Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Education

Pinellas school board candidates face questions at forum

Two members of the Pinellas County School Board worked hard Thursday to play up their strengths and distinguish themselves from a diverse and crowded field of opponents.

In one race, it was a battle between old guard against new guard.

Board member Glenton Gilzean, a newcomer to Pinellas who was appointed to the District 7 seat by Gov. Rick Scott, played up his experience working with the state Department of Education. He said none of the other four candidates had a plan to fix schools.

Rene Flowers, a former St. Petersburg City Council member, struck back in her closing statement, noting the "depth and breadth" of her experience in the community, including her work on affordable housing.

"So Mr. Gilzean, I ask you, what you have you done?" she said.

Another opponent, Corey Givens Jr., alluded to Gilzean's endorsement from former Gov. Jeb Bush, saying Bush was responsible for most of the unfunded mandates facing the school district.

Board member Janet Clark, who's seeking a third term in District 1, a countywide seat, faced three opponents who said the slate of candidates for superintendent was inadequate and that the board needed a change.

"Change takes time, but it can happen more quickly through effective leadership and teamwork," she said.

Clark said she wouldn't know if the superintendent candidates were adequate until she had a chance to interview them.

The two-hour forum attracted about 50 people to Osceola High School in Largo. The Pinellas County Council of PTAs hosted the event, which included a series of narrative questions and a lightning round in which candidates were limited to yes or no answers.

In the lightning round, all candidates except Clark and Jim Jackson, in District 1, were opposed to longer school days. All except Flowers were in favor of abolishing early release Wednesdays.

In District 7, only Gilzean was in favor of privatizing some non-instructional district services. In District 1, only Clark was against it.

Comments
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year is a self-described "busy, busy bee" who never tires of exploring new ways to help students learn, even if she has to be creative.At 56, Bonnie Bresnyan also is a mentor for the next generation of s...
Updated: 5 hours ago
School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District should reconsider how it hires substitute teachers, and that conversation should happen publicly, School Board member Lynn Gray said Tuesday.Responding to a Tampa Bay Times article published Sunday , G...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Pasco class notes for Jan. 19

Theatre/Art/MusicCenter for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7382.• The center’s Learn it Live! series presents The Three Little Pigs, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 24- 25. Pre-K – grade 4. Public show at 11 a.m. Jan. ...
Published: 01/16/18
Bill to sweeten Bright Futures scholarship sails through Senate

Bill to sweeten Bright Futures scholarship sails through Senate

Nearly a decade since the luster on Florida’s signature merit scholarship program began to grow dim, state lawmakers have taken a decisive step toward restoring its appeal. Just three days into the 2018 Legislative session, the Florida Senate ...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18
Parents vent at school district meeting over fate of Lee Elementary School

Parents vent at school district meeting over fate of Lee Elementary School

TAMPA — Leaders of the Hillsborough County School District tried Thursday to reassure parents they are doing their best for the displaced students of Lee Elementary School, who lost their school in a September fire. To some, it was a hard sell...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18
UF fraternity suspended until 2021

UF fraternity suspended until 2021

The University of Florida becomes the latest school to suspend a fraternity for alleged incidents involving alcohol and drug use. In December, Heather White, UF’s interim dean of students, sent the university’s chapter of Tau Epsilon Phi...
Published: 01/11/18
Napping, name-calling and stealing: Who’s subbing for your kids’ teachers in Hillsborough?

Napping, name-calling and stealing: Who’s subbing for your kids’ teachers in Hillsborough?

TAMPA — Kenneth Spain told his students at Chamberlain High School that he overcame a pornography addiction when he found Jesus. Pornography and Jesus are both taboo topics for public school teachers, so this became a case for the Hillsborough...
Published: 01/11/18
Will Florida bring back full tuition breaks for college? State senators weigh in today

Will Florida bring back full tuition breaks for college? State senators weigh in today

A bill that would permanently expand state financial aid for tens of thousands of Florida college students faces a key vote today in the state Senate.The "Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018," also known as Senate Bill 4, recently sail...
Published: 01/11/18

Pasco school board election ballot fills

One Pasco County School Board incumbent has decided not to pursue another term, while two others have announced their 2018 reelection bids.Steve Luikart, often a dissenting voice on some of the board’s more contentious issues, said Wednesday he will ...
Published: 01/11/18