04-21-2017 Board Retreat

The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met for a Board Retreat on Friday, April 21, 2017, at Craig Technologies, 8550 Astronaut Blvd, Cape Canaveral. Notice of the meeting was advertised in the Eagle newspaper on Thursday, April 13, 2017. 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: Chairperson Misty Belford began the meeting at 9:10 a.m.

Roll Call
4. Roll Call


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


Mr. Craig arrived at 9:31 a.m. due to commitment at an area school.

Pledge of Allegiance
Order of Business
2. Meeting Agenda
Attachment: 2017-0421 Board Retreat.pdf

Public Relations (Social Media)

  • Matt Reed, Assistant Superintendent of Government and Community Relations presented an overview of social media as it pertains to the School Board and to the district.
  • There was much discussion among Board members especially as it pertained to public records requests and archival of information.
  • Chairperson Belford will seek legal advice when the new General Counsel is on board. 
  • Mr. Reed explained that there is a high demand to have peer to peer communication. Teachers and staff want to share ideas and plans.  He said that letting staff communicate with each other via social media will be great for morale.
  • Dr. Blackburn said there is nothing in policy to say that we cannot have social media access in our schools. 
  • Mr. Ziegler said that we need clear guidelines 
  • Mr. Craig expounded that guidelines should include expectations of usage. He asked if Dr. Blackburn would be able to provide the Board with a policy revision.  Dr. Blackburn said he hesitates to create policy when it is not necessary.  He further commented that we already have an ethics policy which carries over into social media usage.
  • Dr. Blackburn and Mr. Reed concluded that the benefits of social media far outweigh the risk.  Mr. Reed was charged to come back with guidelines and expectations for the Board to review. 

Finalizing Commitments from First Retreat

  • Operating Protocol
  • Communications Framework
  • Ms. Escobar will finalize the changes and send out to the Board for review.  Once the revisions have been made and approved, it will be placed on the Board's website.

Parking Lot Items from Last Retreat

Are we on track to achieve mission

  • Need Consistency
  • Assigned to General Counsel
    • Superintendent Nominations - Responsibility/Policy/Statute
    • Policy 1112-Board Staff Communications - Adjustment
    • Information Agenda Changes
    • Policy Review Workshop
  • Anonymity Requests
    • It is not possible for Dr. Blackburn and staff to act upon anonymous complaints (unless it comes to student safety)
    • Process to address employee complaints
    • Let the employee know that you are more than happy to listen
    • Let the employee know that her or she are not standing alone
    • If there is a negative repercussion of filing a complaint, the board member will stand with the employee
    • Empower the employee and support them along the way
    • Instill trust in leadership.

Chairperson Belford called for a break at 11:36 a.m.
She reconvened the meeting at 12:56 p.m.

Board Evaluations

  • Ms. Descovich showed two models of board evaluation tools.
  • Her suggestion was to go through the models and revise for BPS.
  • Direction was given to Board members to go through, make note of changes and send to Pam Escobar by May 5, 2017.

Entertainment at Board Meetings

  • Strictly voluntary

Traveling Board Meetings

  • Mr. Ziegler asked what it would cost in the way of staff and technology
  • Russell Cheatham, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Technology and Mr. Reed will be asked to bring back information.

Trip Reports will be Moved to Next Meeting

Cost Cutting Recommendations

  • Worker's Compensation
  • Printing
  • Driver's Ed insurance
  • Dual Enrollment textbooks
  • Telephone long distance
  • Travel
  • Outsource transportation
  • Online referrals
  • Online student registration
  • Look into doing construction at night
  • Look into hiring competent web developers to write the district's own software for things such as Easy Benefits
  • Cigna 3rd party contract
    • Cost Plus model to reduce the claim side
    • Consumer cost providing employees the opportunity to shop for best price
    • Comparison shop for procedures
    • Canadian medicine model
  • White Fleet
  • Outsourcing substitutes
  • Professional organizations and subscriptions
    • What do we have that is no longer useful
  • Study of covering dental costs for all employees
  • Wellness incentives
  • Push Cigna to make better choices
  • Urban School Food Alliance (better buying power)
  • Department scrub
  • Put together list of vacant positions and how long it has been vacant
  • As contracts expire, evaluate to determine if still needed
    • Pursue vendors to see if they will adjust dollar amounts

General Counsel Contract

  • Two contracts were presented; the difference being salary increases.
  • The Board determined to have any salary increases equivalent to those provided to other 12 month administrative employees.

Budget Prioritization

  • Determination to rank them:  Critical, High Importance, Very High Importance
    • Then rank them by priority and funding order
    • Send to Dr. Blackburn by April 26, 2017


  • Dr. Blackburn met with members of student government
    • Would like to create some sort of space at Board meetings for them to present
    • Students want counselors to be counselors
  • Slosberg Fund - should be getting $2.00 from every traffic ticket to be used for Driver's Education. Request the amount of funds received going back five years and the expenditures associated with the Irv Slosberg fund going back five years. 
  • Bring back list of District owned land to determine if viable to keep or to sell 




Closing Remarks
3. Adjournment

Minutes: Chairperson Belford adjourned the meeting at 3:56 p.m.