Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Money for more Pasco schools upgrades comes from administration building fund

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County School Board members have been adamant for months that superintendent Heather Fiorentino transfer $10 million set aside for a new administration building to more pressing capital needs.

They got a hint of Fiorentino's latest plans in a memo circulated Tuesday.

In it, Fiorentino shows that $1.66 million of the money has been reallocated already. The projects it will pay for include:

• Recarpeting at Deer Park Elementary: $150,000

• Air conditioning repairs at River Ridge Middle/High: $850,000 (Phase 1)

• Software licensing to improve district technology: $200,000

"We did try to answer all the questions you had from the capital outlay workshop (in November)," chief financial officer Olga Swinson told the board, advising that she would ask for a budget amendment in January. "We're taking $1.66 million."

But board members were not completely impressed. They had first told Fiorentino in the summer that they did not want the money set aside for office space, as Fiorentino and her team had proposed. Even if work space is cramped at the district office, they said, the district's limited resources should support needs at schools first.

So the news that the administrative team had reallocated 16 percent of the money elicited little more than a "That's all?" from board member Kathryn Starkey.

Not really, Swinson answered. This amount represents the first round of changes to the capital projects budget, she said.

More money will be moved as the district figures out how much it needs to spend on technology and alternative education changes.

Those recommendations are scheduled to arrive in January.

"They are gathering the information to make the appropriate changes," board chairman Allen Altman said. "That document is a work in progress and certainly does not reflect what will ultimately be done."

Assistant superintendent Ruth Reilly said an advisory committee has been meeting since the fall to discuss ways to improve the district's alternative education programs. Some of the new methods could include the use of computers and software, she said, as the district seeks to help students make up for lost academic ground.

Such changes could require spending some capital funds, Altman said.

He also expected to receive a report on the hardware and software capabilities at each school — information that will help the administration and board determine where to best invest the money that had been set aside for an administration building.

"We are going to get something different, and they are working on it," Altman said. "If you're going to do it right, it takes time."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

Money for more Pasco schools upgrades comes from administration building fund 12/16/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 8:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Woman convicted in murder of 18-year-old with cerebral palsy gets lighter term


    TAMPA — Linda Bonck, a 90-pound Chamberlain High School senior with cerebral palsy, lived near Tampa's Lowry Park. She struggled to walk and talk but was known for being friendly and trusting of strangers until she vanished one day in 1992.

    Georgia Miller, 39, was convicted for the 1992 murder of Linda Bonck, an 18-year-old Chamberlain High School student who had cerebral palsy. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Miller was resentenced Wednesday to 65 years, the result of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions that found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life. With gain time, Miller will be released from prison in the next six years. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  2. Boynton Beach woman arrested on DUI, child abuse charges


    A Boynton Beach woman was arrested Saturday and faces DUI and child abuse charges after she blew a .200 on a breath test with an unbuckled child in the backseat, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

    Brandy Lerma, 31 of Boynton Beach, was arrested on DUI and child abuse charges on Saturday. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Editorial: Why can't Hillsborough commissioners move Confederate monument?


    The violence in Charlottesville, Va., crystallized for much of the nation the danger of refusing to address painful symbols of the past. But not so in Hillsborough County, where the County Commission on Wednesday reversed itself yet again and left open the possibility of leaving a Confederate monument outside the …

  4. Former WTSP employee sues station's parent companies for gender discrimination


    A former director at WTSP-Ch. 10 has sued the station's parent companies, claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination.

  5. Editorial: UF should reconsider denying white nationalist's request to speak


    University of Florida president Kent Fuchs understandably cited security concerns Wednesday in denying white nationalist Richard Spencer's application to speak next month on campus. But those security concerns could be addressed, and they should not stamp out free speech at a public university that aspires to be great. …

    The University of Florida, citing security concerns, has denied white nationalist Richard Spencer’s application to speak on campus in September.