The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Special Workshop at 11:00 a.m., in Conference Room “B” at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel Building, 215 West Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:


            Chair:                           Ms. Linda Finkelstein (entered the Special Workshop at 11:20 a.m.)                    


            Vice Chair:                   Mrs. Cary Stidham       


            Board Members:           Mrs. Carissa Bergosh 

                                                Mr. Ronnie L. Clark

                                                Dr. John DeWitt


            School Board Attorney:              Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr. (entered the Special Workshop at 12:45 p.m.)


            Superintendent of Schools:         Mr. Jim Paul (was not present)



[NOTE:  The following representatives of Mixon and Associates (Legislative Consultants) were also in attendance: Mr. Juhan Mixon, Ms. Terry Golden and Mr. David Lycan.] 


                    I.               CALL TO ORDER


      Mrs. Stidham called the Special Workshop to order at 11:00 a.m. 




Mr. Mixon began with a brief update on statewide political issues, followed by a report on legislative issues by Ms. Golden and a brief update on the current State budget by Mr. Lycan. 


(NOTE: Ms. Finkelstein entered the Special Workshop at 11:20 a.m.)




Ms. Golden and Mr. Mixon reviewed a handout provided to the Board, entitled “Statewide Education Platforms for 2004.”


      The Special Workshop recessed at 12:27 p.m. and reconvened at 12:40 p.m., with all Board Members present.  


     (NOTE: Mr. Negron entered the Special Workshop at 12:45 p.m.)


Mr. Mixon advised that this segment of the meeting would involve the development of the Board’s 2004 Legislative Platform.  He suggested that the Board schedule a Special Meeting to present their Platform to local Legislative Delegation.  As suggested by Mr. Mixon, the Board discussed the possibility of scheduling a Special Meeting with local Legislative Delegation during the week of October 27th at Pine Forest High School at 9:00 a.m., with a brunch to be prepared by the Culinary Arts Class.  Ms. Finkelstein stated that she would contact the Superintendent to arrange for the scheduling of this meeting.


Although many issues were discussed, the Board identified the following as “priorities” for inclusion in their 2004 Legislative Platform:


(NOTE: The name in parenthesis next to each “priority” indicates the Board Member that was responsible for compiling and presenting supporting documentation to local Legislative Delegation at the Special Meeting during the week of October 27th.) 


Corporate Scholarships/McKay Scholarships (Mrs. Stidham)

     School districts should be notified of the specific students who avail themselves of Corporate Scholarships and McKay Scholarships and the schools in which they will make use of their scholarships.

Corporate Scholarship students should be held to the same accountability standards (such as FCAT) as their public school peers and their progress should be monitored in the same manner as public school students.

Corporations should receive the same tax credit for contributions to school district foundations as they currently receive for contributions to non-profit scholarship-funding organizations. 

Should a McKay Scholarship student return to public school at any time during the school year, the award to the private school should be discontinued and the school district receive a prorated FEFP allocation for the student.


Public School Funding (Mr. Clark)

For a variety of reasons, school district funding is unequal from county to county, based on differences in cost of living and revenues generated from local millage. 

The Legislature should review such issues as the District Cost Differential and dollars generated per mill to ensure that districts are funded adequately and equitably. 


Pre-kindergarten and Universal Education for Four-Year-Olds (Dr. DeWitt)

As the Legislature creates the statutory framework for the delivery of pre-kindergarten instruction, it must recognize school districts as the focal point of these efforts. 

Implementing legislation for pre-kindergarten should include performance-based institutional eligibility requirements that contain clear accountability measures. 

The Legislature must fund pre-kindergarten programs based on a funding model like the FEFP, including the provisions of funds for the transportation of these students.

Regardless of the entity that provides these educational services, school districts should be designated as the fiscal agent for services delivered within the county. 


A+ Plan vs. No Child Left Behind (Ms. Finkelstein)

Reporting discrepancies between Florida’s A+ Plan and the federal No Child Left Behind Act result in anomalies through which schools that earn an “A” based on the state criteria can fail in light of the federal criteria (based on the state plan submitted by the Florida Department of Education and approved by the United State Department of Education).

A state steering committee should be formed, to include school district representatives, to provide recommendations to state and federal policymakers to delineate valid, reliable, and consistent accountability measures.


Transportation (Mrs. Bergosh)

Student transportation is currently funded at less than 75% of the actual cost of providing eligible students this service.

Discrepancies between required transportation costs and available funds are derived from other funding streams, such as those for educational programs.

The Legislature should fund a higher portion of the legitimate costs of student transportation.


              IV.               ADJOURNMENT


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:36 p.m.


                        Attest:                                                              Approved:



________________________________                    ________________________________

Superintendent                                                  Chair