the board adopted a $2.8 billion budget for this school year. School property taxes will be $7.69 for every $1,000 in value after homestead exemptions. On a $200,000 house with a $25,000 exemption, that would be $1,345.75.

Member Stacy White voted for the tax but against the budget, saying he continues to be dissatisfied with the level of budget information shared with the public.

Elia, in response, showed the board an expanded budget section on the district website that breaks some spending down by school. More such features will follow, she said.

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or [email protected]

Hillsborough School Board requires financial disclosures for top staff 09/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  2. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says


    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.

  3. Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale


    NEW YORK — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

  4. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl


    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]