Thursday, November 23, 2017
Education

Pasco School Board balks at cost of consultant to develop strategic plan

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LAND O'LAKES — A proposal to spend $157,000 for a new Pasco County school district strategic plan has run into resistance.

School Board members have balked at the cost, which would go to a Tampa consulting firm. They also questioned the need to hire a company to do the work that district staff did before.

"We need a lot more information and board involvement," chairwoman Alison Crumbley said. "Before we approve something of that size in the budget, there needs to be justification."

Board member concerns prompted superintendent Kurt Browning to pull his recommendation from consideration at Tuesday's board meeting.

"We are in agreement that we will schedule this issue for a board workshop on April 15," Browning said.

That should give the administration time to explain its thought process for replacing the plan that expired in 2013.

Browning's idea is to create a model that helps leaders design easily measured annual operating plans connected to spending priorities. Future savings might offset the initial expense, according to documents provided to the board.

He asked the board to hire Tampa-based Transpro Consulting, run by the former head of a New York transportation authority.

No other firms were brought forth for consideration.

Board members did not question the need for a strategic plan. But they did challenge the approach.

"I want to make sure that the strategic plan is a collaboration between the administration and the School Board," said Joanne Hurley, who represented the board on the most recent planning effort. "I think a strategic plan is such a major part of what this board does in setting the tone for the district. We need to have input."

Vice chairman Steve Luikart noted that the district has many in-house experts and wondered why they would not be used instead of outside consultants.

Crumbley shared that concern, and said that was part of her rationale behind asking Browning for a delay.

Browning said he hoped to provide enough details so the board can vote at its next meeting.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected]

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