Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County school committee off to rough start

After more than 18 months of tense negotiations between the Pinellas County School District and the teachers union, former superintendent John Stewart and union president Kim Black agreed that one of the most positive results of the teachers contract settlement had nothing to do with money.

It was the creation of a joint committee to find ways to provide students with enough instruction while giving teachers adequate planning time.

Under the new contract, the committee starts work Monday. But it's already off to a rough start.

Stewart named the district's members, but union leaders have yet to name theirs. And Black asked the school board last week to reconsider Stewart's appointments, saying she was surprised by his selections.

The team includes: Ron Ciranna, head of human resources; Steve Swartzel, director of governmental relations; Kevin Smith, head of finance; and three principals, Kevin Hendrick, Susan Keller and Rob Ovalle.

No one on the team comes from the district's curriculum staff. Two of the members — Ciranna and Swartzel — were part of the district's negotiating team and frequently clashed with union leaders. At one point over the summer, union leaders accused Ciranna of misleading board members about proposed health insurance changes.

Black said the committee's work could be pivotal for the future of teaching and learning in the district and she would prefer to see the district's team shaped by new superintendent Mike Grego, who started Wednesday. She said the union doesn't plan to make its appointments until there's been more discussion with Grego about "what we're really looking for."

Grego said Thursday that he hasn't had a chance yet to look into the committee or even review who was appointed by Stewart.

The committee's recommendations are due in March.

Cara Fitzpatrick can be reached at, (727) 893-8846 or on Twitter at @Fitz_ly.

Pinellas County school committee off to rough start 09/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. How to make a Strawberry Banana Smoothie


    Don't enjoy breakfast but need to get something in your stomach? Cranky around 3 p.m. and need a jolt of energy? Have trouble getting your daily recommended fruit servings? This smoothie is the cure for all of that and more. It's become my morning go-to. The secret ingredient here is kefir, a probiotic product that's …

    Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. How to tell if the price is right on your next prescription


    Filling a prescription is no longer the simple errand you run after a doctor visit.

    Photo illustration. []
  3. Rubio to Seminole County GOP: 'America is going to be okay'


    Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a reshaped stump speech Tuesday night to the Seminole County GOP, touching on many of the same points he made as a presidential candidate but adapting it to the tumultuous politics of the moment.

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami.
  4. Dad's app freezes your child's phone until your texts are answered

    Human Interest

    Parents of teens know how vital cell phones can be when they need to reach their kids — especially during an emergency.

    Nick Herbert, who lives in the United Kingdom, grew tired of his teenage son ignoring his texts, so he made an app to fix the problem. ReplyASAP takes over the phone's screen, overrides any silent functions and sets off an alarm, essentially forcing teens to respond to their parents in order to regain access to their phones. [Screengrab from website]
  5. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Miami-based Related Group has broken ground on a 400-unit apartment complex planned on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]