ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, MARCH 15, 2002
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: Ms. Linda Finkelstein
Board Members: Mr. Gary L. Bergosh
Mrs. Cary Stidham
Dr. Elmer Jenkins
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul
I. CALL TO ORDER
Dr. DeWitt called the Regular Workshop to order at 9:07 a.m.
Agreement Approval: Master Lease/Purchasing and Technology Integration Agreements (Item V.D 37)
Dr. DeWitt stated that a Special Meeting was previously scheduled for today, to specifically address this issue, as it was believed to be time-sensitive. He explained that based on new information the Board had received and the advice of Mr. Negron, the Special Meeting was determined unnecessary and therefore canceled, with the item being deferred to the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting agenda. Dr. DeWitt explained that this item was previously presented and approved twice by the Board, pending approval/review by both General Counsel and Bond Counsel. Both times there were significant changes to the item and Mr. Negron had advised that the item should be presented to the Board again for approval. Mrs. Stidham noted that information received from Bond Counsel indicated various concerns. Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Negron stated that he would request that Bond Counsel be present at the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting to address those concerns.
A. Open Discussion
1. Traffic Issues at Blue Angels Elementary School Gary Bergosh
Mr. Bergosh expressed concern regarding potential traffic issues near Blue Angels Elementary School that may occur as the result of the newly constructed Wal-Mart shopping center that is expected to open near the end of April 2002. He requested that Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, review the situation and develop recommendations if needed, to remedy any potential traffic issues.
2. Update on Merit Pay Plan Program Cary Stidham
Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, stated that he had contacted the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) to request information regarding this issue, however, he had yet to receive a response from them. He reviewed information provided to the Board regarding this issue and explained that upon receipt of all requested information (i.e., plan design, plan criteria) from the FLDOE, a plan would be developed and submitted to the Board for approval.
3. Questions Regarding the Employee Benefit Trust Fund Audit Report (Supplemental Minute Book, Exhibit A)
Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, gave a brief update and answered questions posed by the Board regarding the following issues concerning the Employee Benefit Trust Fund Audit Report:
1) Financial update on the operations of the Trust as of December 31, 2001
2) Condition of the Fund as a whole
3) Status of Health, Dental and Life Insurance Programs
4) Projections on condition of fund as of June 30, 2002
5) Analysis of life insurance net operating loss
Rules and Procedures of the Escambia County School District Policy Book
Inquiry was made by Ms. Finkelstein, as to the status of the updating and publishing of the policy book. Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, advised that a decision was made to remove that responsibility from the Human Resources department and to place it under the office of the General Counsel.
II. COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent provided the Board with a listing of the additions, deletions and amendments to the agenda.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes for all February meetings will be presented for Board approval.
IV. COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. Quarterly Audit Committee Report Presented by Mike Adkins
Mr. Adkins stated that the Audit Committee had approved the school internal fund audits, noting that the only finding was a segregation of duties issue, which was common due to the small staff size in schools. He noted that the findings in the review of the Saturday School Program at Weis Elementary School were inconclusive due to conflicting information and a lack of documentation. He explained that the Internal Auditing department had issued a comprehensive management letter to the principal of Weis, for use with making any additions or corrections needed to improve record keeping. Mr. Adkins noted that the Audit Committee had received a resignation, due to a conflict of interest, from Ms. Laura Shaud, and that another person would be selected to fill that position. He stated that he and Mr. Sam Scallan, Director of Internal Auditing, had met with the Superintendent to keep him advised of all issues regarding the audit plan.
2. Report from Mike Burns, Legislative Consultant to the School Board
Mr. Burns gave the following update:
Revenue Conference Mr. Burns gave a brief update on the outcome of the Revenue Conference held on March 8, 2002.
School Code Rewrite Mr. Burns stated that ten (10) amendments for each side (democrat and republican) could be incorporated into the School Code Rewrite. He noted one of the proposed amendments was making school boards citizen advisory boards versus paid boards. He believed that particular proposed amendment would die somewhere in the process but believed that there would be a type of compromised amendment. He also believed that there would be a proposed amendment of some type, that would change the pay scale for school board members or possibly allow the members to set their own salary schedules. He explained that many bills appear to be dying, however what was actually happening was that many of those bills were being incorporated into the School Code Rewrite.
House Bill 191 (Requires school districts to hire an Inspector General) - Mr. Burns stated that this bill had been incorporated into the School Code Rewrite.
Claims Bill Mr. Burns believed that this was a dead issue.
Civil Service Bill Mr. Burns believed that this bill was no longer an issue.
May, 10, 2002 Take Your Mom to School Day
Mr. Burns stated that Representative Holly Benson would participate in this event at N.B. Cook Elementary and A.K. Suter Elementary schools. He noted that a preliminary meeting regarding this event was scheduled for April 8, 2002 and stated that he would meet with Mr. Ronnie Arnold, Director of Information Services, regarding publicity for this event.
Upon inquiry by the Superintendent, Mr. Burns stated that he would provide information regarding to a proposal that would place the control of charter schools under the State Board of Education rather than local school districts.
3. Update regarding Middle School Supplements Manny Harageones
(Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit B)
Mr. Manny Harageones, Subject Area Specialist, Physical Education, Health and Wellness, reviewed information provided to the Board regarding recommendations for middle school athletic programs, as a result of the action taken by the Board at the March 4, 2002 Special Meeting. He noted that the recommendations were based upon an analysis of the most current data (i.e., student participation, student/coach ratios, allocations of coaching supplements). Dr. DeWitt explained that the Board had been advised by Mr. Negron that this item should be deferred to Executive Session for discussion, noting that it is considered a bargaining issue because it involves coaching supplements. Dr. DeWitt requested that Mr. Harageones provide similar information regarding high school athletic programs, to the Board and representatives of the union. Ms. Finkelstein requested that Mr. Harageones also provide information regarding possibilities for intramural athletic programs. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, stated that the issue of job descriptions for coaching supplements had been wrestled with in collective bargaining, however nothing ever came of the issue.
Although not an agenda item, the Board collectively agreed to allow the following presentation:
Update regarding Title I Allocations/Pre-K Funding Wayne Odom
Mr. Wayne Odom, Director of Title I, reviewed information provided to the Board regarding Title I Allocations (i.e., preliminary planning allocation, guidelines and commentary for aligning the required elements of a Title I individual school plan with the school improvement plan, and proposed guidelines for use of Title I funds for 2002-2003), noting that the same information had been provided to school principals. Upon inquiry by Mr. Odom, the Board collectively agreed that the general plan as presented in the information provided, was acceptable.
Mr. Odom gave a brief update and reviewed information provided to the Board regarding Pre-K funding issues. Dr. DeWitt stated that this issue would be placed on the April Regular Meeting agenda.
Due to time constraints, the following item was moved to the front of the agenda:
Smaller Learning Communities Program (Item V.A.2)
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Ms. Delores Morris, Principal, Escambia High School, stated this grant did not require any funding from the District.
Although not an agenda item, the following issue was discussed:
Placement of In-Service Half-Days into the School District Calendar for the 2002-2003 School Year
Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, stated that an amended School District Calendar for the 2002-2003 school year including the insertion of the six (6) half-days, would be presented to the Board at the April Regular Meeting.
V. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Curriculum and Instruction
1. Approval of Textbook Adoption
Ms. Finkelstein noted that the policy referred to in the documentation for this item was School Board Rule 6Gx17-4.03 which provides as follows: (6) The Textbook Selection Committees recommendation shall include a textbook for each academic area and level being considered. She noted that the policy referred to in the documentation for this item was not the policy adopted by the Board, which provides as follows: (6) The Textbook Selection Committees recommendation shall include a first and second choice textbook for each academic area and level being considered. Ms. Paula Gleason, Media Services Coordinator, stated that in May 2001 she had submitted a request to change School Board Rule 6Gx17-4.03(6) to indicate that a recommendation by the Textbook Selection Committee would consist of a textbook rather than two textbooks, however, she had seen no documentation that the change was made. She explained her reasoning for the requested change noting that this year, for the first time the State would implement a new adoption schedule which would provide for a single adoption for each core curriculum area (i.e., reading, math, science, etc.), each year and had also adopted the philosophy that an adoption for the corrective/remedial/ESE textbook take place at the same time. She stated in essence every single time that we do an adoption from now on, we will get two irregardless. She noted that essentially, that was what had always been done, with the first choice always being for the main stream majority of students and the second choice always for the remedial/ESE students. Mrs. Stidham noted that discussion that took place at the November 2001 Workshop regarding the change from a textbook to two textbooks indicated that a vote would be taken at the Regular Meeting, however that vote never occurred. She noted that the policy manual approved for advertising in October 2001 indicated a textbook and the policy manual approved for adoption in November 2001 indicated two textbooks. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, stated that he was directed to make several changes to the policy manual approved for advertising in October 2001. He stated that those changes were included in the policy book presented for approval in November 2001. Mrs. Stidham stated that she would request that Mr. Negron draft a policy, to specifically state that the Board would be clearly notified of any changes made to advertised policies, prior to their adoption. Mr. Negron stated that he had discussed this issue with Mrs. Stidham, noting that notwithstanding any inadvertence, error or omission on anyones part, Board action was presumed valid and the policy would stand as is. He suggested that if she had any concerns, certainly she just as any Board Member was, invited to offer a rule amendment. He also believed that her request for a policy that clearly notifies the Board of any changes made to advertised policies, would be a best practice. Mrs. Stidham requested that the policy regarding two textbooks be added to the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting agenda. Mrs. Stidham believed that with the high rate of student mobility within the District, it would be to the students advantage, to have the same textbook at each school, district-wide. She also believed that all teachers could draw upon supplementary materials to adjust to different students reading needs. Dr. Jenkins expressed his belief that it would be to the students advantage, to have the same textbook at each school, district-wide. Mr. Bergosh also supported the concept of a textbook. Ms. Laura Colo, Reading Specialist, expressed her support of the concept of a textbook for various reasons such as high student mobility rates and the vastly different scopes and sequences in more than one textbook. Ms. Finkelstein requested that Ms. Colo provide data supporting the concept of single textbook adoption and invited Ms. Colo to the next meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for Curriculum and Technology. Dr. Deborah Malishan, Director of Elementary Education, made brief comments regarding single textbook adoptions noting that she had gathered much research that supports that concept. Mrs. Linda Longacre, Director of Staff Development, noted that under the program offered in the Superintendents recommendation, each teacher would receive one hundred (100) hours of instruction on how to teach reading. Ms. Finkelstein believed that teachers deserved to have some autonomy in the classroom with regard to teaching reading and that having more than one textbook would help teachers teach each other about the different aspects of reading. Mrs. Stidham believed that there were more than enough materials available for teachers to use as supplements.
4. Transportation Reimbursement Request
Upon request by Mrs. Stidham, Ms. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education, stated that detailed information regarding this item would be provided to the Board prior to the Regular Meeting.
5. Cooperative Agreement for Services between the School Board of Escambia County and the School Board of Okaloosa County
Dr. DeWitt questioned why this item was being presented to the Board approximately nine months after the implementation date. Prior to adjournment, Ms. Allyn Harris, FDLRS Coordinator, explained that there was no specific reason for the time delay, other than the grant processi ng simply took that much time.
Due to time constraints, the following items were moved to the front of the agenda:
1. Facilities Planning
7. Pending Sales Tax Projects
Mrs. Stidham stated that the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for Facilities unanimously recommended that the Board not proceed with the construction implementation of the pending sales tax projects. Board Members expressed concerns regarding pending sales tax projects for current District operated schools (i.e., Byrneville, Pensacola Beach and Dixon elementary schools) which would become charter schools as of the next school year. Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Negron stated that in his opinion, the project for Byrneville Elementary should have proceeded. He stated that as long as the school remains to be operated by the District, the Board would be in violation of their agreement with the public if that money were not expended for the specified project. Mr. Kirchharr noted a similar situation regarding previous action from the January 2000 Regular Meeting, where the Board decided not to expend funds as specified, for the N.B. Cook Elementary land acquisition project. Upon inquiry by Mr. Kirchharr, Mr. Negron stated that he would review that issue. The Board collectively agreed to delete this item from the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting agenda and postpone the issue to the May Regular Board Meeting when charter school contracts are presented for approval.
8. Half-Cent Sales Tax Extension Projects
Upon suggestion by Dr. DeWitt, the Board collectively agreed that the resolution for the Half-Cent Sales Tax Extension (as outlined by Mrs. Stidham at the February 19, 2002 Regular Meeting) should be added to the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting agenda. Mr. Kirchharr stated that several Board Members had requested changes to the list of Half-Cent Sales Tax Extension Projects as submitted by the Superintendent. He stated that once all requests were received, he would provide an amended list to the Board prior to the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting. Upon suggestion by Mrs. Stidham, the Board collectively agreed that the resolution for the Half-Cent Sales Tax Extension should specify that the issue would be included on the ballot for the September 2002 special referendum election.
9. Property Purchase 520 East Hecker Road
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Negron stated that this item would be deleted from the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting agenda. He explained that he had concerns regarding hand-written language within the contract, which appeared to be a modifier by the seller. He requested that the hand-written language be removed from the contract and sent back to the seller for signature. Dr. DeWitt noted that if the signed contract was received prior to the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting, it would be re-added to the agenda.
The Workshop meeting recessed at 11:50 a.m. and reconvened at 12:25 with all Board Members, Mr. Negron and the Superintendent present.
7. Budget Amendments
a) Resolution 6: General Operating Fund
Upon inquiry by Mr. Bergosh, Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, explained that the section on page 2 of 8 regarding Child Care was information on the implementation of the previously approved budget reduction plan. In response to Mr. Bergoshs question, Mrs. Linker stated that the term prior year as listed in section g on page 5 of 8 referred to last fiscal year. Dr. DeWitt noted an error on page 1 of 8 where January 2001 should be corrected to reflect January 2002. Ms. Finkelstein noted an error on page 5 of 8 where Paul Gleason should be corrected to reflect Paula Gleason.
Dr. DeWitt noted that as a result of Board action from the October 16, 2001 Regular Meeting, a freeze was placed on all Medicaid generated dollars, until the budget situation for the next year was determined. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mrs. Linker stated that she believed that it was safe to release back to the schools, the previously frozen Medicaid funds that they had generated. Dr. DeWitt requested that an item be added to the March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting agenda to address this issue.
14. Approval of Amendment No. 1 to the Bencor National Government Employees Retirement Plan (FICA Alternative Plan)
Dr. DeWitt had concerns with this item, as it required signature by December 31, 2001. Ms. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, explained that this item was not presented earlier, due to changes in staff and required reviews by General Counsel. Mr. Negron stated that it was legal for the Board to approve this amendment for the dates and terms specified, noting that the Board did in fact, have the authority to approve items retroactively.
D. Human Resources Services
Gardner, Christine Pensacola High
[NOTE: Resignation from Pine Forest High School for this employee was approved at the December 18, 2001 Regular Board Meeting. A request to rescind previous resignation (effective December 18, 2001) from Pine Forest High School with transfer to Pensacola High School (effective January 11, 2002) was approved at the January 15, 2002 Regular Meeting] Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Ms. Teenie Wehmeier, Certification Manager, explained that she was not notified that this individual was out-of-field, until after the individual had been approved for resignation.
6. Bid Award: Data Supplies/Printer Supplies, Bid #021904
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, explained that this bid was for an annual agreement to provide data and printer supplies. He stated that the supplies would be stocked and distributed by the Central Warehouse to schools and various departments throughout the District.
11. Bid Award Extension: Group Term Life and ADD Insurance, RFP #20-99
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, stated that this was a request to extend the current agreement for Group Term Life and ADD Insurance for employees throughout the District. Mr. Joe Bernard, Director of Risk Management, stated that this was the second year of a two-year agreement and noted that rates had not changed.
12. Bid Award Extension: Elevated Aluminum Bleachers, Bid #021301
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Ronald Peacock, Director of Facilities Planning, stated that this was a request to extend a bid award for the purchase of additional visitors side stadium bleachers at Northview High School.
2. Facilities Planning
7. Pending Sales Tax Projects
8. Half-Cent Sales Tax Extension Projects
9. Property Purchase 520 East Hecker Road
These items were discussed earlier in the meeting.
G. Student Transfers
No discussion was held.
H. Internal Auditing
No discussion was held.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS (PREVIOUSLY TABLED ITEMS OR ITEMS POSTPONED UNTIL CURRENT MEETING)
No discussion was held.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Proposed Additions of Revisions to School District Rules
1. Notice of Intent to Advertise Relocation of Judy Andrews Pre-K and Petree Pre-K to Existing K-5 Sites
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Negron stated that while it would be advisable to indicate the specific sites to which the pre-k programs would be relocated to, it was his understanding that the sites had not yet been determined.
2. Notice of Intent to Advertise Rule Permitting Transfer of Former A.A. Dixon Elementary School Students
The Superintendent stated that he was concerned that many parents were not aware of their options regarding this issue and noted that he was in the process of developing a plan to address that concern.
B. Items from the Board
1. Lease/Purchase Program John DeWitt (Item pulled from February 19, 2002 Agenda)
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, the Superintendent stated that he had assigned staff to review this issue.
C. Items from the Superintendent
No discussion was held.
D. Items from the General Counsel
No items were submitted.
There being no further business, the Regular Workshop adjourned at 12:35 p.m.