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School Board

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

901 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
Thursday, September 28, 2017

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in Workshop Session Thursday, September 28, 2017, at 1 p.m., in the School Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and Board Members Lynn L. Gray, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Tamara P. Shamburger, Cindy Stuart present.  Chair Cindy Stuart presided.

Board Members absent from today’s workshop were: Melissa Snively and Susan Valdes 

Others present:

Board Attorney – James Porter

Deputy Superintendent:  Van Ayres

Chief of Schools, Administration:  Harrison Peters

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

Academic Support and Federal Programs –Tracye Brown

Business – Gretchen Saunders

Educational Leadership and Professional Development – Tricia McManus

Teaching and Learning – Debbie Cook

Outreach - Larry Sykes

Communications and Media Officer – Grayson Kamm

Media Outreach, Department Manager – Tanya Arja

Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Kandee King

News Media Representatives:

Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol

Approximately 15 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Stuart called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m.

Mr. Porter updated the Board on the districts who are attempting to challenge HB 7069 thru the court system. 

  • Currently 14 districts are participating in lawsuit
  • Cost if our district chooses to join the lawsuit
  • Identified seven areas pf potential violations of this Bill
  • Our options are to:
    • Join current lawsuit (which has not yet been filed)
    • Do our own lawsuit
    • Work with legislatures and let it playout

Mrs. Valdes and Mrs. Snively were not available for the workshop and asked Mr. Porter to present the following on their behalf for the record:

Mrs. Snively
I am unable to attend the School Board Workshop today on House Bill 7069, due to my recent selection to Leadership Florida in Education, attending in my official capacity as a school board member.

In light of my absence, and considering I sit on the legislative board committee, I would appreciate the following being read into the record:

Although parts of this legislation will be very challenging to our school district, at this time, I do not believe it would be prudent for our school district to participate in the lawsuit initiative, especially considering our current financial position. We lack the available funds that a district of our size will be expected to contribute to this effort, and I cannot support burdening our already stressed financial climate.

In my opinion, our goal as a school board should be to continue developing and cultivating relationships with our legislative delegation, and those in Education leadership positions. We need to arm legislators and legislative staff with information and assist them in understanding how this legislation directly affects our school district, as well as school districts across the state.

My position would be to study the legislation, and do our best to find solutions to some of the challenges which impact our schools. Additionally, we need to continue having conversations with our legislative representatives and discuss the ramifications of this bill. My desire would be to continue working collaboratively on legislation that would benefit our students.

Mrs. Valdes:
I am not in favor of a law suit.

General discussion to include:

  • At this time a lawsuit has not been filed, possibly by the end of October
  • Both our District Attorney and School Board Attorney provide updates as they become available
  • Concern regarding cost, if we decide to join.
    • The cost is based on the number of districts joining the law suit. 
      • Approximately 12.78%
      • $25,000 to join with the potential of $1,000,000 or higher
      • Employee time needs to be factored
  • The majority of our funds are to support students and staff.  Interest dollars from investments would be the only funds available for use.
  • Several districts who are joining the lawsuit will "bow out” if certain items are resolved.
  • There are political ramifications. 

There was a consensus among the Board not to move forward with perusing the lawsuit.

With no further discussion the workshop adjourned at 1:53 p.m.  (Audio recording on file.)

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

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