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. Florida reverses decision to shield information from nursing home inspection reports


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida regulators decided Friday they will abandon the use of software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online, choosing instead to link to the more complete reports available on a federal site.

    Officials for the state Agency for Health Care Administration said Friday they will no longer use software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online. The agency has been under increased scrutiny since Sept. 13, when eight residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, pictured here, died after power was lost to an air-conditioning system during Hurricane Irma. Two more residents died this week. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  2. Trump's travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans told the New York Times on Friday.

  3. Maria: Clearwater Coast Guard plane aids rescue near Puerto Rico


    Eight minutes. That's how long it took the Petty Officer 3rd Class Darryn Manley of the Coast Guard said it took him to spot the boat that capsized off a Puerto Rican island on Thursday.

  4. Mom of girl who died looking for candy seeks to keep husband away

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eight days after her 4-year-old daughter died in the care of paternal grandparents, pregnant Lizette Hernandez sat in a Hillsborough County courthouse Friday, attempting to seek full-time custody of her 19-month-old son.

    Lizette Hernandez, 22, above, completes paperwork Friday for a motion for protection from domestic violence against her husband, Shane Zoller. Their daughter, Yanelly, 4, left, died in a gun accident at the home of Zoller’s parents.
  5. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.