I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cooler Heads Will Prevail

Although I'm sure the local media would love a legal battle between the board and the Superintendent, I just do not feel this will happen. Cooler heads will prevail.

The board voted to take the recommended school based cuts, but voted against the administrative personnel planning document. I know, for my part, I'm getting a lot of calls and emails requesting that more cuts come from the top. I can only assume that my counterparts on the board are receiving similar calls. I thought that we were close on approving the PPD and that an additional week could have produced a possible compromise, and an approved PPD. But an up or down vote was taken and the PPD was rejected 4-1.

Moving forward, I would hope that the superintendent can look to the will of the board and constituents and find some additional cuts from the top that can be proposed. Nobody wants a legal fight, but I do believe that the board can establish or abolish positions. The Bay County Case is not on point with respect to this aspect of our situation.

On this subject, I am still waiting for the salaries of district employees. I requested it Thursday April 24. I requested that the salaries be listed on the district's website so that the public can see who makes what for what position. Transparency is the key, and if we are not top heavy, showing this list of positions, salaries, travel, and benefits may alleviate the public's concerns. Not being forthcoming with this information will do the opposite.

but I don't want to waste time while I wait for this list. And I don't want to waste time and money on a ridiculous public showdown with the Superintendent.

Here's what I propose:

Lets immediately engage SAZAC in a "two minute drill" and close Carver-Century, consolidate Yniestra and Hallmark together at Yniestra, mothball Hallmark. Savings $700-800K

Let's force the Union's hand on bus compounding, and let's make that happen. Savings $600K

Let's look realistically at freezing automatic step increases for next year--big savings. Not popular, but we are in a financial crisis. We have to do what we have to do.

Let's continue to explore expanding the staggered start times (that we have always had) to achieve an hour between elementary, middle, and high school, as Santa Rosa is doing.

Let's find 3-5 additional top level positions to eliminate to achieve another $500K, or, propose that all administrators take an additional 4% cut to achieve the savings that way----if in fact there are NO top level positions that can be cut. I know this is tough. Remember my original proposal that was shot down was for ALL employees to take a cut, but nobody wanted to look seriously at that so here we are.

Lets find some middle ground on this--Let's not let this devolve into a circular firing squad.

Let's work together collectively to find solutions. No sacred cows, no agendas, no "off limits" areas that do not get savings scrutiny. Everything has to be on the table.

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