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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Board Approves Camelot Contract via a 4-1 Vote

Tonight the Escambia County School District approved a 1 year contract with Camelot Schools of Pennsylvania, LLC.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas and his staff recommended that the board approve this contract,  The effect of which allows Camelot to take over some services and programs the district offers to at risk and some special needs students.  

The Camelot program will serve to consolidate ESEAL and A.V. Clubbs (at an estimated minimum savings of $1.5 million annually for the taxpayers of Escambia County). 

More good news--the contract between the District and Camelot is a one year term with multiple one year renewal options, which will allow the district to keep this organization under a really high level of scrutiny. If at the end of one year the company is not performing as expected, the district can choose to end the agreement. 

the proposed programs that Camelot will bring to our district emphasize discipline, parental engagement, increased attendance, and increased student achievement.  These items are, quite frankly, just what many of these students desperately need.

In spite of the positives, several district employees contacted the board to urge that the contract not be approved.  The scathing accusations and unfounded innuendos used to try to derail this initiative were extremely disappointing.  I can't help but wonder how many of those persons (and entities) opposed to this deal would ever agree to a one year, performance based contract with options as Camelot has in this instance.  (INSERT SOUND OF CRICKETS CHIRPING)  Answer-would never happen.

The issue of this contract and Camelot schools, covered at length during a marathon school board workshop last Friday morning, had become a growing, contentious, and festering issue over the last several days, with unfounded accusations being thrown out by those opposed to this progressive and forward thinking move by the district.

Fortunately, calmer and cooler heads prevailed, the "flack" thrown out there by those opposed was tossed aside by the leaders of our district, and the board ultimately voted 4-1 to trust the Superintendent and his staff on this recommendation. 

It was nice to see the entire board discuss, debate, contemplate, and ultimately act decisively on this matter--and now the students and taxpayers will benefit.

I'm excited to watch this successful, proven company go to work in our district to improve the lives of our students!

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