Friday, April 20, 2018
Education

Pasco School Board seeks independent counsel on superintendent complaints

LAND O'LAKES — A retired principal's complaints about Superintendent Heather Fiorentino's administration will be handed over to an independent counsel to determine if any board policies were violated.

School Board members voted unanimously Tuesday evening to allow school district attorney Dennis Alfonso to hire someone to look into Barbara Munz's allegations that some employees felt threatened, intimidated and strong armed into supporting Fiorentino's campaign.

Fiorentino, who faces a re-election challenge on Aug. 14 from former Secretary of State Kurt Browning and Moon Lake handyman Kenneth Benson, called the vote "purely political."

"They're just trying to help their friend," said Fiorentino, referring to Browning, who has drawn support from some board members and school employees.

Fiortenino said she was ambushed, as no one told her the topic was coming up at Tuesday's meeting.

"I have not seen any documents," she said. "I have not seen any charges."

Alfonso said there is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, only questions about possible policy violations. One complaint, about the transfer of a district administrator to an assistant principal's job, was taken off the table as the superintendent has that authority and the staffer resigned.

Alfonso said the other allegations, if they are true, could constitute a violation of the district's campaign policy and its civility policy. He said the allegations don't directly involve Fiorentino, but are "related to the superintendent." A newly approved board policy says that such cases should be assigned to independent counsel to investigate.

Alfonso called the situation "awkward" and said since Munz's complaints earlier this month, the district had received letters and calls from other people.

Board chairwoman Joanne Hurley declined to comment on Fiorentino's accusations that the move was political.

Alfonso said he did not know how long the investigation might take. He recommended the board authorize him to hire Thomas Gonzalez, who has been an attorney for the Hillsborough County School District. The cost would be about $175 per hour.

Comments
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teachers’ aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer...
Published: 04/19/18
Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

LARGO — Starting soon, Pinellas County public schools could be using a nationwide violence prevention program founded by families of those killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December 2012.The nonprofit group Sandy Hook Promise, with ...
Published: 04/19/18

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Published: 04/18/18
After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

TAMPA — Sam Sharf’s parents thought he had the best position on the Plant High School football team. As back-up quarterback, he could impress the girls but rarely played enough to get hurt.Now a junior, Sharf is off the team so he can focus his energ...
Published: 04/18/18

Gannon University’s Ruskin growth includes $21 million addition

RUSKIN — Gannon University is experiencing some serious growing pains and as a result, SouthShore is going to see a big change in the landscape. When it opened its doors in 2015 as a satellite campus for its home school in Erie, Pa., Gannon occupied ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Enrollment growth anticipated for Pasco County charter schools, with two more to open in the fall

Most of Pasco County’s more established charter schools expect to see their student population remain stable in 2018-19.Even so, enrollment in the county’s charter schools is expected to grow by about 1,100 children — or nearly 25 percent — in the fa...
Published: 04/17/18
Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

LAND O’ LAKES — As a child, Taylor Young started doodling with crayons as a hobby. Now at age 16, this Sunlake High School sophomore has received a full scholarship, valued at $6,000, to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design Summer Pre-Colleg...
Published: 04/16/18
Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

A Florida high school student who said she was told to cover up her nipples after not wearing a bra to school is planning a protest in response. Lizzy Martinez’ "bracott" will take place today at Braden River High in Manatee County, according to Twit...
Published: 04/16/18

School news for April 20

School Calendar• April 27: Progress reports• May 17-20: High school graduations.• May 25: Last day of school for students.Theatre/Art/MusicCenter for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7382.• J .W. Mitchell Hi...
Published: 04/16/18