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 (was not present)

                                                Ms. Linda Finkelstein

            School Board Attorney:              Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr. (was not present)

            Superintendent of Schools:         Mr. Jim Paul (was not present)    

        (NOTE: According to the advertisement for this Special Meeting (and all Special Meetings involving an update from the School Boards Legislative Consultants), regardless of the presence of a quorum, Board Members who were present, could inquire of the Legislative Consultant during the conference call, provided that no action was taken at the meeting.) 

Report from Mixon and Associates, Legislative Consultants

      Ms. Terry Golden, Mixon and Associates, gave an update (via speakerphone) regarding the following proposed legislation:

House Bill 43 Relating to School Capital Outlay Surtax: Allows districts with a population less than 100,000 that levy an additional half-cent sales tax to use up to half of the sales tax revenues for teacher salaries and benefits.  The resolution calling for the tax referendum must specify the portion of revenues from the tax that will be expended for teacher salaries and benefits.  School boards must provide an annual report that documents the expenditure of funds in this manner.  Qualifying districts that already levy the additional tax may also use a percentage of the proceeds for teacher salaries and benefits after approval by a majority of voters in the county voting in a referendum. 

House Bill 77 Relating to Schools/Food Service/Beverages: Limits the sale of beverages on public school campuses to: water without additives, milk, fruit-based beverages of at least 50% fruit juice, beverages with no added sugar, and non-caffeinated beverages. 

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. 

House Bill 745 Relating to School Districts/Funding: Allows districts with a cost differential greater than 1.000 to retain such differential.  For districts below this level, the differential must be increased each year for 8 consecutive years by subtracting the differential from 1 and dividing by 8. 

House Bill 1301/Senate Bill 2184 Relating to Student Achievement: Codifies the College Board Partnership through the Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement.  Districts must administer the PSAT to all 10th grade students.  Counselors must use the PSAT results to identify students who are and are not ready for AP and other higher-level coursework.  The Legislature is responsible for funding the PSAT administration.  The Partnership will train AP teachers to prepare students to pass AP exams, as well as train middle-school administrators and teachers to prepare students for participation in advanced courses.  It will provide teacher training and materials consistent with the Sunshine State Standards and FCAT.  It will provide marketing materials that stress the importance of AP and the PSAT.  By May 31st each year, DOE must approve a plan for the delivery of services.  The Partnership must convey an annual report evaluating the effectiveness of the services and activities, including increasing the number of AP examinations in low-performing middle and high schools, levels of PSAT participation, and measures of satisfaction with the Partnership.  DOE will provide access to student and teacher information with PSAT, SAT and AP databases.  Funding must be provided annually by the Legislature.  The College Board must match at least 1/3 of the allocation.

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.  Committee Substitute/SB 1514 removes the requirement that students pass each core course, but creates a one-semester probation period for students who fall below a 2.0 GPA. 

Senate Bill 2978 Relating to Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship: A comprehensive accountability regarding the Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program.  It requires scholarship funding organizations to file an annual audit with the Auditor General and DOE, as well as to obtain verification of student attendance and economic eligibility.  It prohibits these organizations from commingling funds, transferring funds between such organizations, and drawing upon a line of credit to fund scholarships.  It requires background checks of employees and officers of the organizations and participating private schools.  It requires newly-participating schools to post a surety bond.  It eliminates home schools, Internet-based schools, and correspondence schools from participation.  It requires private schools to annually administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills or the Stanford-9.  It prohibits simultaneous participation in the McKay Scholarship and Corporate Scholarship Programs.  It requires DOE to annually reassess student, school, and funding organization eligibility.  It requires annual reporting on tax scholarship students’ academic progress.  It requires DOE to report its accountability activities to the Legislature.  DOE must adopt rules to implement the bill.  

House Bill 313 Relating to Scholarship Program Accountability: Prohibits students from receiving both a corporate tax credit scholarship and a McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities.  It subjects participating scholarship funding organizations to annual financial audits, with results sent to the Auditor General and DOE.  The organization must verify income eligibility of student participants and the continued enrollment of the student in the private school.  The organization must provide quarterly reports to DOE.  Owners and operators of participating private schools must file their fingerprints with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and receive a criminal background check.  The criminal background check must be reported to the owner/operator and DOE.  The owner/operator’s school may not be deemed eligible based on the results of the criminal background check.  An owner/operator who has filed for personal or corporate bankruptcy will not be eligible.  The owner/operator of a scholarship funding organization may not own or operate a school that receives funds through the scholarship program.  Scholarship funding organizations are responsible for reporting any private school noncompliance and withholding funds to these schools.  The Commissioner of Education must clear these schools for future funds.  Scholarship-funding organizations may not discriminate against qualified students on any basis.  Parents of participating students may transfer their children from any eligible private school to another at any time during the year.  Scholarship-funding organizations may not target funds for a particular private school, nor may they provide scholarships to the children of employees.  Parents who receive checks from a scholarship-funding organization must endorse the check over to the private school.  Participating students must maintain attendance, except for illness, and must comply with the code of student conduct.  Parents must comply with the school’s parental involvement requirements, unless excused for illness or other good cause.  With the exception of certain students with disabilities, participating students must complete national norm-referenced tests.  Schools must have been in operation for at least three years to participate in the scholarship program.  The State may reclaim funds used by a private school for unlawful purposes.  The bill prescribes the laws with which participating schools must comply.  Teachers in participating schools must have a bachelor’s degree and three years of teaching experience or have special skills, knowledge, or experience that may be substituted.  The schools must make provisions for appropriate students to take the nationally norm-referenced examination.  Any individual employed by the school who has direct student contact or unsupervised access to students must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check.  The owner/operator must report any personnel who have been convicted of a crime that affects his or her fitness for direct student contact.  A school employing anyone so convicted will be ineligible for the scholarships.  The school must attest to compliance annually.  The bill specifies the duties and responsibilities of DOE for the scholarship programs. 

Senate Bill 308 Relating to Schools/Physical Education: Requires DOE to contact each school district to determine how many schools have eliminated physical education.  Effective 2004-2005 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 332 Relating to Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test: A shell bill through which the Legislature intends to revise laws related to FCAT. 

Senate Bill 1302 Relating to Student Report Cards: Prohibits including grades for conduct and behavior in the calculation of the academic grade. 

Senate Bill 2326 Relating to Juvenile Justice Education: Requires juvenile justice programs to spend at least 90% of their FEFP funds on instructional programs.  By 10/01/04 DOE must select an assessment and protocol for measuring student learning gains.  Juvenile justice students must have access to Florida Virtual School courses.  Juvenile justice teachers are eligible for all teacher State recruitment and retention programs.  If the student received federal funds in the school district, the same level of federal funding must be applied to the juvenile justice provider.  The bill eliminates the authority for detention and commitment programs to be designated as second chance schools.  DOE and DJJ must develop strategies for rewarding juvenile justice facilities whose students perform well on No Child Left Behind standards. 

Senate Bill 2406 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. 

Mr. David Lycan, Mixon and Associates, reviewed (via speakerphone) information that he had forwarded (via email message) to the Board, entitled “2004-2005 Governor’s Recommended Budget (Florida Education Finance Program)”   

There being no further business, the Special Meeting adjourned at 12:55 p.m.

                  Attest:                                                                    Approved:

________________________________              ________________________________

Superintendent                                                        Chairman