Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco School Board improving relations with area governments

For years, the adjectives most often applied to relations between the Pasco County School District and area governments were ones like "frosty" and "unfriendly."

District and county leaders fought over issues big and small, usually refusing to yield much, compromising on little.

What a difference new leadership makes.

District assistant superintendent Ray Gadd, who has served in the administrations of the past three superintendents, has sat across the table from several sets of county and city leaders. At the Pasco County School Board's most recent meeting, Gadd spent nearly 10 minutes heaping praise on the latest set of his public service compatriots.

First, he applauded Sheriff Chris Nocco for his office's efforts to stop drivers from blasting past school buses with their stop arms extended and lights flashing. Gadd said Nocco's office has worked with the district on a multitude of issues, mostly outside of the public's direct notice, to ensure school and student safety.

He then turned to the County Commission and its administrator, Michele Baker, cheering their open, transparent and easy-going manner in dealing with previously difficult issues. The district and county have collaborated on several projects, such as a joint-use development at Starkey Ranch, and Gadd said he couldn't remember such work ever going that smoothly.

The enthusiasm went beyond the county level, too.

Gadd reminded the School Board that Steve Spina had returned as Zephryhills city manager, and he talked about how well the city and district were getting along in land use discussions for the district's Hercules property, which had proven contentious prior to Spina's appointment.

Board members expressed their pleasure and said they look forward to using a new set of descriptions, such as "cooperative" and "amicable," to characterize their interactions going forward.

• • •

Employee contract negotiations for 2014-15 began June 16, and superintendent Kurt Browning said his goal is to "do everything we can to support our teachers in the classroom."

Early talks didn't tackle big issues, such as salary and insurance benefits. If there was to be a controversy, it might come over the United School Employees of Pasco's proposal to give year-round school-related personnel an unpaid day off for July 4 so they could have the full week of paid vacation at Thanksgiving.

The administration took the idea under consideration for possible agreement or a counterproposal.

If you're interested in tracking the negotiations, the district has made it easier to follow along. It has posted a page on its website with all the meeting dates, including links to all the proposals passed at the table by both sides.

You can find the information

Browning has said he hopes to have the terms settled as close as possible to when teachers return to school Aug. 11.

Have ideas for us to consider? Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614.

Pasco School Board improving relations with area governments 06/25/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Clearwater Beach driver: 'My intentions were to take my own life'


    CLEARWATER — Ryan Michael Stiles stuck close to the dunes and blared his horn when he drove onto Clearwater Beach last Thursday afternoon. He didn't want to hurt anyone there, he said in an interview from the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday morning.

    Ryan Michael Stiles, 27, was arrested last Thursday after driving onto the sands of Clearwater Beach, police said. He is currently being held at the Pinellas County Jail.
  2. After Trump's partisan speech, Boy Scouts of America reiterates that it is 'wholly non-partisan'


    Following President Donald Trump's campaign-style speech at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia on Monday evening, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement that did not comment on the president's remarks but stated that the nonprofit organization is "wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one …

    Members of the Boy Scouts of America listen as President Donald Trump addresses the 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., on Monday. [Doug Mills | New York Times]
  3. Florida Gators want a White Out in home opener


    At least the Florida Gators are trying to do something to spice up this season's home opener.

  4. Stop expecting Gerald McCoy to be Warren Sapp


    Here's the problem when it comes to Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

    Photo from National Pediatric Cancer Foundation The crowd cheered wildly for cancer survivor Joshua Fisher, left, and Tampa Bay Buc Gerald McCoy at the 14th annual Fashion Funds the Cure on May 6 to benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation at Port Tampa Bay Terminal 2.
  5. Allegiant Air strands 200 in Las Vegas, possibly for days


    About 200 passengers on an Allegiant Air flight headed for Oklahoma City on Sunday were stranded in Las Vegas after the airline canceled their flight, according to news reports and passenger tweets. A replacement flight at no extra cost wouldn't come until Thursday, according to tweets and a Fox News report.

    About 200 Allegiant Air passengers are stranded in Las Vegas, perhaps for days. Allegiant's headquarters, shown here, is located in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, Nevada.
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]