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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, October 11, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session October 11, 2016, at 9 a.m., in the Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol Kurdell, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair Griffin presided.

Others present:

School Board Attorney – Jim Porter

Chief of Staff – Alberto Vázquez, Ed.D.

Chief of Schools, Administration – Harrison Peters

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

            Academic Support and Federal Programs – Tracye Brown

            Business – Gretchen Saunders

            Diversity – Minerva Spanner-Morrow   

            Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford

            Leadership and Professional Development – Tricia McManus

            Operations – Chris Farkas

            Student Services – Wynne Tye

            Teaching and Learning – Elizabeth Agresta             

Chief Community Relations Officer – T.G. Taylor

Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:

            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol                                        

Approximately 33 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Vice Chair Stuart called the workshop to order at 9:02 a.m.


Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Operational Efficiency Audit Report – Phase II












This workshop was held to provide information on Phase II of the Operational Efficiency Audit Report, and provide an update on the implementation of Phase I.

Superintendent Eakins made brief remarks regarding the Operational Efficiency Audit Report.

Greg Gibson, Project Director – Gibson Consulting Group, introduced Project Manager – Cheyanne Rolf.   Mr. Gibson provided a Power Point presentation on Phase II of the Operational Efficiency Audit) – he discussed:

  • Project Overview of the audit’s three phases: 
    • Phase I:  Major Cost Savings
    • Phase II:  Operational Audit (October 2016)
    • Phase III:  Academic Program Audit (February 2017)
  • Phase I identified $99 million in potential annual savings opportunities in areas of clerical and custodial staffing, transportation, and management of pupil-teacher ratio.
  • Phase II:
    • Objectives – Identify best practices, additional savings opportunities, opportunities to improve efficiency/effectiveness, and needed investments.
    • Scope – Organization and management; financial management/procurement; human resources management; technology management; transportation management (transportation basically done during Phase I work); and facilities management.
    • Approach – Data collection and analysis; April 2016 site work, which included interviews, focus groups, and school visits; findings and recommendations.
    • Background – General fund expenditures per student dropped in 2015-16 due to cost control efforts – general fund balances have stabilized; overall lower staffing efficiency compared to peer districts (Duval, Palm Beach, Orange, Pinellas).
    • Results – Fifty-five recommendations to improve efficiency and management effectiveness in operational areas; identified additional savings opportunities; investments recommended; net annual savings upon implementation = $46.9 million.
    • Best Practices – Strong Strategic Plan and process; efficient procurement card program (one of the best); efficiency E-payables process for paying vendors; creative and effective teacher recruitment plan; PATH alternative certification program for ESE teachers.
    • Major Themes – Senior management job descriptions need to meet technical qualifications (certifications) specific to the job; implement division and department level performance measures; maximize use of existing technology to streamline processes; proceed with prior consult recommendation to upgrade information systems.
    • Board Governance  – Options for consideration to improve board meeting efficiency: Timed agendas for regular board meetings; elimination of paper board packets; adopt formal "way of work” guidelines; consider board committees; consider Florida Master Board Certification program; establish presentation guidelines, training, and tools to help efficiency; expand the scope of internal audit function.
    • District Administration – Develop decision-making framework for central office, area offices, and schools; develop regulations for all policy areas; develop guidelines for all district organizational charts; increase use of complaint tracking system.
    • Financial Management – Change account codes to support more effective cost control and reporting; document new budget procedures; state report on budget – provide supplemental presentation at beginning of year when budget adopted; increase use of procurement and accounts payable systems; realign the creation of vendors on accounts payable system; purchase timekeeping software to streamline time reporting.
    • Human Resources Management  – Improvements have been made (reorganize HR Division), but still need reengineered HR processes; consider self-funded health insurance program; conduct dependent eligibility audit every three/four years.
    • Technology Management – Gibson assessed implementation status of 2013 Information Technology (IT) Study – major areas of progress:  data warehouse, division reorganization, establish IT councils, communication of service level agreements; overall 48 percent of the previous study recommendations completed; major areas of focus:  adopting new IT service model, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) upgrade; project management office.
    • Transportation Management - Majority of recommendations were in Phase I report; reduce spare bus ratio; build additional bus barns.
    • Facilities Management - Space utilization improved drastically over past 20 years; spend 28 percent less per square foot on maintenance than recommended state average; major recommendations: enhance preventive maintenance program; phaseout multi-trades workers; implement additional energy conservation measures; streamline processes.




Dr. Vázquez provided a Power Point presentation providing a district summary of the audit – he discussed:

  • The district’s mission drives the budget; various variables have put strain on budget that cannot continue; focus efforts on solution-driven answers to address financial challenges, save jobs, create student achievement.
  • Phase I recommendations – Four areas for major cost savings were identified for a total of $98.3 million in potential General Fund savings annually.  Action steps for all four areas included communication, analysis, roll-out, and cost savings.
  • Instructional Resource Allocations to Schools ($66.2 million) – State law allows schools of choice flexibility when implementing class size and this maximizes revenue, as well as allows flexibility in staff for students. 
  • Clerical staffing ($6.1 million) – Staffing for clerical was reviewed and realigned to the formula to save dollars.  Gibson recommended action included utilizing voicemail systems more widely, reduce manual processes, and modify clerical job descriptions in order to reflect technology developments. As we continue this recommendation, estimate another $13 million savings in the next three years.
  • Custodial Staffing ($10.4 million) – Revenue will be maximized by modifying our staffing formula to more accurately reflect industry standards for productivity. 
  • Transportation ($15.6 million) - Six opportunities exist to achieve cost savings in transportation, some of which may require union contract negotiations.  Opportunities include:  implement a timekeeping system for bus drivers; increase the staggering of bell schedules; phaseout courtesy busing for secondary students; reduce bus driver absenteeism; reduce overtime expenses for bus driver and vehicle maintenance staff; require school buses to be parked at HCPS facilities.
  • Current projects include:
    • District hiring freeze
    • Dashboard to update the Board on initiatives
    • Less use of paper and moving towards a paperless district
    • Making use of technology (maximize use)
    • Revisiting contracts
    • Putting controls on areas such as overtime, purchasing, and travel
    • Currently working on a comprehensive fiscal realignment plan – build on these initiatives


There was general discussion to include:


  • Communication essential – communicate audit efficiency report and district plans to employees via various methods.  An Email address and an "800” number will be establish for people to provide feedback, ask questions, and share their suggestions. Use of social media, website, and video tape messages; engage everyone around us.


  • Discussions have been held with principals regarding budget, choices moving forward, understanding the steps and challenges involved.  Make sure principals are sharing information with their staff (teachers, custodians, etc.) and information is accurate.


  • Empower principals to make decisions at their schools; give them the tools and resources needed, not micro-manage them.
  • We have employees who are permanent, temporary, and people we call "as needed.”  Temporary positions may be lost – try to go through this process so there is no permanent employee job loss (may be realignment).
  • In reference to job descriptions, salary studies, competitive salaries, not sure if Gibson has had time to look at HRMD (Human Resources Management and Development) process.
  • Try to find way to capture employee time (particularly in transportation) – transportation routing and planning a problem.  Propane buses not being used efficiently.


  • Appreciate that Gibson Consulting recognizes our best practices in place.
  • Technology needs to be looked at and improved.
  • Transportation and maintenance moving forward to save money.
  • Have to look at courtesy busing.


  • Custodial recommendations have not been implemented – we will look at areas – 2017/2018 will probably be a benchmark year, hope to be able to establish a timeline.


  • Try to get to positive revenue producing, so we are not constantly in belt-tightening position.  Part of the first phase deals with Human Resources, which will be the biggest savings (attrition without layoffs); cannot plan on legislature (Tallahassee).


  • Is there a place in the audit that relates to students getting to 90 percent graduation rate within the next four years?  Phase III – Academic Program Audit, as well as the Strategic Plan. In addition, we have great teachers in front of students, and great leaders in schools.


  • Staggering bell times may have too many factors involved.
  • T.G. Taylor will provide a communication plan "talking points.”


  • Our focus will always be what is best for our students. 


Gibson Consulting commented they were very impressed with what this school district has done so far – doing the right things and what’s best for this district (through attrition). District doesn’t appear to be picking or choosing recommendations.  Impressed with capacity/commitment to move forward.  Communication critical – direct impact on the success and pace of the recommendations; school system’s ability to internalize this process and not become a study every few years will help in the long run approve efficiency.


 Board members thanked Mr. Gibson, Superintendent Eakins, and Dr. Vázquez

With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 11:06 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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