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 (entered the workshop at 9:06 a.m.)



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


The additions and deletions to the agenda were listed after the arrival of the Superintendent.



Chairman DeWitt noted that some corrections to the minutes were forthcoming.


The following agenda items were moved forward:




3. Presentation of the Fourth Quarterly Report (One-Half Cent Sales Tax Watchdog Committee).

Mr. Pete Booth, Committee Chairman, gave a brief overview of the fourth quarterly report noting that if future revenue projections continue as they have thus far, there could be excess monies of up to $12,000,000 which could be reallocated due to savings on sales tax projects. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Director of Facilities and Maintenance, advised that the Superintendent will present a list of proposed add-on projects (which would become the remainder of the five-year program) to the schools, School Board, administration, and parents, to come back to the committee (by consent of the School Board) no later than June 21, 2001. Dr. Jenkins asked if the excess monies could be reallocated equally among the districts. Mr. Kirchharr stated that a ruling would be sought from the Board's General Counsel.




Mr. Mike Adkins, Chairman, Audit Planning and Review Committee, stated that committee members, Angela Sheffield and Terry Bowen, were also present. He stated that based on direction of the Board last month, the committee had conducted a study on the possibility of outsourcing auditing functions, and he reported that the Internal Auditing Department is currently performing functions at $49 an hour (for functions including auditing internal funds, tangible personal property audits, and special projects). He stated that the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners and the Okaloosa School Board currently outsource some of their audit work at approximately $69 per hour. He advised that it would cost an estimated $200,000 to $230,000 to go with outsourcing for the services currently provided by the Internal Auditing Department (not including special projects or investigations that the department conducts). He added that employees in the Internal Auditing Department are presently under contract until 2002, and any savings from outsourcing would not be realized until that time. He stated that once outsourcing is done, it is very difficult to go back to providing in-house services, and the committee concluded that it would not be in the best interest of the district to outsource at this time. Chairman DeWitt thanked the committee for the report.



Mr. Robert Husbands, Committee Chairman, gave an overview of the committee report entitled "Escambia District Schools - School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee (SAZAC) - Initial Report to the School Board - February 20, 2001." He stated that the committee developed guidelines with regard to evaluating and recommending any new attendance zones and/or changes to existing attendance zones based on the following factors: 1) Articulation; 2) Maximum Feasible Desegregation; 3)  Utilization of School Facilities; 4) Balanced Enrollment; 5) Neighborhood; 6) Safety; 7) Impact on Instructional Programs; and 8) Financial Implications. He reported that the recommendation from committee was unanimous to ask that the School Board allow the committee to continue its work with a new target date for implementation in the 2002/2003 school year. He expressed that the committee wanted more time to do a comprehensive and thorough job and involve all stakeholders. He reviewed the time lines proposed by the committee as follows:

February - July

- Review existing elementary, middle and high school zones and demographics

- Conduct community input sessions

- Consult with plaintiff attorneys in Augustus court case

August - September

- Develop, review and revise proposed attendance zones

- Report proposal to School Board

- School Board review and advertise for adoption


- School Board public hearing and final adoption

November 2001 - July 2002

- Public awareness campaign about the new zones

August 2002

- Implementation of elementary, middle and high school zones

Mrs. Stidham noted that there is proposed legislation to provide a voucher system for schools that are over capacity. She commented that school populations need to be leveled out, and she spoke in support of moving forward with the process. Mr. Husbands stated that no schools are over capacity; however, the most stressed facility at this point is Tate High School. He advised that ninth grade orientation sessions at Bellview Middle School and West Florida Technical High School are in process now. Dr. Jenkins expressed concern that some schools, such as Wedgewood Middle School and Semmes Montessori Academy, continue to lose students. Mr. Husbands stated that the committee was charged by the Board to address high schools first. Mrs. Finkelstein suggested allowing the committee to look at elementary and middle schools as well as high schools in order to provide a comprehensive approach. Mr. Husbands stated that was the request of the committee. It was noted that the issue of "grandfathering" is of importance to determine whether to allow current students to remain. Dr. Jenkins spoke in favor of allowing the committee more time to address elementary through high school, look at increasing diversity, and not have schools that are racially identifiable. Mr. Bergosh expressed support for accepting the recommendation from committee that they need more time to address this matter. Chairman DeWitt spoke in favor of moving forward as much as possible in order to stabilize the population, and he asked if the committee had preliminary drawings. Mr. Husbands stated that the committee had looked at maps with demographics, but had not drawn any lines or proposed any permanent solutions. Mrs. Stidham asked that the SAZAC Committee be provided with data on any previous work that was done, such as attendance zones that were redrawn during the process of considering school choice. Mr. Ireland Brock, Director, Pupil Instructional Support Services, noted factors to be addressed in redrawing lines include not interrupting communities, student enrollments, and racial compositions in schools. Mrs. Finkelstein stressed that the Board's decision must be based on good data after allowing the committee to do their work. Mr. Bergosh asked the Superintendent to let the Board know the last date (for Board approval) that recommendations could be implemented for next school year. He suggested that the Board would then need input from Mr. Husbands and the committee as to whether or not recommendations could be made by that date. Mr. Husbands stated that the committee held a meeting with all high school principals and learned that staffing and scheduling are underway now. Mr. Paul stated that he would obtain more input from principals concerning staffing.

After discussion, Chairman DeWitt asked that the initial recommendations of the SAZAC Committee be presented at the Board Meeting next Tuesday along with any preliminary drawings. He asked that the Superintendent advise the Board as to a deadline date for approval of recommendations (in order to be implemented for next school year). Mr. Negron provided clarification that the Board would not need a motion at the Board Meeting in order to accept the committee report.


The following agenda item was moved forward:



1. Eligibility for Schools Targeted for Consolidation/Closure to Apply for Converted Charter - Linda Finkelstein

Mrs. Finkelstein stated her intent for this item was to propose a rule which would provide an application process for conversion of public schools to charter schools, with a sunset provision of December 31, 2001. She stated this would allow schools targeted for consolidation or closure an opportunity to apply for a conversion charter. She noted that the district would not be required to pay for maintenance, transportation or salaries for the charter schools. Dr. Jenkins asked if there is a limit on the number of charters and was advised that there is no limit on the number of conversion charters. Dr. Jenkins requested a legal opinion concerning compliance with the Augustus court case. The Board's General Counsel advised that the charter schools are subject to the requirements of the Augustus case.


The Board recognized the following speaker:

Mr. Charles Thomas, Director of Alternative Education, advised that if a school converts to charter status, a cost savings could be realized if the district was spending more money on the school than the school was generating. In order to apply for conversion to charter, the school would have to have the recommendation and majority vote of 50% of the teachers and parents, with at least 51% of the parents voting, to be eligible to apply. Under the charter, the school would retain all of the facilities, materials, and equipment which were part of the school before converting to charter. Chairman DeWitt inquired concerning the advantages of converting to charter and charter budgeting procedures. Mr. Thomas stated that there would be some flexibility in terms of state restrictions, and charter schools have the ability to utilize creative budgeting; i.e., staffing (utilizing employees for various duties or a different salary schedule). Mr. Bergosh asked if any school could apply and was advised that any school could apply for conversion charter. After discussion, Chairman DeWitt noted that there was consensus for this item to be deleted from VII.B.1 (Items from the Board), and added to VII.A.A.3 (New Business - Proposed Additions or Revisions to School District Rules - Permission to Advertise Board Policy).

The workshop returned to the regular agenda.




9. Increase Stipend Funded Staff Development from $7 to $15 per hour.

Mrs. Finkelstein asked if this increase would be covered by grant monies and was advised that was the case. Chairman DeWitt asked if this item was addressed in bargaining. The Board recognized the following speakers:


1) Ms. Arlene Costello, Escambia Education Association (EEA) President, stated that this was bargained and came from the recommendation of the Bargaining Subcommittee on Professional Development.

2) Mr. Robert Husbands, Executive Director, Escambia NEA UniServ, advised that this proposal was addressed in bargaining and will allow any new grants to be written at the $15 funding level.

Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, advised that the impact would be minimal in terms of the current year budget. He noted that the majority of Staff Development funding comes from the state and can only be used for staff development/in-service training. Mrs. Stidham asked how much funding would come out of the General Fund. Mr. Fetsko stated that it would be no more than what was originally allocated. Chairman DeWitt asked that the amount be provided to the Board. Mr. Husbands added that the Master Contract requires compensation for mandated attendance and provides employee training in areas such as Medicaid billing, which brings money into the district.



- UPDATE ON 2000-2001 BUDGET

Mrs. Barbara Linker, Director of Budgeting, reviewed handouts entitled "School District of Escambia County - Analysis of General Operating Reserves." She stated that departmental travel, one of the largest budget cuts (down to $47,000), had presented some problems for departments, and some departments had transferred monies within their department cost center to facilitate a limited amount of travel; however, no department has exceeded their overall budget allocation. Mrs. Linker stated that budget amendments are presented to the Board every month, and most of the amendments are done for the following reasons: 1) to budget new projects or grants that have been approved; 2) to make minor revenue revisions in order to appropriate revenues received; and 3) to facilitate schools or departments moving budgets (functionally) from one function to another. She commented that the district is self-insured, and many items in the budget can have a positive or negative impact; i.e., workers' compensation, health insurance, property and casualty, annual and sick leave payouts. She noted that monthly budget reviews are done to monitor specific areas and make comparisons with last year.

Mrs. Linker reviewed the four major reserve areas including Unrestricted, Major Self-Insured Losses, FTE, and Transportation. She noted changes in Transportation due to the dramatic reduction of summer school. Concerning FTE received by the district, the State FEFP calculations had a negative adjustment of $1,101,437, and $660,000 of that was a proration by the State. The overall State-wide FTE was higher than projected so the State prorated all districts down. Mrs. Linker reviewed projected increases (which will become an addition to reserves) including $500,000 in unexpended budgets, and $1,000,000 in salary lapse (monies saved as a result of the hiring freeze and salaries saved on employees who were not replaced). Mrs. Linker reviewed a handout entitled "Escambia County School District - Revised Medical Plan Financial Projection - 2000/2001 Fiscal Year" noting that AON Consultants had estimated a balance of $1,213,142 for the end of this fiscal year in the Health Insurance Trust Funds. Mrs. Linker commented that in order to do that, the district would have to spend $2,600,000 less (from February to June) than the district spent last year; however, if that does not happen, that could use up the entire amount on health insurance. Chairman DeWitt asked if the district was required to have summer school, except for Special Education students. Mrs. Linker stated that there has been a dramatic reduction of summer school with the implementation of the new Supplemental Academic Instruction (SAI) funding. Mr. Fetsko stated that summer school is not being held as in the past, and some schools have budgeted a minimal amount of SAI dollars for the benefit of students needing required courses to progress. Chairman DeWitt asked that staff find out if there is a State requirement to have summer school for students who fail, and if not, determine whether it can be abolished. Mr. Fetsko stated that it would be preferable to proceed next year (if there is no State requirement to offer that). Mrs. Stidham requested information from staff as to what courses are offered in summer school, transportation costs, and the amount of monies taken out of the General Fund.

Chairman DeWitt requested additional data on any areas that could be cut from the budget. Mrs. Linker stated there were items in the Superintendent's Plan that will be addressed, such as warehouse costs and procedures. Chairman DeWitt expressed concern that the School Board had reviewed the budget (by line item), and changes are being made by departments. Mrs. Linker stated that the Board had established an overall budget; however, departments have historically had the flexibility within a departmental budget, to cut back in one area and move monies to another area, such as travel. She asked if it was the intent of the Board to see budget amendments each month for transfers within departments. Mrs. Stidham expressed concerns that the Board had cut travel and employees are still making trips (because cuts have been made elsewhere in the departmental budget), and that is not being truthful with constituents. After discussion, the Board's General Counsel stated that he would confer with Chairman DeWitt and Mrs. Linker to develop a motion to provide direction from the Board to staff on procedures to address necessary or emergency budget provisions, clarify what can or cannot be done, and address any exceptions. Mrs. Stidham suggested considering a procedure whereby employees could apply (to the Superintendent) for required travel and provide justification. Mrs. Linker stated that would be preferable. Dr. Douglas Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, commented that certain travel is required for employee training in critical areas.


8. Financial Status Report on Projects and Grants

Mrs. Finkelstein asked if any unencumbered balances remained for grants and was advised that any grant monies not used by the end of the year were returned. The Superintendent stated that not all grant money is "free money" in that monies may not be provided for subsequent years; therefore, certain grants could be implemented with a "sunset" provision. Mrs. Finkelstein stated that oversight is needed to make sure that grant monies are spent in a timely fashion. Mr. Fetsko stated that Ms. Linda Gulley, Director of Grants Management, monitors the grants and prepares a monthly report noting unencumbered funds.



1. Instructional/Professional

c. transfers

name from to date

Hanshaw, Robert Tate High School Hall Center 02/01/01

Mrs. Stidham expressed concerns regarding transferring a teacher from Tate High

School to Staff Development prior to the end of the school year and having to pay a long-term substitute teacher. She noted that a hiring freeze was implemented in October, and she asked why the transfers were allowed. Dr. Garber advised that the hiring freeze will continue, and this position is to be funded out of categorical dollars (Staff Development funds) rather than General Funds.

name from to date

Simpkins, Debra TSA/Hall Center Intern Principal/Hallmark 01/29/01

Chairman DeWitt asked who created the position of Intern Principal at Hallmark Elementary School. Dr. Garber stated that a commitment was previously made to the individual to be an Intern Principal at Bellview Middle School; however, through no fault of the individual, the transfer had to be withdrawn at the January Board Meeting. Dr. Garber explained that the principal at Hallmark needed assistance, and the Curriculum Coordinator position (funded out of Chapter I) was vacant due to a leave of absence, so there is no additional cost to the district. This will allow the district to honor a commitment to the individual and afford her the opportunity to obtain her certification as an Intern Principal. Dr. Jenkins spoke in support of the transfer. Chairman DeWitt asked if the position for Intern Principal was advertised. Dr. Garber advised that it was not. Mrs. Finkelstein stressed the need to follow all rules and policies when making appointments and transfers.

The Board recognized the following speaker:

1) Ms. Arlene Costello, Escambia Education Association (EEA) President, referred to the Master Contract language stating that administrative vacancies shall be posted in all schools for at least ten days in such a manner that all bargaining unit members may see them.

Special Requests

3) Request approval of agreements for establishment of a Naval Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Unit and The School District of Escambia County for the following high schools: Escambia; Northview; Pine Forest; Washington; and Woodham

Chairman DeWitt asked if the agreements had been approved by the Board's General Counsel. Dr. Garber advised that the Board Attorney had suggested that staff bring the agreements back for Board approval on an annual basis, and representatives from the Navy had indicated that they would not revise the contract. After discussion, Mr. Negron stated that he had not recommended Board approval because all contracts should be for a specified term.

2. Educational Support Personnel

Regarding promotion of clerical staff, Mrs. Stidham requested information on advertising of the positions, changes in salaries, and justification for the promotions. Dr. Garber stated that the hiring freeze will continue, and the positions in Special Education were advertised before the hiring freeze occurred. He stated that additional information will be provided on salaries and funding sources.


6. Affirmative Action

a. Teacher Recruitment Plan

Chairman DeWitt requested input on recruitment efforts. Dr. Garber advised that this item covers the remainder of the monies ($1200 bonus payments) for those signing contracts for at least one year in one of the critical shortage teaching areas. He stated that Mr. Elvin McCorvey, Director of Affirmative Action, will identify teaching positions available and will have the opportunity to offer signed contracts in hand. Additional strategies are being developed with The University of West Florida to promote in-house recruiting. Chairman DeWitt mentioned the possibility of including some of the curriculum specialists in recruiting efforts. Mr. McCorvey advised that teachers, subject area specialists, and principals have been included on past recruiting trips, and copies of resumes are provided to subject area specialists. Dr. Jenkins noted that the Minority Affairs/Recruitment Committee will also address recruitment efforts. Chairman DeWitt asked staff to provide an update to the Board on the number of teacher contracts secured through the recruitment process last year.



8. Bid Award: Window Replacement at Byrneville Elementary School.

Chairman DeWitt requested justification for spending $164,000 at Byrneville, which is one of the schools being considered for school consolidation/closure. Mr. Kirchharr advised that this is a fifth year sales tax project which was advanced one year to repair the wall deterioration caused by the windows. He stated the purpose would be strictly to protect a district asset. He advised that the district has 45 days to hold the contractor to this bid, so this could be delayed for one month without impacting projects. After discussion, Chairman DeWitt tabled this item for one month.

25. Sharp SF2540 Copiers for Holm Elementary School.

Chairman DeWitt inquired concerning purchase of additional copiers when the Board recently agreed to standardizing services. Mr. Barry Boyer, Director of Purchasing, stated that time will be needed to phase in district management; however, these copiers will be compatible with the standardized system.

27. Unauthorized Purchase: ESE Educational Materials.

Chairman DeWitt requested explanation concerning the unauthorized purchase.

Ms. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education (ESE), noted that a written explanation had been submitted to Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, concerning the $286 expenditure. Mr. Fetsko advised that an employee from the Homebound Program attended a conference in Miami where materials were offered at a special price. He stated that arrangements had been made for the materials to be held with a purchase order forthcoming, and the vendor sent the materials without the purchase order.

33. Bid Award: Pharmacy Benefits Management Proposals.

Mr. Boyer provided copies of corrected backup to reflect the February 20, 2001, Board Meeting date. Mr. Joseph Bernard, Director of Risk Management, noted this item was tabled last month to allow for review and input by the Insurance Committee. He stated that there was no change in the recommendation from last month which was to go with the proposal from Advance PCS. Dr. Jenkins asked if employees would have the option of buying a three-month supply of their prescriptions in order to save money. Mr. Bernard stated that option will be provided. Mrs. Stidham added that employees might also consider trying the medication for one month before ordering a three-month supply. She suggested that an educational plan be given to employees about the benefits of the plan.


34. Bid Award: Healthcare Benefits Management Proposals.

Mr. Boyer provided copies of corrected backup to reflect the February 20, 2001, Board Meeting date. Mr. Bernard advised that the Board had requested in workshop last month that staff meet and work with the Insurance Committee on the employee health benefit plan, and three meetings (as advertised) were held with the committee. He reported that the district received counter proposals from United Healthcare and CIGNA, and both vendors met with the committee and responded in writing to questions. After reviewing the counter proposals from both companies and interviews with the committee, the recommendation was changed that the school district stay with United Healthcare (instead of going with CIGNA). A number of features were noted in the United Healthcare counter proposal as follows: 1) it met all of the criteria previously presented by CIGNA, including the aggregate stop loss of 115%; 2) there were no auditing restrictions; 3) all of the hospitals were included; 4) the HMO has no gatekeeper or primary care physician; and 5) no employee will have to change physicians because the HMO and PPO networks are the same with the exception of two podiatrists. It was noted that the Insurance Committee had recommended reducing the HMO hospital admission deductible from $500 to $300, as well as establishing a $20 copayment on urgent care facility visits (taking them out of Emergency Room visits which have a $50 deductible). The committee had also voted to go with the dual option plan (provided that the plan is administered by United Healthcare), with an HMO as the base plan and PPO option where employee would pay an additional premium to have the PPO. Mr. Bernard reported that the Bid Review Committee recommended that the Board adopt this plan as suggested by the Insurance Committee.

Chairman DeWitt asked if the rates had changed for employees to "buy up" to the PPO option. Mr. Bernard advised that the proposed rate had changed from $50 single to $25 single employee. Chairman DeWitt inquired concerning anticipated cost savings on this plan. Mr. Chris Clark, AON Consultants, stated that projecting for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2001 (including estimates for anticipated cost increases of 10% for medical and 20% for prescription drugs), the expected costs for the new HMO plan is $27,300,000 (district costs). Comparing the $29,000,000 expected to be spent this year to the $27,300,000, the difference is $1,700,000 which is the projected plan cost savings. He stated that Mrs. Linker had pointed out a modest amount of surplus in the health account fund now, and he expressed that at some point the Board will need to address raising that to a higher amount. Upon inquiry from Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Bernard advised that rates for retirees will decrease from $327 to $310. Chairman DeWitt asked if the district was still subsidizing retirees and their families. Mr. Boyer stated that the Board had agreed to that a long time ago, and if cut, would save about $125,000. Chairman DeWitt asked if rates were higher for retirees under the age of 65. Mr. Clark noted that the under-65 retiree group is typically the most expensive group in any plan because Medicare has not yet become effective for them. Mrs. Linker noted there is a statutory requirement that retirees have to be offered the same health coverage for the same price. Mr. Negron concurred. Upon inquiry from Mr. Bergosh, Mr. Bernard advised that the "Exclusive Provider Plan (EPP)" is not truly a "gatekeeper" HMO but would also be termed "HMO/Choice," which provides the option of not having the requirement of a gatekeeper or a primary care physician. Mr. Bergosh inquired as to the amount of teacher participation in the review process. Mr. Boyer stated that the Bid Review Committee meeting and the Insurance Committee meetings were attended by union representatives.

The Board recognized the following speaker:

Mr. Robert Husbands, Executive Director, Escambia NEA UniServ, thanked the Board for pulling this item from the January Board Meeting in order to allow the Insurance Committee to address these issues. He expressed concern that the costs had shifted from the Board to the employees to a certain extent; therefore, this was not an endorsement but a confirmation of the recommendation presented by the Bid Review Committee and the Insurance Committee.



Chairman DeWitt asked if the sprinkler system was working at Holm Elementary School. Mr. Kirchharr responded that he was not aware of a problem but would check into it.



Mrs. Stidham requested explanation as to why the Transfer Committee did not recommend a transfer from Tate to Northview High School, especially with overcrowded conditions at Tate.

Mr. Ireland Brock, Director of Pupil Instructional Support Services, stated that he would provide additional information on that item.



Chairman DeWitt thanked the Internal Auditor and Chairman of the Audit Planning and Review Committee for the report given earlier in the workshop.



1. Resolution - Read Across America

Chairman DeWitt noted for future reference that these items could be addressed under Items from the Board.



No agenda items were submitted. Mr. Bergosh asked if there was an update on transportation issues. The Superintendent advised that he could address that under Item VII.C.1 (Items from the Superintendent). Dr. Jenkins asked if overtime pay for bus drivers could be addressed. Chairman DeWitt stated that would be a bargaining issue and could be addressed in Executive Session.




A. Permission to Advertise

2. School Board Rule 6Gx17 SELECTION OF SCHOOL NAMES

Mrs. Finkelstein stated that the amendment would allow for selection of more than one name. The Chairman stated that would bring the rule into compliance with Board intent and actions.

B. Permission to Adopt


Chairman DeWitt announced that a public hearing will be held on this item at the February 20, 2001 Board Meeting.

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"

Chairman DeWitt stated that he will hold a public hearing on this item at the February 20, 2001, Board Meeting, as advertised. He will then present a motion to table the item for one month, pending adoption of Rule 6Gx17-3.11. Mr. Negron advised that re-advertisement of this rule would not be necessary.



1. Eligibility for Schools Targeted for Consolidation/Closure to Apply for Converted Charter - Linda Finkelstein

This item was addressed earlier in the workshop.



Chairman DeWitt called for a five-minute recess at 12:13 p.m. and the meeting reconvened at 12:18 p.m.



1. Superintendent's Budget Plan (Tabled from January 29, 2001, Special Board Meeting).

Mr. Paul submitted recommendations on improving operational efficiency. Mr. Kirchharr commented that the recommendations were based on combining administrative and support activities and took into consideration administrative costs per FTE. Mr. Fetsko stated that the administrative consolidations meet the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) requirements relative to the population of elementary and middle schools and what they should have in terms of administration. He stated that the consolidations will provide cost savings while still maintaining SACS accreditation and services. Mr. Fetsko stated that the recommendations came from school committees that provided input on how to operate more efficiently, cut costs, and keep schools open. He stated that there is no proposal to close schools, and the "Blue Ribbon" Committee is being convened (with membership representing a cross section of the community) to look at the process and the feasibility of closing or consolidating schools. He verified that those meetings are being advertised and are open to the public in compliance with the Sunshine Law.

Chairman DeWitt read the recommendations submitted by the Superintendent as follows:

A. Combine Pensacola Beach Elementary School and A. K. Suter Elementary School under one administrative unit;

B. Combine Molino Elementary School and Barrineau Park Elementary School under one administrative unit (sharing a principal and clerical support personnel);

C. Combine Byrneville Elementary, Century Elementary, and Carver Middle School under one administrative unit (sharing a principal and clerical support personnel; place a teacher-in-charge at Byrneville and Carver; reassign two principals, either two elementary principals or one elementary principal and one middle school principal);

Mr. Fetsko commented that for K-8 facilities, SACS would require a "1½" principal designation rather than one principal administering all three schools.

D. Combine Ernest Ward Middle School and Bratt Elementary School under one administrative unit (sharing a principal and clerical support personnel). Future plans include renovating Ernest Ward School and consolidating with Bratt Elementary to become a K-8 school;

Dr. Jenkins inquired concerning the possibility of combining Ernest Ward and Carver middle schools. Mr. Fetsko stated that both schools would be needed to accommodate future growth. Dr. Jenkins asked how combining Carver, Century, and Byrneville would affect diversity. Mr. Fetsko stated that combining the schools would improve diversity. Upon inquiry from Mrs. Finkelstein, Mr. Kirchharr noted there are about 750 K-8 students in the Molino/Barrineau Park District and about 300 middle school students. Mrs. Finkelstein commented concerning the possibility of building an elementary school at the Highway 97 cutoff as well as a new middle school to accommodate growth in that area. Mrs. Finkelstein asked if One-Half Cent Sales Tax funds could be legally moved from one site to another site. Mr. Kirchharr stated that question would be posed to the Board's General Counsel noting that remaining sales tax projects will be budgeted in 2001/2002, and remaining monies will be reallocated. Mrs. Finkelstein asked if middle school construction was in the plan for District 5. Mr. Kirchharr stated that there is a recommendation for a middle school in the district wide survey but placement is not dictated by the survey. Mr. Fetsko noted that a benefit to having a K-8 school in Molino would be that if the population growth increased and another middle school was needed, then the K-8 facility could easily become a K-5 facility.

E. Relocate the PATS Program from the McReynolds Center to Brentwood Middle School and assign a teacher-in-charge at the PATS Program;

Dr. DeWitt stated that he will make a counter recommendation as follows:

1) That the middle school PATS students be transferred to Brentwood Middle School, and the elementary PATS students (grades 3-5) be transferred to Spencer Bibbs Elementary School;

2) That the PTA and School Advisory Committee be maintained for PATS students and that there would be one group representing all of the PATS students; and

3) Provide one PATS teacher to become the lead teacher to coordinate the program.

Mr. Fetsko stated that the program would be offered three days a week for middle school and two days a week for elementary school students. He stated that the committee noted that Spencer Bibbs had a technology grant, with 378 computers for 380 students. He commented that an elementary level International Baccalaureate Program might be considered as a viable program for Spencer Bibbs. Mr. Bergosh commented concerning increased transportation costs, and he suggested that participation in the program might be contingent upon parents providing transportation. Mr. Paul indicated that would be up to the discretion of the Board. Mr. Bergosh requested additional information as to current expenses and estimated expenses if the PATS Program moved to Brentwood Middle School. Mr. Paul stated that he will provide information on costs. Chairman DeWitt stated that there was concurrence on the part of the Board that the McReynolds Center needs to be closed.

The Board recognized the following speaker:

Ms. Dee Wolfe-Sullivan, Principal, The PATS Center, requested that the center receive the same consideration that the Board is giving to the Roy Hyatt Environmental Center and Old Hometown to allow additional time to obtain alternative funding. She expressed concerns that moving the program to Brentwood Middle School would reduce services for gifted students.

The Superintendent commented that input has been received from some parents to close The PATS Center down completely, and with the proposal to move the program to Brentwood Middle, concerns were raised about combining elementary and middle programs. He emphasized that the intent is to do what is in the best interests of the children. Mrs. Finkelstein stated that her primary concern was to preserve the program. Mr. Bergosh requested input from the Board's General Counsel concerning compliance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Mr. Negron stated that relocating the PATS Program would not present a problem with reference to IDEA requirements. Ms. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education (ESE), commented concerning transportation factors.

Chairman DeWitt continued reading the recommendations submitted by the Superintendent as follows:

F. Continue to fund both Old Hometown and the Roy Hyatt Environmental Studies Center for 2001-2002 to enable both programs time to secure alternative funding for the 2001-2002 school year;

G. Relocate students from the present Beggs site to another site where a non-traditional curriculum would be appropriate; to allow the present Beggs site to be used to support the West Florida High School of Advanced Technology; and to move the Cyesis Program at Beggs to the Sid Nelson Facility where a certified pediatrician is on staff;

Dr. Jenkins inquired concerning transportation. Mr. Fetsko advised that the district is already transporting preschoolers on buses. Upon inquiry from Chairman DeWitt, Mr. Fetsko advised that staff at Sid Nelson had asked that the Cyesis Program be moved there. Chairman DeWitt asked where the Beggs students would be moved. Mr. Fetsko advised that the site was undetermined at this time.

H. Provide flexibility to the Transportation staff in developing bus schedules and school start times as previously determined which will provide the maximum savings of general fund dollars;

Mr. Jerry Caine, Director of Operations, presented a summary of transportation options for Board review. Mr. Caine commented concerning starting time for schools and he indicated that if high schools were started in the middle starting block (starting elementary, then high school, then middle school), transportation costs would go up substantially if high schools start much later than they do now. He stated that flexibility could be provided as stated in the Superintendent's recommendation, so that Transportation could establish start times in such a way to make it most effective and to bring more dollars back into the General Fund. He stated that some of the high schools could perhaps start a little later but flexibility would be needed. Mr. Bergosh spoke in favor of looking at the most efficient operations in terms of transportation needs and costs involved. Chairman DeWitt stated that the intent was to provide flexibility.

I. Approve development of a Bus Route/Stop Committee to address all requests for bus route/stop changes;

J. Approve the service fee for all Central Warehouse issues to return operating costs to the General Fund;

Mr. Jerry Caine, Director of Operations, advised that operating costs would be brought back to the General Fund through service fees. Mrs. Barbara Linker, Director of Budgeting, commented concerning school budgets and purchase of supplies. Upon inquiry from Mrs. Finkelstein, Mr. Caine stated that schools get a 15% savings by ordering from the Central Warehouse, and this proposal will save 6-7% on the school budgets.

K. Accept recommendations as outlined for Facilities Planning and Maintenance in-house grass cutting services. Mrs. Stidham noted that the Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC) for Facilities Planning and Maintenance endorsed this recommendation.

The Board's General Counsel asked what affect the proposed personnel changes (in the Superintendent's recommendations) would have on the Personnel Planning Document (PPD).

Mr. Fetsko stated that the proposal would include changing the Personnel Planning Document. He noted that school staffing is currently above SACs requirements and the changes would bring staffing back in line with that. Dr. Jenkins inquired as to the enrollment criteria needed for an elementary school to be eligible for an Assistant Principal. Mr. Fetsko stated that SACS staffing allocation tables are considered as well as the number of FTEs in the school. It was noted that the current staffing pattern for elementary schools allows a school to opt to have a non-teaching unit (based on enrollment of at least 500 students).

Chairman DeWitt spoke in support of encouraging the planning process for a K-8 facility. Mr. Kirchharr stated that it would be appropriate to proceed once the "Blue Ribbon" Committee submits recommendations back to the Superintendent and to the Board. The Superintendent stated that he anticipates committee recommendations back in one month to six weeks. The Board's General Counsel advised that in his cursory review of the Superintendent's recommendations, those in reference to the PATS Program (closing the McReynolds Center) and closing the Beggs Center, would require drafting a Notice of Intent to Advertise a proposed rule and Board adoption of the rule.

Regarding recommendations from the Superintendent concerning Human Resources, Dr. Garber advised that the Superintendent had directed staff to look at positions that could become consolidated when a vacancy occurs. He noted that if the School Board withdraws from Civil Service, a cost savings could be generated of $33,075 more than recommended in the MGT study. He added that a committee will bring recommendations back to the Board concerning staff taking over functions currently handled by Civil Service.

Chairman DeWitt inquired concerning positions to be abolished. Dr. Garber advised that the positions to be abolished (as listed in the Superintendent's recommendations) would be eliminated on the dates noted in the backup. Chairman DeWitt expressed concern regarding abolishing the Subject Area Specialists. Chairman DeWitt added that the Director of Alternative Education was to be eliminated at the end of the 2001-2002 school year. Mr. Negron commented that the Director of Alternative Education serves a key role, and he expressed that abolishing that position could impact litigation that may arise. Mr. Paul stated that he was revisiting the recommendations.

2. Approval of Administrative Appointment.


Kaczynski, Michelle Business Ed/Woodham High Applied Tech Specialist/Hall Center 02/21/01

Mrs. Finkelstein requested explanation concerning transferring a classroom teacher. Dr. Garber stated that the position was approved and advertised prior to the hiring freeze. Mr. Tommy Taylor, Director of Applied Technology and Adult Education, stated that George Stone lost two employees in December, both of whom had carried out responsibilities for programs across the district. He stated that he had asked that one of the positions not be filled, if he could get the Business Education position filled, because that was the largest program and the largest change in curriculum and technology. He stated that a person was selected to provide leadership to all of the middle schools, high schools, and the George Stone Center throughout the transition with the new Technical High School. Chairman DeWitt asked that transfers be submitted for Board approval prior to the transfer, unless there is an emergency. Dr. Garber stated that none of the transfers will impact the General Revenue budget and will actually provide a minimal savings to General Revenue.

3. Presentation-Fourth Quarterly Report (One-Half Cent Sale Tax Watchdog Committee).

This presentation was given earlier in the workshop.



Mr. Negron noted that a Resolution would be added concerning Law Week.



There being no further business, the workshop adjourned at 1:34 p.m. (Official recordings of this workshop are filed in the Information Services Department.)


Attest: Approved:

________________________ __________________________

Superintendent Chairman