ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, APRIL 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
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 9:00 a.m.
A. Open Discussion
The following issues were discussed, although not specifically listed as agenda items under Open Discussion.
Lease/Purchase Program (item approved at March 19, 2002 Regular Meeting)
The approved Lease/Purchase Program is as follows:
The Escambia County School District will consider all options, including leasing, lease purchase, or purchasing in the acquisition of all technology. Each purchase must be accompanied with a budgetary and educational rationale as to the option decided upon. All purchases will be limited to four (4) cycles per calendar year in order to maximize volume discounting. In order to effectively use technology, the priority of the use of funds should be earmarked for in-service. All leases/purchases of technology should have clear documentation on what the in-service component will be.
Mr. Bergosh stated that the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for Finance had met on April 8, 2002 and discussed the Lease/Purchase. He noted that the Committee was concerned that it may be difficult for staff to implement the program immediately. He requested that the Board clarify whether the intent was in fact, to implement the program immediately, during the current fiscal year or at the beginning of the next fiscal year. Dr. DeWitt stated that there were items (Items V.D.12 and V.D.13) on the April 16, 2002 Regular agenda that he believed should be purchased immediately, as they related to the Districts Technology Plan. However, he did have concerns with several items (i.e., Items V.D.15, V.D.16, V.D.22 and V.D.23) regarding the concept of bulk purchases and would pull those for separate vote at the April 16, 2002 Regular Meeting. Upon inquiry by Mr. Bergosh, the Superintendent stated that he had assumed that the program would be implemented at the beginning of the next fiscal year and had concerns with implementing the program immediately. Mr. Negron stated that if the Board intended for staff to follow specific guidelines, as outlined in the Lease/Purchase Program, then those guidelines would constitute a rule and the Board would need to go through rule-making process (i.e., advertisement, public hearing, adoption). The Board collectively agreed that Dr. DeWitt and Mr. Negron would develop a rule based on the guidelines outlined in the Lease/Purchase Program to be presented in May 2002 for advertisement.
Request from Jacqueline Harris Pyramid School of Learning to Add Pre-K Class and Sixth Grade Class
Dr. DeWitt stated that Ms. Celestine Lewis, Executive Director of Jacqueline Harris Pyramid School of Learning (JHPSL), requested (by way of letter to the Superintendent) an addition of a sixth grade class and an addition of a pre-k class. The Superintendent noted that the Board had previously approved an amendment to the Charter Agreement with JHPSL, to increase student enrollment from 100 to 150. He reiterated his suggestion from the February 15, 2002 Regular Workshop regarding a compromise of allowing the addition of sixth grade class, while keeping the student enrollment at 150. He believed that the request for a pre-k class would need to be discussed, stating that he had concerns with the placement of a pre-k program at any charter school.
Beulah Academy of Science, Inc.
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, the Superintendent stated that he believed that the investigation report regarding Beulah Academy of Science, Inc. was complete however, he would need to verify with staff that it was officially finished. Dr. Jenkins expressed concern regarding the racial balance of the student body at Beulah Academy of Science, Inc. In response to concerns expressed by Dr. Jenkins, the Superintendent stated that he would verify that all charter schools were maintaining the required student body racial balance as outlined in their contracts. Dr. Jenkins noted that previous Board action (of May 15, 2001 Regular Meeting) required that all charter school contracts include language to demonstrate that they are working to increase minority (black) enrollment by describing what type of marketing approaches they are using. The Superintendent stated that he would address both issues by way of memorandum to the Board, within the next several days.
1. Student Transfer Policies
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, the Superintendent stated that staff would review student transfer policies to address various concerns including specifically, his concern regarding mid-semester transfers. Ms. Finkelstein requested that the Board allow her to continue to attend the meetings of the Student Transfer Committee, as she would like to be involved in the process of addressing student transfer policies. Dr. Jenkins stated that many transfers out of Wedgewood Middle School had been allowed to occur which had negatively affected the student enrollment at that school. While he acknowledged that the Committee had done a good job of reducing the amount of student transfers out of Wedgewood, he believed that the issue would still need to be closely monitored. He also believed that transfers to magnet schools such as N.B. Cook Elementary and Brown Barge Middle should be reviewed regarding student body racial balances. He believed that many transfers into those schools were not equally divided among the ethnic make-up of the students. Mrs. Stidham believed that a policy should be developed that would clearly address the student selection process for magnet schools. The Board collectively agreed to allow Ms. Finkelstein to continue to represent the Board at meetings of the Student Transfer Committee. The Superintendent stated that he would notify the Board by way of memorandum, within the next several days regarding suggestions for separate forums to discuss student transfer policies and issues regarding student body racial balances. Dr. DeWitt noted that the issue of transfers to schools that are at 100% capacity should be reviewed also, noting that previously proposed legislation regarding that issue may be passed in the future. Dr. Jenkins expressed concerns with student transfers that were approved based on hardship. Upon inquiry by Dr. Jenkins, Mr. Negron stated that the Board did in fact, have the authority to develop criteria to identify what constitutes a hardship with regard to student transfers. Mr. Bergosh believed that the Board should trust the decisions made by the Student Transfer Committee, noting that the Committee already has criteria in place to identify hardship transfers. Ms. Finkelstein believed that the Student Transfer Committee had done a good job of identifying which student transfer requests were in fact due to hardship and which were not. She believed however, that the Board on several occasions had muddied the waters by overriding the Committees recommendations.
Personnel Planning Document and Annual Personnel Contracts
In response to concerns expressed by Board Members and Mr. Negron, the Superintendent stated that he would provide the Personnel Planning Document the following day (April 16, 2002). The Board collectively agreed to schedule a Special Meeting to handle the approval of the Personnel Planning Document and annual personnel contracts. The Superintendent noted that all current personnel that would not be recommended for contract renewal had been properly notified.
2. Update on Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 34 Requirement as Reported on Page 60 of Independent Auditors Management Letter and Page 62 of Superintendents Responses from the Districts June 30, 2001 Audit Report
Ms. Gloria Johnson, Director of Accounting Operations, gave a brief update regarding the new Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 34 Requirement.
Due to time constraints, the following items were moved to the front of the agenda:
Bid Award / Agreement Extension: Pharmacy Benefit Management Services (Item V.D.7)
Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, stated that this item was an extension to the current bid award/agreement to provide year two of pharmacy benefit management services. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Dr. Garber stated negotiations were currently in progress regarding the inclusion of more pharmacy providers.
Bid Award / Agreement Extension: Healthcare Benefit Management Services (Item V.D.8)
Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, stated that this item was an extension to the current bid award/agreement to provide year two of healthcare benefit management services. Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Dr. Garber stated that an overall analysis of the healthcare benefit services would be done prior to October, so that recommendations for plan changes could be determined then reviewed by the Insurance Committee prior to plan renewal. Mr. Mark Thorton, United Health Care, addressed the Board regarding this issue.
COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent listed the additions, deletions and amendments to the agenda.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes for all March meetings will be presented for Board approval.
IV. COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. Report from Mike Burns, Legislative Consultant to the School Board
Mr. Burns gave the following update:
School Code Rewrite Mr. Burns stated that there was a proposed compromise to withdraw House language from the School Code Rewrite regarding Basic Religious Freedoms. 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. He stated that some of the bills being incorporated into the School Code Rewrite included those regarding performance/merit pay, character education, and principal certification. Mr. Negron inquired as to whether there had been any discussion regarding the issue of performance/merit pay being subject to bargaining. Mr. Burns stated that he would provide Mr. Negron information regarding his inquiry.
May, 10, 2002 Take Your Mom to School Day
Mr. Burns stated that Mr. Ronnie Arnold, Director of Information Services, had met with Representative Holly Benson regarding this event. He stated that Representative Benson would participate in this event at N.B. Cook Elementary, A.K. Suter Elementary and O.J. Semmes Elementary schools
Promotion Ceremony Mr. Burns stated he along with Dr. Deborah Malishan, Director of Elementary Education, and Mr. Ronnie Arnold, Director of Information Services, were in the process of scheduling a promotion ceremony which Governor Bush may attend.
Revenue Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Burns stated that the revenue for the next fiscal year looks good noting that there would probably be more revenue than previously projected. He stated that revenue information should be available the first week in May.
ADD 2. Update Regarding New Teacher Program Linda Longacre
Ms. Linda Longacre, Director of Staff Development, gave a brief update regarding the New Teacher Program. Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein and Dr. DeWitt, Mrs. Longacre stated that she could include this program in the Master In-Service Plan that would be presented to the Board for approval in May.
V. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Curriculum and Instruction
3. Cooperative Agreement between the School Board of Escambia County and Department of Juvenile Justice
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Negron stated that he had in fact, reviewed this agreement.
AMENDED 4. Proposal for School-Age Child Care Rates Schedule for 2002-2003 School Year
(NOTE: Approval of this proposal will allow for an increase in the school-age child care rates for non-subsidized and non-scholarshipped parents or guardians who purchase child care services at thirty-six (36) District-operated and contracted child care sites in the district.)
Upon inquiry by Dr. Jenkins, Mr. Negron stated that he had in fact, reviewed this proposal. In response to Dr. Jenkins concerns, Ms. Anne Freeman, Applied Technology Specialist, explained that regular paying parents who find the new rate beyond their means, are offered by the District, financial assistance through Childrens Services Center and District scholarships. Contractors also provide scholarships to assist these parents. Ms. Freeman explained that in the event of an extraordinary or emergency situation in which a childs well being or safety is at risk, principals of District-operated programs may waive established school-age child care rates and procedures. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Ms. Freeman stated that the present child care provider contracts require a $1.00 per day per child reimbursement to the District for facility usage. She stated that the proposal recommends that this reimbursement rate be increased to $1.50 per day per child. She noted that the proposal also recommends that for all District operated programs, 4% of the total revenue collected per year would be used to offset District operational costs.
5. Inter-District Agreement between Santa Rosa County School District and Escambia County School District for Provision of Educational Services for Certain Students
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Negron stated that he had in fact, reviewed this agreement. Mrs. Stidham questioned why these students could not attend school in Santa Rosa County and why an inter-district agreement was necessary. Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, explained that these students previously resided in a group home in Escambia County and had attended the Escambia Westgate School for many years. He stated that the group home in Escambia County had closed and the students now reside in a group home in Santa Rosa County, while their parents reside in Escambia County. He explained that the purpose of the agreement was for the District (Escambia County) to provide educational services to these students at the Escambia Westgate School so long as that remains the appropriate placement for them. However, if the Escambia Westgate School is not the appropriate placement for these students, and an appropriate placement is available in Santa Rosa County, then this agreement would no longer apply to these students. He noted that the District (Escambia County) would receive the IDEA Part B resources and the FTE generated by the students, except for the portion related to transportation, which would be received by Santa Rosa County. Mr. Negron stated that he had suggested that the two counties (Escambia and Santa Rosa) enter a formalized agreement to guarantee which county would receive FTE and which county would offer transportation. He was concerned that without a formalized agreement between the counties, there would be a chance that these students would be left out of receiving educational services, which they clearly need.
No discussion was held.
C. Human Resources Services
NAME POSITION DATE WORK LOCATION
Metz, Stacey Child Find Specialist 04/15/02 FDLRS
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mrs. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education, stated that this was a replacement and not a new position.
f. Special Requests
5. Request approval to adopt the 2002-2003 amended school calendar to include the one-half day early release, 9-week grading periods, employee holidays and work schedule
Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, Mr. Gene Pettis, Administrator on Special Assignment, and Ms. Gloria Johnson, Director of Accounting Operations, briefly addressed issues regarding negotiations with the unions concerning the Fall Break.
The Board recognized Ellen Lawrence, UniServe Director, who expressed her concerns that the Fall Break should be treated the same as Winter Break and Spring Break.
5. Affirmative Action
a. Home Grown Teacher Cohort Program
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Dr. Doug Garber, Director of Human Resources Services, stated that he had asked Mr. Negron to prepare an agreement/contract for the employee (student) to sign that would address various terms and conditions regarding the program. Dr. DeWitt and Mrs. Stidham stated that they were not comfortable with approving this item until the employee (student) agreement/contract was available. Mrs. Stidham and Dr. DeWitt believed that the documentation for this item would need to be amended to address various issues more clearly (i.e., program funding, program rationale with regard to Exceptional Student Education and minority recruitment). In response to concerns expressed by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Negron stated that he did not believe that he would be able to develop an agreement/contract for the employee (student) prior to the April 16, 2002 Regular Meeting. Dr. DeWitt stated that this item would be deleted from the April 16, 2002 Regular Meeting agenda.
25. Change Notice #2 to Purchase Order #231550 (Landrum Temporary Services)
Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Wayne Odom, Director of Title I, explained that the actual expenditure and use of the Landrum Temporary Services had exceeded original estimates. He noted that the funds necessary for the increased expenditure would come from the School Readiness Project Grant.
2. Bid Award: Custodial Supplies, Bid #022102
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, explained that this was an annual agreement to purchase custodial supplies (81 items) for the Central Warehouse for use throughout the District. He stated that bid award had been amended to reflect the deletion of 52 items that may be provided in the future by the privatization of custodial services.
22. Apple Microcomputers for C.A. Weis Elementary School
Mrs. Stidham noted that the supporting documentation for this item indicated that laptop microcomputers were being purchased so that they could easily be moved from room to room as needed and because lack of funding prohibits purchase of needed desktop units. She stated that she had received information regarding laptop microcomputers that had various keyboard damage (i.e., pried keys). She had concerns that it would be more expensive to replace a damaged laptop (due to keyboard damage) than it would to simply replace a damaged keyboard on a desktop unit. Mr. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, stated that he did not believe that the District was experiencing an inordinate amount of repairs on laptop microcomputers. He noted that the instructional rationale for the purchase of laptops was that they had proven to be the greatest catalyst for appropriate technology integration in the classroom. Dr. DeWitt noted that this was one of several purchase items that he had concerns with, regarding concepts outlined in the Lease/Purchase Program (i.e., bulk purchasing, lease/purchase option, in-service training). He noted that he would pull this item for separate vote at the April 26, 2002 Regular Meeting.
1. Facilities Planning
1. Snoezelen Project/Westgate Agreement between Escambia County and Escambia County School Board
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Negron stated that he had no concerns with this agreement as presented.
1. Donate Bus #6-85 to Gainer Charter School
Dr. DeWitt inquired as to whether Mr. Negron had any concerns regarding this item, noting that there were several concerns (i.e., policies and procedures, liability and title transfers) expressed at the February 16, 2002 Regular Workshop regarding a similar request. Mr. Negron stated that his concern with the previous request in February was that the donation was made prior to Board approval. He stated that he had no concerns with this donation, noting that this request was pending Board approval. Mrs. Stidham noted that there was discussion at the February Regular Workshop regarding the development of a policy to state that in the interim period between Board meetings, District staff would be authorized to have the discretion to award property to someone provided that it is reported to the Board. Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that staff was currently in the process of developing such a policy that would be submitted to the Board for approval at the May Regular Meeting.
F. Student Transfers
No discussion was held.
G. Internal Auditing
2. Inventory Adjustment Reports
Mrs. Stidham, Dr. DeWitt and Mr. Bergosh expressed concern regarding a missing laptop computer at Weis Elementary School. Mr. Sam Scallan, Director of Internal Auditing, explained that this inventory for Weis Elementary School was conducted in January, after a change in the administration at that school. He did not believe that the current principal should be held liable for the missing laptop computer. In response to concerns expressed by Mr. Bergosh and Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, stated that he would develop and present to the Board, procedures regarding security for laptop computers.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1. Update on Privatization of Custodial Services (March 4, 2002 Special Meeting)
[NOTE: A motion for the Board to direct the Superintendent to prepare and submit to the Board, a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the privatization of custodial services, which address all concerns (as expressed at the February 28, 2002 Special Workshop and those outlined in the Superintendents recommendation), was approved at the March 4, 2002 Special Meeting.]
Mr. Barry Boyer, Purchasing Manager, reviewed a draft of the Request for Proposal (RFP) and explained the proposed RFP process. Mr. Boyer noted that this draft was a fluid document. Mr. Bob Husbands, Executive Director, Escambia NEA UniServe, noted that the proposed RFP event schedule included a Bidder Survey of Schools from May 13, 2002 to May 31, 2002, which would interfere with school finals week. In response to a suggestion by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Boyer stated that he would change the schedule for Bidder Survey of Schools to begin after May 23, 2002. In response to concerns expressed by Mr. Negron, Mr. Boyer stated that he would amend the RFP to ensure that a drug-free workplace policy was required, not optional. Upon inquiry by Dr. Jenkins, the Superintendent stated that the District would do anything necessary to assist current custodial employees with their proposal for cost savings.
The Regular Workshop recessed at 1:15 p.m. and reconvened at 1:25 p.m. with all Board Members, Mr. Negron and the Superintendent present.
ADD 2. Update on Print Shop (item tabled from March 4, 2002 Special Meeting)
Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, believed that in order to effectively maintain the print shop the purchase of updated equipment (i.e., binding/collating, digital typesetting, multi-color printing) was needed. The Superintendent stated that he believed that the purchase of updated equipment along with a reduction in staff would pay for itself in the long run. Mr. Don Manderson, Director of Instructional Technology, stated that based on information that he had compiled, other school districts of comparable or larger size, have chosen to keep their print shop operations internal. Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, believed that the funds required to purchase the updated equipment would be a drain on the budget for next year.
ADD 3. Update on Child Care (item tabled from March 4, 2002 Special Meeting)
This issue was addressed earlier in the meeting under Item V.A.4.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Proposed Additions of Revisions to School District Rules
a. Permission to Advertise
2. School Board Rule 6Gx17-1.06(5)(a) School Board Meetings Regarding Changes to Published Agenda Cary Stidham
Mrs. Stidham explained that this rule would require the Superintendent to advise Board Members in writing about any substantive changes made to agenda items between the time agenda and back-up materials are published and Board action on the matter.
b. Permission to Adopt
2. Notice of Intent to Adopt Relocation of Judy Andrews Pre-K and Petree Pre-K to Existing K-5 Sites
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Wayne Odom, Director of Title I, stated that the K-5 sites for the relocation of the Judy Andrews Pre-K and Petree Pre-K programs, were still being considered.
B. Items from the Board
2. Resolution Regarding Pre-K Programs John DeWitt
WHEREAS, research has proven the effectiveness of early education for children from birth to age four; and
WHEREAS, the Escambia County School Districts preschool program is ranked as one of the most effective pre-k programs in the State, having shown a 2.4 months learning gain for each month the child is in the program; and
WHEREAS, many of our vulnerable children live in poverty and come to school academically unprepared; and
WHEREAS, families who are in poverty, tend to have limited resources available, and need community support to help improve their childs readiness for school; and
WHEREAS, the proposed charter school at the Dixon Elementary School will have ample space to provide pre-school programs.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Escambia County School Board, in partnership with the new charter school, will establish a model Birth to Four Program at the Dixon site, which will serve families in the Dixon neighborhood and that these services will be fully funded by federal and state grants.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the program will coordinate a full continuum of services, including but not limited to pre-natal education for pregnant women, enriched child care for children birth to age two, and a full pre-k education program for children age three and four.
Dr. Jenkins had concerns with the placement of a pre-k program at the Dixon site during the first year of the charter school. He believed that other charter schools would request a pre-k program at their sites, if a program was placed at Dixon. He also believed that the placement of a pre-k program at the Dixon site may dilute the program at the McMillian Center, noting that students within the Dixon attendance zone already attend the pre-k programs offered there. Dr. DeWitt expressed his concerns regarding the need for a pre-k program within the Dixon neighborhood as outlined in the resolution. Upon inquiry by Dr. Jenkins, Mr. Wayne Odom, Director of Title I, briefly explained how he believed that placement of a pre-k program at Dixon may affect other pre-k programs. Mrs. Stidham noted that students in the Dixon attendance zone were already being serviced with pre-k opportunities through the McMillan Center. She had concerns about the uncertainties within the resolution regarding costs for transportation, administration, etc. She believed that a similar program could be placed at a regular school location.
The Board recognized Ms. Celestine Lewis, Executive Director of Jacqueline Harris Pyramid School of Learning (JHPSL), who expressed the need for a pre-k program at JHPSL. (this issue was also addressed earlier in the meeting under Open Discussion)
Mr. Paul Fetsko, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, believed that by placing a pre-k program at a charter school facility, there would be an implied allegiance that the District was encouraging parents to keep their children at the charter school for K-5.
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 2:10 p.m.