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HomeBusiness & CommunityIn other business: April 25 Regular School Board Meeting

In other business: April 25 Regular School Board Meeting

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The April 25th school board meeting saw at least some regular business accomplished. The board recognized a local teacher for his military service, and the audience witnessed an extremely generous donation to the Navy JROTC program at Central High School by a local couple.

HCSD Veteran Recognition
On April 25th, the school board recognized Dustin Thomas, a DS Parrott Middle School math teacher, as the April Veteran of the Month. Thomas joined the US Army in 2004 and became a Motor Transport Operator. Thomas served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan before leaving the Army in 2015. Thomas then went to USF and began his Hernando County teaching career in 2019. Thomas credited the military and his time at DS Parrott for allowing him to “continue to grow and be an impact on young lives.”

Navy JROTC Donors Recognized
Everyone in the room came to their feet in applause after board member Mark Johnson recognized Hernando County residents Gene and Christine Tomashosky for their recent generosity to students. The couple gave seven Central High School Navy JROTC Cadets each a $10,000 scholarship and one additional cadet a scholarship for $80,000. The Tomashoskys then “doubled down” by presenting a one-million-dollar donation to the Hernando Education Foundation. The funds will be used to build a JROTC indoor rifle range at Central High School. The new building will be named after their late daughter, Valentina, who was a cadet and student at the school.

Hernando County Education Foundation Donations
Tammy Brinker, the CEO of the Hernando Education Foundation, addressed the board to report other recent donations. Resident David Fox donated a covered trailer to Central High School’s JROTC unit. Brinker said the trailer was valued at $4500.00. Mr. Monty Patterson donated a golf cart valued at $5995.00 to the Hernando High School football team for use by the coaching staff. Brinker said Hernando Home Grown received donations from Barrett Outdoor of $552, as well as a donation of $600 from Family Chiropractic. Fitness equipment was donated to the District from Florida Blue valued at $9415.99. Other contributions included $1000 from Hindsight Construction LLC to support the Fox Chapel Middle School Girl’s Softball Team. Community members donated $4159.70 to Central High School to support the football team. The Exceptional Student Services Department received $8781.65 from various community members as part of a fundraising event. Walmart donated $1000 to Brooksville Elementary to support school programs. Brooksville Elementary also received a $150 donation through the Hernando County Education Foundation’s Adopt A Classroom program. Brinker asked the board to approve a total of $171,853.47 in donations. The board voted 5-0 to accept the donations.

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Book Challenge Policy Approved
The board then conducted a public hearing regarding the final adoption of NEOLA policy PO-2522 titled “Challenges, Adoption of, or Use of Instructional Library and Reading List Materials.” The policy received tentative approval on March 28th but drew debate as board members struggled to define the policy and how it should be applied to local schools. Only one person spoke during the public comments portion of this item, advocating that teachers were better suited than parents to determine instructional material. The board gave final approval to the policy by a 4-1 vote. Voting against the policy was Shannon Rodriguez.

Consent Agenda Items
The Consent Agenda was approved by a vote of 5-0. Passed without discussion were agenda items: Approval of Personnel Recommendations, Award of RFQ… for Construction Manager Services (Projects less than $4,000,000) …, and Renewing the Piggyback of Charlotte County Public Schools…. contract for multiple vendors.

Two items were pulled for discussion and then approved on a 5-0 vote. Agenda Item 9, titled Consideration of Termination of T&G Corporation from the Winding Waters Capacity Project, was modified after discussion to allow for a Memorandum of Understanding between the District and the Company regarding the District’s performance expectations. T&G is significantly behind on their agreement to complete a district construction project. Once modified, this item was approved on a 5-0 vote. Agenda Item 12, titled Approval of the 2023-2024 Dual Enrollment Articulation Agreement between the University of South Florida and the HCSD with the Issuance of Purchase Orders in an estimated amount of $5000 annually, was approved after a discussion pointing out the advantages of the agreement.

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