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Sally Harris

In Tampa, public officials blast education bill, urge Rick Scott veto

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A host of political and education issues came together Tuesday in West Tampa to trash the massive $419 million public education bill that GOP lawmakers unveiled and passed in the final days of the Legislative Session. “This is the mother of all education bills, ” said Rep. Sean Shaw. The Tampa Democrat was referring to House Bill 7069, a 278-page conforming bill agreed to in secret and barely surviving a vote in the Senate before the Legislature adjourned earlier this month. HB 7069,…

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Joe Henderson: Supporters of MaryEllen Elia now get chance for revenge at ballot box

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Things really got nasty around the Hillsborough County School Board in early 2015. That’s when four of the seven members voted to fire Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. They didn’t like her brusque and dismissive style. They felt Elia believed the board worked for her, not vice versa. The move was, to understate matters, highly controversial. Oh, who am I kidding? I can think of few things the board has ever done that created the stir that did. Those who voted in…

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Susan Valdes proudly is standing by her vote to can MaryEllen Elia

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The Hillsborough County School Board’s stunning vote to oust Superintendent Mary EllenElia from her position in January of 2015 angered much of the Tampa Bay area’s business and political establishment. Linking his tweet to a Washington Post piece calling the firing ““Blunder of the Year?”, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wrote, “‘Nuff said. School Board elections in 2 years. Just saying.” He was hardly the only local official who strongly disagreed with the decision. But with just six weeks to go before two of the four members…

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Cindy Stuart and Alan Clendenin get key endorsements in bid for reelection to Hillsborough School Board

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Hillsborough County District 3 School Board member Cindy Stuart and district 7 candidate Alan Clendenin have been endorsed by the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association in her race for reelection to the seat. In a letter sent to Stuart on May 16, members of the HCTA say that the union’s political committee voted to recommend her for an endorsement, and that recommendation will now be forwarded to the West Central Florida Federation of Labor for consideration and endorsement next month. Stuart is running against…

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Mitch Perry’s Top 10 stories in Hillsborough politics of 2015

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As first said by Greek philosopher Heraclitus, in the universe change is the only constant. Nowhere was that more applicable than in Tampa Bay during the past 12 months. From the much-ballyhooed dismissal of MaryEllen Elia as Hillsborough County School Board District superintendent to redistricting and the rising (and falling) fortunes for hizzoner Bob Buckhorn, many of the leading political issues of the year centered on shaking up the status quo. With that, here are Hillsborough County’s top ten stories in 2015: 1) MaryEllen Elia…

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MaryEllen Elia critics wish her well but are glad she’s gone

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Critics of former Hillsborough County School Supt. MaryEllen Elia are congratulating her on Monday’s announcement by the New York State Board of Regents that she will become that state’s education chief beginning July 6 — but they also maintain that they’re glad she’s no longer running their local district, the 8th largest in the nation. “I wish her the best,” Board member April Griffin said on Monday night. “For the sake of the students, the families and the communities in New York.”…

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Tampa Bay Times finds a new reason to loathe April Griffin

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In a Memorial Day weekend editorial, the Tampa Bay Times blasted Hillsborough County School Board member April Griffin for voting against an employee termination. On the surface, its editorial seemed undisputedly spot-on. Ben Hill Middle School teacher Adam Reynolds was charged by officials with hosting an all-girl pizza party in order to introduce the girls to his teen brother – Internet video sensation Carter Reynolds. Reynolds had been told by the district not to have the party, but did so anyway…

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