02-27-2018 Board Workshop (BFT)

The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met for a workshop on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, at the Educational Services Facility, 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida. Notice of the meeting was advertised in the Eagle newspaper on Thursday, February 15, 2018. The affidavit of publication with a copy of the ad attached is filed in the Affidavit File in the Board Office.

Opening Exercises
1. Opening Exercises

Minutes: Chairman Craig called the meeting to order at: 2:08 p.m.

Roll Call
2. Roll Call

Minutes: Members Present: Misty Belford, John Craig, Tina Descovich, Matt Susin and Andy Ziegler

Pledge of Allegiance
3. Pledge of Allegiance

Minutes: Chairman Craig led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Order of Business
4. Report/Substitute Requests & Unfilled Rates - Elementary
Attachment: BFT Workshop.pdf

Chairman John Craig welcomed the representatives from Brevard Federation of Teachers and explained that this is a unique opportunity. He turned the meeting over to Dan Bennett, president of Brevard Federation of Teachers.

Mr. Bennett began with the substitute situation from a teacher's point of view. He also stated that BFT wanted to get some information from principals as well as teachers. Dr. Mullins collected that information from principals at a principals meeting.  He provided survey results from both elementary and secondary teachers, and provided teacher concerns.

Dr. Mullins met with secondary principals and they used a variety of strategies to meet substitute needs. The impact of splitting classes varies by school.

Mr. Bennett explained that some elementary schools lend themselves more to splitting classes than others.  For example, if there are numerous classes of the same grade level and students are split among them all, the impact is less. He has also heard that when classes are split there are sometimes not even enough seats for all of the extra students. 

Mr. Bennett continued  that when instructional assistants are used  for coverage, that means that some students are missing out on services and the trend is getting worse.  

Vanessa Skipper, second vice-president of BFT, commented that it is detrimental to subs when they don't get a planning time. Chairman Craig said that we have to make sure whatever we do is best for students and followed up with the question to BFT representatives, "What should we do?" Mr. Bennett provided a general statement, "The best thing is to not split classes and keep children in his/her classroom. Mr. Anthony Colucci, first vice-president of BFT, stated that the best option is to have a retired teacher in the classroom.

Ms. Belford asked what we should do when we can't get a qualified substitute in the classroom rather than split classes.  Ms. Skipper said that principals, assistant principals and guidance counselors could cover classrooms rather than split them. 

Dr. Blackburn asked if BFT had any suggestions of how we could attract more subs to which Mr. Bennett replied, Increase pay." Mr. Craig said that it might be beneficial to look at best practices in other districts.

5. Report/Substitute Requests and Unfilled Rates- Secondary


The rates were addressed.

6. Report - BFT Survey Results for Elementary

Minutes: The survey results were provided.
7. Report - BFT Survey Results for Secondary

Minutes: The survey results were provided.
8. Teacher Concerns

Minutes: BFT provided an overview of teacher concerns regarding substitutes.
9. Best Practices


The main focus was to have students remain in respective classes and to have highly qualified substitutes.  The vehicle to achieve these tangibles was not identified.  It was however suggested to look at what other districts are doing.

10. Next Steps


Mr. Bennett will be the point person to reach out to other districts to see what they are doing for solutions. Mr. Bennett asked for reports of absences and fill rates be run more often. 

Some suggestions were giving teachers incentives for really good attendance and moving professional development days to weekends.

Dr. Blackburn said that at some point, we would be faced with using budgets as suggested improvements will cost.  He asked BFT leadership how they would feel using those dollars on the improvements instead of salary increases.  Mr. Bennett said they expect raises. He said the problems with substitutes can be fixed and teachers still receive a raise.

Mr. Craig said it is most important to have stability in the classroom and there is benefit to better tracking.  Ms. Skipper commented that comp time is not a solution.

11. General School Security


Regarding part of Sheriff Ivey's proposal to have staff volunteers carry concealed firearms, Chairman Craig asked BFT what their feelings and thoughts were on the matter.

BFT expressed that they will be part of the process and that everyone  has to be ready to listen and hear. There was discussion among board members and BFT.  Mr. Craig concluded that there is much more to look at and discuss.

Closing Remarks
12. Adjournment

Minutes: Chairman Craig adjourned the workshop at: 4:04 p.m.

For further details pertaining to this meeting, please refer to the published video on the School Board of Brevard County's website (www.brevardschools.org).