Friday, November 17, 2017
Education

Pasco media specialists gear up for job showdown Tuesday

RECOMMENDED READING


LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County school media specialists and their supporters plan to pack the district's School Board meeting on Tuesday in hopes of stopping a proposal to eliminate all their jobs.

They thought they had more time to prepare their arguments. But after learning that the board could decide their fate next week, they're stepping into high gear.

Their desire: to get the deletion of their jobs stripped from the staff allocation formula coming to the board.

"That's our goal, so we can continue to educate them about the importance of our roles in the schools," Deer Park Elementary media specialist Kristi Theurer said. "We feel the board is taking this seriously."

Staffing allocation formulas are pages of details about how many employees are assigned to schools based on numbers of students and related factors. As matters of public business, they usually generate little attention. The Pasco district administration put the item on the board's consent agenda, where noncontroversial items go.

Voting on the allocations "is a formality," district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. And she noted the staffing decisions could still change at a later point.

When it comes to planning a school district's operations, though, the allocations drive the budget. Once a school board approves them, the superintendent and staff use the formulas to set class schedules and to make employment decisions.

As Cobbe put it, "We have to do allocations so the schools can plan for the people who are being displaced."

That's the media specialists' fear: The formulas have their job titles crossed off, eliminating about 50 to 60 positions.

They had expected a decision later in the year.

"This issue will only go to the School Board in the form of a budget recommendation that I will make later in the summer," superintendent Kurt Browning told one employee via email in March.

He did not refer to the allocations. But the timelines prepared by his office around the same time indicated that allocations would be finalized the week of April 15 so that involuntary transfers could begin soon after.

Board members said the superintendent should not expect a rubber stamp from them, regardless of time frames.

"Our responsibility is to pull that out of the consent agenda" for discussion, said board vice chairwoman Alison Crumbley, who added that she lacked information to make a decision. "You can't just go, 'Oh. Okay.' "

Chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong said Browning should present details during a budget workshop before Tuesday's meeting. If the board is uncomfortable with the plan, she said, it need not act.

"Even though it's on the agenda it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be decided," Armstrong said.

Board member Steve Luikart said he aims to find an alternative way to save $5 million.

"These people play a very valuable role," Luikart said. "I am looking at ways to save those roles. … I'm not in favor of taking instructional people out of the schools."

Browning has proposed creating 30 enhanced media specialist roles to serve regions of schools, focusing on teacher training.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected], (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news visit the Gradebook at tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.

Comments
Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Plans to erase the attendance boundaries for Ridgewood High School have grabbed all the attention.But the Pasco County school district also has proposed changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones for consideration this fall.They’re just ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

ST. PETERSBURG — The athletic facilities at St. Petersburg High are just like Bob Carter remembers from 50 years ago.He recalls it all fondly: The concession stands, ticket booths and bathrooms are still the same. The track is still outdated asphalt,...
Published: 11/15/17
In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

TAMPA — Robert Ryan cleaned out his office in May. He knew he was dying.He had kept driving to the University of South Florida even as he lost the use of his left arm. He had kept teaching English, even as tumors ravaged his mouth so that he could ha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

The kids at Bing Elementary knew something special was about to happen when a six-foot white dog with a "target" over his right eye walked into the classroom.And they were right.On Tuesday (Nov. 14), volunteers and corporate supporters joined the Hil...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17
New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

DADE CITY — Dustin Snodgrass has a photograph of himself as a child in the pilot’s seat of a kid-size model airplane. Snodgrass, now 28, recently took a big step toward his goal of flying real aircraft with his first solo flight through a new profess...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Hillsborough teachers show up in the hundreds to clamor for promised raises

Hillsborough teachers show up in the hundreds to clamor for promised raises

TAMPA — A weeks-long salary standoff between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers hit an emotional peak Tuesday as hundreds of teachers and students turned out to ask the School Board for their promised raises."War has been declar...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/15/17
Romano: Sorry teachers, you simply can’t win this one

Romano: Sorry teachers, you simply can’t win this one

When it comes to your principles, there is no shame in putting up a fight.You can fight City Hall, and you can fight the power. According to the song, you can fight the law. You can even fight the good fight, whatever that means.But you cannot fight ...
Published: 11/14/17
Hillsborough teachers plan School Board protest today as tensions heat up over pay

Hillsborough teachers plan School Board protest today as tensions heat up over pay

Today is the last time the Hillsborough County School Board will gather before the Thanksgiving break, but the usual pre-holiday vibe may be muted in a district that has fallen on anxious times.Hundreds of teachers are expected to show up in protest ...
Published: 11/14/17
With $15 million donation to USF, top donors urge others to follow their lead

With $15 million donation to USF, top donors urge others to follow their lead

TAMPA — The university had already hit its $1 billion fundraising goal, and the college sweethearts had already cemented their spot as the top donors to their beloved alma mater.At a black tie gala at Amalie Arena on Saturday, though, philanthropic g...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/11/17
Teachers in Hillsborough decide that for a week they will ‘work the contract’

Teachers in Hillsborough decide that for a week they will ‘work the contract’

TAMPA — Teachers in Hillsborough County will "work the contract" for a week after Thanksgiving to illustrate their dissatisfaction with treatment from the school district.That means no late meetings or phone calls with parents and no grading papers a...
Published: 11/10/17