THE SCHOOL BOARD OF
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, FEBRUARY 16, 2004
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Workshop Meeting at 9:00 a.m., in the Board Room, at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel (Administration) Building, 215 West Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chairman: Mrs. Cary Stidham Vice Chairman: Dr. John DeWitt
Board Members: Mr. Gary Bergosh
Mr. Ronnie L. Clark (was not present)
Ms. Linda Finkelstein
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul
I. CALL TO ORDER
Mrs. Stidham called the Regular Workshop to order at 9:00 a.m.
A. Open Discussion
a) 13 and 14 Year Old Elementary and 15 and 16 Year Old Middle School Students – John DeWitt
Dr. DeWitt provided a handout regarding the number of overage students in elementary and middle schools. He believed that this was an issue that should be considered in the 2004-2005 budget, in terms of providing an alternative middle school to serve those students who have not progressed academically, but do not belong in a traditional middle school due to their age. After further discussion, the Board requested that the Superintendent encourage staff to explore options regarding this issue.
Lease of former Carver Middle School (old Century High School on Hecker Road) to New Life Baptist Church
(NOTE: At the January 20, 2004 Regular Meeting, the Board accepted the Superintendent’s recommendation to “move forward” with leasing the former Carver Middle School to New Life Baptist Church.) At the request of Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Shawn Dennis, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, gave a brief update on the status of leasing the former Carver Middle School to New Life Baptist Church.
Ms. Finkelstein questioned whether there was a Board policy with regard to married personnel. Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, referenced School Board Rule 6Gx17-2.11 – Married Personnel, which stated “Personnel shall not be discriminated against because of marital status. Spouses may work in the same school or department with the approval of the principal or department head. However, one spouse shall not be the immediate supervisor of the other.” At the request of Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Negron indicated that he would review the Florida Statutes to determine whether there was any reference to married personnel.
(NOTE: This issue was previously addressed at the October 20, 2003 Regular Workshop.) Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Norm Ross, Deputy Superintendent, stated that quarterly updates on this issue would begin in March 2004.
Mrs. Stidham questioned whether the District required volunteer coaches to be fingerprinted. Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, stated that only those volunteers participating in the District’s mentoring program were required to be fingerprinted, while all other volunteers were only required to complete and sign an affidavit of good moral character. Mrs. Stidham believed that due to the large amount of time that volunteer coaches spend with students, it would be prudent to develop a policy requiring that volunteer coaches be fingerprinted. The Superintendent suggested that the policy indicate that fingerprinting would be at the District’s expense, noting that it was “hard to ask a volunteer to pay.” After further discussion, Dr. Garber indicated that a policy regarding this issue would be presented to the Board in March.
II. COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent listed the additions, deletions, corrections and amendments to the agenda.
III. COMMITTEE/DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS
1. Update on School Choice Office – Shereè Cagle
Mrs. Leslie Travis, Office of School Choice Coordinator, gave a brief update of the recent and upcoming activities of the School Choice Office.
2. Update from Audit Committee – Mike Adkins
Mr. Adkins stated that the Audit Committee had reviewed several school internal fund audits, all of which included a “finding” related to “segregation of duties,” which was common due to the small staff size in schools. He noted that one of those audits also included “findings” related to “timely deposits” and “revenues posted to the faculty fund.” The Committee also reviewed a draft of the ‘Escambia County School District Employee Code of Ethics’ and had submitted several recommendations for changes or additions. (NOTE: The issue of district-wide ethics policy was previously addressed at the November 14, 2003 Regular Workshop.)
3. Career Ladder Plan Presentation – Keith Leonard
Mr. Keith Leonard, Chief Negotiator, explained that the Legislature had required that all school district establish a Career Ladder Program for those employees who provide direct instruction to students. He gave a brief review of the District’s “provisional” implementation plan for the Career Ladder Program. He noted that the plan, which was developed in collaboration with the Union, clearly indicated that there “would need to be specific funding from the State, for the direct implementation of the Career Ladder Program.” Following the review, Mr. Leonard and other staff members responded to questions posed by the Board regarding various aspects of the plan. Ms. Finkelstein stated that she did not want the Board “to promise that we are going to do something and then have it end up in our lap to try and fund it.” She stated that she would only support the Career Ladder Program, if it were fully funded by the State. The Board requested that the Superintendent place this item on the February 17, 2004 Regular Meeting agenda, as it would need to be submitted to the State by March 1, 2004.
IV. PROPOSED ADDITIONS OR REVISIONS TO SCHOOL DISTRICT RULES
(NOTE: Discussion on items listed under this particular section was deferred to the February 16, 2004 Special Meeting.)
V. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Curriculum and Instruction
1. Challenge Grant: Bridging Opera with Academics and Technology for Students
Ms. Finkelstein noted that pages 6 and 12 of the “Project Abstract” listed a date of January 2004 that would need to be corrected to read January 2005.
4. 2003-2008 Escambia County School District Strategic Plan
Board Members decided to defer any discussion on this particular item to the February 16, 2004 Special Meeting.
6. Contract between Workforce Escarosa, Inc., and the School Board of Escambia County, Florida for Youth Services WIA 2003-2004 Modification #1
Ms. Finkelstein noted that both the “executive summary sheet” and page 14 of the “contract” indicated an agreement period of January 20, 2004 through June 30, 2004, which would need to be corrected to read February 17, 2004 through June 30, 2004. Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, stated that those corrections had already been submitted.
8. Commercial Services Agreement between Cox Business Services, LLC, and the School Board of Escambia County, Florida
Ms. Finkelstein noted that the agreement listed West Florida High School as the “legal company name,” which would need to be corrected to read School Board of Escambia County, Florida instead.
11. Dual Enrollment Articulation Agreement between the District Board of Trustees of Pensacola Junior College, the Board of Directors of the Escambia Charter School and the School Board of Escambia County, Florida
Board Members did not believe that it was necessary to take action on this particular item. They noted that Escambia Charter School had full authority to approve this agreement themselves, and therefore, requested that the Superintendent delete this item from the agenda.
8. Budget Amendments
c. Resolution 5: Capital Projects Fund
17. 2003/04 PECO Maintenance Fund 3424, (Page 31)
e. Reallocate funds ($8,946.00) from reserve project to Hall Education Center Facility doors project. Facilities Planning initiated this budget amendment to facilitate funding for doors at the Hall Center.
Mr. Ron Peacock, Director of Facilities Planning, stated that beginning this year, 2-mill funds (which are used to fund the recurring door replacement cycle) could no longer be spent on support facilities, and therefore, this budget amendment was necessary to facilitate funding for doors at the Hall Center.
12. Write-off outstanding debt of $6,488 and pursue appropriate legal action against Unique School Age Child Care
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Services, clarified that it was not necessary to write-off the outstanding debt before pursuing appropriate legal action against Unique School Age Child Care. She noted however, that she would like the authority to write-off the debt if it was determined that it could not be collected. Mrs. Linker stated the District had made every attempt to collect the outstanding, but was unsuccessful in doing so. After discussion, Mr. Negron indicated that he would need to review this issue further before advising the Board on the appropriate action to take.
C. Human Resource Services
f. Special Requests
7. Request approval to adopt the student calendar for 2004-05 school year.
Dr. DeWitt believed that the starting date of August 2nd (as presented – recommended by the Calendar Committee) was too early for both teachers and students. He indicated that he would bring forth a proposal for a student calendar with an August 9th starting date instead.
8. Request permission to advertise the Head Football Coach position (12-months) at Northview High in accordance with the hiring freeze.
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Finkelstein, Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, clarified that this was a request to “lift the hiring freeze” in order to advertise for the position of Physical Education/Head Football Coach (12-month) at Northview High School. He noted that the Physical Education position was currently vacant. Ms. Finkelstein stated that “when the issue of a Head Football Coach was discussed with the parents at Northview, Mr. Fetsko (Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction) had indicated that the hiring freeze was to be lifted for all positions (not just for this particular position).” The Superintendent clarified that this was a request to “lift the hiring freeze” for this particular position only. Mrs. Stidham stated that she would need to see a list of all instructional positions that were currently vacant, before she would consider supporting this item.
3. Risk Management
b. Stop Loss Participation Agreement and Final Policy – Safeco Life
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Kevin Windham, Director of Risk Management, clarified that this item was a request for approval of the “participation agreement” and “final policy” for Stop Loss Insurance from Safeco Life. He noted that the “application” for the Stop Loss coverage, was previously approved at the September 30, 2003 Special Meeting.
c. Worker’s Compensation Medical Bill - $35,029.00
Mrs. Stidham had concerns with this particular item, as she did not believe that it was “typical for a doctor to actually charge the ‘allowed fee’ amount.” Mr. Kevin Windham, Director of Risk Management, responded to Mrs. Stidham’s concerns by explaining that discounts were not agreed to by the provider either through direct negotiations or provider network discounts.
9. Dell Computers for End User Support
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. John Dombroskie, Director of Purchasing and Business Services, stated that staff had continued to try and identify those places where leasing was a viable alternative as opposed to an out-right purchase. He noted however, that “each time we look, it is more expensive to leasing a computer than to out-right purchase.” Mrs. Stidham believed that it would helpful if future documentation regarding computer purchases would indicate the costs of “leasing” versus “out-right purchasing.” Dr. DeWitt believed that it would also be helpful to arrange for a presentation by an expert on ‘technology leasing’.
1. Facilities Planning
3. Property Purchase – 520 E. Hecker Road
Mrs. Stidham noted that the property purchase of 520 E. Hecker Road was approved at the January 20, 2004 and questioned why it was appearing on the agenda again. Mr. Shawn Dennis, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that he would research the issue and determine whether or not this item would need to be deleted from the agenda.
F. Student Transfers
No discussion was held.
G. Internal Auditing
No discussion was held.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
No items submitted.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Items from the Board
1. Appointments to the 2004 Escambia County Value Adjustment Board
Dr. DeWitt and Mrs. Stidham volunteered to serve on the 2004 Escambia County Value Adjustment Board.
2. Appointment to the Community Action Board of Directors
Mr. Bergosh volunteered to serve on the Community Action board of Directors.
4. Scheduling of Meetings
a) Regular March School Board Meeting
In consideration of the Spring Break (March 15th through March 19th), Board Members agreed to change the date of the March Regular Meeting from March 16, 2004 to March 22, 2004.
b) Weekly Telephone Conference Calls with Legislative Consultants, Mixon and Associates (1:00 p.m. each Monday beginning March 1, 2004 in the Board Room at 215 West Garden Street)
Mrs. Stidham advised that beginning Monday, March 1, 2004, and continuing every Monday until further notice, the Board would meet in Special Meeting at 1:00 p.m., in the Board Room, at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel Building (215 West Garden Street), to confer with its Legislative Consultant, Mixon and Associates.
c) Town Hall Meetings for District 3, 4 and 5
(NOTE: At the September 19, 2003 Regular Workshop, Board Members discussed the possibility of holding town hall meetings in each district throughout the county. A town hall meeting for District 1 was held in November 2003 and for District 2 in January 2004.) The Board collectively agreed to tentatively schedule following town hall meetings:
District 3 – March 11, 2004, 6:00 p.m., Woodham High School
District 4 – April 5, 2004, 6:00 p.m., Washington High School
District 5 – May 3, 2004, 6:00 p.m., Tate High School
d) Budget Meetings
The Board agreed to schedule a Special Meeting (Re: Budget Process) for February 23, 2004, at 9:00 a.m. in the Board Room, at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel Building.
B. Items from the Superintendent
No discussion was held.
C. Items from the General Counsel
No items submitted.
There being no further business, the Regular Workshop adjourned at 12:15 a.m.