Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Education

Stewart could remain as Pinellas school chief through 2012-13 school year

John Stewart could stick around as Pinellas County school superintendent through the end of the 2012-13 school year.

School Board members Tuesday said they want to discuss negotiating a contract with Stewart that would keep him in the 101,000-student district until July 2013.

Originally hired as an interim superintendent replacing fired chief Julie Janssen, Stewart has continually impressed his new bosses with his get-it-done approach since assuming the job in August.

Though Stewart told the board as recently as October that he had no interest in staying beyond December 2012, he wrote in an email to them last week that he's changed his mind. He told the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday that he simply wants to finish some of the work he's started.

"I did a lot of reflection over the winter break," he said. "I'd like to see some of these seeds take root."

Board member Carol Cook requested that the topic be placed on the School Board's February workshop agenda. But every board member has expressed great support for Stewart since he took the job.

"He was brought in kind of as a stop-gap measure — someone who knew the district, someone who knew what was going on and could keep up moving forward while we made our decisions," Cook said. "When he got here, we found out he had more to offer and more to give us than just that stop-gap person."

If board members agree they want to enter negotiations with Stewart, they could revisit the his salary as well as any benefits he receives.

Under his current contract, Stewart, 68, makes $12,000 a month or $144,000 a year. Janssen made $203,000 a year before she was terminated.

Stewart came to the district after his 2009 retirement as executive director the Florida High School Athletic Association. He led the Polk County school district for 13 years until 1996 and later spent three years working as a deputy superintendent in Pinellas under Howard Hinesley.

Should the board agree to keep him until July 2013, it allows them to hire a new leader in time for the start of a new school year.

In other board business:

• Members voted unanimously to keep school start times the same in 2012-13, despite objections from parents at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School, who want their kids to start class earlier than 9:30 a.m., which is when other middle schools are set to begin. Administrators assured parents, however, that they are continuing to look at options that might include an earlier start-time for the school.

• After advertising for an independent performance auditor willing to look at the district's administrative expenses, school officials determined the two bids that came back did not meet the requirements. For now, a group from the Florida Association of District School Superintendents is conducting an audit of the district. After that is complete, board members will decide whether they still want to advertise for an auditor.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at (727) 893-8707 or [email protected]

Comments
Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

TAMPA — During a news conference Tuesday morning, Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan warned against misleading investigators with reports about school security."Spread the word," the school said in a t...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Middleton High student arrested after making threats about shooting, officials say

Middleton High student arrested after making threats about shooting, officials say

TAMPA — A Middleton High School student has been arrested after making a threat about a shooting at the school, according to the school district.The student, who had been suspended, returned to the school and when he was asked to leave, "he made thre...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

TAMARAC — The shooting was all over, but the emotional reckoning had just begun, and so on Saturday the teachers of Broward County in Florida packed their union hall to discuss what it meant to have become the nation’s human shields."Last night I tol...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco sixth-graders might get to play school sports

Pasco County middle schools are making plans to allow sixth-graders to participate on sports teams next year for the first time.District athletic director Matt Wicks plans to bring a policy revision proposal to the School Board in the next few months...
Published: 02/20/18
50 years ago, Florida teachers walked off their jobs. Today’s union leaders are inspired

50 years ago, Florida teachers walked off their jobs. Today’s union leaders are inspired

Ulysses Floyd remembers February 1968 all too well.Teachers by the thousands walked off their jobs across Florida. Among their concerns: low pay, poor funding, a lack of planning time, missing materials, and more. "We were at the mercy of the School ...
Published: 02/19/18
ROTC leader shocked that accused school shooter 1 of his own

ROTC leader shocked that accused school shooter 1 of his own

PARKLAND, Fla. — The sound of gunfire still ringing in his ears after his mad half-mile sprint, Jack Ciaramello was standing with friends in a grocery store parking lot when a sheriff’s deputy approached. He asked the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High se...
Published: 02/18/18
From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

Some teachers left goodbye messages to their students on classroom blackboards. Others cleared their desks.It was Feb. 16, 1968, a Friday, and a sign of what was coming that Monday in Florida: the nation’s first statewide teachers strike.When schools...
Published: 02/18/18
Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High principal Ty Thompson exuded deep emotion and a positive view forward in his first public comments since Wednesday’s mass shooting that killed 17 people.In the two-minute video posted on the school’s website and YouTube,...
Published: 02/18/18
Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

TAMPA — "Elevate," a Hillsborough County School District initiative that was to focus on seven troubled schools and use them as models for dozens more, is becoming but a memory as the district seeks instead to support all schools equally."We’re more ...
Published: 02/17/18