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, November 21, 2012

On Hiatus

Because I've been voted Chairman of the Escambia County School Board for 2012-2013, I'm putting my own personal opinions on the back burner and I am going on a hiatus from this blog....but I will be back once my term as Chairman ends in November of 2013! 
Blogging on this site has been a very useful and cathartic release for me over the last five years.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the outlet and the communication with constituents-- those in agreement with my positions and also those opposed.  Due to some circumstances which I will describe below, I’ll be taking a temporary hiatus from writing on this Blog.  I will be back, though. 
Last night I was voted to be both the Chairman of the Escambia County School Board and also the Board’s legislative liaison to the Florida School Boards Association for the 2012-2013 session. 
The succession plan for the chairmanship had been discussed at this 11-15-2012 workshop, and as I discussed assuming the chairmanship (as was contemplated and agreed to in a meeting held on 11-22- 2011) three of the five board members expressed concern with my blogging on my blog site while I was the chairman; The problem, apparently, is that public perception could be that my opinions on my blog are the opinion of the entire board.  
I don’t consider myself anyone’s spokesman, even though I’m the Chairman, just as I’ve never subscribed to the idea that any other previous chairman or the superintendent was my spokesman.  We are each independently elected, constitutional officers and our own spokespersons. 
However, I’m mindful and I understand the concerns of Patty Hightower, Bill Slayton, and Linda Moultrie.    Therefore, I’m going on a hiatus from blogging on this site until such time as I am no longer the chairman or for one year.  This action on my part, while depriving me of an outlet for expression over which I have 100% control,  will apparently alleviate the concerns of these three board members, a number representing a majority of the board.
Someone who was extremely intelligent, and also more logical than any human, once stated “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”    In this case, this phrase is appropriate, so I’ll step aside for awhile.

I’ll miss the interaction and also the vehicle for disseminating information.
But I’m not going to be a mime or a mute.
 I will be working and writing a lot over the next year, primarily on .     I am also considering the use of other social media, like twitter, pinterest, dropbox, tumblr, and others potentially, to disseminate district information of interest.  There are more ways than just Blogger to communicate…
I’ll be around, and I will always retain and will never relinquish my individual right to freedom of speech and my own personal opinions.
 But I will be cognizant of the expressed concerns of other members of the board and I will do what I said I would do regarding my blog. 
My overarching  goals for the next year: 

I’ll strive to be the best prepared, most professional, courteous, and amiable Chairman I can be.  I’ll run efficient meetings, and I’ll strive to be magnanimous. 
We have some difficult problems as a district that we must work together to solve, and I’ll certainly allow neither my ego nor my personal opinions to become the cog in the wheel of progress in our district.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Florida Superintendents and School Board Members Election Results 2012

Interesting data sent yesterday to board members from the FSBA.  Looks as though roughly 50% of Sitting Elected Superintendents in contested races won, the other half were defeated.  Not very good re-election odds...

District School Board members fared much better-- with 119 total members seeking another term and only 16 incumbents being ousted from their seats.  Breakdown from the FSBA email below:

The FSBA staff has tried to supply as much information as possible, using data gathered from local school board offices and from the Supervisor of Elections in each county.  Please note that these results are UNOFFICIAL and some results may change due to potential recounts.

As of today, the school board election data breaks down as follows:

•  159 school board seats were up for election
•  40 school board members did not seek re-election or vacated their school board seat
•  54 school board members were re-elected without opposition at qualifying
•  3 new school board members were elected without opposition at qualifying
•  33 school board members were re-elected in the Primary Election
•  30 new school board members were elected in the Primary Election
•  10 school board members were re-elected in the General Election
•  29 new school board members were elected in the General Election
•  16 incumbent school board members were defeated in the Primary or General Election   

As of today, the superintendent election data breaks down as follows:

•  41 superintendent seats were up for election
•  7 superintendents did not seek re-election
•  7 superintendents were re-elected without opposition at qualifying
•  1 superintendent was re-elected and 6 new superintendents were elected in the Primary Election
•  10 superintendents were re-elected and 17 new superintendents were elected in the General Election
•  15 incumbent superintendents were defeated in the Primary or General Election

the full, county by county break down is here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

School Board Open Discussion Meeting Agenda

The open discussion meeting of the Escambia County School Board will take place on Thursday, November 15, 2012, at 3:00 PM in room 160 of the Hall Center.

Agenda will be the following:

 Meeting was advertised in the Pensacola News Journal on October 26, 2012 - Legal No. 1580872
- Organization of the Board & Various Committee Assignments - Bergosh (10 minutes)
- Alignment of Curriculum Advice with Bright Futures Requirements - Bergosh (10 minutes)
- Dual Enrollment - Hightower (10 minutes)
- Update on Nine Week Parent Conference (extended school day plan) - Hightower (5 minutes)
- Update on Food Service Department/New Regulations (is there a decrease in participation with new rules - is            
there an increase in waste?) - Hightower (10 minutes)
- Florida School Boards Association Resolution on Sequestration - Hightower (10 minutes)
- November and December Calendar - Slayton (5 minutes)
- Use of Travel Agency to Secure Airline Tickets for District Travel - Slayton (5 minutes)
- Computer Upgrades - Why Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 - Slayton (10 minutes)
- Nine Week District Middle School Math and Science Test - Slayton (10 minutes)
- Timeliness of Insurance Enrollment Notice Letter to Retirees - Slayton (5 minutes)
- Strategic Plan Presentation – Superintendent (15-20 minutes)
- Escambia Leader Assessment Presentation – Superintendent (5-10 minutes)
- Computer Equipment Disposal and Transfer Standard Operating Procedure – Superintendent (5-10 minutes)

- Plan for Spencer Bibbs Elementary – Superintendent (5-10 minutes)
- Parent Involvement Task Force – Superintendent (5-10 m


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FSBA Develops Position on Sequestration

FSBA has sent the below email and attached resolution to the membership on the subject of Federal Spending Cuts.  I know we need the money but I'm torn philosophically and ideologically because I'd like to see LESS Federal control of local education decisions;  Being a realist, though,  I also know we can't absorb the loss of 9% of our operating budget that comes from Federal sources right now.  A real conundrum.....

TO:          School Board Members
               District School Superintendents
               Florida Education Legislative Liaisons
               Selected Parent and Community Activists

FROM:    Joie Cadle, President
               Beverly Slough, Chair, Legislative Committee
               Wayne Blanton, Executive Director
               Ruth Melton, Director of Legislative Relations

DATE:     November 5, 2012

RE:          FSBA Resolution on Sequestration 

The Budget Control Act of 2011 passed the U.S. House and Senate in August of 2011, ending a highly charged debate in Congress over raising the federal debt ceiling in exchange for spending and deficit reductions. In brief, the Budget Control Act imposed caps on discretionary programs that will reduce their funding by more than $1 trillion over the ten years from 2012 through 2021. Among other provisions, it also established a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – also known as the Supercommittee – to propose legislation that would reduce federal deficits by another $1.2 trillion over that same period. In case the Supercommittee was unable to reach an agreement on deficit reduction, as a backup, the Budget Control Act also established a "sequestration" procedure that would automatically impose $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts in spending for most federal programs. Unfortunately, the Supercommittee was not able to reach agreement, so the automatic sequestration process is scheduled to start in January 2013. [For a more detailed information on the sequestration process, please see the report of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities at]

Sequestration would cut more than $4 billion from federal education funding nationwide, including more than $175 from federal education funding for Florida. These cuts, coming on the heels of state and federal funding reductions in recent years due to the recession, would deal a crippling blow to many programs and services. As several consequences of the Budget Control Act have come to light, state and local education groups have appealed to Congressional leaders, asking that the Act be amended to minimize sequestration cuts to education. In addition, further adjustment to the federal debt ceiling will be needed soon.  As a result, it is expected that Congress will reconvene in a "lame duck" session at some point after the November General Election, but before the sequestration process would go into effect on January 2, 2013.

In anticipation of the "lame duck" session, last week, the FSBA executive officers approved the attached FSBA Resolution on Sequestration which "urges Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities, and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness." We encourage all school boards, as quickly as possible, to develop and adopt a similar resolution that provides information from your own district’s perspective, including information on the number of students, the programs, and the services that will be impacted in your district. Once you have adopted your own version of the resolution, we ask that you please forward a copy to both Ruth Melton in the FSBA office ( and to Kathleen Branch in the NSBA office ( 

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the FSBA office.



203 South Monroe Street ~ Tallahassee, FL   32301
Phone:   850/414-2578   ~   Fax:   850/414-2585



WHEREAS, a world class public education is essential for the future success of our nation and today’s schoolchildren; and

WHEREAS, the Budget Control Act of 2011 includes a provision, known as sequestration, that would impose a $1.2 trillion across-the-board cut to almost all federal programs, including a cut of more than $4 billion to federal education appropriations; and

WHEREAS, these across-the-board cuts would become effective January 2, 2013 and would begin to impact school districts during the  2013-14 school year; and

WHEREAS, based on 2012 funding levels, sequestration would result in more that $173 million being cut from Florida’s education programs in the first year and the reductions would remain in effect over the 10-year sequestration period; and

WHEREAS, sequestration funding cuts to Florida education programs include, but are not limited to, more than $65.8 million cut from Title I, more than $52.2 million cut from Special Education, more than $11.62 million cut from Career and Technical Education, more than $10.1 million cut from Improving Teacher Quality, more than $3.3 million cut from English Language Acquisition, and more than $2 million cut from School Improvement; and

WHEREAS, sequestration would also impact school construction by cutting federal payments by 7.6% for certain Qualified School Construction Bonds, Build America Bonds, and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds issued during the economic stimulus; and

WHEREAS, in addition to cuts to education programs, sequestration would cut federal discretionary funding in other areas that would directly impact the health and education of Florida’s children, including, but not limited to, a cut of more than $24.5 million from Florida Head Start programs and more than $2.8 million in Florida Public Health Emergency Preparedness grants; and

WHEREAS, federal funding for K-12 programs was already reduced by more than $835 million in Fiscal Year 2011, and total state FEFP funding has been reduced by more is more than $1 billion since state Fiscal Year 2010-2011; and

WHEREAS, Florida, still struggling with the economic impacts of the Great Recession, has very limited capacity to absorb further budget cuts from sequestration;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Florida School Boards Association urges Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities, and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness.

The mission of the Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) is to increase student achievement through
the development of effective school board leadership and advocacy for public education.