Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Public School Board Meeting Celebrates with Presentation

Call to order and roll call began this 4hr. long school board meeting on October 26th, 2010 at 6:30pm located in the Educational Building, Seminole County Public Schools in Sanford, FL.  The persons in attendance are as follows: Bill Vogel, Superintendent, and standing Board members, Diane Bauer, Jeanne Morris, Sylvia Pond, Sandra Robinson, Dr. Penell and Dede Schaffner.

The first part of the meeting was the presentations and recognition to individuals that had the highest rate of parent participation with in their groups.  Six group heads were recognized being SEPTA, Gifted Advisory Committee and The Headstart Program.  The next presentation was for the National Merit and Achievement Scholorship Semifinalists and Hispanic recognition.  This presentation was awarded to students that had an average GPA of 4.3 and SAT scores of 2166.  There were 43 students from various cultures and backgrounds, and educational needs recognized from all 9 of our Seminole County High Schools.  The most inspirational student was a young man from Crooms Academy named Michael Powers.  Michael as aspergers syndrome and has overcome this handicap by attending all AP courses while being duel enrolled in college and hold a GPA of 4.229.  He also received a high SAT score of 2100.  Micheal was recognized for his hard work and commitment by being offered a full scholarship to UCF for his career in computer engineering. These students rank in the 1% in the nation.  These presentations and recognitions lasted the first 2 hrs of the meeting with each individual accepting their awards.

The next part of the meeting was the School/District Highlights.  The recognition of Jeanne Morris and Sandy Robinson was for their service on the school board for the past 20 years.  This was their last meeting and they were presented flowers.  They will be missed by the all members of the board.

The Consent Agenda followed. Mrs.Shakner talked about implementing a teacher resignation instead of termination. A particular teacher wanted to resign before he was terminated and the discussion was about whether he should have his certification revoked and suspended.  They also discussed the donation of computers to be used within the schools, and whether the older computers could be used in the school system that were donated from business.  They decided that it would cost to much to refurbish them.  They acknowledged that Collier county schools have a higher funding for technology and Flagler county has a wireless network for their students.  Both of these counties have a 1/2 cent of funding for technology based programs.  The discussion moved to on-line testing and whether or not the use of "bubble" sheets for testing should be eliminated altogether.  The state does not have any additional funds for on-line testing or technology at this time. I find this point interesting as we as parents with children in the public school system have already been asked this year to vote for mandatory property tax increase of $110 more a year to help our schools already.

Outsourced tutoring services were discussed as they are needed for more students.  Right now, we have 28 providers and each student receives $597.00 for this need in the SES network.  The last point in this discussion was the authorization to file a declaratory judgement action against Star Insurance Company and others concerning a coverage dispute regarding the claim of Charles Barker against the school board.  This discussion was whether or not Star Insurance was responsible for covering more of the claim then they wanted to.

Items for discussion followed with the Art programs receiving all monies from the county bank festival which had 143 auditions for the last festival.  Health discussion covered the best place to get the flu shot that would be covered by the Wellness Plan.  The members agreed that getting the flu shot from places such as Wallgreens was not good as they would not be covered and children should go to the local clinic to do so.  The magnet program was discussed regarding diversity transfer students and their parent's roll to be involved. Sandy Robinson requested that parents are made to sign a contract of participation if the student is part of the magnet program.  It was finalized that this can not work as the public school system are unable to make it mandatory and unenforceable.  This brought up high school programs such as the hybrid and choice program.  These programs are at Lyman, Crooms and Seminole county schools as well as "specialty" schools such as Academy of Finances and Cosmetology School at Lake Brantley.  The last part of this section was the disagreement with the governor's plan of the 1/2 penny sales tax article that would be in effect January, 2012.

The final part of this very long meeting was the new business items, superintendents report and public comments.  They discussed meeting dates, computer testing and current class sizes.

After watching this meeting it was very apparent that the Board members are very determined and caring people.  It was more then obvious that they intend to try to continue to implement new things within our public schools that will not only help our students but will also help our educators with the use of technology.  It was good to have to go to this meeting even though it was a very long meeting.  Seeing the recognition of these students that have maintained the commitment and worked hard to succeed was all inspiring.  It shows that something is working within the system, that it is not altogether "broken" but needs to be repaired in certain places and well maintained .  Having a group such as the Seminole County School Board members is a great thing as they are committed to keep the "machine well oiled" and running smoothly.