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School Board seeks nearby attorney

The Hernando County School Board is spreading the word that it needs a new attorney.

In a work session Tuesday night before their regular meeting, board members agreed to advertise in Hernando, Citrus, Pasco and Sumter counties for a replacement for longtime board attorney Joe Johnston.

The board chose only those counties because it wants to find someone who is familiar with Hernando County and will not have to travel far.

Johnston resigned as the board's part-time legal adviser two weeks ago after 40 years of service. He said the heavy workload between his private practice and board business was the reason for his resignation. Johnston's last day is Nov. 4.

In his resignation, Johnston recommended that the board hire a full-time attorney to handle the increasing workload. But board members said they will have to consider the costs of a full-time attorney before making a decision.

Board member Diane Rowden said she would like Johnston to continue his duties until the new School Board members are in office in mid-November.

"If Mr. Johnston is willing to stay on . . . then the new board members can have a chance to decide on a new attorney," Rowden said.

Board members asked board Chairman Paul Clemons to meet with Johnston to discuss the possibility of staying on.

In other board action:

Carl Stokes of ServiceMaster gave an update on the condition of J. D. Floyd Elementary School.

Stokes said Westbrook Inc. of Orlando recently finished the cleanup of the Brooksville school. The next step is putting in a new exhaust system at Floyd. Stokes said Kerry Shane of Westbrook will present a purchase order to the board in the coming weeks for an exhaust system at the school.

Shane recently said the cleanup included inspecting the air handling system and studying its original design, cleaning out sand in the piping that stops the air flow and working out a preventive maintenance plan that would keep the school's three chiller plants working properly.

Last school year, staff members and students at Floyd complained of allergy-like symptoms that disappeared or diminished once they left campus.

The board members voted to change their Nov. 3 meeting to Nov. 10. School Superintendent Dan McIntyre said the switch was made because the meeting would be on Election Day. The Nov. 17 meeting will remain the same. The board meets every first and third Tuesday of the month.