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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 15, 2019

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in Workshop Session Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 10 a.m., ROSSAC in Conference Room #212D, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and Board Members Steve Cona, Lynn L. Gray, Stacy Hahn, Karen Perez (arrived 10:06 a.m.), and Cindy Stuart (arrived 10:09 a.m.) present.  Steve Cona presided.

Board Members absent from today’s workshop: Tamara Shamburger and Melissa Snively 

Others present:

Board Attorney – James Porter

District Attorney – Jeff Gibson

Chief of Schools – Harrison Peters

Deputy Superintendent, Instructional – Van Ayres

Deputy Superintendent, Operations – Chris Farkas

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

      Academic Support and Federal Programs –Tracye Brown

      Business Services – Gretchen Saunders

      Educational Leadership, Professional Development, and School Transformation – Tricia McManus

      Government Relations – Jason Pepe

      Human Resources – Marie Whelan

      Workforce Connections – Scott Brooks

Media Outreach, Department Manager – Tanya Arja

Sr. Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Kandee King

Tampa Bay Times Reporter – Marlene Sokol

Approximately 20 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Member Cona called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.

Suspended Agenda

Superintendent Eakins reviewed the suspended agenda.  Highlighting the following items:

#6 - School Board Priorities

#7 - Budget update of school hardening, security officers, and mental health funding

Workshop Topics

(1)   Census

This workshop provided the Board with information regarding the 2020 Census.

Superintendent Eakins made brief comments.

Member Gray, requested the workshop, made brief comments and introduced Dr. Norin Dollard, Director of Florida Kids Count and Conchita Canty-Jones, Coordinator, Academic Support and Federal Programs.

Dr. Dollard made brief comments and introduced her committee

  • Count Everyone Once, Only Once and in the Right Place
  • Brief overview of the Census
  • Role of the schools
  • Loss to Florida estimated at $946 per person per year
  • Census is the ten year "Roll Call”
  • Census will be on line for the first time.
  • Hard to count areas
    • Primary
    • Households in 57 census tracts that had low response rates in 2010. 207,000 people lived in those communities in 2013-2017
    • Communities with limited internet or other barriers to completion
    • Engage Migrant population
    • Secondary
    • All other Hillsborough County residents
  • Who typically is not counted?
    • Complex households, blended and multi-generational families or non-relatives
    • Cultural and linguistic minorities
    • Displaced by disaster
    • Poverty
    • Multi-unit and rental properties
    • Un-document immigrants
    • Very young children
    • Move frequently
    • Less than high school education
  • Why involve the schools
    • Connection home, community and school
    • Schools, their faculty and staff are trusted community voices and we need them to ensure a maximum count
    • Census research shows that people who are likely to complete the census
      • Feed schools, childcare, and job training are important
      • Feed the most important reason to respond to the census was to determine funding for their community
  • Timeline          
    • April 1 is the "big day”
  • HCPS Communications’ Recommendations
    • One page fact sheet for School Board members
    • Email families and staff in English and Spanish on the importance of the census
    • Begin advertising in January 2020
    • Co-branding the census with attendance counts/initiative
  • Recommendations
    • Educate constituents
    • Engage Principals, Head Start Directors, area Superintendents with newsletter, social media, and phone calls


  • Paper and pencil reporting is still available
  • Have a day dedicated day at Community Schools, public libraries, and across the county for those needing assistance with completing the Census
  • Schools need the maximum census count because it establishes the funding allocation for the next ten years.
  • District will communicate the importance of completing the census to parents
  • Census drives funding
    • Private school received funds from census counts
  • Those who do not trust the government are afraid to submit the census information
    • Fear of deportation

 (2)   Medicaid

This workshop updated the Board on Medicaid best practices, audits, revenue, and expenses.   

Superintendent Eakins made brief comments.

Member Perez made brief comments

Gretchen Saunders, Chief Business Officer, Susan Garcia, Verna Hurley-Long, and Diana Fitzgerald

All School districts are eligible to participate in the certified school match program. Charter and lab schools may participate if their contracts with their school districts indicate such. Private schools are not eligible to participate.

There are three options available to receive reimbursement for services provided to Medicaid eligible students.

  • Use Medicaid providers in the community to serve Medicaid students.  Community provider bills Medicaid directly and the school district finances the non-Medicaid students’ care.
  • Use county health departments or other public health agencies to serve Medicaid students. County Health Department bills Medicaid directly for Medicaid students.
  • Enroll as a Medicaid provider to service Medicaid students. The school district bills Medicaid for the Medicaid students’ services.
  • School districts who enroll as a Medicaid provider to service Medicaid students will bill Medicaid for the Medicaid students’ services.
  • School Districts choosing to enroll as a Medicaid provider for any service, will be required to follow the policies in the certified school match handbook, under tab "C”.
  • Providers must meet the Medicaid provider qualifications in order to bill Medicaid. School District must sign an agreement with Medicaid attesting staff meets the qualifications.
  • Medicaid is funded by state and federal funds. 
  • School districts participating as a provider must "certify” quarterly that they have used non-federal education funds for health care services as the state share.  Medicaid will reimburse the district the federal share of its payment for the health care service.  This unique reimbursement method is termed "certified match reimbursement.”


  • Not all services are billable
  • Properly train employees to use system
  • Forecast – what can we look forward to with accelify?
  • Will accelify help us recoup more money in claims?
  • Transportation and Counselors are scheduled for training the first of November
  • The Board would like to see a timeline of implementation
  • Is there someone at the school site who can review these reports for accuracy?
  • Is there a coordinator for the Medicaid billing at each school?
  • Accelify provides a one stop shop

With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 11:36 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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