Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Education

Principal ousted from Pasadena Fundamental Elementary mishandled school funds, Pinellas investigation finds

LARGO — Daniel L. Brennan, who resigned Feb. 8 as principal of Pasadena Fundamental Elementary School, falsified documents to cover up his mismanagement of funds from the school's Parent Teacher Association, a school district investigation has found.

A 112-page investigative report released this week details how Brennan, 43, changed his story several times and could not account for items purchased with the school PTA's money. The report also says he will pay back more than $2,300 in unaccounted for funds.

According to documents, the PTA gave Brennan money to buy a $2,700, 15-inch MacBook Pro to be used in the school's gifted program, but he never made the purchase and fabricated an invoice to cover up his actions. He also was personally reimbursed by the PTA for a $579 camera lens that was paid for with district discretionary funds, the documents say.

In addition, the PTA wrote checks payable to Brennan for a steam cleaner valued at $797, a pressure washer valued at $649 and a wireless router valued at $89.99, but the items were never found on the school's campus. A $200 Apple TV and a $342 Go Pro camera issued to Brennan by the PTA were found at his home after being reported as lost.

Brennan told investigators he had been diagnosed with an undisclosed medical condition that could leave him in a wheelchair within 10 years and said his medication causes him to be "foggy" and forget. He said his wife, Shannon Brennan, a principal at Mildred Helms Elementary, did not know of his diagnosis.

Brennan, who resigned with the reason listed as "illness," agreed to have the school district withhold $2,334 from his termination pay to repay the school's PTA. He also gave back $580 in cash to the PTA.

Brennan, who served as Pasadena Fundamental's principal for five years, did not respond to requests for comment.

Pinellas County School District spokeswoman Lisa Wolf said any criminal charges against Brennan would be left up to the PTA because Brennan mismanaged PTA dollars, not money from the school district.

Brennan resigned from the school district in lieu of termination, according to the report, and was marked as to not be rehired.

Wolf said the investigation's findings were forwarded to the Florida Department of Education's Office of Professional Practices Services.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said no one has brought forward a complaint against Brennan.

Neither Andi Fuller, who is listed as the president of Pasadena Fundamental's PTA, nor the president of the Pinellas County Council of Parent Teacher Associations president, Jessica Summers, responded to requests for comment.

Florida PTA president Cindy Gerhardt said it was within the local PTA's right to press charges against Brennan, but said she did not know what the local unit would do. She called the incident "troubling."

"The PTA could've actually bought (the items). That should've been the proper way to do it," she said. "I think there was blind trust. They must've had a good relationship with him and just did not think he would be capable of doing that."

"This was not something that happened by accident," Gerhardt added. "It does seem there was intent, and it was well thought out on (Brennan's) part."

Contact Colleen Wright at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643. Follow @Colleen_Wright.

Comments
Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

TAMPA — Seeking to show that Hillsborough County school officials waste money that could go to teacher raises, union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins talked about highly paid administrators. She talked about legal fees paid to outside firms when in-...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

At a news conference on Wednesday, Nocco identified the officer as Richard Stackon, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1994. Stackon has spent "several years" as an SRO, Nocco said, and he had nothing in his file "that stands out." Around 1 p.m., Noc...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

NEW PORT RICHEY — Chris Dunning is a bundle of energy as he greets families to Wendell Krinn Technical High School’s first open house.He talks rapid fire about the opportunities to earn college credits and gain career training while also completing a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins is proud of his record in boosting high school graduation rates and inroads he has made in marketing the nation’s eight largest school district.His seven bosses on the School Board...
Published: 04/25/18
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions. They also said that as a result of his actions, he wil...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Published: 04/24/18

Battle continues over west Pasco school rezoning

Jim Stanley does not give up without a fight.The west Pasco County parent who brought down the school district’s 2017 attendance zone revisions, leading the administration to change its procedures along the way, has filed a new challenge to the syst...
Published: 04/24/18