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, August 24, 2010

Thank You District One Voters--We Won!!

The 2010 Campaign for Escambia County School Board, District 1, is officially over. The results from tonight's primary election are in:

Jeff Bergosh 6,157 66.30 %

Luke Keller 2,205 23.75 %

D. Hosea Pittman 924 9.95 %

First of all, I thank God for all of his blessings. I thank my family and my friends for all of their support during this campaign. I am also extremely grateful to those who have contributed menetarily--without funds it is extremely difficult to run a successful campaign.

To the voters of district one who have spoken and humbled me this evening by electing me to another term on the board--- thank you. I am truly honored to serve you.

I'll take tonight to celebrate and enjoy this victory with my family and close friends; Tomorrow, I get right back to work with my counterparts on the board and the district leadership team to addresss the numerous challenges we face in the months and years ahead.

Thank you all, God Bless America, and goodnight!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Escambia School Board Candidate Forum Video

This Past Tuesday, The Candidates for Escambia County School Board Participated in a televised forum sponsored by WSRE and the League of Women Voters.

You can see the video Here

District 1

Jeff Bergosh
Luke Keller
Hosea Pittman (did not participate)

District 2

Gerald Boone
Virginia White

District 3

Linda Moultrie
Charlie Nichols

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Weekly Questionnaire and My Responses

Yesterday the Independent Weekly, Rick Outzen and Sean Boone, posed the below questions to thd District School Board Candidates.

My response to these questions is below.


Attached are my responses to the questions that you posed. I went over the 25 word limit because these were extremely tough issues you raised that 25 wards was inadequate to cover.

Thanks very much for the opportunity to present my views.

In weekly Questionnaire and Candidate Jeff Bergosh’s Responses

1. The state legislature wanted to tie teachers’ compensation to test scores, but Gov. Crist vetoed the bill. What is your position on this issue?

SB6 became a lightning rod because it became partisan politics at its worst--one party attempting to ramrod its agenda over another party (like Democrats did to Republicans on Healthcare in D.C.). People are weary of partisan politics. For lasting meaningful education reform to occur, I believe the legislature must work with all education stakeholders to craft intelligent, meaningful, and effective policy.

2. The School District has surplus property, including the old Brownsville Middle School. What is your plan for disposing of these properties?

The district school board will continue its practice of making below appraisal land/facility purchases as necessary while continuing to sell our excess properties at prices that are at or exceed appraised value. Some recent sales examples -Wedgewood, Molino, (sold at appraised value) and a small parcel near Washington H.S. (In Escrow currently) for $1.7 Million. Additionally, we are close to a deal on the sale of Brownsville M.S. We are also doing a lease w/purchase option on the Edgewater property this month with attractive terms for district taxpayers. We are aggressively disposing of our excess properties—despite this fetid real estate market.

3. What is your position on zero tolerance?

I believe the term is synonymous with stupidity. We pay our administrators well enough, and they are trained well enough, to dole out punishment where it is necessary while utilizing common sense when appropriate. I joined with Patty Hightower last month in a call to remove the term from our district policy. We will still expel students who bring drugs, make bomb threats, or commit violent acts or bring weapons—but the term Zero Tolerance is a “tarnished brand”—(a lot like SB6!)—Zero Tolerance will be removed from Escambia County Policy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Escambia County FCAT Scores W/ Comparison to 2008-2009 Scores

We've all heard the news and seen the articles-FCAT scores are out and Elementary School  and many Middle School grades around the state are dropping. 

Elementary School grades in Escambia county have dropped.  (A complete look at all Escambia County School Elementary and Middle School Grades with a year over year comparison can be found here . )

Was it the test?  Obviously there are problems with this year's test.  Nobody can doubt that.

But now the state has had two "independent" auditors look at and certify the results--Abracadabra, Shazam--everything is fine. These tests are fine....  ("The body on the beach was not a Shark Attack Victim, but rather a 'boating accident' "or better yet "these are not the droids you are looking for")

...of couse there were problems with this year's test--how else could one explain the fact that all 67 counties in the state experienced similar anomolies?  My hunch is that this test must have included some new concepts that were not taught to elementary schoolers throughout the state.  How else could such a mass drop occur?
If not the scoring, which we're told was "accurate" how else do you explain a group of students around the state suddenly and precipitously producing falling scores on the same sections of a standardized test?

Something was amiss and people knew it, so the release of the data was delayed, superintendents were called to Tallahassee in advance of the release to be briefed, and, voila-the test data is released and every elementary school in the state sees unusual issues with the scores.

Some state superintendents are not taking this well.   Some are so enraged that lawsuits have been contemplated.  This story is not over and there is definitely more to come.

In the meantime, however, we must not let this terrible, horrific handling of the FCAT by NCS Pearson and State bureaucrats derail our district's progress.  We must continue the focus on students; we must continue our forward progress even in the face of this temporary setback.

We will overcome this test result and we will bounce back stronger next year in spite of this hiccup.