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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, November 15, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session November 15, 2016, at 9 a.m., in the School Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins and BoardMembers Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol Kurdell, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present. Chair Griffin (arrived at 9:15am) presided.

Members Absent: April Griffin (April arrived at 9:15am) and Doretha Edgecomb (Doretha arrived at 10:48am)

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

Diversity – Minerva Spanner-Morrow

Government Relations – Connie Milito (arrived at 10:45am) HumanResources – Stephanie Woodford

Leadership and Professional Development – Tricia McManus

Operations – Chris Farkas

Outreach – Larry Sykes, Ed.D. (Absent) Student Services – Wynne Tye

Teaching and Learning – Elizabeth Agresta


Acting Chief Community Relations Officer – Jason Pepe
External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja
Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Kandee King


News Media Representatives:

Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol


Approximately 25 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel. Vice Chair Stuart called the workshop to order at 9:03 am.

Continuation of New Policies (Chief of Schools - Administration)

This workshop was held as continuation from the September 13, 2016, School Board
Workshop on policy updates.

Vice Chair Stuart called on Tanly Cabrera, Director of Administration, Tanly explained that this is part two of the workshop on policies. She then turned the workshop over to Mr. Porter, School Board Attorney, who explained that this is a continuation of the September 13, 2016, Workshop on School Board Policies. He further explained the timeline and that we are alittle off schedule. The timeline includes advertising of policies, public comments, and a final hearing on March 7, 2017.

Policy #1130.1 Reassignment of Administrators – Revised – Human Resources and Administration

There was a consensus to come back to Policy # 1130.1 – Reassignment ofAdministrators. Mrs. Griffin brought revisions to the board and was running late. The remaining Board Members agreed they should waitforMrs. Griffin to arrive before addressing her revisions.


Policy # 6320.03 Apprentices – New Policy – Board Recommended – Operations
Any contract for maintenance or construction approved by the Board shall provide for the option of allowing twenty percent use of apprentices.

This policy was brought forward by Member Valdes.
Member Valdes

  • Feels we are lacking opportunity for the middle of the road student not on thefour year track.
  • She sees this policy as a focus on the fact that we support apprenticeships.
  • This language provides the option we need.
  • When you look at Careerand Technical Programs wait list, we are losing students because we cannot accommodate them.

Member Stuart

  • Has had this on her radar and had conversations with Chris Farkas, Chief Operations Officer.
  • Concerned that this policy is not specific to Hillsborough County Public Schools.
  • Concerned about union versus non-union apprentices

Mr. Farkas

  • Indicated that the difference in the conversation he had with Member Stuart in June versus the conversation today is option versus requirement. The board would have the option of allowing twenty percent, would not be required.

Member Harris

  • Supportive of the policy with the language change
  • Would like to see the percentage removed. She feels the percentage could/would slow down production.

Member Kurdell

  • Concerned that the policy doesn’t say anything about students.
  • We could have someone of any age in the apprenticeship.
  • She believes the policy istoovague.
  • Doesn’t agree this should be a policy

Member Griffin

  • Not a good idea.
  • Would like to see a company provide a good wage and benefits for employees.
  • Would like to see us put more Part I money in these programs.
  • Have a workshop, ask Mr. Brooks to lay out a plan for the future.


  • Everything in CTE is important.
  • To get to next steps and goals a workshop would be the perfect venue for this conversation.
After much discussion Member Valdes pulled this policy.

Policy #1130.1 Reassignment of Administrators – Revised – Human Resources and Administration –

If an Administrator is reassigned to a position for performance with a lower pay scale, the Administrator’s salary will be adjusted to reflect the new pay scale at the time of the reassignment

This revision is brought forward by Member Griffin.

Member Griffin

  • Asked for help from theSchool Board Attorney.
  • The law that governs school boards makes them responsible for approving salaries.
  • Disagrees that we are crossing the line.
  • We inherited this practice.
  • How many people do we have notin front ofstudents, why?
  • This a good policy for down the road.
  • Good language for future Superintendent.
  • Looking for equity.
  • We can handle tenure on a case-by-case business.

Member Kurdell

  • Not in favor of this revision.
  • This is notour policy.
  • We hire a Superintendent to do the day to day operation of the district.
  • Do we vote on these individually?
  • Position remains the same.
  • We are moving in a direction of seeing that all employees are being evaluated equally.

Member Stuart

  • Agrees with Mrs. Kurdell
  • It is theSuperintendent’s job to hire, fire, and/or place staff. We offer suggestions.
  • We as a board hold the Superintendent accountable.
  • Offered a change of language change, Superintendent may remove a person for reason other than performance.
  • Would like to see a final copy before advertising.

Member Valdes

  • Understands the reason behind this recommendation.
  • We are currently more transparent.
  • How would this be managed in the future?
  • Principals and Assistant Principals are not a part of the union or teacher tenure act.


  • Working with staff and having a crystal clear evaluation ofstaff
  • Some have been evaluated and some not.
  • Must find a position that a person can be successful in and sometimes it’s a lower pay scale.
  • This will not be a standard if it is a performance issue.

Stephanie Woodford

  • Principals and Assistant Principals hired before 2011 are a part of the Teacher Tenure Act
  • Principals and Assistant Principals hired after 2011 are not tenured.
  • Demotion would require supporting documentation
  • Take ownership as aleader when there are concerns with an employee
  • Human Resources has been more involved with underperforming employees over the last two years.
  • Cautioned that we must pay out an annual contact.
  • Non-renominated employees are paid thru the end of the year. This applies to administrators hired before 2011


  • Sees the rational
  • Agrees with Member Kurdell that this "crosses the line”
  • Likes the policy asitis currently written.
  • Make sure we stay within the law.
  • Agreed with the language change that Member Stuart brought forward.
  • Make sure we are consistent in our topic of reassignment. Harris
  • Has mixed feelings
  • Understands why we may want something like this however we could be crossing the line with this policy.
  • Can support with language change


  • This policy would be within the rights of the Board.
  • Today you decide as a board whether this should go forward to a public hearing.
  • Will workwith Stephanie Woodford on language change.
  • The Board will see the amendment two weeks before advertising.


Policy #851.01 – Recess – New Policy – Administration and Academic Support and Federal Programs

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, each school shall provide at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, andunstructured free-play recess each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5 so that there are atleast 10 consecutive minutes of free-play recess per day, except, in limited circumstances, when in the professional judgment of the teacher it is not possible. Scheduling shall be at the discretion of theteacher.

This new policy was brought forward by Member Snively.


  • There is a correction, the 100 minutes should be 50 minutes. There is a recent movement parents would like unstructured recess. (Handout – Orange County Public Schools – Resolution on Recess.
  • Senate Bill 610, proposing unstructured recess died before it reached the floor
  • There is word that this will become law and I would like to see us get ahead of the game.
  • Would appreciate the opportunity for this to go to public comments
  • Appreciates the comments and will be happy to circle back and work with CTA and Connie Milito to have this ready for January 17, and public comments.
  • Wants to hear from the community on this topic.


  • Will work with Connie Milito on Senate Bill 610.


  • Appreciates the idea
  • Wants to make sure we are not duplicating efforts
  • We need to have conversations with administration and the union.
  • Concerned we are asking teachers to cut another 10 minutes out of their day.


  • Shares some of the same concerns as Member Stuart.
  • Where and how will this fit into the school day.
  • Have we talked to CTA and HR?
  • Agrees that children learn thru unstructured play. Social skills are developed.
  • Can we modify Senate Bill 610? If its 90 minutes can we carve out 20 minutes for unstructured play?


  • We need to have conversations since it impacts the teacher day.


  • How are we adhering to these policies that may require conversations with CTA?
  • Are policies being followed?
  • What does the 90 minutes look like?
  • If this policy passes, would like to look at data on discipline and academic achievement.


  • Supportive of unstructured recess.
  • There is a rise in ADD and ADHD once recess was removed.
  • Also recognizes that social and leadership skills are developed during unstructured recess.


  • Agrees children need to express themselves.
  • Convenienced it will help in the classroom.


  • Wellness was an initiative from the Heart Association.
  • This is currently in the School Improvement Plan.


Policy #2260.03 – Racial Equity Policy – New Policy – Office of Diversity, Teaching and Learning, HR, and Administration

This policy was brought forward by Member Valdes

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) students deserve respectful learning environments in which their racial and ethnic diversity is valued and contributes to successful academic outcomes.

This policy confronts the institutional racism that results in predictably lower academic achievement for student of color than for their white peers. Eliminating our district’s institutional racism will increase achievement, including on-time graduation, for ALL students, while narrowing the gaps between the highest and lowest- performing students.

HCPS acknowledges that complex societal and historical factors contribute to the inequity within our school district. Nonetheless, rather than perpetuating the resulting disparities, HCPS must address and overcome thisinequity and institutional racism, providing ALL students with the support and opportunity to succeed.


  • This policy recommends balancing the playing field.
  • Time we have this in our district to afford opportunity to all students.
  • Thought behind creating a strong policy is to show that we recognize we have aproblem and are working to correct it.
  • Training should have started with the board together.


  • Word change on line 71. Change appositive to a positive. This represents your values as a board.
  • This policy doesn’t indicate we admit to having a problem.


  • We have over 60 percent of ourstudents belonging to various diverse programs.
  • It’s time we have stronger language.


  • Completely agrees with this policy.
  • Worried about speaking in specific terms. Could we speak on slightly more generic terms?
  • Change alittle of the language?


  • Concerned about the word racial being used.
  • These are equity issues being addressed.
  • Wants to fully understand how this office will approach this.
  • Would like a workshop on this topic.


  • This policy is critical at this time.
  • Is listening to what the board is saying.
  • Race makes us what we are.
  • As a district we need to be ahead of the curve.
  • We need to ask ourselves, what are we doing to meet the needs of our diverse students?


  • Cautioned the board to be mindful of inclusive and balance that works for all sides.
  • What does racial mean? Black, white?
  • Find a positive way to balance


  • This is a necessary conversation and can’t be "sugar coated”, it can be handled respectfully.
  • It isimportant to know the definition of racial equity, beyond the definition, and how it looks.
  • Need to have a concrete plan.
  • If we rely on policies and say we’ve done our job we are fooling ourselves.
  • Numbers matter however,more importantly is how we work together.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:00am to hold aSpecial Called Board Meeting. The School Board Workshop will reconvene at 12:30pm.

The School Board Workshop was called to order at 2:34pm.

levate Schools – New Policy – Board Recommended – Administration Teaching and Learning,Academic Support, and HR

This Policy was brought forward by Member Edgecomb.

The Board and Superintendent recognize the importance of ensuring all students have equal access to a quality education. Certain schools face unique struggles in ensuring students receive a quality education. To ensure that all students are prepared for life, certain schools will be identified as "Elevate Schools”. The schools identified as Elevate Schools will receive additional support and resources.


  • Making sure all student have access that leads to equity.
  • Establish a criteria to properly identify schools.
  • Provide support tomove schools from this category.
  • It isimportant to have clarity.


  • Concerns  regarding  placing  staff  at  Superintendent’s  discretion.    There needs to  be strong conversation.


  • Nothing in a policy can violate the law or go against contract.


  • There will be conversations with staff and the union before placements happen.
  • This islike when we established Elevate schools.

There was a consensus to move forward with this policy.


Facility Usage – New Policy – Board Recommended – Operations, Administration, Student Services, HR

This Policy was brought forward by Member Snively.

Any person, including students, employees, or any others, when utilizing a multiple-occupancy restroom, locker room, or shower room on Hillsborough county Public Schools property, shall utilize only the facilitycorresponding to that person’s biological sex, as recorded on that person’s original birth certificate.


  • This policy sets in place specific policy regarding bathroom usage.
  • Would like consensus from the board to advertise to the public can have avoice. We can adjust thelanguage if needed.
  • There is confusion at different schools, we need to have clarity.
  • Policy isinline with what we currently have in place.
  • Doesn’t feel it discriminates against anyone.
  • Supreme Court case could take a year or more to settle. Would rather have a policy in place.


  • Opposed to this policy.
  • The District and Superintendent have taken steps to ensure safety and support.
  • Training happened, not sure why schools are confused.
  • Agreed we need to offer clarity to the community.
  • There is not clarity that both sides have been heard.


  • Agrees with Member Stuart.
  • Would like to hear the Supreme Court ruling.


  • We have trained our principals.
  • Everything is verbal nothing written.
  • We should push forwardso the community can speak to this.


  • Suggested a conversation between Member Snively and Mr. Porter regarding the wording of this policy.
  • Before moving forward we need a language change and find a place in the middle.


  • All school districts are dealing with this.
  • There are no policies in place.
  • Supreme Court is going to hear this case, after that we will have more guidance.
  • Create universal bathrooms that can be used by any student.
  • Schools are handling on an individual basis.
  • Superintendent is trying to be sure all students are safe and comply with the May 13, 2016, letter issued with significant guidance.
  • If you want a policy that reflects what we are doing now, this does not reflect what we are currently doing.
  • It is harder to defend this policy than to go with what the Superintendent has in place.
  • We as a district took a stance to protect all children.
  • We have a sound procedure in place.
  • First, identified a universal place.
  • Individual concerns were addressed, as needed. Conversations happened with individual students, parents, and administration


  • Cannot Support.
  • This flies in the face of equity, takes away dignity from students.
  • Wanted to be sure all principals had clarity on this issue.
  • Need to offer clarity to the community, regardless of whether this policy goes forwards or not.


It was decided to not move forward at this time.

Chair Griffin called for a consensus from the board whether or not to move forward. It was decided to not move forward at this time.

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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