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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I am posting these minutes to expedite information dissemination. Much more complete and detailed minutes will be posted in 4-6 weeks on the school district’s website. In the mean time, these minutes are what I feel were the big “takeaways”, a macro look at my impression of the meeting. These are condensed, abbreviated, shortened, and to the point.

Meeting convened at 5:35 PM

All Board Members and Superintendent Malcolm Thomas present.

Pledge of Allegiance led by 7th Grade Brown Barge Middle School Student Nancy Prescott (Nancy was also recognized as a national PTA finalist—one of only five nationwide—in the Reflections program. This honor bestowed upon Nancy for her work in Photography. Congratulations!)

1 Speaker addressed the board during Public Forum, Mrs. Gail Husbands, pointed out that over $26,000 was raised statewide by the “pennies for education program” to benefit children’s charities.

PTA Presentation—given by Kathy Lasky

Stellar Employee Recognition—Patricia Bowers, 5 year employee of the district, currently a Pre-K Teacher Assistant O.J. Semmes Elementary School.

Two Lombardi Scholarship recipients honored:

Jeffrey Neeley—Tate High School
Hillary Wearey—Pensacola High School International Baccalaureate

(Only Eight (8) of these scholarships are given yearly Nationwide, and the fact that two of eight of these scholarship recipients come from Escambia County Public Schools speaks volumes about the quality of our programs)

Further information on the John Lombardi Scholarship Program Here:

Resolution to Participate in the Florida Education Purchasing Consortium
Passed with a 5-0 vote.

2009 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership-Nancy Gindl Perry, Ernest Ward Middle School

2009 Assistant Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership
Regina Lepnick, Jim Bailey Middle School

Rule adoptions: None

Permission to advertise rules for adoption: None

3 sets of April Board Meeting Minutes Approved, 5-0

Entire Consent Agenda Approved.

All Curriculum items approved

All Finance items approved

All Human Resources items Approved

(I requested that Human Resources Consent Agenda item number V. C. 2. F. (Special Requests) be pulled. I voted against bringing an employee back to work and paying this person nearly a year’s worth of back pay, based upon my knowledge of what this individual (allegedly) did to a co-worker and based upon what this individual (allegedly) stole from the district. State's Attorney declined to press charges based upon the evidence presented, but my contention was/is --MUST our standard of burden of proof to terminate this employee mirror or rise to the level of what the States Attorney's burden of proof is? )

Board voted 4-1 to take this individual back with me voting “no”

I also pulled student transfer item V. F. and recused myself from the vote because the item dealt with the transfer of a member of my family from one school to another school

All Purchasing items approved

All Operations items approved

(Entire Consent Agenda was meticulously covered and discussed at length during two thorough school board workshops held during the early afternoon of 5/14/2009, and the morning of 5/15/2009)

Items from the board:

Patty Hightower made the motion that Deputy Superintendent Norm Ross be appointed the School Board Representative to the Escambia County Consolidation Study Commission. I seconded the motion, and the board voted 5-0 to approve the nomination.

Discussion of Utilization of ARRA Stimulus Funds—I discussed what I felt to be four areas of focus for expenditure of stimulus funds to drive student achievement: Technology, Arts, Better Teacher Evaluations, and Incentive/Merit Pay. I handed out back-up materials to the Superintendent and my fellow board members, and I asked that my fellow board members bring their ideas for expenditure of stimulus monies at the special Board Meeting on 5-27-2009.
I also mentioned that President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan ("challenge the status quo where it is appropriate") support enhanced teacher evaluations to weed out low performers, as well as incentive or Merit pay, based in part upon student achievement, to reward high performers. I mentioned that I'd like to see our district spend some of the stimulus money on these concepts to be more in alignment with what these national education leaders envision.

Board voted unanimously, 5-0, to accept the superintendent’s recommendation regarding the following:

Student recommendations:

23 Students Expelled
1 Student Expelled, as a result of a formal hearing officer’s recommendation.
1 Students suspended pending conclusion of criminal charges.

Student infractions included:
1 for criminal incident outside of school
1 for starting a fire on campus
1 for sexual misconduct on campus
6 for possession of weapons
9 for repeated incidents of disruptive behavior
1 for disrespect to a school official
6 for possession of drugs on school property

5 Employee Recommendations by Superintendent approved unanimously by board, to include:

6 employees suspended without pay
2 employees terminated
1 employee Mrs. Sandra Rush, appointed to be the new Principal at Warrington Middle School.

Items from the General Counsel
Board voted 5-0 to accept the 6 nominees presented, to become district hearing officers.
Meeting adjourned at 6:21PM.

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