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 (Administration) Building, 215 West Garden Street, with the following present:

Chairman: Dr. John DeWitt Vice Chairman: Mrs. Cary Stidham

Members: Mr. Gary L. Bergosh

Mrs. Linda Finkelstein

Dr. Elmer Jenkins

School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco Negron

Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul


Chairman DeWitt called the workshop to order at 9:00 a.m.



Mr. Paul listed the additions and deletions to the agenda. It was noted that the issue of school consolidations and closings would not be addressed at the Board Meeting, and that subsequent workshops and special meetings would be announced.



No discussion was held concerning this item.



Chairman DeWitt noted that reports from several Citizens' Advisory Committees (for Finance; Facilities; and Technology and Curriculum) would be given at the Board Meeting, as well as a presentation by the PTA.

1) Internal Audit Committee

Mr. Mike Adkins, Chairman, Internal Audit Committee, reported that a number of internal audits were submitted for approval at the Board Meeting. Concerning the Tate High School audit finding (Agenda Item V.G.1.u. Internal Funds Tate High School for fiscal year 1999-2000), Mrs. Stidham requested clarification concerning the response provided by the principal. Mr. Sam Scallan, Director of Internal Auditing, responded that the principal did not initially concur with the audit finding. Mr. Scallan stated that purchases over $3,000 require bidding, and the school had purchased over $23,000 worth of athletic equipment from one vendor during the school year without bidding. He added that chemicals purchased (in the amount of $13,000 for the Tate Agricultural Program) also exceeded bid requirements. Dr. Jenkins asked if the audit finding had been reconciled with the principal. Mr. Scallan stated that he had met with the principal who indicated that education would be provided at the staff level on purchasing and bidding requirements. Mr. Adkins stated that a follow-up section will be added to reports to verify that reconciliation has occurred.

Regarding risk assessments, Mr. Adkins noted that two meetings were held with the Superintendent to outline plans for coming year. He stated that the Internal Auditor also planned to meet with Board Members to obtain input on a Risk Plan. Mr. Adkins announced that Mr. Scallan, in addition to being a Certified Public Accountant with a Masters Degree in Management, recently passed the examination for Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Government Audit Professional.

Regarding Agenda Item VII.B.4 ITEMS FROM THE BOARD - Discussion regarding RFP for Outsourcing Auditing Functions), Mr. Adkins asked that the Board proceed with a study of what is presently being done and what the Board would like to see accomplished prior to issuing an RFP for an independent firm. Dr. Jenkins inquired as to advantages that could be derived from outsourcing. Mr. Adkins responded that the study could address financial factors and what is presently being done by the whole department versus contracting with a private firm. He noted that the law currently requires auditing internal accounts at the schools, special projects which the Internal Auditor does, and the risk assessment process.



Mr. Ireland Brock, Director of Pupil Instructional Support Services, reported that the School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee (SAZAC) will meet this week, and the School Board's General Counsel will meet with the committee concerning the parameters of the Augustus court case. He reported that the committee has been gathering demographic data and will provide information back to the Board concerning redistricting.




3. Extended Year Calendar for A. A. Dixon Elementary School.

Mrs. Stidham requested additional information from staff concerning one-half (1/2) days proposed from May 25 through June 21, 2001. Mrs. Judy Ladner, Principal, A. A. Dixon Elementary School, advised that 210 school instructional days will remain, and no instructional days will be lost. Prior to the end of the workshop, Chairman DeWitt announced that a letter was received from the State indicating that if the request is approved, then A. A. Dixon Elementary would not meet the minimum requirements of the extended year grant, and he pulled this item from the agenda.



There were no questions concerning Finance items.



1. Instructional/Professional

f. Special Requests

(4) Request approval to adopt the school calendar for 2001-2002 school year and tentative school calendar for 2002-2003 school year Chairman DeWitt stated that he will make a motion at the Board Meeting to approve the calendar as presented which fulfils the intent of the Board's motion from last month (to set two five-day breaks, eliminate all half-days, and place everyone back on a uniform schedule). Mrs. Finkelstein requested input from the Calendar Committee. Dr. Douglas Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, stated that the committee supported the proposal but suggested delay in implementation for one year due to concerns that families had already scheduled activities based on the two-year calendar approved last year.

The Board recognized the following speakers:

1) Ms. Ellen Lawrence, UniServ Director for Escambia NEA, stated that the proposed calendar presented major changes which would impact the district. She stated that the Calendar Committee had supported the two-year calendar as recommended last year for 2001-2002.

2) Ms. Arlene Costello, President, Escambia Education Association (EEA), commented that the Calendar Committee did not object to the proposal but had concerns that families had made plans based on a two-year calendar.

Chairman DeWitt stated that unanimous support had been expressed for the proposed calendar to return everyone to a uniform schedule for school year 2001-2002 (starting in August of next year).


14. Additions/Renovations at Spencer Bibbs, Semmes, and Bellview Elementary Schools.

Mrs. Stidham asked if this item could be tabled for a month or until a decision is made concerning closing or consolidating schools. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Director of Facilities and Maintenance, advised that there would be no significant impact to delaying for one month. After discussion, Chairman DeWitt stated that a motion could be presented at the Board Meeting.

26. Bid Award: Pharmacy Benefits Management Proposals.

Mr. Joseph Bernard, Director of Risk Management, presented tabulation results from the RFP that was done last November noting that ten proposals were received for retail pharmacies. Mr. Chris Clark, AON Consultants, reviewed a handout entitled "Prescription Drug Plan." He stated that he had served on the Proposal Review Committee, as well as the Director of Risk Management, the Director of Purchasing, the Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, and the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. The pharmacy proposal called for a plan that could meet the cost target of $5,000,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. He noted that the best cost savings plan was submitted by Advance PCS, which is the largest pharmacy benefit manager in the United States, with approximately 75,000,000 members. Dr. Jenkins inquired concerning pharmacy benefits (if generic products are available) and was advised that if an employee chooses "brand name" when generic products are available, the employee would pay the difference in costs. Mr. Clark stated that pharmacy costs in recent years have about doubled the rate of other health care costs (about 20% on an annual basis nationwide), while other medical costs have gone up closer to 10% or 11%. After discussion, Chairman DeWitt tabled this item (to be brought back no later than the next regular meeting of the School Board) so that the information could be presented to the Insurance Committee, with meetings to be advertised in compliance with the Sunshine Law.

27. Bid Award: Health Care Benefits Management Proposals.

Mr. Bernard presented RFP tabulation results based on four proposals received. He provided information concerning the proposed option plan presented by CIGNA, with an HMO as the base plan (free to employees), and an option to participate in a PPO (requiring an extra premium contribution of $50 per month for the employee, $100 for employee plus one, and $150 for family coverage). Mr. Bergosh inquired concerning the contract length and was advised that the contract would be renewablde on a yearly basis. Mrs. Stidham asked if a limit was established as to how long doctors can take to file claims and was advised that would be addressed in their contracts within the network. Mr. Bernard noted that aggregate stop loss coverage would be provided at 115%. Mr. Clark explained that 115% of the expected medical claims estimated at $20,000,000 would be $23,000,000 (which would be capped for the district); therefore, approximately $3,000,000 would be the worst case scenario for that year. Upon request from Mr. Bergosh, Mr. Clark stated that he would provide comparative data on the other plans submitted in the RFP's. Mr. Clark stated that annual audits of health claims should be conducted because of the self-funded status. Mrs. Stidham inquired concerning the status of the district claims audit. Mr. Bernard stated that the auditing provision in the contract with United Healthcare had allowed audit of up to 400 claims per year, and they process over 130,000 claims per year. He noted that proposals submitted by CIGNA and Blue Cross/Blue Shield contained no auditing restrictions. Concerning overpayments or mistakes made, Mr. Clark stated that audit findings typically reveal 2-3% of recoverable money (which could mean up to $500,000 in a $20,000,000 fund). Mrs. Stidham asked how retirees under the age of 65 would be affected. Mr. Bernard advised that their rates would not change if they stayed in the HMO. After discussion, he noted that the educational process (concerning the benefits provided in HMO and PPO plans) would be part of the CIGNA contract.

The Board recognized the following speakers:

1) Mr. Larry Wagner, CIGNA representative, Atlanta, Georgia, spoke concerning the ability of the company to provide on-going services and flexibility.

2) Mr. Todd Hewen, CIGNA representative, gave a brief history of the company which covers over 14,000,000 Americans in medical plans (including 319,000 PPO members and 600,000 HMO members in the State of Florida).

3) Ms. Brandy Beechem, CIGNA Provider Specialist, provided information concerning the physician network and referral process for Escambia County. Upon inquiry from Chairman DeWitt, Ms. Beechem advised that there are approximately 370 providers in the HMO and PPO provider network , and only twenty (20) of those providers are PPO only. The network includes West Florida Medical Center Clinic, Baptist First Physician Network, and the Sacred Heart Medical Group. Mrs. Stidham asked if Nemours was included and was advised that negotiations are in process with Nemours.

4) Mr. Robert Husbands, Executive Director, Escambia NEA UniServ, stated that the union only received this information today, and the information should be presented to the Insurance Committee as well. He advised that this is a bargaining issue, and he asked that the Board postpone consideration of the pharmacy and health care benefit proposals until the union can be fully briefed and adequately represent the members.

Chairman DeWitt asked if the meetings were advertised in compliance with the Sunshine Law.

Mr. Bernard stated that the meetings were not advertised. Mr. Negron stated that if the function of the committee is fact-finding in nature only, there is no Sunshine requirement; however, if the committee or group is preparing recommendations to the Board, there are Sunshine Law requirements.

5) Ms. Arlene Costello, President, Escambia Education Association (EEA), asked that the Board table consideration of the pharmacy and health care benefit proposals until after presentation to the Insurance Committee.

6) Ms. Ellen Lawrence, UniServ Director for Escambia NEA, asked that this matter be tabled to allow presentation to the Insurance Committee.

Mr. Bernard advised that the contract with United Healthcare expires on April 1, 2001, and time will be needed to implement a new plan and enroll employees. Mr. Barry Boyer, Director of Purchasing, commented that plan design could be modified at the discretion of the Board. Mr. Negron advised that his earlier comments pertaining to the Sunshine Law involved public participation and had no bearing on union participation. There was general consensus by the Board that the information concerning the pharmacy and health care benefit proposals should be shared with all of the stakeholders who are involved in the process. After discussion, Chairman DeWitt tabled this item (to be brought back no later than the next regular meeting of the School Board) so that the information could be presented to the Insurance Committee, with meetings to be advertised in compliance with the Sunshine Law.





8. License Agreement between Hellen Caro and Escambia County Parks Department

Mrs. Stidham spoke in support of this agreement which will provide for playground equipment at Hellen Caro Elementary School.


There were no questions concerning Student Transfers.


There were no questions concerning Internal Auditing.



Mr. Barry Boyer, Director of Purchasing, presented a draft RFP for Board consideration. Mrs. Stidham asked who the grant writer would report to. Dr. Garber commented that reporting to the Superintendent or the Deputy Superintendent would be preferable. Chairman DeWitt concurred. Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, noted that the current Director of Grants Management reports to the Director of Comprehensive Planning.


Dr. Garber advised that Florida Statutes provide for expenditure of funds for recruitment in five "critical shortage" instruction areas (ESE, Foreign Language, Math, Science and Technology teachers for middle and high schools). The teachers would get a maximum of $1,200 payment to use on moving expenses or as they choose. Dr. Jenkins asked if the funds could be utilized to enhance minority recruitment. Dr. Garber replied that minority recruitment was not a factor in the funding criteria. He noted that two proposals will be presented to the Board next month to assist in returning people to college. Dr. Jenkins stated that the district should increase efforts to employ blacks and other minorities.



Chairman DeWitt inquired concerning efforts on developing the new policy manual. Dr. Garber reported that the committee is working to meet the six-month deadline and will bring back a document for Board approval.



A. Permission to Advertise


Chairman DeWitt asked if the Superintendent wished to comment. Mr. Paul spoke in favor of advertising (within the district). Mr. Negron provided clarification concerning advertising requirements. Mrs. Finkelstein noted the intent of the motion was not to tell the Superintendent whom to hire, but to create a pool of qualified candidates for the Superintendent to choose from.

2. Notice of Intent of the School Board of Escambia County, Florida, to name the Booker T. Washington High School Athletic Complex the "Roy Jones, Jr., and Derrick Brooks Athletic Complex"

Dr. Jenkins requested clarification and was advised that the stadium name, in honor of Sherman Robinson, will remain unchanged. Chairman DeWitt advised that the School Advisory Committee and the PTA have expressed supported for the naming of the Athletic Complex.

B. Permission to Adopt

Chairman DeWitt announced that public hearings would be conducted at the Board Meeting prior to considering these items for adoption.

1. School Board Rule 6Gx17-1.08 SCHOOL ADVISORY COUNCIL





Chairman DeWitt announced that an Executive Session will be held tomorrow at 4:45 p.m. at the Hall Center, as well as a Special Workshop on Wednesday, January 24, 2001, at 5:00 p.m., and a Special Workshop at Northview High School on Thursday, January 25, at 8:00 p.m. The purpose of the workshops will be to discuss the Superintendent's plan on school consolidations and school closings and obtain input from the public. A Special Meeting will be held at the Hall Center, Room 160, on Monday, January 29, at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the Superintendent's plan on school consolidations/closings and allow final decision by the Board.


1. Resolution to convert N. B. Cook School of the Arts into a District Magnet School - John DeWitt

Chairman DeWitt stated that he will make the necessary motion at the Board Meeting. Mrs. Stidham asked if this proposal was consistent with the Superintendent's plan. Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, commented that the proposal would have an impact if Cook became a District Magnet School, in terms of displacing students who live in that attendance zone, and the minority student population would have to be replaced (from adjoining attendance zones). Mrs. Finkelstein noted that growth is occurring with several subdivisions going up near A. K. Suter. Dr. Jenkins stated that the student ratio (minority to majority) as stipulated in the Augustus court case must be maintained at all times. It was noted that is the case, and students currently attending could be "grandfathered in" to maintain that ratio. Mrs. Stidham requested input from General Counsel concerning impacts on the Augustus court case. Mr. Negron advised that if the district eliminated the Eastern Corridor and established the District Magnet School, that would foreclose the ability of children at Spencer Bibbs Elementary and O. J. Semmes to go to a magnet school meaningfully (via district-provided transportation), and there is a possibility that the plaintiffs in the Augustus case could raise that as an issue where the district is creating a racially-identifiable school. Mrs. Stidham inquired concerning transportation impacts. Mr. Jerry Caine, Director of Operations, responded that if it is the Board's decision to provide transportation for the entire county for the magnet program, the cost is going to be very expensive.

3. Discussion regarding Centralized Copying System - Cary Stidham

Mrs. Stidham commented that this proposal would make the district responsible for purchasing the copiers, supplies, and maintaining the copiers out of the Internal Fund. Dr. Jenkins asked if this would limit the ability of school-based principals. Mr. Boyer stated that the program would have to be formulated with input from principals but deals with standardizing delivery of services and equipment for cost-saving purposes. After discussion, there was consensus by the Board to ask Purchasing staff to continue the process.

4. Discussion regarding RFP for Outsourcing Auditing Functions - Cary Stidham

Mrs. Stidham commented that the Internal Audit Committee could be involved in developing an RFP to give the Board information as to current Internal Auditing functions versus contracting with a private firm. Chairman DeWitt asked that Mr. Mike Adkins, Chairman of the Internal Audit Committee, be advised concerning potential conflict of interest. Mr. Boyer provided clarification concerning the bid rule. Mr. Sam Scallan, Director of Internal Auditing, stated that the committee is proposing to do a study and bring all of the information back to the Board including a cost breakdown of internal auditing functions as currently performed. Mrs. Stidham asked if that could be provided at the next Board Meeting and was advised that it could. After discussion, Chairman DeWitt pulled this item.



1. Superintendent's Budget Plan.

Mr. Paul advised that this item would be tabled until a Special Meeting, with the date to be determined.

2. Resolution establishing Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Mr. Paul noted that a resolution was provided in the agenda backup materials.

3. Designate the week of February 26 through March 2, 2001, as Dads in School Week.

Mr. Paul advised that the dates had changed from February 5-9, to February 26 through March 2, 2001.

4. Approval of Administrative Appointments.

Mr. Paul presented the following appointments for approval at the Board meeting:


Scott, Jimmy Alan Principal, Workman Middle School, Director, Secondary Education 01/04/01

Pomeroy, George F. Assistant Principal, Workman Middle, Principal, Workman Middle 01/04/01

Nelda Segers Assistant Principal, Bellview Middle, Acting Deputy Superintendent 01/08/01

Dr. Jenkins asked if the transfer of Ms. Segers would be at her present salary and was advised that was the case. Chairman DeWitt asked if the Director of Secondary Education position was covered by the hiring freeze. Dr. Garber conveyed that the hiring freeze allows for the Superintendent to bring critical positions to the Board to be filled. Chairman DeWitt asked if Mr. Fetsko could fill in and assume some of the duties. Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, commented concerning the critical nature of the Director of Secondary Education position. Mr. Paul stated that as employees retire, positions will be reviewed, and only the critical positions will be filled. Chairman DeWitt requested a list of all employees (and job descriptions) at the Hall Center, in order to look at the possibility of combining or moving positions. Mrs. Finkelstein asked if the Intern Assistant Principal position at Bellview Middle School would be filled also. Dr. Garber stated that both of the intern positions, one at Bellview Middle and one at Workman Middle, have been filled with people who are in the pool and will work at teacher salaries through their internship. Mr. Paul noted that the transfers would be added to the agenda for the Board Meeting. Mrs. Finkelstein asked if other employees had qualified and been informed concerning the availability of intern positions.

The Board recognized the following speakers:

1) Mr. Robert Husbands, Executive Director, Escambia NEA UniServ, commented that the intern positions were not advertised, and the contract requires that they be.

2) Ms. Arlene Costello, Escambia Education Association (EEA) President, advised that lateral transfers are permissible and vacancies should be advertised (including Intern Assistant Principal positions). She stated that candidates within the pool should be given an opportunity to apply.

Dr. Jenkins stated that Ms. Ella Sims, Assistant Principal, Woodham High School, previously served as Director of Secondary Education. Mr. Paul stated that was correct and that he had considered her and chosen Dr. Scott for that position.

3) Mr. LeRoy Boyd, Movement for Change, Inc., stated that he had addressed the Board in December and expressed concern regarding the transfer of Ella Sims from Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources to Assistant Principal at Woodham High School. He asked that Ms. Sims be considered for the position of Director of Secondary Education. Mr. Boyd also expressed concerns regarding the proposed appointment of Ms. Nelda Segers to the position of Acting Deputy Superintendent, and he asked that the Superintendent reconsider that recommendation.

Mr. Paul stated that he had considered Ms. Sims and had chosen Dr. Alan Scott to serve as the Director of Secondary Education. He also commented that he had given careful consideration to his recommendations concerning the personnel recommendations and development of the Superintendent's senior level staff.



-No items were submitted.



Prior to adjournment, Chairman DeWitt called for comments from the public, and the Board recognized the following speaker:

1) Ms. Melanie Killam, 2361 West State Line Road, Century, Florida, asked that the Board not close or consolidate Byrneville Elementary School. She stated that she plans to submit an alternate proposal for Board consideration.

There being no further business, the workshop adjourned at 12:24 p.m. (Official recordings of this workshop are filed in the Information Services Department.)


Attest: Approved:

________________________ __________________________

Superintendent Chairman