ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, MARCH 24, 2003
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Special Meeting at 9:00 a.m., in Room 160, at the J.E. Hall Educational Services Center, 30 East Texar Drive, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chair: Ms. Linda Finkelstein (entered the Special Meeting at 9:07 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. (was not present)
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul
(NOTE: The purpose in part, of this Special Meeting was to allow the Board to continue setting their priorities/goals for the 2003-2004 budget year. The Board would also schedule several more Special Meetings in the near future before approving the 2003-2004 budget.)
I. CALL TO ORDER
Mrs. Stidham called the Special Meeting to order at 9:03 a.m.
II. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
On motion by Dr. DeWitt, seconded by Mr. Clark, adoption of the agenda was approved 4 to 0, with Ms. Finkelstein absent for vote.
At the request of the Superintendent, the following item was moved forward on the agenda:
Item IV.2 Life Insurance - Renewal of Group Term Life Insurance
(Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit A)
(NOTE: This item was presented under Consent Agenda (as Item V.C.3.d) at the March 18, 2003 Regular Meeting. Although the options were discussed at the March 14, 2003 Regular Workshop, the backup documentation provided to the Board, did not contain a final recommendation from the Superintendent. By way of memorandum, Ms. Finkelstein had requested that the item be placed on this agenda and accompanied by a written recommendation from the Superintendent.) Mrs. Bergosh moved for approval of Life Insurance Renewal of Group Term Life Insurance. Motion was seconded by Dr. DeWitt for discussion purposes. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Joe Bernard, Director of Risk Management, clarified that this particular item was a request for approval of the life insurance plan. He noted that a recommendation for approval of the life insurance contract would be presented at the April Regular Meeting. (NOTE: Ms. Finkelstein entered the Special Meeting at 9:07 a.m.) Motion was unanimously approved.
III. 2003-2004 BUDGET PROCESS
Strategic Planning Process
This issue was addressed later in the meeting.
(NOTE: The 2003-2004 Budget Process was previously addressed at the March 18, 2003 Special Meeting.) The following budgetary issues were discussed:
(NOTE: This issue was previously addressed at the February 7, 2003 Special Meeting.) Mrs. Stidham noted that the Board had previously expressed a desire for a more user-friendly budget format and questioned when that could be expected. Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, stated that the Budgeting Department intended to send an information survey via email, to other school districts, requesting information regarding their budget process, and a specific request for examples of their budget documentation. At the request of Ms. Finkelstein, Mrs. Linker stated that she would provide a copy of the information survey to the Board, for their review and feedback.
Teachers at the High School Level Teach Six of Seven Periods
(NOTE: This issue was previously addressed at the March 14, 2003 Regular Workshop.) The Superintendent presented his recommendation for teachers at the high school level to teach six of seven periods for the 2003-2004 school year. At the request of the Superintendent, Mrs. Barbara Linker, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Affairs, reviewed information provided to the Board regarding the effects of teachers teaching six of seven periods at the high school level. Mrs. Bergosh noted that this was a tough decision, but one that has to be made. Mrs. Stidham stated that while she understood that difficult decisions had to be made, in terms of cost saving measures, she was concerned with this particular recommendation as it was again affecting the classroom. She believed that the District needed to look for cost saving measures elsewhere (other than the classroom).
The Board recognized Mr. Bob Husbands, Executive Director of Escambia NEA UniServe, who expressed opposition to the Superintendents recommendation, as he believed that schools would wind up with classes that are unacceptably large.
Ms. Finkelstein stated that she was uncomfortable with making a decision on the Superintendents recommendation at that point in time, as she had not had an opportunity to thoroughly review all aspects of the issue. Motion was made by Dr. DeWitt, seconded by Mrs. Bergosh, to accept the Superintendents recommendation for teachers at the high school level to teach six of seven periods for the 2003-2004 school year. (NOTE: No vote was taken on this motion.) Ms. Finkelstein reminded Board Members that teachers had not been appropriately noticed regarding this issue and expressed her desire for an opportunity to gather input from all stakeholders. Motion was made by Mrs. Stidham, seconded by Mr. Clark, to table the Superintendents recommendation for teachers at the high school level to teach six of seven periods for the 2003-2004 school year, to the April 3, 2003 Special Meeting. Motion was approved 3 to 2, with Dr. DeWitt and Mrs. Bergosh voting No.
Budget Reduction Proposals
Mrs. Stidham and Dr. DeWitt noted that the Board had previously expressed a desire for the Superintendent to present budget reduction proposals and questioned when those could be expected. Motion by Ms. Finkelstein, seconded by Mr. Clark, to request that the Superintendent provide all budget reduction proposals at the April 3, 2003 Special Meeting, was unanimously approved.
IV. HUMAN RESOURCE SERVICES
ADD 1. Update from Compensation Task Force
(Supplementary Minute Book, Exhibit B)
Mr. Bob Husbands, Executive Director of Escambia NEA UniServe, and Dr. Doug Garber, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource Services, reviewed a report issued by the Compensation Task Force. The report included the following findings: Escambia teachers are paid significantly below the state average salary at every step of the salary schedule; competitive pay for Escambia teachers must be at least the state average at every step of the salary schedule; achieving competitive pay will require Board and District commitment to teacher salaries; and a multi-year plan of approximately 5% per year, with unwavering commitment to it, is required.
Strategic Planning Process
(NOTE: Mr. Ted Kirchharr, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, Mr. Shawn Dennis, Director of Transportation, and Mr. Mark Pursell, Director of Maintenance, served as facilitators for this particular segment of the Special Meeting.) Mr. Kirchharr began with a brief review of the strategic planning process that occurred at the March 18, 2003 Special Meeting. He stated that based on input received at that meeting, the following definition for a strategic plan had been compiled: A written plan of action, developed by consensus, providing clear direction for improvements with accountability and evaluation criteria, focused on mission, goals and objectives. (NOTE: The Superintendent left the Special Meeting at 10:50 a.m., and was thereafter, represented by Mr. Norm Ross, Deputy Superintendent.) Mr. Dennis noted that Board Members and the Superintendent had participated in an activity at the March 18, 2003 Special Meeting, which determined that there was no consensus among them, with regard to the current mission statement, however, there was consensus regarding the current strategic aims. Mr. Pursell then led Board Members and Mr. Ross (representing Mr. Jim Paul), through an activity to develop a new mission statement for the District. Mr. Dennis noted that at the March 18, 2003 Special Meeting, the Board Members and the Superintendent were asked to write down specific goals that would fall under each of the current strategic aims. He explained that those goals were compiled and it was then determined that there was consensus among the Board Members and the Superintendent, with regard to the list of goals. Mr. Dennis then led the Board and Mr. Ross (representing Mr. Jim Paul), through an activity to determine their individual preference on the rank order of each of the goals listed. Mr. Kirchharr advised that the next meeting on the strategic planning process would involve the review of a draft mission statement and participation in activities to classify goals as short-term or long-term.
ADD 2. Life Insurance - Renewal of Group Term Life Insurance
(Item V.C.3.d from March 18, 2003 Regular Meeting)
This item was handled earlier in the meeting.
V. ITEMS FROM THE BOARD
ADD 1. Change in Scheduling of April Board Meeting Date John DeWitt
Motion was made by Dr. DeWitt, to change the date of the April Regular Meeting from April 17, 2003 to April 22, 2003. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Bergosh for discussion purposes. Dr. DeWitt explained the rationale for his motion, noting that the Board had been invited to attend the Fathers Appreciation Banquet sponsored by the Department of Juvenile Justice on April 17, 2003. Mrs. Linda English, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, advised the Board that due to previous commitments, the Superintendent would be out-of-town on April 22, 2003 and therefore, would not be able to attend the Regular Meeting if held on that particular date. Mr. Ross was concerned about the turn around time for staff, noting that changing the date of the April Regular Meeting to April 22, 2003, would reduce the amount of time available to staff to prepare agenda items for the next months (May) meeting. After discussion, Dr. DeWitt offered a friendly amendment to his motion, to change the date of the April Regular Meeting from April 17, 2003 to April 21, 2003. Mrs. Bergosh accepted the friendly amendment. Motion failed 4 to 1, with Mrs. Stidham, Mrs. Bergosh, Ms. Finkelstein and Mr. Clark voting No. (NOTE: The date of the April Regular Meeting remained as April 17, 2003.)
There being no further business, the Special Meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m.