Ex-school leader may be lured out of retirement

Published Oct. 25, 2014

TAMPA — To counter a wave of retirements, the Hillsborough County school district is working with a contracting firm that could bring back retired assistant superintendent Lewis Brinson.

Under this scenario, Brinson, 62, would be rehired temporarily through DES of Florida, district spokesman Stephen Hegarty said Friday.

The School Board, after some discussion, voted Sept. 30 to hire DES and is scheduled to vote on the action involving Brinson at its meeting Tuesday.

The firm also arranges temporary assignments for teachers who leave through the state's Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, and are difficult to replace.

"If it works out, that would be great for the district because retirements as a result of DROP have really affected our district, and others around the state," Hegarty said. "DROP numbers for this year and next year are pretty astounding."

Motivated by an announced change in the pension formula, so many employees entered DROP several years ago that 291 left the district this year and 468 are expected to leave in 2015-2016, Hegarty said. Usually the number is closer to 100.

Tampa police Chief Jane Castor, who is technically retired, is staying in her job an additional year under a similar arrangement.

As assistant superintendent for administration, Brinson oversaw a variety of departments and initiatives including principal training, student suspensions and expulsions, security and school choice. He would return to the same position in a nine-month contract that runs through August 2015.