By ALICIA LEONARD
The Walton County School Board (WCSB) met in its regular session May 8 at 9 a.m. The board’s Chairman, Dennis Wallace, opened the meeting and Vice-chairperson Faye Leddon led the prayer and pledge of allegiance, before Wallace briefly discussed minor changes in agenda items. District 1 member Mildred Wilkerson was not present and all other board members were present. The board approved the agenda before them unanimously as well as prior minutes.
Candidate Ron Belker for School Board District 1 told the board during public comments, that a school guidance counselor at Emerald Coast Middle School had been soliciting signatures for a political campaign for another school board candidate on school hours. WCSB Superintendent Carlene Anderson told Belker that the issue had been brought to her attention the night prior and she would investigate the charges and respond appropriately.
The board moved unanimously to approve the consent agenda items which included personnel contracts, annual financial reports, curriculum and transportation requests.
The board then moved to the action agenda portion of meeting.
Michelle Doggett presented a power point presentation on energy savings due to the implementation of the Energy Education Inc. Services program from December 2011 to March 2012. In total, the district has cut energy cost by over 28 percent, or 19 million kWhs of electricity. “None of this would be possible without the board, the superintendent, the plant and facility staff, the teachers, principals and everyone that works within the program,” Doggett told the board and audience.
The board moved to approve the organizational chart recommended by Anderson unanimously.
There were six student expulsions on the agenda. The board moved to approve unanimously five of the six listed. One expulsion drew discussion between members about one student and “mitigating” circumstances according to Anderson. The board then moved to approve the expulsion unanimously.
Anderson then recommended that board member Representative Mark Davis and Citizen Appointee, Rob Neale to serve on the Value Adjustment Board from July1 through June 30, 2013. The board minus Davis (who could not vote on the motion) approved the recommendation unanimously.
The board then discussed the staffing allocation plan for district schools. District 3 board member Sharon Roberts requested information on variations on support staffing numbers for different schools. Roberts said, “I just want to make sure we have equity throughout the districts.” Anderson responded that some decisions on the type of staff needed have been made “in-house” by principals and their needs. Roberts made a motion to table the discussion until Anderson and staff could come back with more information.
Anderson then recommended to approve the insurance consultant contract for 2012-2013. Roberts told the board that she could not in good conscience approve a raise for a consultant when regular staff have not received a raise. Anderson replied that the consultant had saved the district a lot of money and the recommendation was based on the recommendation of the district’s insurance committee. The increase was for $2,400 for the year. District staff told the board the usual cost for surrounding area consultants varied from $45,000-54,000 per year and the consultant had not received a raise in nine years and was a very valued member and was paid $19,200 per year. The consultant now receives $1,600 per month. He requested $2,000 per month. The district’s insurance committee recommended $1,800. Anderson said that although there had not been step-raises, all employees had received some type of compensation since she had been in office. Wallace told the board that he has had some dealings with the insurance and thought the consultant was well worth the compensation. Roberts responded that she liked the consultant, but didn’t think it was fair to raise the compensation when others had “taken a hit.” The motion to raise the compensation for the insurance consultant passed with three members approving and Roberts voting nay.
Davis requested clarification over criteria and “subjective” terms used in revisions for staffing evaluations. Discussion ensued. Anderson responded that the wording and criteria was “statutorily required.” Davis responded, “this is going to be used to pay teachers, and I have real concerns about where we are placing principals and teachers.” Anderson responded, “the legislature has placed our teachers and principals in this position.” Davis mentioned that the result of attaching the teachers pay to evaluations can make a possible different pay scale for each teacher. The board moved unanimously to approve revisions that had been agreed upon and revised by the staffing committee which included teacher union representatives.
Wallace then moved to adjourn the meeting and the motion was approved unanimously.