ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, OCTOBER 12, 2001
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, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chairman: Dr. John DeWitt
Vice Chairman: Mrs. Cary Stidham
Board Members: Mr. Gary L. Bergosh
Ms. Linda Finkelstein
Dr. Elmer Jenkins
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Norm Ross, Deputy Superintendent, represented Mr. Jim Paul
I. CALL TO ORDER
Dr. DeWitt called the Regular Workshop to order at 9:00 a.m.
A. Open Discussion
The Board and Mr. Norm Ross, Deputy Superintendent (representing Mr. Jim Paul) discussed the following issues:
1) Expulsions Dr. Jenkins noted that the list of recommended student expulsions for this month contained a number of students charged with sexual misconduct and asked if the district provided any counseling or therapy to those students. Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, said information would be provided to the Board concerning programs and other opportunities offered to assist those students.
2) Budget Dr. Jenkins believed that the district should postpone approval of ratification of the instructional personnel salary schedule (Item Number VII.B.1 on the October Regular Agenda) until further information from the State Legislature was received, regarding the budget situation for next year. Upon suggestion from Dr. DeWitt, the Board collectively agreed to review the agenda items on the October Regular Meeting agenda and to postpone approval of any unnecessary purchases, pending further information regarding the budget situation. Dr. Jenkins stated that if the instructional personnel salary is ratified he hoped that the district would handle the ramifications of the potential State budget shortfall without laying off any personnel. He also hoped that the State Legislature would review and modify the current categorical funding restrictions to give school districts more flexibility in determining how the funds were administered.
3) Anthrax Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, briefly advised the Board of a recent series of statewide hoaxes involving suspicious packages or letters that contained a powdery substance believed to be Anthrax. He stated that the district had been in contact with local law enforcement to ensure that the district was prepared to respond if such situations were to occur in this area.
II. COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Ross listed the additions, deletions and amendments to the agenda. Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resource Services, requested that School Board Rule 6Gx17-3.16 Booster Clubs and PTAs be added under section VII.A.a Permission to Advertise. Dr. DeWitt stated that the rule (School Board Rule 6Gx17-3.16 Booster Clubs and PTAs) would be included in the advertisement of Item Number VII.A.a.1 (School Board Rules Revisions/Additions to Chapters of the Rules and Procedures of the Escambia County School District Policy Book, 6Gx17 Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7). Dr. Garber stated that he would consult with Mr. Negron regarding the process for adding the rule to the policy book. Mrs. Stidham advised that the Board would need to schedule a special meeting regarding Board Members residence areas. The Board collectively agreed to schedule that special meeting for November 15, 2001, 5:30 p.m.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes for all September meetings will be presented for Board approval.
Due to time constraints, the following items were moved to the front of the agenda:
Item V.D.1 Bid Award: Dental Claims Processing & Plan Administration, Bid # 020301
In response to concerns expressed by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, explained that this bid award was simply for the processing of dental claims. He stated that the Board could make any changes necessary to the dental plan design or benefits if necessary, and that this company would incorporate those changes into their claims processing procedures. Mr. Boyer noted that the bid award did contain a cancellation clause and that the Board did have the ability to cancel the bid award if necessary. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Boyer stated that although he could not give an exact figure, he did believe that the outsourcing of the dental claims process would result in considerable savings to the district.
Item V.D.17 Compass Learning Educational Software for Brentwood Elementary School
Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, stated that Compass Learning had agreed to a fifteen percent (15%) holdback of final payment, pending the results of the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT). He noted that the district expects at least ten (10) students to perform at level three (3) or above on the FCAT. Dr. DeWitt stated that the Citizens Advisory Committee for Curriculum and Technology had recommended a thirty percent (30%) holdback of payment funds, pending the results of any scholastic program purchased by the district. Mr. Bergosh stated that the Citizens Advisory Committee for Finance also recommended a thirty percent (30%) holdback, however they had concerns that companies might not bid with that percentage of holdback. Ms. Linda Threadgill, Principal, Brentwood Elementary School, stated that the school has been using this particular software and that this request was simply to expand the number of users.
Mr. Boyer recommended that rather than set an arbitrary limit such as a thirty percent (30%) holdback, the Board assess the potential success and track record of each vendor and then set their limit based on that information. He believed that by setting an arbitrary limit, vendors would simply adjust their pricing to compensate for the potential holdback. He stated that while he did not disagree with the concept of a performance bid, he did disagree with setting an artificial barrier for all vendors. He believed that bids would come in at higher prices recognizing the higher risk and believed that the Board should negotiate on a case by case basis. Mr. Boyer stated that he would attend the next Citizens Advisory Committee for Curriculum and Technology to express his views and concerns regarding that issue.
Item V.D.11 Master Agreement: ACALETICS Math Curriculum Accelerator Program (Educational Development Associates, Inc.)
Dr. Deborah Malishan, Director of Elementary Education, provided the Board with information regarding the successful results of the ACALETICS program in other Florida counties. She stated that the company had agreed to fifteen percent (15%) holdback of final payment, pending the results of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). She noted that as a minimum, the district expects a twelve percent (12%) gain in FCAT math scores on average. Mrs. Stidham stated that she had concerns with the information provided regarding the successful results of the program, noting that the company itself had provided that information. She also had concerns with paying this company to perform services that she believed the district itself was already attempting to do. Ms. Finkelstein stated that while her opinion had nothing to do with the students at Weis Elementary, she had concerns of placing this program in that particular school. She offered to discuss her concerns with Dr. Malishan and Mr. Fetsko at a later time. Upon inquiry by Mr. Bergosh, Dr. DeWitt stated that if the funds were not used for this program, they could be carried forward to the budget for next year. Upon questions by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Fetsko stated that while not focusing on one particular school, the district is currently trying to standardize the curriculum for the entire district, and noted that the process would take several years to complete. He stated that the ACALETICS program would adapt to align the curriculum and instructional materials currently used at Weis Elementary. Dr. DeWitt believed that there were district staff available that could perform these services and therefore would not support the approval of this item.
Item V.B.7 Resolution authorizing the issuance of Refunding Certificates of Participation, Series 2001
Mr. Richard Lott, Bond Counsel, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, reviewed the backup information provided to the Board regarding the resolution authorizing the issuance of Refunding Certificates of Participation, Series 2001. Mr. Mitch Owens, Insurance Underwriter, William R. Hough and Company, gave a brief update concerning current market conditions.
Item VII.B.3 Report on Converting Cook Elementary to a Dedicated District Magnet School Linda Finkelstein
At Ms. Finkelsteins request, Steve Tulley, Chairman, School Advisory Council (SAC) for N.B. Cook Elementary, made a presentation to the Board. He gave a short history of the present Cook program and outlined the process for becoming a dedicated district magnet school. Ms. Sharon Sudduth, Principal, Mr. Shawn Dennis, Director of Transportation and Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, answered questions from the Board pertaining to their different areas of expertise. Dr. Jenkins was concerned about the affect this change would have on enrollment at Spencer Bibbs Elementary and Semmes Elementary. Mrs. Stidham stated that she needed more information regarding transportation issues. Staff was asked to provide additional information (i.e., number of students affected, transportation issues, and Augustus Agreement issues) prior to the October Regular meeting.
IV. COMMITTEE REPORTS
ADD 1. Bomb Threats: Amount of Time Lost and Make-up Plan
(Previously discussed at September 14, 2001 Regular Workshop)
Dr. Alan Scott, Director of Secondary Education, provided information to the Board regarding amount of time lost per high school, due to the recent reoccurring bomb threats. He explained that Florida Statute requires that students complete a minimum of 135 hours of instruction in order to receive one full credit and 67.5 hours to receive one-half credit. He stated that no make-up plan was necessary at this point, due to the fact that principals had rotated class schedules so that the time of instruction lost had not greatly impacted any particular class period.
ADD Sixth Grade Students to Remain in Selected Elementary Schools
(Previously discussed at September 14, 2001 Regular Workshop)
Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, reviewed information he had previously provided to the Board regarding the pluses and deltas relating to sixth grade students remaining at selected elementary schools. Mr. Fetsko noted that the Curriculum and Instruction staff did not believe that having sixth grade students remain in selected elementary schools was a feasible concept. A majority of the Board members agreed that there was no further information required regarding this issue.
ADD 3. Safety Assessment of Trunk Routing on School Property
(Previously discussed at October 3, 2001 Special Meeting)
Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that he had met with Mr. Negron and Mr. Shawn Dennis, Director of Transportation, to discuss safety issues related to trunk routing bus stops located on school property. He explained that each of the individuals would contact other peer counties for additional information regarding a series of concerns that were discussed at their initial meeting. He stated that they would reassemble at the end of the following week to review the information they had received from other counties. Dr. DeWitt asked that they schedule their report for the November Workshop.
4. Report from Mike Burns, Coordinator of Community and Legislative Affairs
Dr. DeWitt stated that Mr. Mike Burns, Coordinator of Community and Legislative Affairs, would give a report at the Regular Meeting on October 16, 2001.
5. Update from School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee (SAZAC)
[Item Number IV.7 on Regular Meeting Agenda]
Mr. Bob Husbands, Chairman, School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee (SAZAC), distributed the committees final report (Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit E), briefly reviewing their recommendations. Phase I of the report contained recommendations for proposed attendance zone changes involving the following schools: Ransom Middle; Jim Allen Elementary; Ensley Elementary; Ferry Pass Elementary; Scenic Heights Elementary; Cordova Park Elementary; Semmes Elementary; Holm Elementary; Suter Elementary and Cook Elementary. A final recommendation for Phase II (involving elementary schools in the urban Pensacola area, middle schools district wide and high schools), will be presented for the November School Board meeting. Ms. Finkelstein asked about the process. Dr. DeWitt indicated that at the October Regular meeting, the Board would be asked to adopt, change or reject the SAZAC recommendations.
The workshop recessed at 11:40 a.m. and reconvened at 12:25 p.m. with all Board Members and Mr. Ross (representing the Superintendent) present. Mr. Negron re-entered the workshop at 12:37 p.m.
V. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Curriculum and Instruction
1. Governors Mentoring Initiative
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mrs. Peggy Pilcher, Coordinator of Community Involvement, stated that if approved, the grant positions (school mentor coordinators) would end upon expiration of the grant.
2. 2001-2002 School Advisory Council Nominations
Ms. Sheree Cagle, Director of Comprehensive Planning, advised the Board of the School Advisory Councils that were not in compliance. She stated that she would notify the Board if the violations were not corrected by the November Regular Board meeting, and noted that the Board Member representing that school would then need to appoint members to ensure compliance.
7. Panhandle Area Educational Consortium Cost-Reimbursement Subcontract Agreement (Migrant Pre-K)
Dr. DeWitt stated that the agreement reads the project will commence July 1, 2001 and noted that it would not be approved until October 16, 2001. Mr. Wayne Odom, Director of Title I, explained that the agreement was placed on the agenda as soon as it was received from the Washington District School Board. He noted that in the past, the agreement had been received as late as December. Dr. DeWitt requested that Mr. Odom give an update on the School Readiness Coalition/Pre-K Program at the November Regular Workshop.
8. Contract Between the School Board of Escambia County and Childrens Services Center
Dr. DeWitt stated that the contract reads this contract shall begin on August 15, 2001 and noted that it would not be approved until October 16, 2001. Mr. Tommy Taylor, Director of Applied Technology, explained that the contract was placed on the agenda as soon as it was received from Childrens Services Center. He noted that this was an annual contract and it was usually not received until September.
10. Agreement Between Sunbelt Staffing Solutions, Inc. and the School District of Escambia County, Florida (Time Period: 10/17/01 12/18/01)
11. Agreement Between Sunbelt Staffing Solutions, Inc. and the School District of Escambia County, Florida (Time Period: 10/17/01 05/28/02)
Dr. DeWitt stated that the agreement included a clause that read client will pay Sunbelt one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the hourly fee for each hour worked by Healthcare Professional in excess of the minimum thirty-five (35) hours per week. He questioned the necessity of that clause and why the minimum was thirty-five (35) hours per week rather than forty (40). Ms. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education, stated that thirty-five (35) hours was the minimum that was negotiated with Sunbelt and further stated that the district would never allow the Healthcare Professional to exceed the thirty-five (35) hours.
Mr. Negron re-entered the workshop at 12:37 p.m.
2. Check Register for the month of August 2001
In answer to Ms. Finkelsteins question, Ms. Barbara Linker, Director of Budgeting, stated that submittal of the check registers were indeed behind schedule. She noted that it would continue to be behind schedule as long as the deadline for agenda items was within the first week of the month.
7. Resolution authorizing the issuance of Refunding Certificates of Participation, Series 2001
This item was discussed earlier in the meeting.
9. Disposal of Capitalized and Non-Capitalized Assets:
a) Auction Lists I, II, III, IV & V for October 2001
b) Scrap Lists I & II for October 2001
Dr. DeWitt noted that there was a large number of computers that were listed for cannibalization and/or scrapping and questioned why so many fairly new (i.e., 1998 model) computers were included. Mr. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, stated that the most common reason would be that a major component of the system had failed. He explained that if the cost to repair the system was more than thirty percent (30%), then based on the terms of the district wide out of warranty contract, those computers would be listed for cannibalization and/or scrapping.
10. Financial Status Report on Projects and Grants
Mrs. Stidham had concerns about the amount of Title I funds (approximately $21,000) that would be sent back because they were not used in a timely fashion. Ms. Sheree Cagle, Director of Comprehensive Planning, indicated that the issue would be addressed and a plan would be implemented next year to eliminate this problem.
C. Human Resources Services
f. Special Requests
5. Request approval to establish job description and paygrade of
Coordinator of Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) on the administrative salary schedule
Concerns were expressed regarding this item and it was pulled until the November Regular Board meeting.
2. Educational Support Personnel
f. Leave of Absence
Dr. DeWitt noted various errors contained in the backup information for this item regarding leave of absence dates. He asked that those errors be corrected prior to the October 16, 2001 Regular Board meeting.
3. Risk Management
b. Settlement with LabCorp by United HealthCare Services
Ms. Finkelstein asked if Mr. Negron agreed with the item as presented. Mr. Negron answered that he did.
1. Bid Award: Dental Claims Processing & Plan Administration, Bid # 020301
This item was discussed earlier in the meeting.
5. Annual Agreement Renewal: Xerox 5892 Copier for FDLRS
In answer to Dr. DeWitts question as to the delay in submitting this item to the Board, Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, indicated that it was an oversight.
7. Annual Agreement Renewal: Internet Service Provider, Bid # 006601
Dr. DeWitt stated that the agreement reads effective July 1, 2001 and noted that it would not be approved until October 16, 2001. Mr. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, explained that the funds allocated for that contract were not expended last year and stated that the process of rolling those funds forward took quite some time.
8. Professional Services Agreement: Speech Language Pathology Services (Kimberly Davis Andreoli)
9. Professional Services Agreement: Speech Language Pathology Services (Sarah C. Dennis)
Ms. Finkelstein noted that both agreements were effective for the same period however, the purchase amount for each agreement differed. Ms. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education, stated that while both agreements contained the same rate, they did differ on hours, creating difference in the total purchase amount.
Number assigned not used Master Agreement:
ACALETICS Math Curriculum Accelerator Program (Educational
Development Associates, Inc.)
This item was discussed earlier in the meeting.
12. Temporary Employment Services: Landrum Staffing Services
Mrs. Stidham expressed concerns, as did Mr. Negron, who stated that the item should not be a purchase order as it was clearly a service that should be contracted. Item was pulled until the November Regular meeting.
14. Annual Agreement Renewal: Medicaid Claim Services
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, stated that this item is a request to extend an existing contract for another year.
15. Change Notice #1 to Purchase Order # 214212 (DMG Maximus Consultants)
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, stated that this item was a request to issue a change notice to increase the contract amount since actual expenditures exceeded estimates for the Medicaid claim services.
17. Compass Learning Educational Software for Brentwood Elementary School
This item was discussed earlier in the meeting.
20. Gutters and Downspouts for Weis Elementary School
Dr. Jenkins stated that gutters and downspouts were not included in the initial construction of Weis Elementary and he believed that because those items were not included, damage to the building had occurred. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that there was actually more discoloration to the building than structural damage. He explained that Weis Elementary was on the upcoming painting schedule and that this item was a request to install the gutters and downspouts prior to the re-painting of the building.
A. Final Payments
1. Additions and Renovations at Holm Elementary School
Dr. DeWitt stated that by way of memorandum, he had requested to be involved in the final evaluation of the additions and renovations at Holm Elementary School however, he was not. He also stated that he had submitted a letter to Mr. Negron for review, regarding problems with the air conditioning system at Holm Elementary, which were possibly a result of poor design of the system. Upon question by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Negron stated that he had not had an opportunity to review the letter but that he would do so as soon as possible. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, apologized that Dr. DeWitt was not included in the final evaluation and offered to accompany him on a final completion tour of the facility. He also stated that he would discuss the air conditioning system issues with Mr. Negron.
7. Phase II, Building #2 Renovations at Tate High School
Ms. Finkelstein stated that no final payment approval sheet was included with the backup information for this item and requested that one be provided.
1. Storm Shutter at Tate High School and Blue Angels Elementary School
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that the school district would need to enter into an inter-local agreement with the county in order to receive the funds to purchase the storm shutters.
2. Resolution Authorizing the Sale of Surplus Property McReynolds Center
Upon question by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that as reflected in the backup information, the legal description of the McReynolds Center property is indeed based upon a description from a map dated in 1906.
F. Student Transfers
No discussion was held.
G. Internal Auditing
No items were submitted.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS (PREVIOUSLY TABLED ITEMS OR ITEMS POSTPONED UNTIL CURRENT MEETING)
No items were submitted.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
The Board recognized Ms. Ellen Lawrence, Director, Escambia NEA UniServe, who reminded the Board of upcoming functions (i.e., Walk in Our Shoes Day, American Education Week and Day at the Mall).
A. Proposed Additions of Revisions to School District Rules
b. Permission to Adopt
2. School Board Rule 6Gx17-7.09 PUPIL PROGRESSION PLAN UPDATE GRADING SCALE
Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, stated that this item would be amended to include pluses (+) and minuses (-) in the list of other symbols used in the elementary school grading system.
B. Items from the Board
1. Silence Hurts Resolution
Dr. DeWitt stated that the Silence Hurts campaign was discussed at the September 14, 2001 Regular Workshop. He explained that the resolution was simply to express support for the campaign and to encourage all middle and high schools to implement this program.
4. Nine Week Grading Procedures Gary Bergosh
Mr. Bergosh reminded the Board that previous action to change from a six-week grading period to a nine-week grading period was in part, an effort to lessen burdens placed on teachers. He stated that he had been informed that some principals were now requiring that teachers give a full mid-term grade report at the 4 ½ week period and was concerned that requiring teachers to do so would be very burdensome. Dr. Alan Scott, Director of Secondary Education, stated that a mid-term grade report was a common practice implemented in middle schools for several years. He believed that the concerns that were expressed to Mr. Bergosh were probably from elementary and high school personnel where that had not been a common practice in the past. He explained that this was simply an effort to ensure that parents are aware of their students progress and noted that while some teachers may actually take time to average grades, many simply send a short note with a brief comment regarding the students progress. He also noted that while a mid-term grade report was not a requirement, it was a pattern that had been followed for several years. No further information was required regarding this issue.
Dr. Jenkins left the meeting at 2:05 p.m. during discussion of Item VII.B.4 (Nine Week Grading Procedures)
C. Items from the Superintendent
1. Request approval of Administrative Transfer
Mrs. Stidham stated that at a previous Board meeting she had asked that all requests for administrative transfers and appointments have the associated paygrade and step included in the backup information. She noted that information was not included in the backup information for this item and requested that it be provided.
D. Items from the General Counsel
No items were submitted.
There being no further business, the workshop adjourned at 3:05 p.m.