THE SCHOOL BOARD OF
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, APRIL 5, 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:
House Bill 113 Relating to School Boards/School Drug Testing: Requires middle and high school student athletes to undergo urinalysis for drug detection.
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.
House Bill 123/Senate Bill 678 Relating to Assault/Sports Official: Provides higher-level sanctions for persons who assault or batter interscholastic sports officials.
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 be disciplined. Committee Substitute/SB 184 allows students to possess wireless communications devices, but requires school boards to adopt rules regarding authorized use. 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 305/Senate Bill 300 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 340 Relating to School Code Rewrite Corrections: A shell bill through which the Legislature intends to revise laws related to the Florida School Code.
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 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 1115/Senate Bill 2096 Relating to Children’s Summer Nutrition Act: Requires DOE to develop a plan through which at least one summer food program will operate in each school district within 5 miles of each school in which half or more of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunch for at least 40 days during the summer. By the summer of 2006, there such programs must exist within 10 miles of each such school. The superintendent is responsible for implementing the plan, although parties other than the district may provide these services.
House Bill 1139 Relating to Students/Reading Deficiencies: Requires elementary schools to regularly assess each K-3 student’s reading ability and notify the parents of deficient students’ specific deficiencies. Parents must be consulted in the development of an academic improvement plan in reading for each such student. Each district must establish a Reading Enhancement and Acceleration Initiative to serve students at risk of retention based on their reading scores. These students must be provided an additional 30 to 45 minutes of instruction during the school day in the essential components of reading as identified by the Reading First folks. In addition, they must be provided a curriculum that meets Florida Center for Reading Research specifications. Accelerated instruction must be provided to 3rd graders who are not promoted to 4th grade. This instruction must include 60 to 90 minutes of instruction during the school day in the essential components of reading, as well as the curriculum identified above. Students must be assessed each 9 weeks and promoted upon successful completion of the reading assessment. The Academic improvement plan must be re-addressed for students who do not pass the assessment.
House Bill 1275 Relating to Schools/Students/Medication: Prohibits school districts from requiring that students get specific prescriptions as a condition of attending school. DOE must develop rules for this purpose.
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.
House Bill 1333 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 a physical education credit.
House Bill 1579 Relating to John M. McKay Scholarship Program: Disqualifies students committed to juvenile justice facilities, hospitalized, and homebound students from receiving McKay Scholarships. Senate Bill 2882 Relating to John M. McKay Scholarship Program: Overhauls the McKay Scholarship Program. Prospective recipients must notify DOE, who then notifies the school district. The program is limited to students up to the age of 22. Students may not receive the scholarship if they receive a scholarship from another source, participate in home school, distance learning, or correspondence courses, or is committed to a juvenile justice facility. Parents must notify DOE of their intent to participate no later than April 1 each year. The district’s student matrix must be consistent with the student’s IEP. Districts must notify parents of reassessment availability every three years. Participating schools must file a surety bond with DOE equal to the quarterly scholarship value. Schools that participate for 3 or more years and have had no adverse action by DOE are exempt. Participating schools must register specific information with DOE. Participating schools must screen all personnel who have direct contact with students. The bill provides a list of prohibitions. It provides for state-level oversight of the schools.
House Bill 1693 Relating to Educational Facilities: Allows school boards to be exempt from construction and facilities funding standards upon a majority of county voters approving this exemption in a county-wide referendum. The alternative standards must be based on a 20-year projection plan recommended by a local task force that is convened by the school board and that consists of local elected municipal officers and county commissioners.
House Bill 1725 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.
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.
Mr. David Lycan, Mixon and Associates, indicated (via speakerphone) that he would forward information (via email message) regarding the House Appropriations Bill and the Senate Appropriations Bill.
There being no further business, the Special Meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m.