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Everybody has an opinion about the next Hillsborough superintendent

Among more than 1,000 survey answers, these caught our attention.
 
Hillsborough County schools superintendent Jeff Eakins explains the district's stance on its turnaround plan implementation to the Florida Board of Education on Jan. 17, 2018.
Hillsborough County schools superintendent Jeff Eakins explains the district's stance on its turnaround plan implementation to the Florida Board of Education on Jan. 17, 2018. [ The Florida Channel ]
Published Oct. 2, 2019|Updated Oct. 2, 2019

At the start of Wednesday’s special School Board meeting, the Hillsborough County School District released the results of its survey asking what people want from the next superintendent.

In several different ways, they calculated responses to the part of the survey that asked people to chose 10 from a list of 33 attributes. That was done so different constituents — including students, parents and teachers — would get fair weighting, and School Board members would be able to view the results clearly.

The district also released the comments, which can be difficult to read, given the small type font.

Gradebook enlarged the pages and offers these examples of some of the more provocative comments:

From teachers:

#34 ″Teachers need someone we can believe in. Someone who has experience in the classroom. We have been lied to, mistreated, and our morale has been destroyed." (p. 4)

#38. “As a fairly new teacher to Hillsborough County I would like to see more allegiance to the staff. Within the firs two months of employment, I was sent to the pool.” (p. 4)

#40 “The district has suffered form an ineffective School Board who has mismanaged so much money. They don’t listen to teachers during meetings and put forth an attitude that teachers’ voices don’t matter.” (p. 4)

#71 “That the teachers need to be heard. There are so many times when the board has disrespected teachers. It’s not even funny. If we want positive change you need to help and listen to your teachers.” (p. 6)

Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times  
Teachers a part of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association walk out in frustration during a Hillsborough School Board meeting at the Hillsborough County School district offices in Tampa, FL, on Tuesday, Nov., 14, 2017.
Gabriella Angotti-Jones | Times Teachers a part of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association walk out in frustration during a Hillsborough School Board meeting at the Hillsborough County School district offices in Tampa, FL, on Tuesday, Nov., 14, 2017. [ "GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | TIMES" ]

#87. “Discipline is the only way to get the district back under control.” (p. 7)

#152 “The current model is failing. You need to listen to the teachers/classroom aides/cafeteria staff and janitorial staff.” (p. 10)

#156 “Hands down it should be Tricia McManus. Her track record speaks for itself. Proven leader and possesses the ability to communicate within multiple platforms. She is a gem!” (p. 10)

#182 “NOT FROM HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY.” (p. 12)

#233. “Our current superintendent is an excellent role model, and his shoes will be difficult to fill.” (p. 15)

From parents:

#95. “It is a shame when the county can’t do the job and have to ask Dr. Patel to build a safe high school for our kids.” (p. 43)

#99. “My child has always been in the gifted program since starting school. His gifted teachers were white and looked nothing like his black parents.” (p. 43)

#106 “I want a superintendent to follow through on the promises to provide teachers with the raises they deserve. Also to cut the fat in the district offices.” (p. 43)

#135 “The Bill Gates method of teacher evaluation is not productive. No other profession requires this. Time for it to go. Bring back vocational education program.” (p. 45)


Microsoft founder Bill Gates observes Jefferson High School students Kimberly Barretto, left, Yeisy Rodriguez and Shahrzad Museau during a chemistry class Wednesday 11/9/2011.  Gates and his wife Melinda visited the school today as part of their foundation's education reform effort.  (Photo credit:  Corbis)
Microsoft founder Bill Gates observes Jefferson High School students Kimberly Barretto, left, Yeisy Rodriguez and Shahrzad Museau during a chemistry class Wednesday 11/9/2011. Gates and his wife Melinda visited the school today as part of their foundation's education reform effort. (Photo credit: Corbis) [ PHOTOGRAPHER: CHRISTOPHER FARBER ]

#145 “Our education system is one of the worst in the country. It’s an embarrassment. The next candidate should ideally come from higher performing states such as Massachusetts in order to raise the standards of our pathetic teachers.” (p.45)

#150 “I was really happy when our current superintendent decided not to arm teachers in our district. Teachers have enough responsibilities already and letting them carry guns in classrooms is not the best solution to the school shootings problem. Schools are not prisons and that should be reflected in the staff. Children should feel safe and not threatened.” (p. 45)

#197. “Mike Grego.” (p. 47)

DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Mike Grego, Pinellas County Schools Superintendent, addresses the audience during a workshop evening at John Hopkins Middle School Center for the Arts, Journalism and Multimedia. (November 17, 2014)
DIRK SHADD | Times Mike Grego, Pinellas County Schools Superintendent, addresses the audience during a workshop evening at John Hopkins Middle School Center for the Arts, Journalism and Multimedia. (November 17, 2014) [ SHADD, DIRK | Tampa Bay Times ]

#217. “Make schools safer. A pro teacher gun policy in Hillsborough. They should carry and keep the kids safe.” (p. 49)

In this Dec. 27, 2012 file photo, Cori Sorensen, a fourth grade teacher from Highland Elementary School in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training with a .357 magnum from personal defense instructor Jim McCarthy during concealed weapons training for 200 Utah teachers, in West Valley City, Utah. Legislators alarmed by the prospect of armed teachers in classrooms are proposing a counter-measure: The teachers would have to disclose they're packing to parents, who could have their children reassigned to another class. Gun lobbyists say the promised legislation runs counter to common sense because privacy is a cornerstone of having a permit to conceal a weapon. Utah allows teachers to pack guns in classrooms, and more teachers are applying for the permit. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) UTRB501
In this Dec. 27, 2012 file photo, Cori Sorensen, a fourth grade teacher from Highland Elementary School in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training with a .357 magnum from personal defense instructor Jim McCarthy during concealed weapons training for 200 Utah teachers, in West Valley City, Utah. Legislators alarmed by the prospect of armed teachers in classrooms are proposing a counter-measure: The teachers would have to disclose they're packing to parents, who could have their children reassigned to another class. Gun lobbyists say the promised legislation runs counter to common sense because privacy is a cornerstone of having a permit to conceal a weapon. Utah allows teachers to pack guns in classrooms, and more teachers are applying for the permit. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) UTRB501 [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | AP Photo/Rick Bowmer ]

#222. “Candidate must have the the fear of God, NOT of political or social groups that are currently negatively affecting education.” (p. 49)

#224 “Jeff Eakins is a great superintendent. We are sad to see him go. He has done so much. Anyone with his qualities would be great as well.” (p. 49)

GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES   |   Times

Bonnie Bresnyan of Lewis Elementary School receives a hug from Superintendent Jeff Eakins after accepting her teacher of the year award during the Hillsborough County School District's 2018 Excellence in Education Awards at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | Times Bonnie Bresnyan of Lewis Elementary School receives a hug from Superintendent Jeff Eakins after accepting her teacher of the year award during the Hillsborough County School District's 2018 Excellence in Education Awards at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. [ "GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | TI" | TP_414830_ANGO_ Hillteacher01718 ]

#231. “My child does not feel safe at Eisenhower Middle. The amount of threats of violence in the first few weeks of schools is alarming and the response to these threats is inadequate. I want a candidate that will enforce a zero tolerance rule and bring the feeling of safety and peace of mind to young students and parents.” (p. 49)

#303. “Someone who will not rely on charter schools and who will not privatize key functions.” (p. 53)

#338 “The buildings are falling apart. The a/c is breaking with heat index of 100 plus degrees and there aren’t temporary fans or units brought in to keep the students from experiencing signs of heat stroke. The parents aren’t even notified of the situation. The high school rest rooms are being vandalized. Fights occur in them daily, and kids are vaping in them yet no attempt to hire staff to monitor this throughout the day.” (p. 55)

#344 “I would like to stop seeing charter schools being built and instead funding going into fixing the air conditioning and other infrastructure issues at schools that are already existing.” (p. 55)

#347 “Someone who is not part of the current ‘boys club.’ The majority of the members of the school board now are a joke. This should not be a place you go to bring your friends in to do-nothing jobs and get paid more than the teachers do.” (p. 55)

#381 “Newsome High School is way too over crowded and has had consistent issues with both air conditioning and facilities. Educators can only do so much in this environment.” (p. 57)

#413 “We believe in God and Christianity is not a faith to be ashamed. We love our country, support our Constitution, and believe in governance as our Founding Fathers envisioned and implemented.” (p. 59)

#415 "The need to stop LGBTQ propaganda. Boys should be called Boys and Girls should be called Girls. (p. 59)

#445 "Consider how we can elevate all elementary schools to the level of MacFarlane Park. What are they doing that is so ‘right’ compared to others and can much of it be implemented in other schools? (p. 59)

#450 “Leave leftist agenda out of our schools please.” (p. 61)

#482 “We need busing!” (p. 63)

#506 “Chris Farkas is the only choice. He has demonstrated great leadership at all levels of the district and listens to the needs of his teachers, staff and parents.” (p. 65)

BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times
Deputy superintendent Chris Farkas talks with a woman during the back to school press conference at Valrico Elementary School in Valrico on Sunday, August 5, 2018.
BRONTE WITTPENN | Times Deputy superintendent Chris Farkas talks with a woman during the back to school press conference at Valrico Elementary School in Valrico on Sunday, August 5, 2018. [ BRONTE WITTPENN | Times ]

#507 “Let the teacher be armed to protect our students! The citizens voted this in and the school board had no right to reflect their own personal politics!” (p. 65)

#514 “We have a lot of Spanish speakers, and so we need someone who speaks the language and understands the culture.” (p. 65)

#546 “We need decent bus service. No child should be walking two miles to school in Florida with no sidewalks, crossing guards, or weather.” (p. 67)

#555 “We are sick of standardized tests, the FSA in particular.” (p. 67)

#576 “There is a significant lack of qualified teachers in regards to ESE, especially autism. My oldest son is severely autistic and I feel that the public school system has failed him repeatedly in providing him the support he needs as well as the education he deserves. I feel that the teachers are undertrained and understaffed.” (p. 69)

#606 "Our needs are NOT being met in South Tampa where we have GREAT elementary schools and high schools, but the middle schools are neglected, excuses are made for them and it’s been going on forever. The board seems very out of touch and everyone in charge seems to have someone else to blame or they say ‘middle school is hard’.... why make it harder for the kids? They need NEIGHBORHOOD schools so they can have more pride, parent involvement, etc. (p. 71)

#608 “The current cabinet and internal candidates are not viable. They will contribute to even greater dysfunction and deteriorating morale.” (p. 71)

#611 “Not overly happy with the decision to hire an outside searching firm. Ray & Associates time and time again have proven that they are only motivated by profits and not the community needs.” (p. 71)

Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what they are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what they are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA | Times [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

#626 :My kids go to magnet schools because the traditional schools in my area are full of teachers who are high off of weed or cocaine just so they can make it through the day. Teachers are leaders and examples to the kids. It’s insane Hillsborough County doesn’t do quarterly or random drug testing of their teachers and support staff. This needs to change if we want our students to be better. We need our teachers sober while at work." (p. 71).

#274 "There is a large population of military students. Would be great to see Hillsborough County Schools care about them as much as the community of Tampa does. " (p. 51)

From non-parent members of the public:

#44 “Marginalized/minority students require a superintendent that is aware of the challenges that students of color students with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ students face regularly. It is important to me that the next superintendent be culturally competent and outspoken about policies to support these student groups because of the disparities affecting them in the education system.” (p. 75)

#53 “Not a ‘hybrid’ candidate, which is code for reformer or market-based business-minded leaders that have failed across the nation.” (p. 75)

#54 “It is time for a Black Superintendent.” (p. 75)