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Pasco School Board should let superintendent do her job

With much focus this political season on the partisan shenanigans of disenfranchising voters from open primary elections, it is refreshing to see a quintet of Republican candidates for County Commission welcoming all voters regardless of political affiliations.

When the dust cleared at the close of the candidate filing period at noon Friday, two County Commission races were filled exclusively with Republican candidates.

Nobody recruited write-in candidates to block Democrats and independent voters from participating in the Aug. 14 primary.

It means those commission seats will be winner-take-all contests with all registered voters in Pasco County able to cast ballots.

Kudos to District 5 Commissioner Jack Mariano and his opponent, Bill Gunter, and to District 1 Commissioner Ted Schrader and his two challengers, Ronald Oakley and Rachel O'Connor, for not being afraid of participatory democracy.

It is the school superintendent's job to assemble a leadership team to administer the education policies established by the state of Florida and the Pasco County School Board. It is not the School Board's job to give timelines to the superintendent for personnel decisions.

But that is the scenario in Land O'Lakes.

Board member Joanne Hurley is calling on superintendent Heather Fiorentino to decide the fate of the principal at Connerton Elementary School. There, principal Anna Falcone's management is under criticism from some ex-employees and current parents. The latest grumbling included public pickets over moving teachers to different grades for the coming school year.

Such reassignments occur annually around the district as principals meet class-size mandates while attempting to match teachers' strengths with students' needs.

A protest — organized by people not affiliated with the school — of routine personnel changes marginalizes any legitimate complaints parents might have about school management.

Fiorentino said she is looking into the gripes and has met with the school staff twice. Hurley, citing a lack of leadership, called on the superintendent to make a decision.

That's not Hurley's role. Yanking a principal or giving a vote of confidence prematurely does not serve the public. It is the superintendent's job to manage her principals. She should be allowed to do that without a school board member articulating artificial deadlines.

Pasco School Board should let superintendent do her job 06/09/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 9, 2012 12:09pm]

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