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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, September 22, 2015

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session September 22, 2015, 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, Carol Kurdell, Sally Harris, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair Valdes presided.

Others present:

General Counsel – Jeff Gibson
School Board Attorney – Jim Porter

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

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:
            Academic Support and Federal Programs – Tracye Brown
            Business – Gretchen Saunders
            Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest
            Diversity – Lewis Brinson, Ed.D.  
            Facilities – Chris Farkas
            Government Relations – Connie Milito
            Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford
            Information and Technology – Anna Brown, Ed.D.
            Student Services – Wynne Tye

Communications Manager – Jason Pepe, Ed.D.
External Communications Manager – Tonya Arja
Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:
            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol
            Tampa Tribune – Anastasia Dawson
            ABC Action News
            Bay News 9
            Channel 8
            Channel 10     
            Fox 13

Approximately 39 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Valdes called the workshop to order at 9:01 a.m.


Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budget Workshop (Business Division)


This workshop was held to discuss current budget impact items.  Phase 1 to include budget corrections, and an overview of Phase 2 – FY 2017 to review contracts, analyzing payroll units and vacancies, grant sustainability, and instructional program reviews.


Superintendent Eakins provided a Power Point presentation discussing strategies in building a strong budget; overview of two-year expenditures; internal controls; salary and benefits (recurring costs); Revenue vs. Expenses; expenditure comparison; and fund balance (2014-2015); Phase 1 (2015-2016) and Phase 2 (2016-2017) – new revenue, current cost savings and additional cost savings projections, salary check; district hiring freeze/90-day lapse.  

There was general discussion to include:


  • Timing of reorganization; addressing strategic priorities, but moving a little slower. 
  • Reviewing all contracts, grants (rationale and sustainability); looking at programs used in the district – return on investment; trends for projections (maybe five years out).
  • Cost in state testing (ramifications for doing our own state testing) – workshop suggested.
  • Teacher opt-in for new salary schedule (negotiations); payment of advanced degrees (new language)
  • T-Payrolls; Substitutes – evaluating the return on investment using Kelly Services – over 90 percent fill rate with certified teachers, as well as less T-Payrolls.
  • Looking at positions/people currently in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)
  • Efficiencies being placed across divisions; look at courtesies we offer (we do not receive FTE for courtesy bus transportation – safety issues taken into consideration).  Looking at contracting an auditor to look at more efficiencies – board item scheduled for September 29, 2015.
  • Cost of HART transporting students (daily bus passes).
  • Employee benefits (insurance increase) – we currently offer our employees a no fee insurance option – hope to maintain, do not want to see this change. 
  • Sustainability of peer mentors – are they returning to classroom or moving into another capacity. 
  • Next bus purchase coming before the Board September 29, 2015 (takes about eight months for delivery). Funding approved for new server – Anna will provide specifics.
  • Revising "financial impact” section of board agenda item – revised template forthcoming (late November).


The workshop adjourned at 11:02 a.m. and reconvened at 1:03 p.m. Member Kurdell was unable to return, and Members Griffin and Stewart were currently attending another meeting, but scheduled to return to the workshop as soon as possible.


General discussion continued – budget updates will be provided on a regular basis in Friday Reports and/or Suspended Agenda. Superintendent Eakins summarized that moving forward was about ongoing best practices, how we go about the operation side of the house, and how it works for kids every day.  This review is due to challenges we are facing, but it’s an opportunity for a thorough review of everything in our district, which is ultimately driven by our students.  Realign resources, staffing, etc.; programs analyzed for financial feasibility (be the very best stewards of our dollars).

The Board Members commended Superintendent Eakins on being open and transparent going forward.


District Revenue/Advertising (Business and Operations Divisions)


This workshop was held to review revenue-generating ideas that involve advertising.  This includes our sports fields, electronic billboards, and school space.


Superintendent Eakins made brief remarks on the Board having conversation on revenue-generating opportunities.


Gretchen Saunders commented on the advertising information Member Stuart received from Orange County Public Schools. 


Chris Farkas discussed vendors approaching the district to advertise.


There was general discussion to include interest in hearing from someone in Orange County on how they crafted their advertising program – where they started, how they moved forward, what they felt was acceptable or unacceptable, how they decided what was going to be the district’s advertising portion and what was the school’s advertising.   Make sure everyone is following the same rules (i.e. Athletics); being equitable – opportunity for revenue.


Mr. Porter discussed legal ramifications, policy issues – will require more research – possible workshop or come back as an agenda item in November for further discussion.

With no further discussion the workshop adjourned at 2:46 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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