THE SCHOOL BOARD OF
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, APRIL 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 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 (entered at 9:02 a.m.)
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
(NOTE: Mr. Clark entered at 9:02 a.m.)
School Board Attorney (General Counsel)
Interim School Board Attorney (General Counsel) - Upon inquiry by Mr. Bergosh, Mrs. Stidham advised that Mr. Steven J. Baker, would serve as interim School Board Attorney for the April Regular Meeting (due to the recent resignation of Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr.).
Appointment of School Board Attorney (General Counsel) – Upon inquiry by Mr. Bergosh, Mrs. Stidham advised that there were five applicants for the position of School Board Attorney who would be interviewed at the April 21, 2004 Special Meeting. Mr. Bergosh was concerned that five applicants was not enough, so rather than interviewing only those five, he suggested re-advertising the position to possibly garner additional applicants. In response, Mr. Clark and Ms. Finkelstein noted that if the Board was not satisfied with the five applicants after interviewing them, then they always had the option to re-advertise at that point.
Walnut Hill North End Transportation Garage Lift
(NOTE: This issue was previously addressed at the February 16, 2004 Special Meeting.)
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. John Dombroskie, Director of Purchasing and Business Services, indicated that the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the garage lift was still being developed and that once completed, a copy of the RFP would be provided to the Board.
On behalf of the Board, Mrs. Stidham presented a plaque to Mr. Negron in appreciation for his services as General Counsel.
II. COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent listed the additions, deletions, corrections and amendments to the agenda.
III. TIME CERTAIN ITEMS
1. Presentation by Office Depot
Mr. Bobby Colony, representing Office Depot, Inc., gave a brief presentation regarding the company’s “5% Back to Schools” program. The program would enable shoppers to select a local school to receive merchandise credits totaling 5% of all qualifying school supply purchases, which could be redeemed for thousands of products.
The following item was moved forward on the agenda:
NEED Energy Program Presentation (Item VIII.3)
Ms. Mary Spruill, National Energy Education Development (NEED), gave a brief presentation regarding the NEED Program: A program which included information to educate students about energy efficiency and conservation, and tools to help educators, energy managers and consumers use energy wisely.
IV. PROPOSED ADDITIONS OR REVISIONS TO SCHOOL DISTRICT RULES
Notice of Intent to Adopt Amendment to School District Rule 6Gx17 -2.12(1)(k) - School Volunteers
(Item II.A.3 on April 20, 2004 Regular Meeting agenda)
Mrs. Stidham indicated that she would offer a motion at the April Regular Meeting, to adopt “Amendment to School District Rule 6Gx17-2.12(l)(k) – School Volunteers,” with the deletion of the following statement: “Exemptions may be granted for misdemeanors prohibited under the aforementioned provision(s) provided the misdemeanor occurred more than 3 years prior to the date of disqualification and did not involve child endangerment.”
V. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Curriculum and Instruction
No discussion was held.
No discussion was held.
C. Human Resource Services
NAME POSITION DATE WORK LOCATION
Keene, Charles Head Football Coach 04/22/04 Northview
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, explained that this individual would be teaching physical education and serving as a head football coach. He advised that “Head Football Coach” was listed as the “position” only to indicate that this individual held a 12-month contract.
f. Special Requests
3. Request approval to establish the job description of Worker’s Compensation Claims Adjuster on the Professional Salary Schedule.
Mr. Kevin Windham, Director of Risk Management, provided justification (in both written and verbal form) for the establishment of this particular position.
3. Risk Management
b. Lump Sum Settlement – General Liability
Board Members requested that this item be deferred to Executive Session for separate discussion.
At this point, Mrs. Stidham felt it necessary to remind those in attendance, that the May Regular Workshop had been changed from May 14, 2004 to May 17, 2004, at 9:00 a.m., in Room 160, at the J.E. Hall Educational Services Center.
4. Bid Award: Educational Support Personnel Job Study, RFP #041201
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. John Dombroskie, Director of Purchasing and Business Services, stated that the job study would begin hopefully before the end of the school year and would take approximately 8 to 10 months to complete. At the request of Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Dombroskie stated that a clause could be added to the contract to specify that a copy of the completed study would be presented to the Board.
No discussion was held.
F. Student Transfers
No discussion was held.
G. Internal Auditing
No discussion was held.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
No items were submitted.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Items from the Board
1. Development of Board Policy for District-Wide Strategic Planning – Cary Stidham
Mrs. Stidham referred to the backup documentation for this item, which included an example of a district-wide strategic planning policy from another school district. She indicated that she would draft a similar type of policy and then present it for the Board’s consideration.
2. Approval of Board Meeting Executive Summary Form – Cary Stidham
Mrs. Stidham referred to the backup documentation for this item, which included an example of a “Board Meeting Executive Summary Form.” She noted that the form could be used to reference how each agenda item related to the strategic plan. The Superintendent indicated that staff could use the example provided to develop a similar form and then present it for the Board’s consideration.
3. Review of School Board Policy 6Gx17-1.11 Legal Services and Job Description for General Counsel – Gary Bergosh
Due to Mr. Negron’s recent resignation as General Counsel, Mr. Bergosh believed that it was the opportune time to review and possibly improve both the current legal services policy and the General Counsel job description. He indicated that he would possibly re-draft the current policy and job description and then present them for the Board’s consideration.
4. Reconsideration of Title I Allocations – John DeWitt
(NOTE: This item was a request to reconsider action from the April 1, 2004 Special Meeting, where the Board accepted the Superintendent’s recommendation to eliminate Title I funding to those schools having fewer than 60% of their students eligible for free or reduced price meals and to reduce the number of Title I funded pre-kindergarten classrooms from their current levels to 18 classes.)
Discussion took place regarding the following information that Dr. DeWitt had provided as backup information for this item:
The Escambia County School District has a long history of serving four year old children in what has been recognized as one of the best programs in the nation based on research findings and the high quality of our program and staff. Unfortunately, due to continuous funding restrictions we are often placed in making decisions as to what groups of children we will serve and which ones will be cut from services. We are again faced with this dilemma and are being asked to cut programs to our youngest children who are most in need and thereby we deny or reject all of the brain research, early learning research and our own District research that states “quality early education can ensure that a child is ready for school.” Our District, which had 34 high quality programs, is now being forced to cut again. We once served 34 classrooms (680 children); last year we cut to 27 classrooms (540 children) and now we are being asked to cut to 18 District funded classrooms (360 children) which means that 180 four year olds will be cut again from our programs. The question we now are facing is “Can we find money in the existing budget to maintain the current program?”
To continue the 27 pre-k programs currently operated by the Title I program and use the following funds to pay for their operation.
It is estimated each program will cost $75,000 (based on current costs) to operate. We are projecting most conservative approach to the transportation cost (worst scenario) of $2.5 million to transport children to other schools under the NCLB mandate. This seems to be assuming that every child in a school not receiving a passing grade will want to transfer to a school with a passing grade. This seems most unrealistic. I propose we use $675,000 of that projected cost to continue to operate the 9 pre-k centers. Assuming the worse scenario, the District receives $600,000 for indirect costs in the Title I Grant which are totally available at the Board’s discretion to use to fund any program.
In order not to gamble with the lives of our most vulnerable children, this approach allows the 180 children to be served. At this point we are unsure of many budgeting items. Should the worse case scenario occur and we are forced to use the projected $2.5 million to transport children, then a reassessment of the budget can be made. However, let us not deny these critical services on a pessimistic approach but let us be optimistic that at worse scenario we could use the indirect funds, make cuts in the line items, or use carry over funds which have not been finalized.
B. Items from the Superintendent
No discussion was held.
C. Items from the General Counsel
No items submitted.
Mr. Negron, Dr. DeWitt and the Superintendent left the meeting at 11:10 a.m. Mr. Norm Ross, Deputy Superintendent, represented the Superintendent for the remainder of the meeting.
VIII. COMMITTEE/DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS
1. Update on Strategic Planning Process
Mr. Keith Leonard, Chief Negotiator, gave a brief presentation entitled:
Progress on Objectives and Strategies
2. Electronic District Event Master Calendar
[NOTE: The following discussion refers to Board action from the May 20, 2003 Regular Meeting, regarding the development of a web-based “Master Calendar.] Mr. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, reviewed a handout he had provided entitled “District Event Master Calendar Guidelines.” [NOTE: The “District Event Master Calendar Guidelines” were approved at the January 20, 2004 Regular Meeting (Item V.E.6.A.2).] Mr. Jason Frye, Programmer Analyst I – Web Technologies, gave a brief demonstration of the web-based calendar application. Upon inquiry by Mr. Clark, Mr. Shawn Dennis, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that the “target” implementation date of the calendar was the end of May 2004. Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Dennis indicated that the calendar would serve only as “supplemental information” and that staff would still be required to send official notification to the Board regarding upcoming events.
3. NEED Energy Program Presentation
This presentation was given earlier in the meeting.
ADD 4. Update on ESE District Administered
ADD 5. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Transfer Option Presentation
Mrs. Shereč Cagle, Director of Comprehensive Planning, reviewed a handout which listed those schools that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and the option(s) that would be available to the students at those schools if their school failed to make AYP for two consecutive years.
There being no further business, the Regular Workshop adjourned at 12:00 p.m.