ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, JUNE 18, 2001
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Special Meeting at 1:30 p.m., in the Board Room at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel (Administration) Building, 215 West Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chairman: Dr. John DeWitt Vice Chairman: Mrs. Cary Stidham
Members: Mr. Gary L. Bergosh (present via speakerphone)
Ms. Linda Finkelstein
Dr. Elmer Jenkins
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco Negron, Jr. (was not present)
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman DeWitt called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.
1. Update on School Start Times and Trunk Route Stop locations for 2001-2002 school year (this item was moved from the Regular Board Workshop, June 18, 2001)
Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Director of Facilities Planning, gave a brief update on this issue. Dr. Jenkins asked if this plan would decrease the amount of overtime for bus drivers. Mr. Kirchharr stated that this is one part of the efforts to reduce overtime and addressed other concerns regarding the overtime issue. He also stated that a recommendation regarding bus drivers, who falsified their time sheets, would be brought to the Board, most likely in July. Dr. DeWitt asked if the district could afford the cost of the Brownsville Academy of Art and Science magnet program and the cost of transportation for those students. After discussion, Mrs. Stidham moved to maintain the Brownsville Academy of Art and Science magnet program, but eliminate transportation to that program. Motion was seconded by Ms. Finkelstein. After further discussion, the motion was approved 4 to 1, with Dr. Jenkins voting No.
II. 2001-2002 BUDGET PROCESS
Ms. Barbara Linker, Director of Budgeting, gave a brief explanation of how Book I (Departmental Budgets) and Book II (Local Projects) of the 2001-2002 Proposed Budget relate to the general and operating budgets. She also reviewed a separate informational packet (Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit A), which contained a summary of Books I and II.
BOOK I DEPARTMENTAL BUDGETS
Travel - Away (Object 332)
Ms. Stidham noted that there was an increase in the budget for away travel. She suggested that the total budget for away travel in 2001-2002 be the same as it was in 2000-2001 ($47,915.00), and further suggested that each departments budget for away travel be transferred to the Superintendents cost center. She stated that each department would need to apply to the Superintendent, with their request for away travel, and he would determine if that travel request was a priority. She noted that this would apply to all departments that report to the Superintendent, which would not include the Board Members, the General Counsel or the Internal Auditing Department. Mr. Wally Odom, Assistant Superintendent for Financial and Business Affairs, expressed his concerns that presuming that last years budget would be an adequate amount for this years budget, was a poor assumption. After discussion, Mrs. Stidham changed her suggested budget amount of $47,915 to $47,000. Mrs. Stidham moved that the budget for away travel be changed to $47,000, and that amount be placed in the Superintendents cost center, with the Superintendent to determine travel requests on a needed basis. Mr. Bergosh seconded the motion, which was approved 4 to 1, with Dr. Jenkins voting No."
Travel Local (Object 331)
Dr. DeWitt asked why this budget had increased. The Superintendent explained that there are some recently appointed assistant superintendents and directors that are currently working at their previous salary and not the salary of their new positions, because there are other individuals officially holding those positions. Consequently, the local travel budget would need an increase, in order to assist those individuals with extra travel expenses. After discussion, the Board noted that there is to be no typical travel, only actual travel (actual miles).
Cell Phones/Radio Phones (Object 373)
Ms. Stidham asked why this budget had increased. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Director of Facilities Planning, indicated that these figures should decrease due to the recent re-bid for the cell phone/radio phone service, in which there has been a net reduction, resulting from a new uniform rate. Ms. Barbara Linker, Director of Budgeting, stated that she would try to adjust this budget based on any new rates that resulted from the re-bid of this service.
Advertising (Object 392)
Mr. Ronnie Arnold, Director of Public Relations, indicated the need for reducing advertising costs. He stated that the daily newspaper provider (Pensacola News Journal), was not willing to negotiate their advertising rates. He noted that he received advertising rates from a weekly newspaper provider (Pensacola Voice) that were approximately 60% less than the current cost that the district is paying. He stated that most departments, with the exception of the Purchasing Department, advertise simply to meet a statutory requirement. He suggested that all ads that are not time sensitive be advertised in a weekly newspaper. He further suggested that all requests for advertisements be centralized under one department. Dr. DeWitt stated that all requests for advertisements, excluding requests from the Purchasing Department, would now be centralized under the Public Relations Department.
Printing, Binding, and Reproduction (Object 391)
Dr. DeWitt asked if this budget was in need of an increase or if it would be decreasing. The Superintendent stated that he would research and address the Board on this issue at a later time.
BOOK II LOCAL PROJECTS
Employee Recognition (Project 600)
Dr. DeWitt stated that there would be no rental of the Civic Center for the Retirement Ceremony next year. He stated that Ms. Ruth Holmes, teacher, asked him to express her concerns, that the Retirement Ceremony continue to be held at the Civic Center. Dr. Alan Scott, Director of Secondary Education, stated that the contract with the Civic Center for high school graduation ceremonies is in the process of being renegotiated.
Safe Schools District Cost Portion (Object 615)
Dr. DeWitt asked if we had evaluated our security contract and questioned the need for evening and weekend contracted security services versus in-house. Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, stated that he would work with Mr. Joe Bernard, Director of Risk Management, in looking for other options.
Elementary & Secondary Education (Object 1108)
Dr. DeWitt expressed that while he does support students having the opportunity to experience various programs associated with the arts (i.e., chorus, opera, etc.), that are covered by this budget, he did have concerns regarding the expense.
The Board recognized Ms. Arlene Costello, President of Escambia Educational Association, who spoke in favor of the programs covered by this budget.
The Superintendent stated that he would look into acquiring funding sources from the community for these programs and functions.
Vending Machine Flow-Through Allocation (Object 1111)
Dr. DeWitt stated that the Superintendent indicated he would have a recommendation regarding this issue. The Superintendent stated that he would need to talk to the appropriate individuals and would address the Board with his recommendation at a later time.
Following review of Books I and II of the 2001-2002 Proposed Budget, the Board took the following action:
Mr. Bergosh moved for a 3% decrease in the total budget for Book II with the allocation of that decrease to be worked out by the Superintendent and his staff. Motion died for a lack of second.
Mr. Bergosh moved for a 2% decrease in the total budget for Book II with the allocation of that decrease to be worked out by the Superintendent and his staff. Motion was seconded by Dr. Jenkins. After discussion, motion was tabled until the Superintendent presented his recommendations for cost saving measures.
Dr. Jenkins moved to adjourn the meeting and reconvene at a later time. Motion died for a lack of second.
ADD: 1. Request Approval for Proposed Cost Saving Measures
The Superintendent presented his recommendations to the Board followed by questions and comments from the Board. The Superintendents recommendations are as follows:
a. Eliminate fifteen (15) bus aides from general revenue and fund the positions through other sources.
Motion made by Mrs. Stidham, second by Dr. Jenkins, to accept the Superintendents recommendation, was unanimously approved.
b. Enforce a hard hiring freeze effective October 1, 2001.
Motion made by Mrs. Stidham, second by Ms. Finkelstein, to accept the Superintendents recommendation, was unanimously approved.
c. Reduce one educational support (non-teaching) position at each secondary school.
Motion was made by Mrs. Stidham and seconded by Mr. Bergosh, to accept the Superintendents recommendation as presented. Dr. Jenkins asked what criteria would be used to determine which position at each secondary school would be eliminated. Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, stated that the decision would be based on recommendations from the principal and School Advisory Council. He also noted that this recommendation would not apply to secondary schools in the north end of the county (Ernest Ward Middle, Carver Middle and Northview High).
The Board recognized Mr. Bob Husbands, Executive Director of Escambia NEA UniServe, who cautioned that this recommendation would involve workload issues.
Dr. Jenkins moved to amend the motion, to reflect that each secondary schools recommendation for reduction of one educational support position, be presented to the Board for review, before the reduction is implemented. Mrs. Stidham seconded the amendment. Amended motion failed 3 to 2, with Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Bergosh, and Mrs. Stidham voting No. Original motion by Mrs. Stidham, second by Mr. Bergosh, was unanimously approved.
d. Enforce state guidelines of two (2) miles for transportation.
Motion was made by Ms. Finkelstein and seconded by Dr. Jenkins, to accept the Superintendents recommendation. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Director of Facilities Planning, presented the Board with a handout regarding information on this issue. Mrs. Stidham expressed her concerns that this recommendation would mainly affect elementary school children. She suggested that the budget for transportation be reviewed first, for possible decreases, and then consider this recommendation. Dr. DeWitt stated that he supported Mrs. Stidham and suggested reviewing this issue again after the first semester of school. After further discussion, motion was approved 3 to 2, with Dr. DeWitt and Mrs. Stidham voting No.
e. Close the district Print Shop.
Motion was made by Mr. Bergosh and seconded by Dr. Jenkins, to accept the Superintendents recommendation. Mr. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, noted that figures originally reported in the MGT study, were incorrect.After discussion, Mrs. Stidham suggested that this issue be revisited in December. Mr. Bergosh amended his motion to allow the district Print Shop to remain open, being run as a business-like operation (i.e., all departments will be charged a specific fee for printing services) until December, 2001. Dr. Jenkins seconded that motion, which was approved unanimously.
f. Eliminate one custodial manager, one custodial supervisor, one secretarial position.
Motion was made by Dr. Jenkins and seconded by Mrs. Stidham, to accept the Superintendents recommendation. Dr. Jenkins expressed his concerns regarding the ethnic make-up of this department. Upon questioning from Dr. DeWitt, the Superintendent stated that a committee was being formed to discuss outsourcing issues. After discussion, Dr. Jenkins moved to table this item until the Regular Board Meeting, June 19, 2001. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Stidham and unanimously approved.
g. Eliminate automated phone service for hiring of substitute teachers (SEMS).
Motion was made by Dr. Jenkins and seconded by Mrs. Stidham, to accept the Superintendents recommendation. Mrs. Arlene Costello, President of Escambia Education Association, stated that they would support this recommendation, noting that the automated phone service did not work the majority of the time. Mrs. Stidham noted that principals had expressed that they were opposed to the recommendation because they are not adequately staffed for making phone calls to acquire substitute teachers. She wanted to know who would assume the responsibility for making the phone calls if this service was eliminated. Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, explained that the contract states that teachers are responsible for notifying the principal that they would be out and then the administration would be responsible for acquiring substitute teachers.Mr. Bob Husbands, Executive Director of Escambia NEA Uniserve, stated that this would be a contractual issue. After discussion, Dr. Jenkins moved to amend his motion to eliminate the automated phone service for hiring of substitute teachers (SEMS), subject to collaborative bargaining. Mrs. Stidham seconded that motion, which was unanimously approved.
Upon the completion of reviewing the Proposed Cost Saving Measures, Mr. Bergosh restated his motion that was tabled earlier in the meeting. His motion was for a 2% decrease in the total budget for Book II with the allocation of that decrease to be worked out by the Superintendent and his staff. Motion was seconded by Dr. Jenkins and approved 4 to 1, with Ms. Stidham voting No.
Prior to adjourning, Ms. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education, gave an update on opportunity scholarships. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:45 p.m. (Official recordings of this meeting are filed in the Information Services Department)