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Is former senator John Legg running for Pasco superintendent?

Short answer: Maybe.
Former state senator John Legg has not ruled out a run for Pasco County schools superintendent. The district is the nation's largest to elect its chief executive.
Former state senator John Legg has not ruled out a run for Pasco County schools superintendent. The district is the nation's largest to elect its chief executive.
Published Jan. 17
Updated Jan. 17

Former state senator John Legg’s tweets often seem to spark speculation about the political plans of the charter school operator.

It happened in May, when he posted a cryptic message about hope coming to Pasco County schools.

It happened again on Friday, after he criticized a school district social media photo of several administrators on the Capitol steps in Tallahassee.

The big question each time: Is the former chairman of both the House and Senate education committees, who runs a successful charter school and recently earned a doctorate in education, posturing to run for Pasco County schools superintendent? Pasco is the nation’s largest school district to elect its chief executive.

In the spring, the answer was “No.” Legg was hinting at plans for his charter school’s expansion into new sites and grade levels.

This time, he wasn’t so certain.

“We’re researching what we can do,” Legg said, neither ruling out a run nor committing to one.

His critical tweet wasn’t necessarily aimed at sending a political message, he said. He simply suggested that a photo of district officials smiling in Tallahassee had bad optics in the same week that the district announced it would be closing down Hudson Elementary School for persistently poor outcomes.

Hudson principal Adrian Anthony appears on the far right of the second row.

“I just thought it was poor judgment to take principals out — especially the Hudson Elementary principal — on the week you close the school, to take them to Tallahassee,” Legg said, contending it would be better to have them in the schools making improvements. “It rubbed me the wrong way.”

On a deeper level, though, he said the trip suggested that the district leadership doesn’t know how to deal with the needs of an increasingly impoverished west Pasco community — something Legg has raised frequently before. He praised the district for taking steps to address the problems, but said it shouldn’t get a pat on the back for finally tackling a situation that grew under the leadership’s watch.

For its part, district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe tweeted back to Legg’s comment with a defense that the administrators traveled to Tallahassee to get a first-hand look at the system that affects so much of what they do. They met with several key leaders, including the governor, she added.

To which Legg responded with more criticism: “Not the best use of time, resources, & effort. Low income students must be the priority. Pasco was ranked 34th in 2012, dropped to 41st in ‘19.”

If Legg were to enter the race, he would join a crowded field that includes two-term incumbent Kurt Browning, Hudson High principal David LaRoche and Bayonet Point Middle teacher Cynthia Thompson. All are Republicans.


  1. An artist's rendering shows one view of Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg after a $28 million renovation. Work is expected to start in February 2021. The Pinellas County School Board approved a contract with Rowe Architects Inc. to work on the project. [Pinellas County Schools]
  2. Graduates enjoy fireworks at Bright House Field.
  3. A bill to merge Florida Polytechnic into the University of Florida keeps advancing, even as most lawmakers say they don't approve.  [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2018]
  4. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D- Orlando  [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
  6. Hudson High student Kaitlyn Helzer introduces herself to a curious corn snake during the Nature Coast Envirothon, held Feb. 19 at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Sumter County. Students from Pasco, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus counties tested their knowledge on aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife while vying for a spot at state competition. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
  7. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ  |  Times]
  8. Teacher Dequita Parker guides youngsters to lunch from the playground Sept. 20 at the PromiseLand Early Childhood Education Center in Tampa.
  9. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  10. Sen. Audrey Gibson, leader of the Florida Senate Democrats, introduces a bill in January to refocus the $900 million proposed for teacher pay into salaries for all public school employees. It's just one of many ideas still floating around Tallahassee relating to educator raises. [The Florida Channel]
  11. A small group of students were rushed inside a bus at dismissal at AMIKids on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 in Pinellas Park.  [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  12. School employees Jarvis Delon West, left, and Dontae Antonio Thomas, right, were both arrested in connection with the assault and injury of a 12-year-old boy who attended AMIkids in Pinellas Park. The state shut the school down. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]