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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, June 14, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session June 14, 2016, at 9 a.m., in the Board Auditorium, 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 Griffin presided.

Members Absent:  Carol Kurdell

Others present:

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:

            Academic Support and Federal Programs – Tracye Brown

            Business – Gretchen Saunders

            Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest

Diversity – Lewis Brinson, Ed.D.         

            Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford

            Information and Technology – Anna Brown, Ed.D.

            Student Services – Wynne Tye

Chief Community Relations Officer – T.G. Taylor

External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja

Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:

            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol                               

Approximately 21 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Griffin called the workshop to order at 9:07 a.m., noting that Member Kurdell was absent.


Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Budget (Business Division)


This workshop was held to provide an update on the School Resource Officers 2016 COPS Grant from Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office; Operational Efficiency Audit Report (Phase I); and FY 2017 financial picture.


Chair Griffin made brief remarks regarding the workshop.




School Resource Officers 2016 COPS Grant

Chief John Newman discussed the School Resource Officers 2016 COPS Grant – the Sheriff’s Office is not moving forward with the grant at this time, they have about three weeks should they change their mind.


Operational Efficiency Audit (Phase I)

Superintendent Eakins made brief remarks regarding the Operational Efficiency Audit report. 


Greg Gibson, Project Director – Gibson Consulting Group, introduced Ali Taylan – Lead Technology Consultant, and Linda Cherrington – Lead Transportation Consultant, for the audit. 

Mr. Gibson provided a Power Point presentation of the Phase I results to include project overview, major cost savings opportunities, and Phase II status.  Mr. Gibson, Mr. Taylan, and Ms. Cherrington discussed:


  • Three phases to the audit:  1) Major Cost Savings; 2) Operational Audit (September 2016); and 3) Academic Program Audit (February 2017)
  • Phase I Objectives:  Identifying savings opportunities in time for consideration in FY 2016-17 budget; focus only on those opportunities having potential General Fund savings greater than $1 million a year.
  • Major cost savings opportunities include clerical staff; custodial services; instructional resource allocations, and transportation.

    o    Clerical Staff:  Includes Secretaries, Clerks, Clerks/Typists, Bookkeepers, and Data Entry Operators – Except for small elementary schools, school clerical staffing formulas appropriate given current technologies used; 29 percent of clerical staff are in central office. Factors contributing to current staff levels include voicemail systems underutilized; manual paper-intensive processes exist; and job descriptions/activities have not kept pace with technology developments.

    o    Custodial Services:  Custodial productivity below industry standards – implementation strategies to ensure success include: centralize management; standardize work schedules, standardize cleaning frequencies and procedures; purchase efficient equipment; increase custodial substitute pool.

    o    Instructional Resource Allocations:  HCPS pupil-teacher ratios compared to Florida peers; state definition of teacher applied to support comparability; the lower the pupil-teacher ratio the more teachers relative to the student population; HCPS board policy dictates compliance with state class size limits – state law recently changed to support more efficient scheduling.  Potential factors contributing to variances include: Scheduling efficiency; degree of virtual learning; teacher planning period time; Exceptional Student Education (ESE) population percentage; other specialized programs having smaller class sizes

    o    Transportation:   Implement timekeeping system; Increase time between bell schedules; phase out courtesy transportation for secondary students; reduce absenteeism / overtime; require buses to be parked at HCPS facilities or designated district site; otherwise wasted time for drivers, mechanics, etc., in addition to being a liability

  • The following counties were used as a comparison to Hillsborough:  Palm Beach, Pinellas, Orange, and Duval. 
  • Recommendations included:
    • Reduce clerical positions (two-year implementation) - $6.1 million savings
    • Change custodial staffing formula and management approach - $10.5 million savings
    • Increase efficiency of teacher scheduling (three-year implementation) - $66.2 million savings
    • Implement transportation recommendations - $15.5 million savings
    • Total of $98.3 million annual savings upon full implementation.
  •  Implementation considerations:  Phase-in, attrition, and savings net of needed investments
  • Class size amendment is now based on school level, not by actual class size


Mr. Gibson discussed the Phase II Status – site visit conducted in April 2016, analysis underway, return in September to provide results.


There was general discussion to include:


  • Custodians:  Day/night productivity; safety concerns for working at night; centralized management; zone supervisors; school events/use of facilities; small substitute custodial pool (no succession plan).
  • Class size – ESE classrooms / this district worked hard to follow the Class Size Amendment (time/energy/dollars)
  • Look into automated payroll
  • Timekeeping for transportation and other areas (provide updates as we move forward with the budget)


  • Transportation:  Phasing out some routes; changes to bell times; audit at this time did not include ESE transportation – volume large and continues to increase; courtesy busing (safety issues, effect on parents/communities); does courtesy busing keep children in our schools (consider survey);  consider rezoning boundaries for the entire district (remember areas that have been rezoned numerous times)


  • Centralized management: We have centralized mowing, but not custodial (provide cost analysis for outsourcing lawn maintenance)


  • Teachers/administrators on special assignments (why are people on special assignment)
  • Management, accountability, training, use of data, quality of service – find better and more efficient way of meeting needs of kid – pushing more of our resources towards schools; address some of the issues in Strategic Plan.
  • Collaboration with unions (contractual issues)
  • Developing a clear communication plan to employees, board members, and community is critical.


The Board looks forward to hearing staff recommendations and to Phase II of the audit.  Meet individually with school board members before taking action. This report discovered some things, validated what was already known, and made recommendations – it is not an action plan, it is a guide.  We need to look at things more effectively and efficiently – applaud the Superintendent for looking at this and appreciates the effort.

Chair Griffin noted (for the record) that we are not laying off 1,700 employees – employees already stressed and this just adds to it (she hope this message reaches the public).

Superintendent Eakins discussed not looking at layoffs, but looking at how to be efficient as possible. Attrition is always a way to look at better efficiency; look at units (fill position, or is there another way to do better, which we already do). Gibson Consulting has given us recommendations so we know what to look at to be the best district in this nation.  Staff will come back with strategies (initial recommendations) to discuss with the Board by end of July.  Do not want to be disruptive to school sites, etc.; some of these strategies we can begin, however, this is a long-term plan.


FY 2016-2017 Budget Year

Gretchen Saunders discussed:

  • The need to be efficient and effective
  • Working with each divisions’ budgets, and what drives our budget (salaries, employee benefits, purchased services, energy services, materials and supplies, capital expenses, other expenses, transfers) – Strategic Plan tied to our budget
  • Revenue overview (general fund) – we have only grown 3 percent (2012-2016/2017)
  • Expenditures – Goal is to put money back into the classroom
  • Shortfall in categorical


  • Budget schedule:  July 1, 2016 – September 6, 2016
  • Base student allocation from 2013-2017 - $4,160.71
  • Unweighted/weighted FTE student counts
  • General fund revenue:
    • Local dollars from June 2013 ($402,748,407 to July 2017 ($454,548,071)
    • State dollars from June 2013 ($862,582,181) to July 2017 ($1,054,795,672)


There was general discussion to include:


  • What does it cost the district when we have an influx of students


  • We no longer have AAA rating status – rating needs to be back to AAA -- what is it costing us by not having this rating.


  • All lottery money taken away (state took to balance fourth calculation)


  • PECO dollars not coming to the district, being diverted elsewhere


  • Next budget workshop will probably be held sometime in July


  • Consider adding Gibson report information as a continuous board information item (separate from suspended agenda)


Chair Griffin thanked everyone for the workshop.  With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 11:07 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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