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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
Thursday, July 9, 2015

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met for a Special Called Board Meeting Thursday, July 9, 2015, at 11:30 a.m., in the Staff Conference Room, 2ndFloor, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair S. Valdes presided.

Absent:  Carol Kurdell

Others present were:

Board Attorney – James Porter

Chief of Staff – Alberto Vazquez, Ed.D.

Deputy Superintendent –Van Ayres

Chief of Schools – Larry Sykes, Ed.D. - absent

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

      Academic Support and Federal Programs –Tracye Brown

      Administration – Lewis Brinson, Ed.D. - absent

      Business – Gretchen Saunders - absent

      Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest – absent (Leslie Granich and Barbara Hancock)

      Facilities – Chris Farkas

      Governmental Relations – Connie Milito - absent

      Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford

      Information and Technology/Empowering Effective Teachers Grant – Anna Brown, Ed.D.

      Student Services – Wynne Tye

External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja

Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Linda Fernandez

Approximately 15 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Call to Order:  meeting called to order at 11:36 a.m.

Moment of Silence and Pledge of Allegiance:  Moment of silence followed by Vice Chair Edgecomb leading in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag. 

Withdrawn Items - None

Adoption of the Agenda:

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Mrs. Edgecomb, to adopt the agenda.  Motion unanimously carried.

Board – Roll Call:  Chair S. Valdes declared a quorum with six Board Members present.  Carol Kurdell absent.

Approval of Minutes - None

Board Guidelines – Public Comment AnnouncementNot read into the record.

Speakers to Agenda Items - None

Suspended Agenda - None

Teaching and Learning - None

Proclamations - None

Administrative Appointments - None

Recommendations and Reports of Superintendent Requiring Board Approval

1.00 Curriculum and Instruction Division (Denny Oest) – None



2.00 Instructional Support (Wynne Tye) – None



3.00 Student Services and Federal Programs Division (Larry Sykes) - None



4.00 Human Resources Division (Stephanie Woodford) – None


5.00 Information and Technology Division (Anna Brown) – None


6.00 Business Division (Gretchen Saunders) – None


7.00 Facilities Division (Chris Farkas) – None


8.00 Administration Division (Lewis A. Brinson)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None


Approve the 2015/2016 Student Handbook

Superintendent Eakins highlighted the changes being reviewed in the student handbook.  He explained the printing timeline to have the hard copy version ready for print.  There will also be an online version.  There will be an addendum to the handbook by an insert for the final version.  It is his plan to bring the changes to the July 28, school board meeting on July 15, 2015, there will be two stakeholder meetings and the recommendations to be discussed were outlined.  They are reviewing the zero tolerance categories and the state recommended categories.  Feedback from principals, instruction, and community, will come to the July 21, 2015 workshop.  There will also be discussion regarding the Student Bill of Rights. 


  • Could we have information on what is being used elsewhere in other districts regarding the Student Bill of Rights to be shared with the board and the task force?
  • Could we highlight the potential change areas under construction?
  • Could we stipulate a timeline in the scope of the bid for printing?  Bid process has already started.
  • Change We Deliver Excellence to Preparing Students for Life. Consensus.
  • Can the handbook be prepared with a hold on the pages to be changed?
  • Suggested to not go to print until all changes are made.
  • Page 1 – School Improvement Plans –
  • Where is the stakeholder meeting of July 15 and who will attend?  Want to be sure that task force members are present to be able to discuss.  One meeting with administrators and one with stakeholder groups, school and district based instructional personnel, and the task force.  We have to have discussions with the unions to hear their concerns.  Recommendations to be discussed at the scheduled input sessions were part of the task force recommendation. 
  • Asked logistically how we can promote and encourage people to read the handbook.
  • Why was the insert signature card stopped?  Could we create an online acknowledgement?  Could we print an acknowledgement form on the back page?  We currently have that now. 
  • Do we have a Spanish version?  Yes.
  • Discussed the marketing of the handbook.
  • If there are key elements that we want to highlight on school marquees.  For example, fun facts like "did you know” on both marquee and morning show.  Also incorporate in school newsletters.
  • Student Residence form page 11 – need to have language that addresses athletics
  • Page 25 – Willful disobedience – What constitutes "willful disobedience?”
  • Page 29 – Health screenings – We need to broaden this or be more specific.  To include but not limited to – was suggested as wording.
  • Page 37 – section Bullying and the policy. 
  • This is the first time that the student handbook comes before the board for approval.  Will it continue annually?  Yes
  • September 15 workshop will have conversations how student handbook aligns with other documents.
  • What are some of the consideration that we need to hear from staff to better work on this to be more efficient?  Each division has to update their section.  We also have to wait to see what happens with legislation.  We need to have scheduled workshops to allow the board time for discussion.  If we could have by late spring input from the board of what areas need to be reviewed.  September 15, to review principal and student handbook and policies to be sure they are aligned.  Next meeting February or March to discuss changes with a final one in mid-June to printing.  Does the board want to change the September 15 meeting to October 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. to have better information for discussion?  Consensus reached.
  • This would allow for all procedures to be aligned.
  • Board would like to review the principal’s packet.
  • Page 1 – BOLD and HIGHLIGHT in YELLOW – reference to School Improvement Plan.
  • Page 20 – dress code – if we are not going to give consequences, let’s take it out.
  • Page 54 – media center services and resources – add Math Homework Hotline and myOn.
  • Page 64 – Math is done correctly with the averaging.  Make sure the values are correct.  Staff suggested removing it.

Motion by Mrs. Griffin, second by Mrs. Stuart, to deny this recommendation as presented today.  Motion withdrawn.

Motion by Mrs. Griffin, second by Mrs. Harris, to continue this agenda to the July 28 2015, board meeting for final approval.  Motion unanimously carried.


9.00 Unclassified


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None

10.00 Information


Request for Authorization to Proceed  - None

Scheduled Hearings on Policies and/or Business Items - None

Other Business and Board Comments

Chair S. Valdes

  • In light of the tragedy in Charleston, we need to look at our own community and what we have the power to change.  We have an elementary school that is named after Robert E. Lee.  She is asking to bring an agenda item for Tuesday’s board meeting

Motion by Chair S. Valdes, second by Mrs. Griffin, to have board discussion, to possibly rename Robert E. Lee Elementary Magnet School, Barack Obama Elementary Magnet School, to the July 14, 2015, school board meeting.  Motion revised to leave out the name was accepted by second.  Motion carried five to one.


  • Cost involved
  • Process in place to rename a school should be followed
  • Community input is necessary
  • With all due respect to our president – we have some scientists and local citizens that we could honor as well.
  • The next board meeting does not give enough time to gather all the information and input.
  • We need to look at all our schools.
  • Naming a school for people who are living has been a concern. 
  • History should not be erased.

Superintendent’s Comments - None

Adjournmentwith no further business the meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.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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