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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, May 3, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session May 3, 2016, at 1 p.m., in the Staff Conference Room, 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:

General Counsel – Jeff Gibson

School Board Attorney – Jim Porter

Chief of Staff – Alberto Vázquez, Ed.D.

Deputy Superintendent – Van Ayres

Chief of Schools, Administration – Larry Sykes, Ed.D.

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

            Business – Gretchen Saunders

            Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest

Diversity – Lewis Brinson, Ed.D.         

            Government Relations – Connie Milito

            Information and Technology – Anna Brown, Ed.D.

            Student Services – Wynne Tye           

Communications Manager – Jason Pepe, Ed.D.

External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja

Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:

            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol

            Tampa Tribune – Anastacia Dawson                 

Approximately 32 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Griffin called the workshop to order at 1:05 p.m.


Review the Proposed 2016/2017 Student Handbook (Administration Division)


 This workshop was held to review the proposed 2016/2017 Student Handbook.


Tanly Cabrera, Director of Administration, gave a brief introduction of the workshop.


Dr. Anna Brown introduced Sharon Zulli, Manager of Instructional Technology, to discuss changes for the Information and Technology Division to include digital citizenship; cell phone usage; clarity between instructional/personal use  (the Board may need more conversation on discretion with kids/parents staying in touch with each other, as long as not disruptive to classroom)


Tanly Cabrera commented that the Strategic Plan information was updated by Dr. Joe Cochran.


Dr. Pansy Houghton – Compliance Department, commented that she is designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.


For changes to the Administration division – Tanly Cabrera discussed the Student Residency form, which was updated and included in handbook.  Discussion included how the residency form applied with the new law – working with Connie Milito on changes; reproducing the same documents in order to play sports (waiting on changes from Florida High School Athletic Association – FHSAA).


Sharon Morris,  Area Superintendent (Area VII), provided a Power Point presentation and discussed the Code of Student Conduct, and Shay McRae, District Administrator (Student Success Program), discussed the behavior matrix, alignment of incident types, and discipline practices (principals making students aware of the consequences – provide intervention prior to a consequence if possible) 


Denny Oest and Leslie Granich (secondary education) discussed changes for the Curriculum and Instruction Division to include honor course weighting, semester exams, honor graduates, and rank in class for middle school students enrolled in high school credit courses.  Due to changes in legislation, every time we receive technical assistance papers we make changes as we receive them.


Marie Caracciola - Director of School Readiness, and MaryKate Harrison - General Manager of Student Nutrition Services, discussed changes for the Academic Support and Federal Programs Division to include early childhood learning program, primary education preschool services, and meals (free) that children receive.

Holly Saia - Director of Instructional Support, and Maria Russ - Supervisor of School Health Services, discussed changes in the handbook for the Student Services Division to include students in transition (homeless), immunization requirements, and working with undocumented students.


Board members and staff discussed the handbook changes presented, and additional changes/suggestions were made as needed. Chair Griffin thanked all in attendance for the workshop.


Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Budget Workshop (Business Division)


This workshop was a continuation of the morning workshop, which Gretchen Saunders  asked board members to look at list she provided and choose priorities – list included: Student Achievement; Communication; Character Development and Conflict Resolution (Frameworks); Technology; Art & Music; Languages; Life Skills:  Health, etc.; Transportation; Community Partnerships; Salary Schedule Review

General discussion include:

  • Currently, we do not see any new revenue/grants coming in next year
  • Technology (repurposing what we have)
  • Comparison of last year’s list to this list – did those priorities impact the budget the way the Board wanted or need to be left as a priority
  • Difficult to discuss priorities until we know how many more students we will get for next year, and what kind of money we will have.
  • Divisions creating priorities depending on existing budget, anticipating there isn’t any money. 
  • Leveraging partnerships
  • Looking at number of employees retiring this year and new hires (levels of pay changes)


  • Consider audit that is forthcoming and how it’s going to play into our budget, the consultant may see ways for us to be more efficient.


  • Communication, technology, transportation, salary (negotiations) all part of budget discussion.  Look at use of technology (operation side of district) such as board agendas (paper use) – efficient use of the online process.

Gretchen Saunders was complimented on her work with the budget, dealing with more students, health insurance increases, schools needing repair, money going to charter schools, etc.

With no further discussion the workshop adjourned at 3:01 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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