Tampa Bay Times by Jeffrey S. Solochek
October 2, 2019
Pasco County School Board member Megan Harding had a concern.
She had received an email from a constituent regarding student dress code rules, and in it the writer mentioned the views of fellow board member Cynthia Armstrong.
Because dress code was included in the student code of conduct, which was scheduled for an upcoming vote, Harding worried. State law, after all, prohibits board members from privately discussing items that are expected to come up for formal action by the governing body.
Harding called the board’s lawyer, Dennis Alfonso, asking what to do. She wanted no part of even an inadvertent violation by receiving an unsolicited email.
Alfonso — already gunshy after a county judge struck down the board’s 2017 school attendance zone revisions because members of an advisory committee discussed the issues outside their meetings — gave the entire board the most cautious advice he could muster.
If a board member gets any correspondence referring to a colleague’s views, no matter how oblique, that email should get sent straight to the superintendent’s office for distribution to the entire board and inclusion in the public record, Alfonso told the board on Tuesday.