Monday, November 20, 2017
Education

Superintendent considers changes in district-level operations

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Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning is looking into changing the way the district office does business.

He's targeting the regional structure he put in place shortly after taking office four years ago. He divided the district into four regions and assigned each an area superintendent and a staff of literacy coaches, counselors and other specialists aimed at providing targeted support.

"From my vantage point, the regional model has served us well for administrative and managerial tasks but may have been detrimental to our goal of providing differential supports where they are most needed," Browning told regional team members in an email just before Thanksgiving break.

When first running for office, Browning criticized former superintendent Heather Fiorentino's administration for taking a "cookie-cutter approach" to all schools, regardless of need. He justified his restructuring efforts as an attempt to refocus the district office to back up school-based instruction.

Now, he is contemplating a reorganization of his leadership team along with the regional model. Other area districts, including Hillsborough and Pinellas, recently have added high-level positions to focus on the performance of struggling schools and minority students.

Browning has not released details of his plan. He has asked the staff to meet with him Dec. 15 to discuss a possible new structure and realignment of work. He stressed that no workers are slated to lose their jobs.

JOINT USE: For years, Pasco County school and county government leaders have talked about how to make better use of the public education and recreation facilities throughout the community.

A kickball field at Connerton Elementary School was the first foray. Talk has swirled since 2013 of a joint library-park complex with a K-8 school in the Starkey Ranch subdivision.

In November, the two agencies took steps to formalize such projects with a "master agreement" for joint use of public property. The School Board approved the document on Nov. 22, two weeks after the County Commission adopted it.

The agreement sets forth roles and responsibilities each government would assume when they establish such projects, which are not uncommon in other counties. But it does not get into specific deals.

"Every situation where we do it would be unique and require a board and commission sub-agreement," said deputy superintendent Ray Gadd, a key proponent of the idea.

LEADERSHIP: Dade City insurance executive Allen Altman is again chairman of the Pasco County School Board.

Altman, elected to his third term without opposition in 2014, was vice chairman for the past year. The board traditionally promotes the vice chairperson to the top post, allowing all members to cycle through the leadership role.

Members also selected Cynthia Armstrong, a Trinity-area real estate agent, as vice chairwoman. Armstrong has served on the board since 2010.

The board reorganized on Nov. 22, after swearing in its first new member in six years. Colleen Beaudoin, a University of Tampa instructor, won the District 2 seat vacated by outgoing Chairwoman Joanne Hurley, who retired after two terms.

The vote on the positions was unanimous and came without discussion.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at (813) 909-4614 or [email protected] Follow @jeffsolochek.

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