ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, JANUARY 17, 2003
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:
Chair: Ms. Linda Finkelstein
Vice Chair: Mr. Gary L. Bergosh
Board Members: Mrs. Cary Stidham
Mr. Ronnie L. Clark
Dr. John DeWitt
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul
I. CALL TO ORDER
Ms. Finkelstein called the Regular Workshop to order at 9:00 a.m.
A. Open Discussion
Elementary Grading Policy
[NOTE: This issue was previously discussed at the September 9, 2002 Special Meeting (Item IV.1 The School District of Escambia County, Florida Elementary Grading Policy).] Mrs. Stidham stated that she had received a letter from a teacher, who claimed to have been told that the Board had approved a district-wide policy regarding elementary grading. Mrs. Stidham noted that while a proposed district-wide elementary grading policy was presented for approval at the September 9, 2002 Special Meeting, it was later deleted from the agenda at the request of the Superintendent and therefore, never acted upon by the Board. Dr. Deborah Malishan, Director of Elementary Education, stated that elementary principals were advised that the Board had not taken any action on the previously proposed district-wide elementary grading policy and were instructed to continue with their current site-based policy. She stated that she was aware of some confusion regarding this issue and would personally contact all elementary principals prior to the end of the day, to straighten out any miscommunication. Ms. Finkelstein and Mrs. Stidham noted that the Board had not been opposed to having a district-wide elementary grading policy, they simply had concerns regarding the particular policy that was previously presented. It was the consensus of the Board, for elementary schools to continue with their current site-based grading policy for the remainder of the school year and for a district-wide grading policy to be developed in preparation for the next school year.
[NOTE: The following discussion refers to several solutions offered in response to the eAgenda Request for Information (RFI). After review by a team, the list of solutions was narrowed down to four software options, which varied in price from about $4,000 to over $150,000. (The issue of eAgenda, was last discussed at the November 13, 2002 Special Workshop.)] Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. John Dombroskie, Director of Purchasing and Business Affairs, stated that he was working with Mrs. Linda West, Administrative Secretary to the Board, to schedule a Special Workshop for product demonstrations by four software vendors regarding the eAgenda initiative. He noted that each vendor would be allotted forty-five (45) minutes for product demonstration and fifteen (15) minutes for responses to questions posed by the Board, Superintendent and staff. Ms. Finkelstein advised Board Members to confer with Mrs. West regarding the scheduling of the Special Workshop.
(NOTE: The following discussion refers to a motion approved at the December 17, 2002 Regular Meeting, to prepare and advertise a Request for Proposal (RFP) for legislative consultant services.) At the request of Ms. Finkelstein, Ms. Allison Watson, Senior Purchasing Agent, provided the following Request for Proposal (RFP) schedule regarding legislative consultant services:
Posting Date: December 20, 2002
Opening Date: January 21, 2003
Evaluation/Selection of Finalists: January 23, 2003 (Special Meeting)
Evaluation/Selection, Oral Presentations and Award Recommendation: January 27, 2003 (Special Meeting)
Although not an agenda item, the following issue was discussed:
Snoezelan/Escambia Westgate Sensory Center
[NOTE: The following presentation refers to the Snoezelan Project/Westgate Agreement between Escambia County and Escambia County School Board, which was approved at the April 16, 2002 Regular Meeting. (The issue of the Snoezelan Project was last discussed at the November 15, 2002 Regular Workshop.)] Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, introduced Mr. David Pender, Project Architect from Amspacher and Amspacher Architects, who gave a brief presentation regarding the design of the Snoezelan/Escambia Westgate Sensory Center.
II. COMMENTS FROM SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent listed the additions, deletions, amendments and corrections to the agenda.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes for all December meetings will be presented for Board approval.
IV. COMMITTEE/DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS
1. Report from Mike Adkins, Audit Committee
As requested by the Board, Mr. Adkins, briefly explained the changes to the charter for the Audit Planning and Review Committee, as outlined in the proposed School District Rule 6Gx17-1.07(2) Audit Committee (Item VII.A.b.1 on the January 21, 2003 Regular Meeting agenda). He noted that these changes were recommended by the Audit Committee, in an attempt to clarify several administrative issues and to reflect current trends within the field of Internal Auditing. Mr. Adkins stated that the Audit Committee had reviewed internal audits of several elementary and middle schools and had conducted a follow-up review of Weis Elementary School regarding the extra pay issue. (NOTE: Mr. Adkins previously addressed the issue of extra pay received by employees at Weis Elementary School, at the September 13, 2002 Regular Workshop.) The Committee also reviewed a report regarding the purchase of an IBM Mainframe Enterprise Storage Server (approved at the November 19, 2002 Regular Meeting). He stated that the bottom line, was that the Committee feels like there is a weakness where there is direct negotiations for the purchase of technology, which is an authorized procedure under your Board policy and Florida Statute. But presently that negotiation has been done by the department head responsible for the purchase of that equipment, and not that there is a problem with that, other than the fact that we (the Committee) feel that someone independent of the process, ideally the Purchasing Department or some independent party should be a party to that negotiation process, just to add a little layer of control to provide you a little independent work.
2. Elementary Summer School 2003 Deborah Malishan
Dr. Malishan stated that an informal group, representative of all elementary schools, had discussed the possibility of providing, during the upcoming summer, a quality summer school program for selected elementary students who continue to exhibit substantial reading and math deficiencies. She noted that the primary goal would be to serve third grade students who fall under the third grade mandatory retention legislation (third grade students not scoring at level two or above on the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) which would be administered in March). Then, if dollars permitted, the goal would be to serve in rank order, students progressing from second grade to third grade with Academic Improvement Plans (AIP) and students progressing from third grade to fourth grade with Academic Improvement Plans (AIP). Dr. Malishan informed the Board that she had recently learned that a third grade student falling under the third grade mandatory retention legislation could be administered the Stanford Achievement Test 9 and if the student scored 50% of higher, they could still be promoted to the fourth grade. She noted that the Stanford Achievement Test 9 could be administered at the conclusion of summer school, if offered, thereby providing an additional opportunity for those students to be promoted for the upcoming school year. She believed that the District needed to provide every opportunity for those children to be successful if they can, and be promoted. She stated that the group would continue to discuss the specifics (i.e., dates, times, transportation issues, meals, curriculum, funding) regarding the proposed summer school program and would present a concrete plan to the Board at a future meeting.
ADD 3. Fringe Benefit Electronic Enrollment Presentation
(NOTE: The following discussion refers to Item V.C.3.b, Fringe Benefit Management Company Electronic Enrollment.) Mr. Rich Ledson, representative of Fringe Benefits Management Company (FBMC) gave a brief presentation regarding Health Benefits Electronic Enrollment, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and other employee benefits. He noted that in addition to FSA administration, FBMC would also provide electronic enrollment services. He explained that electronic enrollment would provide employees with an opportunity to meet individually with a FBMC enrollment counselor, for a complete review of their current coverage (i.e., medical, dental, life insurance, etc.), discussion regarding coverage options and the opportunity to make any changes that the employee desires. In response to questions by Board Members, Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, clarified that there would be no net cost to the District with the approval of this item. She explained that FBMC would receive compensation for one hundred percent (100%) of the FICA savings to the District, arising from the implementation of FSA plans. She noted however, that the District had identified several eligible benefits (i.e., AFLAC) that could be included in the Districts Section 125 Pre-Tax Plan, which would result in savings that would offset the loss in the current FICA savings. She advised that there was currently a very low employee participation in FSA plans, but anticipated that participation would increase dramatically once FBMC took over FSA administration. (NOTE: The following statement refers to a motion approved at the July 16, 2002 Regular Meeting, to table Bid Award: Flexible Spending Account Administration, RFP #024101.) Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mrs. Linker stated that FBMC will be doing more than what we were looking at before, which was just FSA administration. With this item, the District will be getting FSA administration and much more. Mrs. Linker noted that the services provided by FBMC would be a tremendous informational benefit for employees. Upon inquiry by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Ledson clarified that FBMC enrollment counselors would explain the big picture regarding the different benefits offered by the District (i.e., medical, dental, life insurance, etc.) but would not get into specifics regarding plan coverage. He noted that employees with questions regarding coverage specifics would be told to contact their provider.
ADD 4. Update on Superintendents Council for Teacher Recruitment and Retention
The Superintendent gave a brief update on the Superintendents Council on Recruitment and Retention. He stated that the Council had recently began a one-by-one review of the recommendations previously made by the Task Force on Diversity (at the December 17, 2002 Regular Meeting) and would continue that process at their next meeting.
V. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Curriculum and Instruction
No discussion was held.
7. Budget Amendments
c) Resolution 4: Capital Projects Fund
15. 2002/03 PECO Construction Fund 3413, (Page 30)
a. Reallocate funds ($55,000.00) from Beulah Elementary School air conditioning and heating project to Central Warehouse Facility electrical renovation project. Facilities Planning initiated this budget amendment to facilitate funding for electrical upgrades at the warehouse.
In answer to Ms. Finkelsteins question, Mr. Ron Peacock, Director of Facilities Planning, clarified that there was not an air conditioning problem at Beulah Elementary School. He explained that this item was a request to transfer funds from the Beulah Elementary School air conditioning and heating project to the Central Warehouse Facility electrical renovation project for replacement and upgrade of an emergency generator. In response to concerns expressed by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Peacock and Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, stated that they would advise the Board prior to the January 21, 2003 as to whether the description listed is accurate or not.
9. 2002-2003 Miscellaneous Salary Schedule
(NOTE: The following discussion refers to the issue of substitute teacher pay, which was previously discussed at the November 15, 2002 Regular Workshop.) Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, stated that all substitutes teachers, including those with masters degrees, currently receive $50 per day, with the exception of long-term substitutes who currently receive $100 per day. Dr. DeWitt questioned whether there was any extra money that could be used to increase substitute teacher pay $10 per day, noting that $50 per day was an insult. Mr. Bergosh stated that the issue of substitute teacher pay was discussed at the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for Finance meeting, and it was suggested that as we increment and give raises to teachers, we might want to consider raising substitute teacher pay by one or two percent. He explained that the problem was that just raising it by $10, once programmed out, would cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars as there are many substitutes in the District. He noted that basically, the amount of money that it would cost us to put a shot in the arm would be quite large. Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, advised that if substitute teacher pay were increased by just $1 per day, it would cost the District approximately $60,000. She noted that increasing substitute teacher pay was a problem because there are many substitutes in the District. The Superintendent stated that he also would like substitute teacher pay increased but noted that the budget was real tight. He stated that estimated costs to implement several scenarios regarding increases in substitute teacher pay (i.e., % across the board, $10 increase to current rate) could be provided to the Board.
C. Human Resources Services
FROM TO DATE
Covington, Gail Pensacola High Lincoln Park 01/07/03
Ms. Finkelstein noted that the explanation (provided in the backup documentation) for this particular out-of-field transfer, indicated that the individual felt that an elementary school position would be better for her since she was not teacher trained and had no prior teaching experience. Ms. Finkelstein questioned how was the vacancy created at Lincoln Park for her to go there? Mrs. Yvonne Gray, Director of Exceptional Student Education (ESE), stated that there was increase in the number of students in special education and therefore, another teaching unit had to be added.
f. Special Requests
5. Request approval for the following instructional personnel who have received military orders for mobilization for Enduring Freedom:
Frankel, Allan teacher/Escambia 02/21/03-05/28/03
Fuehler, Kevin teacher/Bellview Mid 12/19/02-05/28/03
Medeiros, Carol teacher/Holm 01/31/03-05/28/03
Ms. Finkelstein questioned whether the rather advanced date of 02/21/03 listed for Allan Frankel was correct. Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, stated that he would confirm whether the date was correct, prior to the January 21, 2003 Regular Meeting.
8. Request approval to adopt the 2003-2004 student calendar
(NOTE: This particular was a request for approval of the 180-day student calendar for the 2003-2004 school year, however, the following discussion refers to the School District Calendar for the 2003-2004 school year.) Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, advised that placement of in-service half-days into the School District Calendar was the responsibility of the Board. He explained that this particular item was the 180-day student calendar and advised that the employee work calendar (School District Calendar for the 2003-2004 school year) would be presented in February at which time a request for in-service half-days would be made. He noted that the Calendar Committee had discussed the issue of in-service half-days, and while teachers, principals and parents saw the need for in-service days, they were concerned that in-service half-days were unproductive for students and burdensome for parents. He stated that the District was currently at the table in discussions with the Union, regarding the addition of full-days rather than half-days, but noted that full-days would present a cost for the District. Ms. Finkelstein believed that it would be a better use of time for everyone concerned, if there were three full-days as opposed to six half-days.
3. Risk Management
b. Fringe Benefit Management Company Electronic Enrollment
This issue was discussed earlier in the meeting under Fringe Benefit Electronic Enrollment Presentation (Section IV, Committee/Departmental Reports, Item 3).
4. Employee Services
a. JOB STUDY FOR EDUCATION SUPPORT PERSONNEL - Memorandum of Understanding between Escambia District School Board, Escambia Education Clerical Classroom Association, Escambia Education Support Personnel Association, and Escambia Association of Supervisor Employees, FEA, NEA-AFT
Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, stated that this memorandum of understanding would provide for a job study of District educational support personnel, to be conducted as soon as possible. He stated that generally a five-year period is a long time to go without a review of job classifications, and advised that the District, now in the year 2003, was looking at a ten-year period since the last review was conducted in 1993 by Civil Service. He explained that the District would work cooperatively with the Union in developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify a company qualified to conduct a job study for the District educational support personnel. He noted that the desire was to identify a job study that would provide a point factor analysis to determine how a job should be classified in relationship to other jobs. He also noted that there was extended reasonableness with regard to the implementation of the results/recommendations of the job study, noting that the memorandum of understanding indicated implementation within three (3) to five (5) years, depending on funding.
1. Bid Award: Consulting Services for Custodial Department, RFP #030902
(NOTE: The following discussion refers to a suggestion made at the July 15, 2002 Regular Workshop, for the hiring of an outside consultant who, after careful study of the custodial operations should make recommendations on improving the level of services and reducing the operational cost for the District. This suggestion was made in response to a previous recommendation initially made by the Superintendent at the March 4, 2002 Special Meeting, for privatization of custodial services.) Mrs. Stidham was concerned with the timeline of this issue, which she noted was initially discussed in March 2002 and had been on-going for about one year now and now in January, we finally have this. She expressed several other concerns regarding this particular item, such as a discrepancy in bids and the chances that any recommendations made by the consultant probably wont get implemented anyway. She noted that according to backup documentation, it would be approximately three months before recommendations from the consultant would be submitted to staff, then more time for staff to respond and even more time before the recommendations were submitted to the Superintendent. She noted that it may be next year before the Board actually sees any type of recommendation from this study and by the time we get it, its going to be so sanitized we will never know what was actually recommended by the consultant.
In regard to timeline of this issue, the Superintendent stated that because he did not want to attempt to do something before knowing what the ramifications might be (referring to privatization of custodial services), we took our time and finally decided that there may be another way to find savings without just immediately converting over. In response to Mrs. Stidham concerns regarding a sanitized version, he stated that the Board will get what I recommend to you. He noted that the Board was certainly able to see everything, just ask for it. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, responded to comments made by Mrs. Stidham regarding the timeline by noting that staff had in fact, provided the Board with a timeline regarding this issue and had given informational updates on a regular basis, as well. He noted that staff had tried to keep the Board informed as this entire process has gone about. Regarding the discrepancy in bids, he stated that he was confident that this vendor has provided us a solid price for what we have asked him to do.
18. Five-Year Educational Plant Survey
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, advised that this particular item would provide the services needed to conduct and prepare a Five-Year Educational Plant Survey for the District, in accordance with State law.
A. Final Payments
2. Jim Allen Elementary School Classroom Additions and Sherwood Elementary School Additions and site work Ms. Finkelstein noted that there was no final payment approval sheet for either school (Jim Allen Elementary or Sherwood Elementary) included in the backup documentation for this particular item. Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that this particular recommendation was for final payment to an architect and therefore, no final payment approval sheet was submitted. He clarified that a final payment approval sheet would only be submitted with a contractors final payment request.
3. Longleaf and McArthur Elementary Schools Renovations, Phase II
Ms. Finkelstein noted that the final payment approval sheets for Longleaf and McArthur were signed off by the architect/engineer in August 2002 and yet being presented to the Board in January 2003. She questioned why did it take so long? Mr. Ron Peacock, Director of Facilities Planning, (referring to the final payment approval sheet for Longleaf) concurred that the architect/engineer had signed off in August 2002. He noted however, that the principal did not sign off until October 2002 and then he did not sign off until January 2003, because while the base contract was done around October 2002, there was a pending change order. He explained that because there was some work still being finished, he did not believe that it should be closed out until everything had been completed. Mr. Peacock (referring to the final payment approval sheet for McArthur) stated that he could not close out the contract for one (McArthur) because they (Longleaf and McArthur) were on the same contract.
1. Escambia High School Building #3, Phase II Renovations
(NOTE: This item was a request for permission to submit Phase III submittal (plans) to the County Building Inspection Department for review.) Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Ron Peacock, Director of Facilities Planning, explained that this particular item referred to Phase III (building #3) of Phase II renovations.
2. Myrtle Grove Annex located at 5402 Lillian Highway, Pensacola, Florida
(NOTE: This item was a request to demolish buildings #1 and #2 at the Myrtle Grove Annex, in an effort to reduce liability and insurance costs.) In answer to Dr. DeWitts question, Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, stated that the Myrtle Grove Annex property was not currently listed for sale and noted that it was previously discussed as being a potential site for bus compounding, should that ever occur. (NOTE: The concept of bus compounding as a proposed budget cut, was recommended by the Superintendent at the March 4, 2002 Special Meeting.) Mrs. Stidham stated that in the past, there had been individuals who had expressed an interest in the purchase of the property. She believed that the property should be listed for sale, noting that without the buildings, the property might be a little more palatable.
F. Student Transfers
Ms. Finkelstein advised that the heading on the backup documentation for this item indicated January 17, 2003 Board Meeting, and would need to be corrected to January 21, 2003 Board Meeting.
G. Internal Auditing
2. Inventory Adjustment Reports
(NOTE: This item includes Inventory Adjustments Reports for various schools and departments. The following discussion refers to the Inventory Adjustment Report for Washington High School specifically.) Ms. Finkelstein noted that a memorandum (included in the backup documentation) from the principal of Washington High School, referred to seventeen (17) items missing from inventory however, there were actually nineteen (19) items listed as missing on the Property Inventory Adjustment Report (included in the backup documentation). The two (2) items not included in the memorandum were described as dispensers with ice in the Property Inventory Adjustment Report. Mr. Sam Scallan, Director of Internal Auditing, explained that dispensing machines for carbonated beverages (dispensers with ice) were installed at Washington High School when it was originally built. He explained that during renovations in the school cafeteria, the dispensers with ice were most likely removed and thrown away, as they were considered outdated technology. He noted that the school was under the impression that the dispensers were provided free-of-charge by a carbonated beverage company, however the District had actually purchased them and tagged them as assets. He stated that at one point, a document indicating seventeen (17) missing items was produced for the principals review, but after realization that the two dispensers were in fact purchased by the District, they had to be added back as missing items because they were disposed of without authority. (NOTE: The following discussion refers to the Inventory Adjustment Report for Escambia High School specifically.) Mrs. Stidham noted that a memorandum (included in the backup documentation) from the assistant principal of Escambia High School, referred only to missing air conditioning units, however, there were actually several other items (i.e., computers) that were not mentioned. Mr. Scallan noted that principals and department heads are encourage to provide a written explanation regarding all missing items, however it was strictly up to the principal or department head to indicate any explanation that they may want to offer. He noted that in this particular case, the assistant principal evidently had nothing to offer on the missing computers. (NOTE: The following discussion refers to the format for the overall Property Inventory Adjustment Report as well as, the format for the individual Inventory Adjustment Reports for schools and departments.) Dr. DeWitt and Ms. Finkelstein noted that the value of the missing items listed in the reports, were basically the purchase value. They questioned whether a column could be added to future reports, indicating the fair market value so that it shows something more realistic. Dr. DeWitt was concerned that these figures are so inflated and noted that the missing items were not worth that (the purchase value) anymore. Mr. Scallan advised that as a governmental entity, the District was required to carry assets at the original price, not a fair market value as done in private business. He stated however, that a column could be added to future reports to include the fair market value of missing items.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
No items were submitted.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Proposed Additions of Revisions to School District Rules
a. Permission to Advertise
1. Notice of Intent to Advertise Amendment to School District Rule 6Gx17-7.02 Student Dress
[NOTE: This rule requires schools to adopt a district-wide dress code and to establish a school uniform no later than March 31, 2003. School uniforms will be worn by all students beginning with the first day of school in the 2003-2004 school year. School administrators have final authority to decide if clothing complies with district rules. (The issue of student dress was previously discussed at the December 17, 2002 Regular Meeting and January 17, 2003 Regular Workshop.)] The Superintendent stated that following discussion of the issue of student dress (specifically uniforms) at the December 17, 2002 Regular Meeting, he had sought additional input from various stakeholders. He stated that he was not opposed to uniforms and noted that research in fact, indicated that uniforms could actually help to improve student behavior and even student grades. However, he advised that the feedback he had received from the majority of stakeholders, even those who favor uniforms, indicated that additional time was needed to review the issue of student dress. He also advised that several principals had expressed concerns that the proposed policy had too many loopholes and was not clear. The Superintendent did not recommend moving forward on the proposed policy and requested an opportunity to gather additional input from all stakeholders. In response, Dr. DeWitt explained that if the proposed policy was approved for advertisement, there would still be ample time for additional input from all stakeholders prior to presentation for final adoption at the February 2003 Regular Meeting. Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Negron stated that while proposed additions or revisions to school district rules did require an advertisement timeframe of a minimum of thirty (30) days, that did not mean that the Board could not extend the advertisement timeframe to more than thirty (30) days. He advised however that the Board should, stick to the process that is set forth in the Statutes as closely as possible, which would mean that you advertise it and then a period of days later, you have a public hearing and between that time, you make changes that should be made to it. He stated that if you decided to table the item or take the item off the agenda, then I would suggest that you start anew with a new advertised rule and then a new public hearing.
b. Permission to Adopt
1. Notice of Intent to Adopt Amendment to School District Rule 6Gx17 1.07(2) - Audit Committee
This item was addressed earlier in the meeting under Report from Mike Adkins, Audit Committee (Item IV.1).
B. Items from the Board
No items were submitted.
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 11:38 a.m.