THE SCHOOL BOARD OF
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, JULY 26, 2004
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Workshop Meeting at 9:00 a.m., in Room 160, at the J.E. Hall Educational Services Center, 30 East Texar Drive, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chairman: Mrs. Cary Stidham Vice Chairman: Dr. John DeWitt
Board Members: Mr. Gary Bergosh
Mr. Ronnie L. Clark
Ms. Linda Finkelstein
School Board General Counsel: Mrs. Ellen Odom
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
1. Proposed Meeting Dates for Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Workshops
(NOTE: This issue was previously addressed at the June 14, 2004 Regular Workshop.) Mrs. Stidham asked for suggestions on meeting dates for the FMCS workshops. Dr. DeWitt recommended that the workshops be held after the general election in November, as he was concerned that if there were new Board Members and/or a new Superintendent, those individuals would miss the workshops if they were held prior to that time. Board Members responded to Dr. DeWitt’s suggestion, but ultimately there was no agreement on the scheduling of the FMCS workshops.
(NOTE: This issue was previously discussed at the February 16, 2004 Regular Workshop. Dr. DeWitt had previously requested that the Superintendent explore options for setting up a program to serve overage middle school students (who had progressed academically, but did not belong in a traditional middle school setting due to their age). He acknowledged that the Board had received a memorandum (dated June 8, 2004) outlining three proposals for such a program, with estimated costs ranging from $163,200 to $858,548. He noted however, that the memorandum appeared to have been provided for “information purposes” only, as it did not include an actual recommendation from the Superintendent. In response, the Superintendent indicated that he would bring forth a recommendation on this issue in the near future.
Additions, Deletions, Corrections and Amendments to the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting Agenda
Dr. DeWitt was concerned with the number of corrections and/or amendments that had been made to the July Regular Meeting agenda items, many of which he had not received until just that morning. Mrs. Stidham and Ms. Finkelstein believed that it might be best to table all corrected and/or amended agenda items to the following month, so that the Board would have ample opportunity to review those items thoroughly.
II. COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent listed the additions, deletions, corrections and amendments to the agenda.
III. TIME CERTAIN ITEMS
1. Newspapers in Education, Sheila Reed, NIE Director, Pensacola News Journal – John DeWitt
Sheila Reed and Gay Smith, from the Pensacola News Journal, briefly reviewed information provided to the Board regarding “Newspapers in Education” (NIE), a program in which the daily newspaper becomes a “living textbook” for teachers and their students in the classroom.
2. Legislative Update, Mixon and Associates,
Legislative Consultants – Cary Stidham
IV. PROPOSED ADDITIONS OR REVISIONS TO SCHOOL DISTRICT RULES
Notice of Intent to Advertise Emergency Revision to School District Rule 6Gx17 – 7.15 – Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices (as mandated by Legislature – proposed by Mrs. Ellen Odom, General Counsel)
PURPOSE & EFFECT: This emergency rule amendment was in response to Senate Bill 0184, effective July 1, 2004, that amends Section 1006.07, Florida Statutes and mandates the deletion of the notice requirement for students in possession of an electronic telephone pager while on district school property or attending a school function and provides for possession of wireless communications devices, but prohibits use of such devices.
Dr. DeWitt suggested that the Board “leave the existing policy alone” as he believed that it was sufficient, noting that there was no “common sense, good reason that a child should have a cell phone during the school day.”
Notice of Intent to Advertise Revision to School District Rule 6Gx17 – 2.06 – Other Contractual Personnel (proposed by Mrs. Ellen Odom, General Counsel)
Mrs. Odom advised that this rule revision would require those persons contracting with the District, who had direct contact with students or access to District funds, to undergo a level 2 background screening (as described in Section 1012.32, Florida Statutes). Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mrs. Odom stated that while trailer residents would probably not have direct contact with students, it might be prudent from a “liability standpoint” to require that those individuals undergo a level 2 background screening as well. Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, indicated that staff would revise the current trailer resident lease document to include the level 2 background-screening requirement.
Notice of Intent to Advertise Revision to School District Rule 6Gx17 – 3.07 – Safety, Regulations
and Procedures (proposed by Mr. Steve Sharp, Coordinator of Safety, Health and Environmental
SAFETY, SECURITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL
REGULATIONS AND PROCEUDRES
(3) Emergency Management Program
(g) Facilities will be evacuated in the event of a credible bomb threat, unless information associated with the threat indicates it may expose students and staff to a greater hazard by doing so.
Mrs. Stidham suggested that this portion of the rule make reference to a document that outlined the various criteria that constituted a “credible bomb threat” and clearly state that the document was exempt from public record law. After further discussion, Mrs. Odom advised that any discussion on the security of schools could be done at a meeting held “outside of the Sunshine” and did not have to be advertised. Therefore, the Board agreed to convene in Special Meeting (Re: Executive Session) at 3:00 p.m. to continue discussion on this issue.
V. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Curriculum and Instruction
Charter School Contracts
12. Transportation Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Escambia Charter School, Inc.
13. Transportation Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Pensacola Beach Elementary School
14. Transportation Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Beulah Academy of Science, Inc.
15. Transportation Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Reaching Your Dream, Inc., d.b.a. Ruby J. Gainer School for Reaching Your Dream
17. Transportation Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and New Road to Learning, Inc., d.b.a. Jacqueline Harris Preparatory Academy
18. Transportation Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and New Road to Learning, Inc., d.b.a. Jacqueline Harris Preparatory Academy
19. Transportation Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Byrneville Conversion Charter School
20. Amended Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida, and Reaching Your Dream, Inc., d.b.a. Ruby J. Gainer School for Reaching Your Dream
21. Amended Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida, and Pensacola Beach Elementary Charter School
22. Amended Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Escambia Charter School, Inc.
26. Amended Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Beulah Academy of Science, Inc.
32. Amended Contract between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Byrneville Conversion Charter School
Ms. Finkelstein was concerned with the number of corrections and/or amendments that had been made to the charter school contracts that were listed on the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting agenda. She and Mrs. Stidham believed that it might be best to table all corrected and/or amended charter school contracts to the following month, so that the Board would have ample opportunity to review those items thoroughly. In response to their concerns, the Superintendent indicated that he would delete all charter school contracts (not just those that were corrected and/or amended) from the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting agenda.
30. No cost Extension of 2003-2004 EduTest Subscription (Information Only)
Mr. Wayne Odom, Director of Title I, explained that this item was to inform the Board that Plato Learning was offering to extend the 2003-2004 subscription for EduTest through November 2004, in order to complete a detailed analysis of the correlation of student achievement and the use of EduTest. He noted that the data resulting from that analysis would be presented to the Board before any request to purchase EduTest for the future.
33. Agreement between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida, and Lisa Burridge and Ruth
(Talis) Jayme, Art Teachers
Mrs. Odom noted that this agreement would need to be revised to include the provision that these individuals would undergo a level 2 background screening pursuant to Section 435.04, Florida Statutes.
35. District Wide NEED Program and Curriculum Implementation Plan
Dr. DeWitt indicated that he would address this item at the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting.
38. Escambia County School District Strategic Plan 2003-2008
Mrs. Shereè Cagle, Director of Comprehensive Planning, briefly reviewed the changes that had been made to the Strategic Plan since it was approved as a “framework” at the February 23, 2004 Special Meeting. Mrs. Stidham referred to the “District-Wide Strategic Planning” policy (School District Rule 6Gx17 – 1.22), which stated that the Strategic Plan was supposed to be presented to the Board in July for their review but not actually presented for approval until August. Therefore, she believed that the “executive summary sheet” would need to be revised to indicate that this item was being presented for the Board’s review, not approval.
6. Disposal of Capitalized and Non-Capitalized Assets:
b) Scrap List I and II for July 2004
Dr. DeWitt requested that staff research the feasibility of developing a procedure whereby, future “scrap” computers could be made available to Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church for donation to the Lakota Indian Mission Program.
11. Bencor National Government Employees Retirement Plan Amendment
Dr. DeWitt requested that the Board be provided with a copy of “Attachment A” that was referred to in the Bencor Agreement, as it was not included in the backup documentation.
12. Budget Amendments:
a) Resolution 11: Capital Projects Fund
2. 2002/03 PECO Construction Fund 3413, (Pages 6 & 7)
c. Reallocate funds ($74, 569.00) from Ransom Middle School sitework project to Vernon McDaniel building sitework project. Facilities Planning initiated this budget amendment to facilitate funding for parking lot improvements at the Chris Jones Property Appraiser office location.
Mrs. Stidham questioned why funds were being reallocated from the Ransom Middle School sitework project in order to facilitate funding for parking lot improvements at the Property Appraiser office, when the funds had already been budgeted the prior year. She questioned “what other projects was the parking lot money used for?” Mrs. Laura Shaud, Director of Budgeting, indicated that she would provide the Board with an outline of the sequence of events that occurred regarding the budget for the parking lot improvement project. Dr. DeWitt questioned “why not just get rid of that property” instead of “spending big money to fix it?” He suggested holding off on the parking lot improvement project and “see if we can just get rid of the property.”
9. 2003/04 PECO Maintenance Fund 3424
b. Reallocate funds from undistributed energy conservation project ($30,000.00 decrease) and undistributed capital outlay crew project ($70,000.00 decrease) to Spencer Bibbs Elementary School air conditioner system replacement project ($50,000.00 increase) and Walnut Hill Garage Facility general renovation project ($50,000.00 increase). Facilities Planning initiated this budget amendment to facilitate funding for Spencer Bibbs air conditioner system replacement project and Walnut Hill Bus Garage project.
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Ron Peacock, Director of Facilities Planning, indicated that the $50,000.00 increase to the Walnut Hill Garage Facility general renovation project combined with the $80,000.00 already budgeted, would give the full amount needed.
C. Human Resource Services
f. Special Requests
15. Request approval for Nelda Segers to work from July 1 through July 18, 2004 and to be paid at her regular hourly rate of pay on the instructional salary schedule. She will be working in the Choice Office for Leslie Travis who is on maternity leave.
Mrs. Stidham indicated that she was not willing to approve this item until the Superintendent followed the correct procedures outlined in Board policy with regard to this recommendation.
3. Risk Management
e. Dental Plan and Premiums, Effective October 1, 2004
Mr. Kevin Windham, Director of Risk Management, briefly reviewed the following information, as outlined in the backup documentation for this item:
The Board was previously submitted (at the May 18, 2004 Regular Meeting) results of the Dental RFP process and recommendations from the Trustees and Insurance Committee. The recommendation was “that we continue with the self-directed direct reimbursement dental plan with an option to offer an enhanced buy-up plan to employees that wish to purchase a higher level of dental benefits at an additional employee paid premium”. It was also recommended that we accept the proposal submitted by our current third-party administrator (United Group Programs). In addition, supplemental information was presented to the Board for evaluation which included the results of the RFP process (including plan proposal which included the buy-up plan offered by United Group Programs) and premium rates (Board and Employee Rates) for both the “current plan” and the “enhanced plan”. Since this information was not submitted as “Amended Backup”, but merely “Additional Information”, then it was determined to be appropriate to resubmit these items to the Board to more clearly define both the plans and premiums for Board approval.
(NOTE: The Superintendent left the Regular Workshop at 11:45 a.m.)
2. Agreement: Energy Conservation Consulting Services
Dr. DeWitt indicated that he would address this item at the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting.
5. Agreement Renewal: Telecommunication Services
Mrs. Stidham requested additional information regarding the number of District radio units currently in service and how many of those units also had cellular telephone capability.
21. Unauthorized Purchase of Advanced Placement Exams for Pensacola High School
Ms. Sara Lewis, principal of Pensacola High School, gave a brief explanation regarding the unauthorized purchase of Advanced Placement exams for her school.
22. Bid Award: Hydraulic Lift Replacement at the Walnut Hill Bus Garage
Ms. Finkelstein indicated that she was “surprised” to see this item listed on the agenda as a request to award a bid. She noted that the Board had requested and was given assurances that an RFP for the lift replacement would be shared with the Board prior to issuance, however that had not occurred. Mr. Shawn Dennis, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, explained that the Purchasing Department had determined that developing an RFP for the hydraulic lift was “well beyond their scope of expertise” and therefore, they deferred to the Facilities Planning Department to proceed with a “hard bid.” He apologized that he had not communicated to the Board that staff was not able to accommodate the request for an RFP. Ms. Finkelstein noted that this recommendation began in January 2004 as an emergency request for an expenditure of approximately $90,000 and now, not only did it appear that no true emergency existed but the project had grown to the point of equipment replacement alone being over $128,000. She questioned “what has happened between January and today that takes us from $90,000 to over $128,000?” Mr. Dennis stated that the disparity in the price was related to “quite a few factors” including steel prices, which had gone up by 40% in the last few months and the shortage of concrete availability in the area. At the request of Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Dennis indicated that he would provide additional information regarding this particular item in an effort to address her concerns. Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Steve Sharp, Coordinator of Safety, Health and Environmental Operations, indicated that the remediation of the contaminated soil at the Walnut Hill Bus Garage was not yet completed, as the District was awaiting further direction from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Ms. Finkelstein indicated that she would further address this item at the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting.
35. Construction Management At Risk Services: Pleasant Grove Elementary School Renovations to the Main Building
36. Construction Management At Risk Services: Pine Forest High School Renovations to 400 & 500 Wings, Phase II
38. Construction Management At Risk Services: Washington High School Fine Arts Auditorium Addition
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Ron Peacock, Director of Facilities Planning, gave a brief explanation as to why the “Construction Management At Risk Services” procedure was being used for these construction projects.
1. Facilities Planning
6. Five-Year Educational Plant Survey Extension
Mr. Shawn Dennis, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, indicated that this item was a request to extend the current Five Year Educational Plant Survey until the new survey was completed by the survey consultant, pending final data collection and evaluation.
F. Student Transfers
No discussion was held.
G. Internal Auditing
No discussion was held.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
No items submitted.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Items from the Board
1. Ethics Policy – Cary Stidham
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, indicated that the Ethics Committee would probably be able to submit the final version of the Ethics Policy at the September Regular Meeting.
5. Parent Notification Process Regarding Schools’ Adequate Yearly Progress – Gary Bergosh
(NOTE: This item was placed on the agenda simply for discussion purposes.) Upon inquiry by Mr. Bergosh, Mrs. Shereè Cagle, Director of Comprehensive Planning, briefly reviewed the process that had been followed for notifying parents regarding their child’s school’s Adequate Yearly Progress.
6. First Progress Report of the Community Task Force on Diversity to the School Board and Superintendent – Linda Finkelstein
Ms. Finkelstein indicated that at the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting, she would offer a motion to accept this report, but not to adopt the recommendations. She would then move to direct the Superintendent to respond to the recommendations contained in the report in a written format for consideration at the August 17, 2004 Regular Meeting, with the response listing each recommendation from the Task Force Report and indicating the District’s recommendation or proposal.
The Board recognized Walter Gulley, Jr., who expressed various concerns regarding this item.
7. Request Superintendent to Provide to the School Board at the August 17, 2004 School Board Meeting a List of Precautions to be Instituted at Brown Barge Middle School that Limits Human Contact with Soil – Cary Stidham
8. Request Superintendent to Provide to the School Board at the August 17, 2004 School Board Meeting Possible Sites for Relocation of Brown Barge Middle School with a Cost Analysis – Cary Stidham
Mrs. Stidham indicated that she would address these items at the July 27, 2004 Regular Meeting.
B. Items from the Superintendent
No discussion was held.
C. Items from the General Counsel
No discussion was held.
VIII. COMMITTEE/DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS
1. Update on Strategic Planning Process
Mrs. Peggy Pilcher, Coordinator of Volunteer and Business Partnerships, and Mr. Steve Sharp, Coordinator of Safety, Health and Environmental Operations, gave a brief progress report on:
Strategic Goal 4:
Provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students, parents and community that encourages community and parent participation.
It was noted that Strategic Goal 4 had resulted from the combination of the following two goals:
· Provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students, parents and community that encourages community and parent participation
· Provide avenues for community and parent participation
It was requested that Goal 4 be divided back into two separate goals.
2. Status of Educational Support Personnel (ESP) Job Study
[NOTE: The Educational Support Personnel (ESP) Job Study was approved at the April 20, 2004 Regular Meeting (Item V.D.4).] Mr. Jerry Caine, Educational Support Personnel Manager, provided a handout to the Board regarding the status of the Educational Support Personnel (ESP) Job Study.
ADD 3. Alternative Certification Program Evaluation
Dr. Robin Largue, Associate Professor, College of Professional Studies at the University of West Florida, briefly reviewed information provided to the Board regarding the Alternative Certification Program.
There being no further business, the Regular Workshop adjourned at 2:05 p.m.