THE SCHOOL BOARD OF
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, MARCH 22, 2004
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Special Meeting at 12:00 p.m., in the Board Room, at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel Building, 215 West Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chairman: Mrs. Cary Stidham
Vice Chairman: Dr. John DeWitt (was not present)
Board Members: Mr. Gary Bergosh (was not present)
Mr. Ronnie L. Clark
Ms. Linda Finkelstein
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr. (was not present)
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul (was not present)
Ms. Terry Golden, Mixon and Associates, gave an update (via speakerphone) regarding the following legislative issues:
House Bill 115 Relating to Florida School Recognition Program: Reallocates school recognition funds as follows: if there is not agreement regarding the distribution of funds within a school by November 1st, 40% of the funds must be allocated to current school employees and the balance allocated for educational equipment or materials or temporary personnel who assist in maintaining and improving student performance.
Senate Bill 184 Relating to Student Discipline & School Safety: Specifies that a student must use, rather than simply possess an electronic pager in order to disciplined. House Bill 853 Relating to Student Discipline & School Safety: Requires school boards to adopt rules regarding student use of wireless communications devices while on school property or attending school functions. The code of student conduct must include a notice that students are subject to disciplinary action or criminal penalties if the wireless devices are used in a criminal act.
House Bill 291 Relating to Voter Education/Elections and Senate Bill 1440 Relating to Voter Education/High School Seniors: Require high schools to provide voter education to 12th graders, including the opportunity to register to vote.
Senate Bill 340 Relating to Florida School Code: A shell bill through which the Legislation intends to revise laws related to the Florida School Code.
Senate Bill 354 Relating to Middle Schools: A shell bill through which the Legislature intends to revise laws related to education.
Senate Bill 362 Relating to Charter Schools/Employees/Salaries: A shell bill through which the Legislature intends to revise laws related to charter schools.
Senate Bill 364 Relating to Accelerated HS Graduation Options: Requires students who choose the three-year college preparatory graduation option to earn a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Corresponding career preparatory students must earn a 2.5.
House Bill 549 Relating to K-12 GI Bill Program: Provides a new voucher program for the dependents of veterans and active duty military personnel who reside in Florida. The child must have attended a public school in Florida during the previous year. School districts must notify parents who they know to be eligible. Upon a parent’s request, the school district must administer the FCAT to a student who attends private school through the program. The bill provides eligibility requirements for private school participation as well as parental obligations. It provides for the funding and payment of the vouchers. Students receive $3,600 for attending a private school or $500 for attending a public school in another district. School districts must report all students who are using the voucher.
House Bill 821 Relating to Early Childhood Development & Education: A comprehensive UPK bill. It creates vouchers of $2,500 for parents to enroll their children in public, private, or faith-based UPK programs. Parents sign their State checks over to the school. Parents who wish to teach their children at home may opt, instead, for state-provided web- or book-based curricula. The UPK program is funded for a program that is four hours a day, five days a week, 180 days a year. Parents are responsible for their child’s transportation. Eligible providers must be accredited through Gold Seal, SACS, or the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools and offers a curriculum based on State Board of Education Standards. The providers must maintain a school profile for public access that includes information about the school, its curriculum, its staff, and the overall performance of its students. Providers must guarantee that 90% of its students be assessed as ready for kindergarten or as having gained one year of learning. Vouchers will be administered by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. The School Readiness Program is assigned to the Partnership for School Readiness for one year, pending legislative review. The bill contains specific issues that the Partnership must address to its satisfaction. A new Early Learning Advisory Council is created to advise the Partnership. In addition, the Partnership is restructured to consist of the Commissioner of Education, Director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation, Secretary of Children and Family Services, Secretary of Health, Chancellor of K-12 Education, Director of the FSU Center for Reading Research, and the Chairs of the State Board of Education, Board of Governors, and Board of Directors of Workforce Florida, respectively.
House Bill 1025 Relating to Retired Teachers/Reemployment: Amends the Teachers Retirement System to allow the same post-retirement reemployment opportunities for teacher participants in this system as currently exist for teachers in the Florida Retirement System.
House Bill 1043 Relating to Exceptional Students’ Instruction: Differentiates between in-state and out-of-state exceptional students. The home state of out-of-state exceptional students must pay the costs associated with exceptional student education. DOE will inform districts of their state and federal financial obligations to out-of-state exceptional students. DOE will develop residency reviews for out-of-state exceptional students in residential facilities. The facility is responsible for collecting payment from sending states. This language applies to private school and juvenile justice students as well.
House Bill 1279 Relating to Sales Surtax Levy/Schools: Allows a school board, by resolution, to send a 1% surtax for capital outlay and operations to the voters of a county for referendum. Any district that levies the surtax may not also levy any impact fee.
Senate Bill 1514 Relating to Extracurricular Student Activities: Extends “no pass, no play” to require that students pass each core course required for graduation in order to participate in extracurricular activities. A student may not be prohibited from participating in marching band if the band course counts as physical education credit.
Senate 2230 Relating to FRS/Payroll Contribution Rates: Sets the retirement rates for 2004-05 and 2005-06. The Regular Class rate is 6.57% for 2004 and 9.98% for 2005, Elected Officers’ Class is 14.30% for 2004 and 17.73% for 2005, Senior Management Class is 8.44% for 2004 and 11.64% for 2005, and DROP is 8.15% for 2004 and 11.48% for 2005.
House Bill 185 Relating to Student Assessment/Grade 10 FCAT: Provides that students who enter school in the 11th or 12th grade may take FCAT in their native language if DOE offers a translated version. DOE must prepare a translated test in the predominant language spoken in each high school attendance zone, as reported by each district.
Senate Bill 300/House Bill 305 Relating to Employees of Public Schools: Allows school districts to pay annually for sick leave accrued during the year by all district employees. It deletes restrictions on the hours of sick leave that may be cumulatively accrued by administrators, but limits the value of sick leave accrued after June 30, 2004 to the daily rate of pay at the time the sick leave was earned.
Senate Bill 308 Relating to Schools/Physical Education: Requires DOE to contract each school district to determine how many schools have eliminated physical education. Effective 2004-05 each elementary student must receive at least ˝ an hour of physical education each day. Nutrition must be included on the 10th grade FCAT.
Senate Bill 1780 Relating to K-12 Instruction/Physical Education: Requires that the provision of physical education on a full-year basis to students in grades 1 through 8 that stresses physical fitness and healthy, active lifestyles. DOE must approve each program. Participation in outside sports organizations must be permitted within the program. Students entering ninth grade in 2004 and thereafter must complete four credits in physical education. Participation in interscholastic sports may be used to satisfy this requirement. The elective credits required for graduation are reduced from 8.5 to 5.5 for these students. The Department is no longer required to develop a competency test on physical fitness.
Senate Bill 2534 Relating to Public Schools/Physical Education: Requires that physical education in preK-8 be taught at least one semester per year. In preK-5 instruction must last at least 30 minutes per day and be taught by a certified physical education teacher. Students in grades 6 through 8 must receive at least 45 minutes of instruction per day. Students entering 9th grade in 2004-05 must take one credit in personal fitness and life improvement, and maintenance of personal fitness. Participation in varsity or junior varsity interscholastic athletics, in marching band with a grade of “C” or better, or in ROTC for four years will satisfy two years of required physical education, excluding nutrition and personal fitness. The bill reduces the available electives from 8.5 to 5.5 credits. Physical education must be adapted for students with prohibitive physical conditions. Districts that are out of compliance with these requirements must submit a corrective action plan to DOE within one year of being found out of compliance. DOE must develop a Physical education test to administer to students in grades 5, 7, and 9. Physically handicapped and health-prohibited students must take as much of the test as possible. Districts must report each student’s results to the parents or guardians with a clear explanation of the purpose(s) of the test. Teachers are not required to prepare individualized explanations of each student’s score.
Senate Bill 470 Relating to Education Facility/Air Quality: Requires each school board to implement an indoor air quality program using the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program. Each board must annually report the air quality condition of its schools to the Department of Education, as well as actions taken to implement the air quality program. Effective January 2009 and every five years thereafter, the school board must conduct a uniform air quality inspection and evaluation of all facilities built or renovated after January 1, 2004. Schools built prior to this date must be evaluated every two years. Air quality reports must be available to the public. School boards may not approve a site with moderate of high radon levels unless the project plan mitigates radon levels in the facility’s air. They may also not approve a plan that fails to meet State code for the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. School boards must ensure that the HVAC systems are maintained and operated at or above the standards of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and are operated continuously during the hours that students and personnel occupy the buildings. School board HVAC maintenance records must be maintained for at least five years. The school board must establish a district-wide indoor air quality committee. The school board must develop an indoor environmental quality training program for facilities, maintenance and custodial staff. New employees must complete the program within the first 60 days of employment; existing employees must complete within one year of implementation of the program. Building maintenance staff in a new or renovated building must receive training in HVAC systems. This training will be incorporated into the training manual for the certification of master custodians.
House Bill 691 Relating to Public School Teachers/Homestead Tax and 1499: Creates a constitutional amendment to allow an addition $25,000 homestead exemption for K-12 classroom teachers.
House Bill 769 Relating to Career & Technical Education: Provides legislative intent that high schools provide support to students and parents in determining a fitting program of study. Requires high schools to provide a variety of programs to meet students’ educational and career goals. Vocational programs must be industry certified or endorsed and students in these programs generate a cost factor of 1.5. Except for exploratory, orientation, and practical arts courses, no vocational courses may generate FTE without industry certification or endorsement, in order to generate FTE, programs must also articulate into a one or more post-secondary institutions. Vocational programs must require that high school students complete graduation requirements in math, science, and communications in level-two or higher courses, consist of at least two courses and one occupational completion point, include one course in workplace readiness skills, include participation in work-based learning experiences, and include a “capstone activity” that includes a project related to a career. Students who complete these requirements and pass the college entry-level placement test receive a special endorsement on their diplomas. School districts receive incentive funding for each such diploma awarded. And the incentive funds must be reapplied in the school’s vocational program. Authorizes pilot programs in each of the five planning regions. Each guidance counselor and career specialist in a school with vocational program must earn 12 in-service points in labor-market trends and projections, a practicum that focuses on development of a career-awareness program, and content related to a career or employment within the counselor’s work experience. These 12 hours must be earned for each certification period. The credits may be substituted with work-based experiences and temporary employment in business and industry. Allows the substitution of social science credit with a vocational course.
House Bill 861 Relating to Athletics in Public Schools: Requires school districts to test at least 5% of its student athletes for performance-enhancing drugs. Such testing is required for FHSAA membership.
Senate Bill 1622 Relating to Military Families: Exempts children of military parents who are transferred to Florida from attending public school for at least one year prior to receiving a McKay Scholarship. It requires DOE to facilitate the development of memoranda of understanding between school districts and military installations for assisting transferred children of military parents in the transition to the school district. It exempts such children who transfer in the 12th grade from FCAT requirements with adequate ACT or SAT scores.
Mr. David Lycan, Mixon and Associates, briefly compared the funding figures for each 2004-2005 budget recommended by the Governor, the House and the Senate.
Motion by Ms. Finkelstein, seconded by Mr. Clark, to adjourn the Special Meeting at 12:45 p.m., was approved 3 to 0, with Dr. DeWitt and Mr. Bergosh absent for vote.