Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Public Information Request: You Can All Do the Same lee

Ms. Cobbe:

The Alafia principal rescue situation is different and expensive. The Tribune says so. It quotes the Smith mentor cost at $340 a day; it quotes the Eckerd seminars for both Smith and her vice principal as $4500 each.

And Steve Hegarty waxes fulsome in his description of other things the district does to rescue a failing principals like such as workshops, etc. He says the administration has been doing the rescue regimen in the other cases cited—three or four--in the Tribune like this in the past year. I want the tabs on those cases he cites as well as those of Alafia Elementary.

All these principal-rescue efforts by the administration must have collations of cost in the schools' finance department. The schools can’t spend tax money without logging it in to its financial records. Those are the figures I want.

If only the Professional Standards department deals with the teachers and other non-administrative personnel with no special efforts or extra-money outlay to redeem them as in the administration cases to rescue teachers and other non-administrative personnel, then I can see that summary discipline and short-shrift firing of teachers and staff are cheap. But the elaborate rescuing efforts for administrators is pricey. This is the kind of finance statement taxpayers like to have just as they wanted to have the travel expenses of the board members. Everybody understands money.

The administration rescues have different spending patterns which feature large outlays of tax money’s being no object when it comes to rehabilitating an administrator, but the board and Ms. Elia will not spend a cent on erring teachers or other such as what the board and administration consider peripheral staff members.

The leadership ethos behind this practice says that administrators are important enough to spend lots of tax money on to rehabilitate but that the proletariat comprised of teachers and other staff people are not worth the money.

Citizens are always concerned about how the government spends their tax money, and these principal-rescue efforts by the administration are apparently pricey. Steve says so in the Tribune.

You recall what a racket was made in the public when the Tribune published the astonishing amounts the Board members were spending on so-called school-business trips.

There was a blow-up both in the public and on the board.

Dueling spendthrifts on the board sniped at each other because of these revelations of trip extravagance. Ms. Valdes blew through $50,000 in a year while Candy Olson treated herself to a trip to Alaska. None of the board members was frugal—not with fungible tax money. It was hail, hail, the gang’s all here mode for them when it came to running through piles of tax money meant for the schools, not posh hotels and airline tickets to fun destinations for board members. None deserves more than a thousand dollars a year of tax money for board trips. A thousand dollars will cover that yearly board-gathering hoedown in California that is a country-wide rip-off of taxpayers.

Chair Falliero threatened to eject Member April recently. Member April had no better sense--although she apparently piques herself on her diplomacy skills—than to ask for an exception to the newly minted board-travel rules so that she could go larking off to one of those putative board seminars that feature epiphanies that covert a board attendee into a member of a coven of inspiration so effulgent as to light up the heavens over Tampa Bay.

Chair Falliero responded to Member April’s exception request with “I’ll-kick- April-Griffin-out-of-the-board-room-if-she-doesn’t-shut-up” riposte. This language departed from Robert's Rules, but what can one expect from the resident Pole Girl?

This was one of the more heated of the board ruckuses and hence one of the most entertaining.

Yet it was this battling board duo that teamed up to secretly approach Alafia’s Smith to convince her to resign according to one of Griffin’s fans who rebuked me on my blog about how dumb I was not to appreciate Member April’s grandeur.

Disraeli and Henry Kissinger would be pea green with envy at such covert diplomacy fireworks as the former pugilists of the podium presented in the metropolis of Alafia just days before.

Thus these newly minted board diplomatic buddies teamed up under cover of darkness to get the superintendent out of her public-relations hot seat and to protect the board franchise so that voters won’t recall the situation when the two board dueling banjos and other board members present themselves for re-election.

The Tribune article makes the point that these principal rescue efforts such as Alafia’s are pricey. Steve blabbed to the Tribune reporter all about the money outlay. Ms. Elia will haul him in to shower the head of Public Information with the “f” word sermons as is her wont when she learns of his candid performance. It goes athwart all Ms. Elia's teaching to the Public Affairs people to lie like rugs to the press.

Please pull up the Trib article to confirm what I say and revisit this request for the money figures that the administration has paid out of tax funds on the rescue of the four or five principals who couldn’t do their jobs.

The names and titles you requested. I understand each of the seven districts has a large procedures manual. Please borrow one so that I can examine it in your office.

Ron Smiley, ESE Specialist for Area 5; Sharon Morris, Principal at East Bay High School; Claudine Sosa, Department Head and ESE Specialist

Thank you. ldd

From: Linda Cobbe []
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:26 AM
To: lee de cesare
Subject: Re: public information

When a team goes to a school to do an assessment, they are performing their work duties, so there is no additional expense. The same is true when Professional Standards looks into an allegation against an employee; that's their job.

The mentor's reimbursement is in line with an experienced elementary principal's salary, and it's $340 PER DAY, not $440 per hour.

Linda E. Cobbe

External Communications Manager

Hillsborough County Public Schools

901 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Tampa, FL 33602

813-272-4602 (O)

813-493-6964 (C)

813-272-4510 (F)

Our mission is to provide an education that enables each student to excel as a successful and responsible citizen.

"lee de cesare" <> writes:

Ms. Cobbe: I would like to know as public information the total spent thus far on the Alafia principal case. I would like to know the amounts spent on the similar cases of principal trouble mentioned in the Tribune article on the Alafia affair. I would like to know where the personnel or whatever department came up with the $440 figure for the previous Alafia’s principal’s “mentoring” of Ms. Smith. This principal makes more than a forensic criminal psychiatrist per hour. I would like to know how much money was spent by the administration in the Bart Birdsall case of two years ago. Thank you. ldd

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This Linda Cobbe sounds like an ass kisser. What a weasel to have a job defending unethical people. The fact that the school district has to employ people like that to do PR for the schools is proof that things are not run well. When things are running well and ethically, you don't need PR to put a spin on everything. Taxpayers should demand the dismantling of the Public Relations Office in the school district. What good is it? Just let reporters call up employees and ask questions and let honest answers come out. If things are well run and above board there should be no fear of this.