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On August 20, 2019, I attended the school board meeting to speak to the leaders at Hillsborough County Public Schools. I really hope that my message resonates with them to do what’s right. Here’s my message:

As the days go by, I have witnessed the continued corruption and lack of transparency. Today, I wanted to watch the school board workshop to hear if progress was happening in our inner-city schools. The only thing I could find was a FB live feed from a Tampa Bay Times reporter. She is literally holding her phone in the corner of this backroom giving the public insight on what’s going on.

But here’s the problem. The district is in violation of the Sunshine Law.

EDIT: According to media sources, Shamburger moved the board workshops to the small conference room and turned the public comments off the telecast. In some cases, the district fails to reports job appointments 7 days prior to the meeting. This is the violation of the law. Here’s the statute that speaks to this: Link. Comments were made regarding my statement so I want to make sure the record clear.  —

However, the workshop space you are using is ineffective. Not everyone can properly fit in that room and it does not have the audiovisual capabilities to ensure all words spoken are captured.

Another thing that blew my mind…
Why doesn’t the district and school board publish public comments to the public? What’s the intention behind this? Every time I speak to you, I’m promised a response. I’ve yet to hear from anyone in regards to my concerns.

I think the district is implementing some great things and could be the game-changer for the state of education. As the 3rd largest district in the state, you have a lot of power. This is why I understand your urgency to forge community partnerships instead of listening to your community. However, children are suffering and we can’t continue to do the same thing over and over and think the outcome will be better.

We have AC units still not working in some of our schools. How are we preparing students for life if the district is not meeting the basics? What about this FSA proficiency rate? – (Link) Are we still preparing meals for students with water contaminated with lead? – (Link) How are Area Superintendents granted unlimited power to ban someone from a school based on an email of concern? – (Link)  Why do you have a 170-page report going viral that alleges some of the methods taught to falsify was taught by the district? – (Link) We demand transparency.

I have messages from hundreds of your teachers that are speaking out. They are afraid of speaking out publicly because of the toxic work culture breading here. This is nothing personal and never was despite what was done to me. I’m here to fight for equity in education and making sure our children and teachers have a voice.

It’s August 20th and you are scheduled to discuss the private operators coming into some of the Achievement Schools. The school year has already started. So how we are doing things in the best interest for our children? What changes will these operators make when our children are getting settled in their learning environment?

So I pulled up the receipts. The district and Learning Sciences International could not reach a negotiation so you are using the same company that didn’t provide tangible results the year prior.

So the district is paying a Yearly Comprehensive Needs Assessment fee of $56.17/student. The Turnaround Services fee is $467.97/student. This is required by the state because the district failed to provide equity in education. This is a complete misallocation of funds just like that HR department change.

My request… Be honest with your stakeholders. Be transparent and don’t get offended when people are asking questions. Operate with the right intentions. Schools are supposed to be where money is used to educate kids and not where kids are used to earn money.

Bianca Goolsby, MBA
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