Seminole school leaders discuss penny tax investigation at meeting

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County school leaders met Tuesday night to discuss an investigation into whether some employees violated policy by pushing for a proposed penny sales tax.

The investigation focused on pro-penny sales tax signs that were being handed out at four public schools in the county. Several residents spoke out at Tuesday's meeting about district employees' political agendas.

"If we're going to hold our teachers and students to a certain level of what's proper and what's not proper, then I think we need to do that with administrators, too," said resident and former County Commissioner Grant Maloy.

A 35-page investigation by the district's Office of Professional Standards implicates 20 school officials, including some of the highest ranking executive directors for the district. The investigation determined the employees violated a school policy pertaining to the distribution of political campaign materials on school property while staff is on duty.

"It was quite the indictment. To my knowledge no one has been held accountable for the violations," resident Dr. Linda Trocine said.

Ed Riordan, a resident who made the initial complaint that prompted the investigation, believes officials knew they were violating policy because of how they planned to communicate.

"To do so by individual phone calls, to avoid the use of emails," Riordan said.

Although board members cannot comment on the pending issue, some residents said the actions were likely not intentional.

"If somebody did something wrong, give them a good spanking and send them to their room. But this coming vehement about it, I don't think is necessary," one resident said.

There's no word on when the superintendent will decide on any possible punishments for the district employees involved in the investigation.