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Sarasota Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 1 month ago

School Board begins search for new general counsel

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The current attorney, Art Hardy, will retire after nearly 30 years working for the board.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

Longtime Sarasota Schools attorney Art Hardy will retire at the end of the school year after more than 20 years with the district. 

Hardy first began serving as general counsel for the district in the late 1990s and helped the district navigate the creation of a property tax referendum, the introduction of social media laws and school security changes. 

The school board began the process of replacing Hardy during a workshop Tuesday when they interviewed five firms hoping to be the board’s new counsel.

The attorneys representing each firm are: 

Although they have yet to choose a firm, board members have offered insight to what they want from a new general counsel. 

Some board members expressed concerns with hiring an attorney from the east coast versus a local attorney because of billable hours connected to driving time. Others wanted an attorney with government experience.

“I’m more concerned about hiring an attorney, legal counsel or a firm that represents all five board members,” Karen Rose said. “ … this is the time to collaborate to get our ultimate priority of providing for the safety and highest quality of education to every student and I would like to see us come to a 5-0 vote as we did with the superintendent.” 

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