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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, September 13, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session September, 2016, at 9 a.m., in  the Staff Conference Room #283, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb (9:41 arrival), Sally Harris, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present. Vice Chair Stuart presided. 

Members Absent:  April Griffin and Carol Kurdell 

Others present: 

District Attorney – Jeff Gibson
School Board Attorney – Jim Porter 

Chief of Staff – Alberto Vázquez, Ed.D.
Deputy Superintendent – Van Ayres
Chief of Schools, Administration – Harrison Peters 

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:
            Academic Support and Federal Programs – Tracye Brown
            Business – Gretchen Saunders
            Leadership and Professional Development – Tricia McManus
            Student Services – Wynne Tye                   

Chief Community Relations Officer – T.G. Taylor
External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja
Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride 

News Media Representatives:
            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol                                   

Approximately 13 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel for workshop topic #1. 

Vice Chair Stuart called the workshop to order at 9:13 a.m. 


Charter Schools (Chief of Schools - Administration)


This workshop was held to provide information on charter schools in Hillsborough County.


 Jenna Hodgens, General Director – Charter Office, provided a Power Point presentation discussing Charter Schools through the years:

  • When did it all begin – Charter school law (House Bill 403) was signed into law May 17,1996, to take effect July 1, 1996 – bill was nonspecific regarding accountability; limited in number of charter schools that could open with a district (based on enrollment).
  • Hillsborough County opened Richardson Montessori Academy and Tampa Bay Academy for the 1997-1998 school year – currently there are 41 operating charter schools.
  • Florida Statutes that apply to charter schools include: 
    • F.S.1002.33 – Charter Schools (main statute)
    • F.S. 1002.33(5)(b) – Sponsor duties – Monitor and review academic progress and financials of the school; review and approve applications; charter schools can do their own testing, and participates in state testing (for accountability); shall not apply district policies to the charter school unless mutually agreed by both parties.
  • The district receives a 2 or 5 percent administrative fee per school on 250 students for our service (we only receive percentage rate on 250 students, even if school has more students enrolled).
  • District/Charter Collaboration includes: Charter School Leaders-Florida, monthly principal meetings, quarterly advisory council meetings, and access to our Professional Development
  • Partnerships with others include:  Department of Education; Florida Association of Charter School Authorizers (FACSA) – 43 districts within the state are members of this organization; National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA); and Charter Board Partners (new relationship with Hillsborough County) – works out of Washington, D.C. – strong governance. 
  • "Florida Principles and Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing” (booklet provided by Florida Department of Education (Office of K-12 School Choice). A valuable document developed through collaboration, facilitated by NACSA, with the Department of Education, charter school stakeholders, and district authorizers.  (Copies of the booklet were distributed by Ms. Hodgens – any questions, contact Jenna Hodgens.)


Superintendent Eakins discussed the Charter School Application Summary, which also gives the school opening history 1997 – 2016.  A question often asked is why support entities such as charter – our student populations come from us somewhere – our due diligence is to support all students.


Ms. Hodgens introduced her team:  Dr. Cinzia DeLange, Supervisor of Charter; Amy Fordyce, District Resource Teacher; Triana Mascara, District Resource Teacher; and Carolyn Johnson, Accountant III.


Superintendent Eakins commented that the 2 or 5 percent of dollars the district receives are for administrative support that we utilize to support the charters.


There was general discussion to include:

  • The two or five percent administrative fee is not enough to cover the increased amount of work that goes into oversight (documents, accreditation, etc.) of the Charter Schools.  We do align   ourselves with what the law says we should do (sponsor duties). Currently there is no legislative consideration in Tallahassee to increase the percentage – charter schools come to us to help get what they need, but the expense becomes a burden on us.  Currently, the conversation is to lower the administrative fee, with no rationale for lowering the percentage. Ms. Hodgens will discuss with Connie Milito. 
  • Charter schools are proud of the collaboration going on with our district.  We are being asked to provide more "courtesy” assistance.  Concerned if we continue to have a growth of 6-7 charter schools per year, we cannot sustain.  Shouldn’t be our responsibility to monitor for the cost we are receiving – Legislature needs to hear this loud and clear.
  • Collaboration cost money – maybe we can put a dollar figure to what collaboration looks like from the district’s side (cost of staff time, etc.) – any documents that would help us – we support charter – but it cost us.  Important to capture the application process as well. 
  • Dollars are taken from construction to fund charter
  • We feel we owe the charter schools information on our policies – protect all students (i.e. Gender Equity)
  • We support parental choice, however, we lose kids – we should be the entity that meets all students’ needs.
  • We lose a lot of students during their middle school years.  Step back and look at needs to help the middle school program.  Consider the positive/negative perception given to our middle schools – they are doing a good job.
  • District staff does a great job performing the duties for the charter schools and our district.
  • Our grad rates include charter schools.
  • Ms. Hodgens was asked to send "Board of Governance” training date(s) information to board members.
  • Consider board conversation with Tallahassee on perception of Charter Management Companies - issue of a company that builds and leases back to itself. Important that Legislature understands this puts us in a difficult situation at the local level.  Ms. Hodgens will discuss with Connie Milito and Jason Pepe.


Vice Chair Stuart thanked Ms. Hodgens for the presentation.

Approximately six people were in the audience, including other school district personnel for workshop topic #2. 


Review Latest Information Regarding Lacrosse Program (Student Services Division) 


This workshop was held to review the latest information regarding the Lacrosse Program.


Wynne Tye, Assistant Superintendent – Student Services, made brief remarks. 


Lanness Robinson, Director of Athletics, discussed the Lacrosse program and agreement with Hillsborough County Lacrosse Alliance, Inc. (HALAX) to include:

  • History of the high school Lacrosse program in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) – schools currently include:  Alonso, Steinbrenner, Plant, Robinson, Wharton, Freedom, Newsome, Durant, Jefferson, and Tampa Bay Tech
  • Program successful – no cost to HCPS; no gender equity concerns
  • The Lacrosse pilot program is Hillsborough County Public Schools only pay-for-play model for athletics
  • Pilot program has expired – discussed extension of the Cooperative Agreement between Hillsborough County Public Schools and Hillsborough County Lacrosse Alliance, Inc. (HALAX).
    • Changes to the original agreement are included in Articles I, II, IX, and XIII
    • Areas where direction from the Board is required includes limits on costs: Articles XIV c, d, and f (c - fees for reconditioning; d -  cost of transportation associated with travel for Jefferson and Tampa Bay Tech, and f – maintenance costs)
    • Article XIV j – certified assistant  (full accounting of all funds expended for or on behalf of HALAX)
    • Article XV c – certification course redesign


Tripp Barlow (HALAX) discussed:

  • Program sustainability to include:
    • Number one growing sport in the country
    • Other schools have asked to be included
    • Program good for college admission scholarships (especially for girls)
    • Hillsborough County putting out strong talent at some of the best schools (colleges)
    • Great collaboration with Mr. Robinson and Mrs. Tye.
  • HALAX board from private sector (first joint private/public partnership)
  • Money already raised for 2017.  They are buying all new helmets for year four.
  • Tampa Bay Tech/Jefferson – we have to pay for their teams.
  • Would like to see at some point:
    • Not to be pay to play – biggest gripe
    • Jefferson and Tampa Bay Tech (treated differently- no prior clubs)
    • Getting school board members on HALAX board
    • Spend more time on recruiting female officials
    • Their thought process is the "bigger” picture – grow program


There was general discussion to include:


  • Would like to see Lacrosse officially morphed into our athletics program
  • Need to look at providing the means for students to play if  it offers the possibility of scholarships, etc. for postsecondary education – be a voice for those schools/students (equity, opportunity, fairness, etc. – find a way to help these schools/students). Look into other partnerships to assist with costs.
  • There has never been a single kid that has been denied play – every school has received 5-6 scholarships if they want to play, but don’t have the money.
  • No funds in athletic budget for Lacrosse – conversation with school board needs to continue for long-term plan if we are to incur costs -- discuss long-term cost, centralized district, pay for play (planning phase).  Maybe consider taking on pay for play for other sports.
  • Our district is unique – we are a centralized district (what we do in one school, we usually do in all), other school districts have a decentralized system (whatever sport the school wants to do).  Other districts don’t have as many sport offerings.
  • Consider a small strategic plan on how we move forward in 5-10 years; other schools who will want to come on board – how do we help those schools who express interest.  Club world sports diminishing. 
  • Support for pay to play (should have more) – costs should be same charge across the board (waivers when needed).  
  •  Youth program starts at age 5.  We need feeder kids coming up – middle school
  • As you move forward long range, charter students or private that don’t have a program participate with ours –mindful we are watching that influx of students as well (they are still our students) – FHSAA governance issue.
  • Mr. Barlow will provide info on bylaws, number of scholarships awarded and dollar figure.


Vice Chair Stuart thanked Mrs. Tye, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Barlow for the presentation.

With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 11:35 a.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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