ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Workshop Meeting at 8:00 a.m., in the Board Room at the 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
Dr. Elmer Jenkins
Ms. Linda Finkelstein
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco Negron, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul
I. CALL TO ORDER
Dr. DeWitt called the workshop to order at 8:00 a.m.
1. PRESENTATION FROM MYRON TRIBUS
Mr. Tribus, a consulting engineer specializing in Quality Management, made an informative presentation to the Board entitled "Improving Children's Intelligence."
2. ESE PROGRAM COMPLIANCE REVIEW
Mr. Malcolm Thomas, Special Education Coordinator/Program Planner, distributed a packet of information that outlined the time line and findings of an audit review conducted by the Department of Education that began in August 2000. (Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit "A")
II. COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent listed the additions and deletions to the agenda.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes for all February meetings will be presented for Board approval but minutes for the March meetings are not ready to be submitted and will be pulled from the agenda.
IV. COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. REPORT FROM AUDIT COMMITTEE - MIKE ADKINS
Mr. Sam Scallan, Director of Internal Auditing submitted a written report in Mr. Adkins absence. (Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit "B")
2. REPORT FROM MIKE BURNS, COORDINATOR OF COMMUNITY
AND LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS
Mr. Burns gave the following update:
Senate Bill 1594, which deals with changing retirement from 30 to 25 years, is basically dead. House Bill 1205, which deals with sick leave policies, is moving quickly through committee.
It appears that funding for IB programs ($34 million) will be put back in the budget. The SCRIPT Bill (120% student capacity) is moving rapidly and is likely to pass. Ms. Finkelstein asked that Mr. Burns inquire about the possibility of allowances being placed in the bill for extenuating circumstances.
House Bill 1902, Civil Service Bill, has opposition and will probably have amendments attached.
The original day, reported last month, for Escambia's Day in the Legislature was canceled. Escambia County has been invited to join with other Northwest Counties on Wednesday, April 18, 2001, for a similar event. Also, Representative Holly Benson will be hosting "Bring Your Mother to School Day" at Dixon and Cordova Park Elementary Schools on May 11, 2001.
Dr. Jenkins inquired about the possibility of persuading the delegates to not mandate new programs without funding. Mr. Burns said the only categorical dollars is for textbooks, transportation and lottery.
3. UPDATE FROM FINANCE DEPARTMENT REGARDING
DISTRIBUTION OF BOARD APPROVED BUDGET CUTS -
Linda Finkelstein (also listed under Items from the Board #1.)
Ms. Barbara Linker, Director of Budgeting, distributed a handout showing the cuts that had been implemented and the projected savings to date. (Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit "C") She stated that the figures change daily and that health claims appear to be coming in higher than projections predicted by AON. There was discussion concerning the overall financial picture with regard to health, dental and prescription claims.
4. CLASSROOM INTRUDER LOCKS FOR SCHOOLS -
Linda Finkelstein (also listed under Items from the Board #2.)
Ms. Finkelstein asked that staff review information she had provided in the agenda packet to determine the feasibility of using the locks described to add to safety measures in place at schools.
V. CONSENT AGENDA (ITEMS A-G)
A. CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
5. 21st Century Community Learning Centers
Dr. DeWitt asked what were the "in-kind" services and what would be the commitment of the District after completion of the grant. Ms. Linda Gulley, Director of Grants Management, will provide that information.
8. Agreement between the School Board of Escambia County, Florida and Cox Communications of Gulf Coast LLC
9. The Panhandle Area Educational Consortium Cost-Reimbursement Subcontract Agreement (via Washington County School District)
Mr. Negron had reviewed and approved the above documents.
7. Budget Amendments
Dr. DeWitt asked if the new budget procedure regarding the limit of $300 placed on transfer of funds within a budget was being followed. The Superintendent indicated that it seems to be working well and that he had signed a few requests.
8. Financial Status Report on Projects and Grants
Dr. DeWitt re-emphasized that all funds should be encumbered before the deadline of any grant, stating that no monies should have to be returned because of failure to use the funds as earmarked in a grant.
12. Approval of Authorization for Payroll Deduction of Pre-Paid Legal Services
Mrs. Stidham asked what the "nominal fee" was and how many employees had indicated they wished to participate. Dr. Douglas Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, stated that the "nominal fee" would be the cost of employee time to get everything set up in the system. A representative from the company stated there were approximately 125 to 150 employees who had signed up for the service. Mrs. Stidham felt that if employees wished to participate in the pre-paid legal service program they could have drafts drawn from their bank accounts. She did not feel the District should become involved in these type payroll deduction programs. Mr. Negron also expressed concern that the School Board does not have a uniform policy to address eligibility for participation in a District payroll deduction program. He advised against accepting the recommendation.
C. HUMAN RESOURCES SERVICES
f. Special Requests - Personnel Planning Document
Mr. Negron advised that if the Board chooses to abolish a position, the person in that position can be utilized in other certified positions. The Board reviewed the personnel planning document in its entirety making the following comments:
Page 1 - Coordinator of Legislative and Community Affairs - add footnote that position terminates December 30, 2001.
Page 4 - Foundation for Excellence - Dr. DeWitt asked if the Foundation could absorb the cost of the Administrative Secretary III. An inquiry of the Foundation will be made.
Page 5 - Director IV - Grants Management - Mrs. Stidham will make a motion at the regular meeting to abolish position, per MGT recommendation.
Page 8 - Director IIIA - Special Projects/Student Transfers - Remove position from Personnel Planning Document.
Page 10 - Director IIA position will be deleted in a year due to consolidation of functions.
Page 11 - Ms. Finkelstein requested a job description for Assistant Superintendent for Operations (new position) and an analogy for the positions.
Page 12 - A request was made to check on the contract status of the SEMS Support Personnel Recruiter.
Page 14 - The area of custodial services requires a closer look to compare to possible use of private sources.
Page 15-16 - Dr. Garber explained that one position has been added due to the "grass cutting" function being brought in-house. There was some discussion about the necessity of having a Director III and Assistant Director of Maintenance, as well as supervisors or leadermen, in the Maintenance Department.
Page 20 - Dr. DeWitt asked if the Energy Management Technician position pays for itself. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Director of Facilities, said "yes", that the job continues to grow as new facilities are built.
Page 24 - Delete Number "4" - Accounting Supervisor position was abolished December 8, 2000.
Page 27 - Question was asked if five directors were needed and Mr. Bill Bush, Director Technology Systems and Management Information, indicated they were essential to providing the technical assistance to all areas.
Page 29 - Due to the possibility of outsourcing dental claims, there will be a motion made at the regular meeting to abolish positions under dental insurance project (0612) - Accounting Specialist III, Administrative Clerk III, and Financial Analyst.
Page 31 - Mrs. Stidham inquired as to the need for Assistant Superintendent and a Director in the Human Resources Department. Ms. Finkelstein indicated that she would have a motion regarding this issue at the regular meeting.
Page 38 - This page represents an organizational change in that MIS functions are being removed from the supervision of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. Again, the request was made for copy of organizational chart to support changes being referenced in the Personnel Planning Document.
Page 47-48 - Dr. DeWitt asked if expenses incurred by Mr. Negron when handling special education issues could be funded from Yvonne Gray's, Director of Exceptional Student Education, budget. Malcolm Thomas will prepare a report for the meeting tomorrow and Mr. Negron will talk with Ms. Gray. Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, felt there was a need to add .05 to the position of Specialist I-Audiologist listed under "Individuals with Disabilities Act Federal Project (5236)" and the Board concurred.
Page 50 - Dr. DeWitt felt that the Coordinator I-Psychological Services (0101) should be abolished and then add a Specialist I-School Psychology, to make a total of 12. Mr. Fetsko said the person in that position holds a contract but could be placed under a special education source as a supervisor.
Page 51 - TSA Peer Helper position could be abolished.
Page 52 - 11 and 12 month Visiting Teacher positions could be made 10 month positions using staggered months of employment to cover any program serving students after the normal school term.
Arlene Costello, President, Escambia Education Association, stressed that teachers have increased responsibilities and duties, and thanked the Board for asking about the necessity of administrative/professional positions.
The meeting recessed at 11:30 am.
The meeting reconvened at 12:10 p.m.
Dr. DeWitt asked where high school and college students appear on the staffing grid. Ms. Linker explained that they are not on the staffing grid because they are not full time employees. Board Members received a list showing the number of students and where they are assigned. The students on that list are paid from general revenue funds which amounts to approximately $115,000 for high school students and $49,500 for college students. (Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit "D ") The student listed for School Board Members' Office should be deleted.
1. Annual Periodical Subscriptions
Dr. DeWitt asked if the Professional Library had been closed. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, stated that it was not closed but activities had been curtailed and that they were moving in the direction of having more information on-line vs. hard copy.
2. External Auditing Services
Mr. Negron had reviewed and approved the documents.
8. Employee Group Term Life Insurance
Mr. Negron advised that he is currently reviewing the documents because of questions regarding the $400,000 discrepancy in payments to the company. Mrs. Stidham asked if a motion would be appropriate to rescind pervious action on the promissory note and Mr. Negron said, "yes." Mrs. Stidham said she would add that item to the agenda for the regular meeting.
12. Agreement Approval: Advance PCS - Managed Pharmaceutical Benefit
Mr. Negron stated that there was a problem with the "jurisdiction clause" but would recommend approval if those issues are resolved prior to the regular meeting.
13. Agreement Approval: United Healthcare - Administrative Services Agreement
Mr. Negron stated he had reviewed and approved the documents. Mr. Scallan expressed some concern regarding scope limitation language placed on the District on page two of the contract. Mr. Scallan was asked to work with Mr. Barry Boyer, Director of Purchasing, to resolve the issues before the regular meeting.
E. FACILITIES, MAINTENANCE and OPERATIONS
No discussion was held.
F. STUDENTS TRANSFERS
Questions arose regarding the denial of four students' request to transfer from Tate High School to Woodham High School. Mr. Ireland Brock, Director of Pupil Instructional Support Services, advised that they were following Board policy when reviewing the requests. He understood the issue of Tate being at or near capacity and Woodham's need for more students but felt the Board should give direction to the Transfer Committee if new guidelines were to be implemented. Dr. DeWitt sited the SCRIPT Bill (120% student capacity) suggesting the Board might want to look at adding a freeze to transfers to schools at or near that capacity. Mr. Negron suggested that he and Mr. Brock should work together to arrive at the appropriate language for Board's consideration in this matter.
G. INTERNAL AUDITING
No discussion was held.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS (PREVIOUSLY TABLED ITEMS OR ITEMS POSTPONED UNTIL CURRENT MEETING)
No items were submitted.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
A. PROPOSED ADDITIONS OR REVISIONS TO SCHOOL DISTRICT RULES
1. Permission to Advertise
b. School Board Rule 6Gx17-4.02
Special Programs and Procedures for Exceptional Students
All changes were required by the State.
2. Permission to Adopt
a. School Board Rule 6Gx17-5.02(d) - Budget Transfers
Dr. DeWitt said he would be adding clarifying language before the regular meeting to make clear that the rule applied to all department budgets.
b. School Board Rule 6Gx-17-7.09 - Pupil Progression Plan
Changes made at the March Board meeting have been made to the document. However, Dr. Alan Scott, Director of Secondary Education, stated that there were a few more changes on page 29, 30 and 36, that would be submitted to the Board prior to the regular meeting. The issues include grade forgiveness, adding Florida Statute and State Board mandate language, and attendance requirement. Dr. Scott stated that he would work with Mr. Negron and Mr. Brock, where appropriate to draft requested language.
B. ITEMS FROM THE BOARD
3. Escambia River Electric Cooperative, Inc., Pilot Program for Consolidated Billing for Schools in their Service Area - Linda Finkelstein
Ms. Finkelstein indicated that the District could see a possible savings from this endeavor and stated that she would make a motion at the regular meeting to participate in the pilot program.
4. Resolution Regarding J. Lee Pickens Building and Multi-Educational Cultural Center for the Arts
Dr. DeWitt explained that this organization had made a presentation to the Board several months ago and they needed an answer from the Board so they would know how to proceed. Staff had reviewed the requests and outlined the needs of the District which is incorporated in the motion to be made at the regular meeting. There were questions about a reverter clause and it was determined that could be handled under the contracting phase at the appropriate time. Upon question about District liability, Mr. Negron advised that the Board could be liable on any non-disclosed items. Mr. Lee McKinnon, representing the organization, requested permission for himself and others in the organization to have an opportunity to inspect the facility and make their own determination utilizing their experts. He further stated that they are prepared to take the building "as is."
5. Review and Discuss Staffing Formula
Dr. Deborah Malishan, Director of Elementary Education, indicated changes have been made from last week. Multiple questions and answers arose regarding specific schools and how they lost or gained in the staffing pattern. All schools work from the same formula and then a new look will be taken after the 15 and 30 day counts are made at each school. Concerns were expressed about schools with special needs (for example Cook is a Fine Arts magnet that needs extra drama, dance, etc.) Allowing the schools the flexibility to buy services from other funds such as Supplemental Academic Instruction (SAI) dollars. Discussion occurred regarding the cut off of 660 students for elementary schools to be eligible for an assistant principal. Dr. DeWitt stated that he would make a motion at the regular meeting to staff assistant principals at elementary schools with a student population of 600 and above. He also felt that there should be four guidance counselors at each high school. It was noted by staff that these changes would eliminate some of the projected savings from general revenue funds.
6. Update on New School Board Policy Book from Dr. Doug Garber
Dr. Garber requested a meeting with Dr. DeWitt and Mr. Negron to determine the format to be used for the policy book.
7. Schedule Budget Meetings and Quarterly Recognition Meeting
Dr. DeWitt asked Board Members to check their calendars so that dates could be determined for a Special Meeting to be held the last week of April for another review of the budget process, to determine school starting times and to receive the recommendations from the Superintendent's Blue Ribbon Committee.
8. Recommendations to School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee - SCRIPT Bill
Mr. Brock stated the recommendation of the School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee is for the year 2002-2003, to grandfather students currently enrolled in fifth, eighth and twelfth grades, and siblings of twelfth graders. Ms. Finkelstein felt that any child attending a high school at the time of redistricting should be allowed to remain at that school if they choose to do so.
9. Internet Connections to West Florida High School of Advanced Technology
This item will be pulled.
10. Request for List of all Special Programs at High Schools (i.e., Law Academy, Health Academy, etc.) Including Number of Teachers and Students in Each Program - Cary Stidham
Mrs. Stidham said she had received the information and copied the Board.
11. Summer School Information Requested at February 16, 2001, Board Workshop (i.e., courses offered and number of students enrolled last year in each course) - Cary Stidham
Mrs. Stidham said she still needed this information. Dr. Jenkins stated that he plans to make a motion at the regular meeting to provide transportation for summer school.
12. Direction to General Counsel to Prepare Document Necessary to Revoke the Escambia School District Risk Management Trust and Establish The Department of Risk Management - Cary Stidham
Mrs. Stidham stated that she was adding this item to the agenda and would make a motion on the issue at the regular meeting. Copy of the proposed motion has been added to the agenda packet.
C. ITEMS FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
1. Request Approval for Payroll Deduction for the Professional Educators Network of Florida
Mrs. Stidham asked why, since organizational status had been granted, would you have to approve payroll deduction? Dr. Garber explained that it is Board policy.
D. ITEMS FROM THE GENERAL COUNSEL
No items were submitted.
There being no further business, the workshop adjourned at 2:45 p.m. (Official recordings of this workshop are filed in the Information Services Department.)