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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, July 12, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in Workshop Session Tuesday, July 12, 2016, at 9 a.m., in the School Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol W. Kurdell, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair April Griffin presided. 

Others present were: 

Board Attorney – James Porter                          

Chief of Staff:  Alberto Vazquez, Ed.D.
Deputy Superintendent:  Van Ayres
Chief of Schools, Administration:  Larry Sykes, Ed.D. 

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:
      Academic Support and Federal Programs –Tracye Brown
      Business – Gretchen Saunders      Diversity – Lewis Brinson, Ed.D. - absent
      Educational Leadership and Professional Development – Tricia McManus
      Governmental Relations – Connie Milito
      Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford
      Operations – Chris Farkas
      Student Services – Wynne Tye
      Teaching and Learning – Elizabeth Agresta 

Chief Community Relations Officer – T.G. Taylor
External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja
Superintendent’s Secretary (Recording) – Linda Fernandez 

News Media Representatives:
      Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol 

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

Call to Order:  Chair Griffin called the meeting called to order at 9:05 a.m.

Board – Roll Call:  Chair Griffin declared a quorum with all Board Members present. 



Review of the Fiscal Year 2016/2017 General Fund Financials (Business Services Division)


Superintendent Eakins briefly outlined the process of the workshop. 

Gretchen Saunders said at the July 19, 2016, school board meeting the tentative budget will be presented.  

1)     Increase revenues (all funds)
2)     Decrease expenditures (all funds)
Acronyms used in the budget:
1)     FEFP – Florida Education Finance Program
2)     BSA – Base Student Allocation
3)     DCD – District Cost Differential
4)     UFTE – Unweighted Full-Time Equivalent
5)     WFTE – Weighted Full-Time Equivalent
6)     F/State Federal through State
7)     BFB – Beginning Fund Balance 

The board participated in a "Table Top Exercise” on how to compute generated expenses for a particular classroom. 


  • How will hiring of teachers be equitable across the district?  Most of our hiring is done at the site level.  We are working with Human Resources (HR) to become more equitable and have the best teachers in front of our students.  HR is reviewing applications as they come in to place high quality teachers in our high needs schools.
  • What are the implications when there are variances in elective classes?  Funding can have an impact on quality versus options versus opportunities.  Core classes per class size amendment have to be 22 for middle schools.  When you have an employee that is not in front of students it is a cost to the district.  We are talking about systems of support in our classroom.  All of our funding sources have to be discussed when making budget decisions.
  • What is our retention rate with teachers?  That information will be provided to the board. 
  • When placing teachers in high needs schools we are reviewing their experience in the field and we are working with intern placement to have interns placed strategically in our high needs schools so they will be prepared to enter the teaching field.
  • Asked for a breakdown in our high needs schools to be able to address the efforts we can put in place to support those schools.  Also include race ethnicities.
  • Each school has a strategic objective they strive to meet.
  • Mentors were crucial in increasing retention rates.  How are additional dollars impacting the budget?  Begin with base funding then special services, Title I, etc. are added. 
  • Asked MaryKate Harrison to continue the communication for students to apply for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
  • There are five budget calculations that come from the state.  What you start out with may not be what you end up with.
  • When talking about weights – in middle school it levels out.  We are focused in elementary and high school but losing in middle school.  This board wants more emphasis at the middle school level.  Asked Connie Milito to bring that up in Tallahassee.
  • Exit and entrance interviews – are we tracking students who leave and then come back.  If a student enters, leaves, and returns there are modified budget calculations. 
  • Florida Virtual versus Hillsborough Virtual – Florida Virtual spends more dollars in marketing.  How can we improve our marketing?  We have to make sure that parents know there are options.  We do have to let our principals, schools, and guidance departments make the parents aware of the offerings.
  • Area Superintendent’s will receive a budget for their area and school receive a budget for their schools.  How will we track students who move from area to area and the dollars attached?  That will be a work in progress.  It is one of the table top exercises we are doing with principals now.  After following all the laws, what do the principals feel affect allocations.  If we have students leaving certain schools there has to be an accountability aspect as it relates to the budget.  Stability of student population is important for the success of the school.  It is important that schools keep their students.  Schools are budged for non-salary items and from student enrollment from the previous year.
  • There is disparity at ESE Centers with different levels of student needs.  (Equipment, facility, etc.).  How can we ensure they have the best of the best?  This is specifically addressing IDEA funding.  We need to find a way to update equipment and continue to advocate.  We do not have control of the dollars that effect infrastructure.  That is a continued priority for us. 
  • How do we produce the best schools so people want to stay in our schools? 
  • We have to bring our "A” game to the forefront at every single level.  Customer service is important.


Gretchen Saunders explained how the budget is calculated. The difference in formulas as shown in the presentation is dependent on locally generated dollars.  Also federal buildings do not generate local dollars.  Hillsborough County has an Air Force Base and numerous federal buildings that do not generate local dollars.  Student growth in the last two years is approximately 8,000 new students.

  • Potential funding per UFTE (Increase of $71.16 per student).  An increase from last year of $64.93.
  • FEFP – First Calculation (WFTE) increase of students 20,460.43
  • The funding numbers change as each calculation is presented.
  • Required Expenditures of Revenue - where the dollars go – Student Growth, Charter School Growth, Extra Hour of Instruction, Florida Retirement System, and Digital Classroom.


  • What is the number of schools with additional one hour of instruction and the cost associated with class time and transportation.
  • Are we utilizing dollars most effectively as it relates to reading?  We should have local control on these issues.  We are hurting the very students we are trying to help.
  • Asked for data from the last five years on the extra hour of instruction.  We may not have five years but we will share information we have on record.
    • How much have we spent? 
    • How many students have been impacted?  
    • What have the outcomes been?  
    • How we would do it differently.   
  • Try to get other districts to come on board with us to change this mandate from the state back to local control.
  • What reading programs being used in the 38 schools? 
  • We have done a deep dive in our curriculum to increase graduation.  What have we done and where are we going?  If the data is showing us that it is not working then we have to move on. 

Gretchen Saunders compared fiscal year revenue between FY15/16 and FY16/17. 

  • Fiscal Timeline - snapshot
    1)  July – Tentative Budget 
    2)  August – First Public Hearing
    3)  September – Second Public Hearing
    4)  October – Survey 2, student count
  • Fiscal Challenges
    1)  Unplanned Expenditures
    2)  Revenue proration from State
    3)  Equitable compensation package
    4)  Capital needs
    5)  Rapidly changing demographics
  • Priorities
    1)  Student Learning
    2)  Talent Management
    3)  Communications with Stakeholders
    4)  Financial Stewardship
  • Establish Accountability
    1)  Monthly divisional budget review
    2)  Monthly reports to school board
    3)  Quarterly budget review committee
    4)  Continued focus
  • Action Plan
    1)  Weekly financial review
    2)  Cost savings and reductions
    3)  Revenue growth – all funds
    4)  Efficiency study implementation
    5)  Table top exercise with Principals
  • Directional Fiscal Focus
    1)  Financial position
    2)  Student performance
    3)  Key Performance Indicators
    4)  State Mandates
    5)  Rating Agency review
  • Presented the tentative budget preview that will be coming to the next board meeting.
  • Items to consider:
    1)  School Boundary Changes/Updates
    2)  Capital Outlay Referendum
    3)  Instructional program review
    4)  Add additional phases to efficiency review



  • What is the status on a possible RFP for boundaries?
  • Need to have a discussion regarding a Capital Outlay referendum.  Before we can ask for money we have to be sure that our financial information is in order. 
  • Reduction of Personnel (RIP) is the easiest way to fix a budget. 
  • Have we reassigned peers and mentors back into the classroom and what is the total dollars?  Comparison from last year to this year. 
  • Looking forward to the Gibson Report and have to act on the recommendations of the consultant.
  • EPIC that is going to replace ATOSS.  How will that effect the budget numbers as we put students back into our sites? 
  • When will we get a financial picture?  We can only give you tentative information because we do not have the tax roll information. 
  • Have we discussed building code changes?  Wants equity with charter schools when it comes to building codes.  Yes, we have.  We are asking for flexibility from the educational requirements but we have to keep within the Florida Building Codes. 
  • How much of the Gibson Report are we going to implement on this budget cycle? Superintendent Eakins said we are working on an implementation plan.  Some of the things we have already done are completely in motion – such as units.  Overall strategy for 16/17 will be presented to the board.  Capital Outlay Referendum cannot be discussed until you show that you have all your finances in order.  He thanked Gretchen and her staff for the work they have been doing and continue to do working with our budget. 
  • What are we doing to get suggestions from frontline employees? 
  • Suggested a bonus incentive plan for successfully implemented suggestions.
  • Requested an audit of Administrators and Principals on Special Assignment.  They need to be put back in a school.
  • "Items to Consider,” all of these items seem to address operational issues.  We have to look more at students.  How are the operational items effecting our instructional programs?

Other Topics: 

Vice Chair Stuart welcomed Elizabeth Agresta to her first School Board Workshop. 

Adjournment – with no further business the meeting was adjourned at 11:11 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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