03-05-2013 School Board Budget Workshop


The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met for a Budget Workshop on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at the Educational Services Facility, 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida. Notice of the meeting was advertised in the Florida Today newspaper on Thursday, February 28, 2013. 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 Dr. Barbara Murray called the School Board Budget Workshop to order at 1:03 p.m.

Roll Call
2. Roll Call

Minutes: Members Present: Dr. Michael Krupp, Dr. Barbara Murray, Amy Kneessy, Karen Henderson, Andy Ziegler

Pledge of Allegiance
3. Pledge of Allegiance

Minutes: Chairman Dr. Barbara Murray led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Order of Business
4. Order of Business
Attachment: Budget Reductions 2013-14 - Board Meeting 12Mar13.pdf

Chairman Dr. Barbara Murray stated the purpose of the meeting is to go over the 2013-14 Proposed Budget Cuts and Revenue Enhancements. She then turned the meeting over to Dr. Binggeli.

Dr. Binggeli began from the bottom of the list and went line by line through the Proposed Cuts & Revenue Enhancements list and explained any changes to the Board and the viewing audience.

Prior to beginning, Dr. Binggeli articulated to the Board and the audience, that the district had a tremendous amount of input.  It came from the Board in their public meetings, the community in the geographic community forums, and from our website.  Dr. Binggeli stated that due to the input from the various sources, we have made some revisions to the way that the proposed cut list is prioritized.  Listed below are some of the areas of focus following the input from the community:

  • Attempt toward meeting class-size requirements
  • Reduce the burden on secondary teachers and at the same time save some of our quality annual contract teachers
  • Move our media assistants closer to the line so if dollars become available there is a greater chance they will be able to continue to serve our schools, children, and community
  • Maintain our strings program, allowing for enrichment at the elementary level
  • Consider eliminating pay-to-participate, if possible. If not, make sure there is a serious sliding scale to support student that come from disadvantage backgrounds
  • Generalized notion of protecting employees over protecting hours

Dr. Murray, Dr. Krupp and Ms. Henderson asked for clarification on Item 61 and Item 49 as it relates to Utilizing IB and AICE Funding to Pay for the 0.6 Coordinating Teacher Units and Utilizing 20% of IB and AICE Funding to Support the Operating Budget.

Dr. Binggeli noted that there are six items that have been moved to the top of the list since the Board has taken action on them at the School Board meeting of February 12, 2013. The six items are listed below.

11. Establish "Pay-for-Choice" Application and Reapplication Fee of $30 Annually
21. Eliminate Corridor Bussing (Choice Programs)
34. Close Gardendale Elementary (includes elimination of the year round school concept), Close South Lake Elementary, Close Clearlake Middle School
40. Eliminate 2nd Planning Period for All Secondary Teaching Positions

Regarding Item 41, Dr. Krupp brought up reducing the Technology support from 12 month to 11 month employees. Gino Butto, Assistant Superintendent of Information Technology Systems, explained the reorganization of the educational technology support services and the state mandates that will effect this department.  Mr. Ziegler stated that he firmly believes that the ratio of technical people to the number of pieces of equipment are way out of proportion in this district. Dr. Binggeli stated that even if we are able to save the technology positions, we will have our ET folks more out in the field and still enhance their skill set.

Dr. Krupp feels as though Item 40 - Eliminate Financial Support of ACT Testing for Every 11th Grade student should be placed at the top of the list. He noted that parents across the nation have paid to have their kids take the ACT test if they chose to go onto college.  Dr. Krupp stated for those students who could not pay for the ACT, there are organizations who will pay for them to take the test.  Dr. Binggeli explained that the district uses the ACT as a benchmark to compare whether we are providing a first class education. Ms. Kneessy stated that there are some students who did not think that college was a possibility but after seeing how they scored on the ACT it was an option. Discussion ensued amongst the Board about the impact that the ACT has on the students. Dr. Murray stated that there are other items on the list that will reach a much broader population in the school district. Cyndi Van Meter, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, explained the opportunities of providing the ACT to the young students who are disadvantaged. 

Dr. Krupp, Mr. Ziegler and Dr. Murray requested that the ACT move up on the cut list.  Dr. Binggeli stated that it will go up but not sure where as of yet on the cut list that it will be placed.

Dr. Murray was concerned about Item 36 - Eliminating 8 Middle School Guidance Services Professional Positions.  Dr. Binggeli and Ms. Van Meter explained the rolls of the Guidance Services Professional Positions and what the elimination of these roles would impact.

Ms. Kneessy stated her concern about Item 51 on the Elimination of 10 Campus Monitor Positions and questioned what is the criteria of a school having a campus monitor.  Ms. Pace stated that the criteria remains the same as noted in the Staffing Plan based on enrollment.  Dr. Binggeli stated that all of our high schools have campus monitors.  Ms. Kneessy stated that she would like extra data to prove that they need a campus monitor.  Dr. Binggeli stated that it was a safety and security issue.  Ms. Kneessy stated that she would like to know from the building principals which one would have more priority in their buildings, campus monitors or the media assistants.  She wanted the community to know that the position is in addition to the Security Resource Officer (SRO).

Mr. Ziegler voiced concerns on  Item #35 Pay-to-Participate.  He stated that he is all for a program that helps financially helps students participate but has a problem with adopting a federal program name such as Free and Reduce Lunch.  Mr. Ziegler asked what sports and activities will this apply.  Dr. Binggeli stated the sports that would be effected are all middle school sports, all high school sports, including cheerleading and excluding crew and laCrosse. He stated that he would like to see the details before fully approving this item.   Dr. Murray asked Mr. Ziegler for some clarification on his first concern about the adoption of the Federal naming.  She asked if he was gearing towards students that are not on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program that cannot afford to participate.  Mr. Ziegler answered in the affirmative. He stated that there are other criteria and he would like to establish the criteria on what qualifies someone for assistance.

Discussion ensued about the sliding scale, scholarship processing as it relates to establishing pay-to-participate. Dr. Beth Thedy, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, explained on how the district will handle the students who do qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch but do not go through the process. She stated that Free and Reduced Lunch is audited.   Dr. Thedy also explained Title IX, fee payments and the collection of fees and sport ending injuries.

Dr. Binggeli explained Item 32 - Eliminate Elementary and Middle Summer Jump Start as requested by Dr. Barbara Murray.  He noted that the district will offer nothing in the summer months with the exception of what we are legally required by law which is Third Grade Reading Intervention and anything in our special education extended year services. 

Mr. Ziegler questioned on Item 31 - Reduce Guaranteed Minimum Hours for Bus Drivers from 7.0 to 6.0, where the hour fell in the work day. Arby Creach, Director of Transportation, explained that the bus drivers day will pretty much remain the same. The actual hour is involved in make-up time. He stated that was is being reduced is the additional time throughout the day that they were required to do.

Ms. Van Meter, responded to a previously asked question from Dr. Murray as to how much funds have been cut from Curriculum & Instruction.  Ms. Van Meter noted that over the last two years, prior to this year, $500,000 to $700,000 in cuts to Curriculum & Instruction which are services that are provided to the schools.

Dr. Binggeli made a point that on Item 25 - Eliminate Year Round School Concept Existing at Challenger 7, the dollar value is not the issue.  Judy Preston, Associate Superintendent of Financial Services, noted that the challenges are more as is relates to training, payroll, and the additional workload on personnel due to the prior two issues.  Dr. Krupp asked what were the $9,711.73 came from.  Ms. Preston stated that $3,500 for transportation and $6,200 for additional ESE Services.

Dr. Murray placed on the table the elimination of the Florida School Board Association (FSBA) annual dues.  There was consensus amongst the five Board Members.  Dr. Binggeli stated that with the consensus the item would be moved to the category of Board Action.  The amount of this elimination is $21,766.

Mr. Ziegler suggested the elimination of Insurance consultants.  He explained why he took exception from the information that was provided from Willis.  Mr. Ziegler noted that all the services provided to the district from Willis are available a la carte, which is very common in the industry.  He stated that he does not see why we are paying $140,000 for a consultant to steer our ship when we have very competent people.  Mr. Ziegler stated that he is proposing that the district place the $140,000 cut near the top of the list.  Dr. Binggeli stated that we could not put all $140,000 on the table because we will have to pay somebody.  Dr. Murray requested more information prior to making a decision that would effect so many staff members.  Debra Pace, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources, reviewed some of the information that was previous submitted to the Board.  Dr. Murray asked what other districts are paying for annual retainer fee for insurance consultants. She would like to see what the other districts in the Coalition are doing.

Dr. Krupp requested that the district look at the Maintenance Department in terms of the Leads under the Supervisors and the number of vehicles.  Dane Theodore, Associate Superintendent of Facilities, stated that most of the maintenance workers are asked to bring their company vehicle to their nearest school district site closest to their home.  The other option would have them drive to a central location and taking the district time to get to their work site.

Dr. Murray requested a detailed analysis of travel for the school district which includes in-county, out-of-county and out-of-state.  She noted that in the report she wants to see who it is, why they are going, where they are going, and how much it is costing.  The Board wants to see what is happening because in a time of such financial crisis, the district needs to be reining some of that it.  Dr. Binggeli explained some of the travel and the balance in future costs.

Dr. Krupp stated that although the Board voted to eliminate Corridor Bussing, if we have the authority to charge, can the district come up with a plan.  Discussion ensued about what will be cost prohibitive and cost effective. He noted that Ms. Preston is currently working on military and federal land issues, travel issues and other things that are going on.  Ms. Preston stated that her department is working on it and really crunching numbers.  She noted that is would be in excess of a thousand dollars per year for transportation for parents but we are looking at this in many different angles.  Dr. Binggeli stated that the district would be losing the state funding for corridor bussing.  Harold Bistline, School Board Attorney stated that if you accept the benefits of a particular program, you do not get to charge for it on top of that. 

Dr. Binggeli mentioned that we need to pull out the collegiate professional. Partly because we have over 200 students in every grade level and if they come back into the classroom, we are going to have to put teacher units in for them.  There is a lot of good things that come of the collegiate high school including school grades and it supports our students. It may cost the district more if we do not remove them from the corridor bussing.

Closing Remarks
5. Closing Remarks

Minutes: Dr. Binggeli reminded the Board and the community that this is not the end of the proposed budget cuts & revenue enhancement discussion but it was a very healthy workshop.

6. Adjournment

Minutes: Chairman Dr. Barbara Murray adjourned the School Board Budget Workshop at 3:10 p.m.