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Sunday, Mar 29, 2015

School board unanimously approves role rearrangements


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BROOKSVILLE - Several school board members switched seats permanently last week.

The board unanimously appointed Gus Guadagnino to replace Matt Foreman as the board's chairman and to take Foreman's position as president of the Hernando County Leasing Corporation.

The board also unanimously appointed board member Dianne Bonfield to assume Guadagnino's former position as vice chairman, and also to serve as vice president of the Leasing Corporation.

John Sweeney recommended Guadagnino and Bonfield for the positions.

"We have a new board chair; let's congratulate Mr. Gus Guadagnino, thank you for your service," school Superintendent Lori Romano said.

The board also unanimously approved Sweeney to be the Hernando County school board's legislative liaison to the Florida School Boards Association's Legislative Committee, and for Foreman to serve as his alternate.

The board later considered a motion to limit school board meetings to once a month, which is the minimum requirement under Florida law.

Board member Cynthia Moore struck down that suggestion in favor of continuing to hold two meetings and workshops a month, with the exception of certain months.

Moore said she objected to holding monthly meetings because one of the school system's challenges has been filling teaching positions, and the process would be delayed further if the board could approve personnel recommendations only once a month.

Currently there are once-monthly meetings in December and January, due to winter break; in March, due to spring break; in July, due to the closing of schools; and in August, due to the opening of schools.

All meetings, including workshops, must be advertised for a minimum of seven days.

"I think the reason this issue came about is we have limited district staff in preparing for the board meetings," Sweeney said. "It really taxes the staff tremendously."

Romano said the district's curriculum department consists of four people.

"It's not just a lean staff issue, either," Romano said. "As a board we're growing and we're spending a lot more time in board workshops, and that whole education piece as we roll out new policies."

She said the board is in the policy development, revision and implementation stage and that it is a two-year process.

"As we go through that process I think it's important we spend additional time in education and board workshop," she said.

Foreman agreed with Romano's recommendation to hold board meetings only once a month as state statute allows, to allow the board additional time for workshops.

"Either way I think we're all going to show up, and do what we've got to do," he said.

The board voted 4-1 to continue holding two meetings and two workshops a month as now scheduled, with the exception of five months out of the year, with only Foreman opposing.

Also at the meeting, Brooksville Elementary and Pine Grove Elementary schools accepted the Five Star Award for the 2012-2013 school year, which the Florida Department of Education and Florida Community Involvement Council provide.

The award is presented annually to schools that have shown exemplary community involvement and is the highest award for community involvement.

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