THE SCHOOL BOARD OF
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, APRIL 12, 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
Board Members: Mr. Gary Bergosh (was not present)
Mr. Ronnie L. Clark (was not present)
Ms. Linda Finkelstein (was not present)
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.)
Ms. Terry Golden, Mixon and Associates, gave an update (via speakerphone) regarding the following proposed legislation:
Senate Bill 174 Relating to Lottery/Unclaimed Prize Money: Allocates unclaimed lottery prizes to public schools, community colleges, and staet universities on a pro-rata basis based on the FTE enrolled in the institution.
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 contact each school district to determine how many schools have eliminated physical education. Effective 2004-2005 each elementary student must receive at least ½ an hour of physical education each day. Nutrition must be included on the 10th grade FCAT.
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 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 332 Relating to Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test: A shell bill through which the Legislature intends to revise laws related to FCAT.
Senate Bill 354 Relating to Middle Schools: A shell bill through which the Legislature intends to revise laws related to education. Committee Substitute/SB 354 is the “Middle Grades Reform Act.” Middle grades are defined as grades 6, 7, and 8. The bill emphasizes reading in the curriculum. DOE must conduct a study of the middle school curriculum, instructional materials, and teaching practices and make recommendations regarding changes to reading and language arts based on effective research-based programs by 10/1/04. Any middle school with fewer than 75% of its students reading at or above level 3 must adopt a Rigorous Reading Requirement through which reading and language arts are the primary component of the school improvement plan. Rigorous requirement schools must report their progress quarterly to the superintendent. The annual results must be factored into teacher and administrators’ annual evaluations. Each middle school principal must designate a staff member to develop and administer a personalized middle school success plan for a student entering the 6th grade who has less than level 3 on FCAT reading. The success plan must be implemented until the student completes 8th grade.
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 vacational 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 district receive incentive funding for each such diploma awarded. And the incentive funds must be reapplied in the school’s vocational programs. Authorizes pilot programs in each of the five planning regions. Each guidance counselor and career specialist in a school with vocational programs 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. Committee Substitute/HB 769 removes the requirement that the SBE revise rules related to the initial and subsequent certification of guidance counselors. It also replaces “endorsement” with “certification.”
Senate Bill 1198 Relating to Florida Educational License Plate: Increases the cost of a Florida educational license plate from $15 to $20.
House Bill 1271 Relating to Financial Matters: Fine tunes the Public Employee Optional Retirement Program. It requires that the surviving spouse be the designated beneficiary unless the participant designated a different beneficiary after his or her most recent marriage. Employees are given 5 months to elect to participate if after a leave of absence taken during the enrollment period. It defines “end of the month” as the last business day of that month. An employee may move between the defined benefit and defined contribution programs one month after selection or once in a lifetime at the discretion of the employee. A terminated participant may switch programs without having to return to employment in the public sector. Employers must regularly communicated the existence of both retirement plans. Responsibility for losses is extended to losses resultant from employer errors or corrections.
Senate Bill 1302 Relating to Student Report Cards: Prohibits including grades for conduct and behavior in the calculation of the academic grade.
Senate Bill 1440 Relating to Voter Education/High School Seniors: Requires high schools to provide voter education to 12th graders, including the opportunity to register to vote.
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. Committee Substitute/SB 1622 includes dependents whose parent died in active duty. SBE must adopt rules to expedite the development of the student’s matrix. Committee Substitute/CS SB 1622 requires dependent children of active-duty military who meet the criteria for special academic programs to be given preference for admission.
Senate Bill 2374 Relating to School Food Services: Requires each school district to analyze the operational efficiency of its school food service program. Any district that has operated at a loss during any of the prior three fiscal years to issue an RFI to determine whether the district is better served by outsourcing its school food service program.
Senate Bill 2678 Relating to Student Assessment Program/Schools: Removes the one-year limitation on alternatives to the 10th-grade FCAT.
Senate Bill 3000 Relating to Charter Schools: Allows community colleges and state universities to sponsor charter schools. It allows charter school facilities not to comply with the Building Code. A school district representative and the local fire marshal shall inspect the facility for certificate of occupancy purposes. Educational impact fees for a development may be designated for the construction of charter schools for that development. Charter school sponsors must be the costs of state or district-required tests. In order for a charter school to receive capital outlay funding, it must have receive such funding during 2003-2004. Allows charter schools to expend capital outlay funds for any capital outlay purpose related to the functioning of the charter school. it deletes provisions related to charter school capital outlay funding that became effective for 2003-2004.
Senate Bill 3010 Relating to Retired Teachers/Reemployment: Amends the Teachers Retirement System to allow the same post-retirement re-employment opportunities for teacher participants in this system as currently exist for teachers in the Florida Retirement System.
There being no further business, the Special Meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.