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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
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session June 23, 2015, at 1 p.m., in the Staff Conference Room, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Acting Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, Sally Harris, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair Valdes presided.

Members Absent:  April Griffin and Carol Kurdell

Others present:

School Board Attorney – Jim Porter

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

            Administration – Lewis Brinson                      

            Business – Gretchen Saunders

            Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest

            Facilities – Chris Farkas

            Government Relations – Connie Milito

            Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford

            Information and Technology – Anna Brown

            Student Services – Wynne Tye                     

Communications Officer – Stephen Hegarty

External Communications Manager – Tonya Arja

Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:

            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol

            Tampa Tribune – Erin Kourkounis                        

Approximately 11 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Valdes called the workshop to order at 1:01 and welcomed everyone to the workshop.


Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budget Planning Workshop – Part III (Business Division)


This workshop was held as a follow-up to the Budget Workshop April 28, 2015, to provide the latest financial information from the Florida Legislature’s Special Session 2015A. 


Jeff Eakins made brief remarks regarding Tallahassee updates from Dr. Hamilton and Connie Milito.


Connie Milito provided an overview of the Legislative Session that started in March and ended early, which caused a Special Session (to meet deadline by June 30) in order to avoid government shutdown.  Discussion included:

  • Governor released his veto list this morning (June 23).
  • We are still dealing with impact of recession
  • Heath care issues, which impacted education – federal dollars were not accepted in the state of Florida – state has to cover out of operating funds, which affects our operating budget.
  • Next year’s Legislative Session is scheduled to start in January (pilot early start date)
  • Lowest 300 schools in the state (determined by the state) have to give an additional hour of school – implement the same as last year (same schools, same way)
  • Trying to get ourselves (categoricals) back to pre-recession 
  • Dr. Hamilton provides analysis for Gretchen and her staff to work thru.


Dr. Jim Hamilton (via phone) provided a legislative update, discussing general appropriations and budget constraints.  The level of funding, unfortunately, does not match the growth and cost of doing business.


Gretchen Saunders provided an update on Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Funding, Categorical Data, and School Taxes to include:

  • 2015-2016 Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) Conference Report
  • Summary comparison of 2014-2015 4th calculation and 2015-2016 report.
  • Current base student allocation for 2015-2016 is $4,154.45. 
  • General funds and comparisons
  • Categoricals (information good for speaking points)
  • State and local funding review (comparison of Fiscal Year 2002-2003 to 2015-2016)


  • Class Size Reduction – charter schools have to come off the top
  • Instructional Materials – new adoptions, mandates
  • Reading Instruction Allocation
  • Safe Schools Categorical
  • School Recognition and Lottery
  • Supplemental Academic Instruction (SAI)
  • Teacher Supplies Allocation (formerly known as teacher lead money) – Starting in July, teachers have to submit receipts, which are collected and kept at the school site.  Amount allocated use to be $250 per teacher – amount is now $150-$200. 
  • School Tax Revenue
  • The Fiscal Year 2014-2015 fifth and final calculation released (adjust budgets) in October/November 2015
  • The Fiscal Year 2015-2016 FEFP third calculation (adjust budgets) – December 2015.


There was general discussion by board members and staff to include:


  • Time lining everything out from this point to September/October – will proceed to prioritize the budget for a potential next year that looks very flat.


  • Do not continue programs that do not have return on investment; maximize dollars and continue to evaluate programs that have not received additional funding. 
  • Be very transparent in evaluating, monitoring programs – opportunity to get lean, but highly effective for kids.  Every time a board item is asking to "continue,” there should be a reason to continue; trend data between now and October to make clear priorities, things that are working, return on investment, or have plateaued.  Most critical time is January when we allocate units.  Need to look at grants (stainable or not, align with board and district priorities, and sunset of grant and the process).  Communication has to take place with board, unions, and leaders in our district.
  • Stability of funds depends on the total number of students and funds from the state. Hillsborough County grew, but funding didn’t grow with it.  When planning a budget, you have to work in a certain parameter of caution.
  • Can move forward if you have a sound Strategic Plan.


Chair Valdes thanked Dr. Hamilton, Connie Milito, Gretchen Saunders, and staff.  Any questions, email or call Mrs. Saunders.

With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 2:33 p.m.





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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