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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.

MINUTES
SCHOOL BOARD OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
901 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
Thursday, January 25, 2018

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in Workshop Session Thursday, January 25, 2018, at 1 p.m., in the School Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and Board Members Lynn L. Gray, Sally Harris, Tamara P. Shamburger, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes (arrived 1:13 p.m.) present.  Chair Sally Harris presided.

Board Members absent from today’s workshop were:  April Griffin and Melissa Snively 

Others present:

Board Attorney – James Porter

District Attorney – Jeff Gibson                     

Deputy Superintendent:  Van Ayres

Chief of Schools, Administration:  Harrison Peters

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

      Educational Leadership and Professional Development – Tricia McManus

      Operations – Chris Farkas

      Outreach – Larry Sykes, Ed.D.

      Educational Access, Opportunity, and Alternatives – Wynne Tye

      Teaching and Learning – Debbie Cook

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

Chair Harris called the meeting to order at 1 p.m.

(1)   Presentation about Florida’s Government in the Sunshine and Public Records Law (Communications)

This workshop provided an overview of Florida’s Government in the Sunshine and Public Records Law

Jim Porter introduced Attorney, Mary Helen Farris.  Ms. Farris presented a PowerPoint highlighting Sunshine and Public Records Law.

What is the Sunshine Law?

  • All meetings of any board or commission of a state or county agency, municipal corporation or political subdivision, at which official acts are to be taken.  The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.
  • Sunshine Law is governed by The Florida Constitution, Article I Section 24
  • Florida Sunshine Law, Chapter 286 of the Florida Statute

General Discussion:

  • Two or more members, of the same board or commission, at a formal or casual gathering, discussing a matter on which foreseeable action may be taken.
    • Meetings on state and local levels must be open to the public, reasonable notice given to the public, and minutes taken
  • When established for fact finding or informational only, boards are not subject to the Sunshine Law
  • The Sunshine Law pertains to phone calls, letters, discussion between board member and non-board member when non-member is being used as a liaison
  • Sunshine Law begins upon election or appointment
  • Members having lunch together were cautioned this could raise concerns
  • Advisable for board to have rule about use of phones on dais
  • No secret ballots, ballots must include voting member’s name
  • Intentional violation of Sunshine Law could result in jail time

What is a Public Record?

Section 119.011 (11), Florida Statutes, defines "public records” to include:

  • All documents, regardless of the physical form, characteristics or means of transmission made or received pursuant to law or in ordinance or connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.

General Discussion:

  • A document is a public record unless the legislature has exempted it from disclosure.
  • "Personal” notes designed for one’s own personal use remembering certain things are not public record, however; once the notes are circulated, they become public record.
  • All documents place in a file become public record
  • Text messages using your personal phone is not a violation, however; if you conduct business on your personal phone it is your duty to produce any and all business related text messages.
  • We are not required to create a document; public records requests are to produce information already in existence
  • Ensure all information requested by the requestor is given to them.  They can make as many requests as they want.  You cannot limit number of requests.  You can charge.

(2)   Update District’s Public Records Process

The second part of this workshop provided an update on improvements and revisions to our district’s public records process.

Grayson Kamm, gave an overview of the district’s current public records request process.  He explained the importance of having a public records professional who understands the law and importance of prompt accurate information. 

  • Volume, complexity, and capacity of our team
  • Currently we process approximately 50-60 public records requests per month, up from three years ago when we processed approximately 29 requests per month
  • Staff spends 2-4 hours per day researching and processing requests 
  • The complexity of the requests changed over the last three years
  • Media outreach is suffering due to the lack of capacity in the department
  • A process is in place for the same information requested by multiple agencies and/or citizens

With no further discussion the workshop adjourned at 2:20 p.m.  (Audio recording on file.)

 

 

 

Sally A. Harris, Chair

 

 

 

 

Attest:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Eakins, Superintendent

And Ex-Officio Secretary

 

 

 

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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