06-10-2014 School Board Workshop

The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met in a Board Workshop on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at the Educational Services Facility, 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida. Notice of the meeting was advertised in The Eagle newspaper on Thursday, May 29, 2014. 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 Henderson called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m.

Roll Call
2. Roll Call

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

Pledge of Allegiance
3. Pledge of Allegiance

Minutes: Chairman Henderson led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Order of Business
4. ESE Issues


Chairman Henderson explained that due to time constraints, each item on the Order of Business will be allotted a certain amount of time. If more information is needed, the issue will be brought to another workshop unless the Board wishes to allow more time.

Ms. Kneessy began the discussion. She introduced Ms. Terry Tomaka, head of the Family Liaison Project. Ms. Tomaka introduced Jim Gerhauser, Emily Dewoody and Terri Heroe. Ms. Kneessy said she wanted to have an opportunity to get an action plan to improve services in Brevard County. Ms. Tomaka began by saying that the support she receives from ESE District personnel is phenomenal.  She discussed some of the issues they are facing.

Ms. Kneessy spoke about inclusion and wanted to expand strategies to help students in the classroom. Ms. Dewoody said that Ocean Breeze Elementary is a good example of a school that has utilized multiple ways to include students. Ms. Dewoody said another area she finds that needs more attention is transitioning.  Ms. Kneessy asked the District ESE staff what we are doing when a middle school student needs more assistance. Dr. Bobersky said they are looking at more staffing in middle and high schools. She explained about certification issues.

 Dr. Thedy explained that Dr. Bobersky has been working with principals all year long (especially in the middle schools) regarding how they staff ESE programs. She said that one of the things they are working with principals on is staffing.

Ms. Kneessy wanted to know who has final say over the utilizations of allocations.  Dr. Murray further clarified the question and Ms. Pace responded. Dr. Murray confirmed with Mr. Bistline that federal law concerning ESE staffing would override a principal using an ESE allocation in another area.

There was some suggestion by Ms. Kneessy that our current processes are not always working.  Mr. Ziegler asked for clarification regarding who allocates units and who gets to choose which units receive allocation. Dr. Bobersky explained that there is an instructional allocation manual  that is based on weighted and non weighted FTE that says how many students based on a matrix make a unit.  Dr. Bobersky said that is Part I of the training she gives to principals.

Ms. Tomaka said that the District need to make sure that teachers are attending the trainings. She relayed some concerns that parents have.

As Dr. Murray was listening, she made some notes and said that you could divide the issues mentioned into categories. She felt that the same schools continued to have the same problems and she said that she believes it goes back to the lack of oversight from the District to building level administrators. Dr. Murray expressed impatience with items always being monitored instead of genuine strategies developed that include authentic follow-up to those showing patterns of lack of interest.  There should be documentation inside personnel files to indicate the type of improvement plan the administrators are placed and the progress toward those plans.

Mr. Ziegler said that he wondered if this is too much responsibility for our site level administrators. He said that everyone cannot be an expert in all areas.  He asked if our parents have a place to discuss their concerns and do they know where to voice those concerns.

Ms. Tomaka said parents do know about the Family Liaison Project. She went on to say that RTI  has been delaying  children getting services.  She discussed having teachers that work well with exceptional students not getting renewed. She said that the schools need more behavior techs.  Ms. Tomaka said they give free training.

Dr. Bobersky said starting this year, she and Pam Treadwell have gone to District meetings, offering free training, and training on comments.  They have started giving out uniform and consistent information to principals in writing that includes best practices. She informed the Board about the various trainings they are offering including ones this summer.

Dr. Murray said she would like to see teacher training for all teachers as it relates to behavioral matters on professional development day, with an emphasis on special needs.  

Dr. Binggeli expressed that he felt that he had heard some very good discussion.  He said that our principals do care about our students and the District needs to give them the tools they need.

Ms. Kneessy wanted to know as a result of this meeting  what the action plan was going to  that the Board can monitor. 

Ms. Henderson said they need some  strategies for improvement for staffing, including training for staff and substitutes, principals and improvement plans and process improvement. Ms. Henderson complimented Dr. Bobersky.

5. Policy to Address Out of State Athletic Competitions


Dr. Krupp began by mentioning that the Board had recently approved for one of the District's high schools to be a part of a football competition in Louisville KY.  The vendor, LLC, promised a certain amount of money that basically only covered the transportation.  Room and board for the players was subsidized by various fundraisers.  He said there are mega dollars for these vendors to make when they contract with various entities such as ESPN Sports and video streaming. These contracts are leaving the teams to walk away with nothing.

Dr. Krupp is looking for policy language so that our teams will get something more than just transportation making it worth their while.    Ms. Irwin expressed the  need to investigate the contracts at the collegiate level and then see what kinds of things other districts are doing.  She said we also need to see what the Florida High School Athletic Association has in their language as we don't  initiate the contracts.

Dr. Krupp further commented that there are vendors out there making money on the backs of our students and we are taking all of the risks.  The rest of the Board concurred that it is worth investigating to see if there is a better deal to be made. Mr. Ziegler did caution that we do not want to "scare" away opportunities.

Ms. Henderson asked for Ms. Irwin  make a few phone calls and to get back with the Board at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year with her findings around September 1, 2014.

6. Future Growth
Attachment: Workshop Presentation - Future Growth.pdf

Ms. Henderson said she had this put on as part of the Board Workshop because she met with some community leaders, area superintendents and schools in the Central area along with persons from the Viera Company who were giving them the numbers for growth. She said that she felt that it is important to bring it up and be proactive instead of reactive.

Mr. Theodore, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities Services, provided a presentation.

7. Change Substitute Pay from Hourly to Daily Wage


Dr. Krupp began by saying that we need to raise the bar for our substitutes, provide more training, and provide them a daily wage instead of an hourly wage. He said that we owe more to our students to have a qualified substitute teacher. We need to change the mindset and demand more. In regards to pay, he feels that we should pay them a daily wage, not an hourly wage. He said that he feels we should bump up the pay somewhat and provide better training so they have the skills necessary to be an effective substitute teacher and show them respect.

Ms. Henderson asked some questions to which Ms. Pace responded. Ms. Pace said we do currently pay them an hourly wage and some  substitutes are assigned to cover other classes during a planning period.  She agreed that the training has been reduced due to a reduction in HR's workforce.  At this time we have online training. She also said that they had moved the minimum age for substitutes to 21 years of age.

Ms. Kneessy said that she is in favor or half days or full days for substitutes. Dr. Murray is in agreement, however, she would like to see a cost analysis of what it will cost prior to giving her full support.  She also said that she believes the minimum age should be 22 years of age, not 21. In that report she would like to find out if some buildings are more apt to absence than others. She is looking at the relationship between number of days we are paying out as it relates to school climate.

Dr. Krupp asked what the current dollar amount per student is allocated for substitutes in the school.  Ms. Kneessy said that she wants to see a standardized process in regards to substitutes.  She also said that she feels that if someone is in a very specialized class and they are trained to do that, they should perhaps make a little bit more.  

Ms. Henderson clarified that the Board would need to examine the requested numbers before any decisions were made. She concurred that the substitutes needed to be treated the same in regards to what was expected of them.

Ms. Pace relayed to the Board that every month all of the area superintendents are given a breakdown by area of the number of substitutes being utilized. The Board asked if they could receive that information.

Dr. Binggeli commented that when he was a principal, they had three substitutes they always used and were at his school every day.  He said they received ongoing training and became almost members of the staff. 


8. Insurance
Attachment: Brevard Schools Presentation FINAL.pdf

Debra Pace introduced John Robinson, President and CEO of Robinson Bush. Ms. Pace and Mr. Robinson have been working together on the Independent Benefits Council, a partnership consortium between six  Florida districts to provide improved benefits to retirees 65 and older at a much more reasonable cost.

Mr. Robinson provided the presentation. At the conclusion of the presentation Ms. Pace added that currently our employees age 60 and over make up 17.1% of the members in our health trust and accounted for 29% of the medical spend last year so she feels there are some additional unmeasured dollars that could be saved. 

Dr. Murray commended everyone for all of their work and looks forward to this being expanded for all of our employees. Mr. Ziegler is excited about this and asked some questions and asked why this could not have been done through the free market. Mr. Robinson provided some explanation.

Closing Remarks
9. Closing Remarks

Minutes: There were no closing remarks.

10. Adjournment

Minutes: The meeting was adjourned at 3:17 p.m.