School Board Report for Dec 19, 2012

School Board Report for December 18, 2012.

The meeting began at 7:12 PM.  All members were present.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda passed with a unanimous vote.  The following items were on the Consent Agenda.

  • MOU with Crossroads Counseling Centers
  • Impact statement on rezoning of John Marshall Commons
  • Approval of minutes from the Dec 5 2012 meeting.

Public Hearing to Appoint Woodbridge District Representative

There were 6 candidates for the Woodbridge seat: Steve Keen, Todd McCormick, Will McHenry, Chris Royse, and Lori Williams.  Each candidate spoke for 5 minutes.  {Editor’s comment: I’ve provided my notes on the candidates speeches below, but I encourage you to watch the speeches yourself.  My notes are what struck me from their speeches, but I can not do them and their thoughts the service they deserve.  Many of the candidates were such compelling speakers and amazing people that you really ought to listen to them.}

Steve Keen

Steve is a past representative of Woodbridge District on the school board.  He’s the father of graduates of PWCS and has 4 grandchildren currently attending PWCS.  He served on the first elected school board in PWCS and helped create the revenue sharing agreement PWCS shares with the BOCS.  He would defend that agreement vigorously.   Steve said he believes only measures introduced by elected members should be considered, so , while he’ll carefully consider proposals of staff and other school board members, he will not propose any measures independently.

Todd McCormick

Todd is the Executive Director of The House, Inc Student Leadership Center in Woodbridge and the father of a PWCS senior.  He believes that a good education should not the be product of chance but should be expected.  Following issues are important to him:

  • recruiting and retention – in order to recruit and retain the best teachers we have to reduce class sizes and compensate our teachers adequately,
  • accountability and transparency – promises to be accessible to faculty, staff, parents and students,
  • partnering with community members is vital,
  • academic achievement and flexibility – must close the achievement gap in all core subjects and increase availability of programs for kids for  whom college is not in their future.

William McHenry

Former Marine, PhD in Ed, spent 20 years in classroom and administration.  Currently national Director of Marine Corps JROTC.  Will believes that school division management must be efficient to be effective and that context is just as important as content.  He believes that class size and teacher pay are important, transparency and accountability are vital, and that appropriate procedures and staffing should be available to ensure robust financial and operations oversight.  Not all kids are equal and need to ensure that all children are given the opportunities and education they deserve when they need it as education is the great equalizer.

Chris Royse

Fourteen year resident of Woodbridge, former green beret and FBI, serves on Safe School Advisory Council.  Chris has a passion for education and a desire for service.  He has 3 children currently enrolled in PWCS in different grade levels and believes that we need to turn Woodbridge into a center for education excellence.

Bruce Smith

Thirty year veteran teacher who has worked with our most at risk students including working with migrant families in Mexico and helping families transition to their new lives here in teh US. Bruce has worked tirelessly to advance cause of civil and human rights and equality. We should be proud of our schools.  Should ensure that as many students as possible are included in reading readiness. Must improve our onetime graduation rate and reduce drop out rates. Class sizes should be reduced. No more teach to the test. All students should be prepared for college, CTE, or careers when they graduate. Need to work on this.

Lori Williams

Lori is a graduate of PWCS, the Mother of PWCS students, and the head of her children’s school PTSO.  She believes school board needs more diversity and submitted her application because the parents in her community encouraged her to do so.  She is willing to dedicate herself to the school board and believes she is uniquely qualified to serve as she’s a Mother and has been in trenches experiencing her child’s education and the issues that involves from the parent perspective.

Citizen Comments on Candidates.

Twenty-one people spoke to the school board about the candidates.  Fifteen citizens spoke in support of Todd McCormick and discussed his kindness and generosity in the community; those speakers included several current and former PWCS students.   Three people spoke on behalf of Chris Royse; Delegate Mark Dudenhefer endorsed Chris.  Three people spoke on behalf of Bruce Smith including the former head of PWEA, the current head of the Manassas Education Association, and a current PWCS teacher.

Public Meeting

The public meeting began at 9:06 PM.

Citizen Comments

Four citizens addressed the school board on agenda and non-agenda items

Speaker #1 spoke of the tragedy in CT and expressed her opinion that our schools are not as safe as they should or could be.  Suggested that PWCS hire an independent third party to evaluate school security, make suggestions for improving it, and help train school based faculty and staff on proper security procedures.

Speaker #2 is a student at Reagan Middle School and an avid dancer.  She spoke of the support Reagan staff have give her and praised their flexibility in helping her balance her dance and school needs.

Speaker #3 missed her child’s concert and game to attend meeting. She believes the policy change regarding facilities planning (810) appears to eliminate transparency in facilities planning by removing community input from facilities planning. Says this creates environment of mistrust. Reg 810.1 has changes that are troubling like removal of cost estimates from CIP. Public hearing date is not specified as it was in past.

Speaker #4 represented the electoral board and encouraged school board members to close schools on election day 2013 as parking at elementary schools is limited.

Public Agenda

# 12 2013 – 2014 School Year Calendar – Action

At the December 5th meeting staff presented the proposed calendar for the 2013 – 2014 school year.  Lisa Bell proposed that the calendar be changed so that the half day currently scheduled for Wednesday January 29 be moved back to Tuesday January 28.  The calendar passed with Ms Bell’s change with a unanimous vote.  Notes on the discussion prior to the vote are below.

  • Covington – why was the schedule set that way?
    • Answer – we just copied the calendar from previous years.  For the past 2 years we’ve had the schedule as it was proposed, but 2 years ago the days were back to back.
  • Covington – Is there an advantage to having the instructional day in between?
    • Answer – sometimes that additional day allows faculty and students to prepare for conferences the following day.
  • Otaigbe – would there be any cost to making the change Ms Bell suggested?
    • Answer – No.
  • Trenum – Why do we start school after Labor Day?  Loudoun and Fairfax start before Labor day.
    • Answer – There are a few different ways to qualify.  Alexandira has year round school, Fauquier qualifies based on the number of snow related closings, and Loudoun qualified for it based on closings before but will lose their wavier next year and will have to start school after Labor Day next year.  We don’t meet any of the requirements.
  • Satterwhite – I’m concerned about turnout and parking at elementary schools for elections next year.  What are we doing to addresses parking problems on election day?
    • Answer – We are working with Principals at each polling site to identify optimal solutions for their situations.  Solutions include staggering conferences, carpooling, and parking on neighborhood streets.
  • Dr Walts – biggest issue regarding insufficiency of parking is number of voting machines and whether they’re working or not.  When you have to wait for more than an hour to voet because the machines are slow or people aren’t informed about the issues being voted on, there’s nothing PWCS can do about that.
  • Trenum – school division is strained with our calendar and can’t take days off we’d like to take.  Maybe if the state would give us the flexibility to start before Labor Day, taking election day off wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
  • Jessie – Are we talking about closing school on election day?
    • Johns – No.  In non-Presidential election years our middle and high schools are closed to all staff and students, but our elementary schools are open for parent teacher conferences.

Superintendent’s Time

Superintendent Walts addressed the tragedy in Connecticut.

Board Matters

#14 Change to Facilities Planning Policies

Passed with a unanimous vote subject to the following changes submitted by Gil Trenum and Lisa Bell.

Trenum proposed that the two sentences that were struck from policy 810 be put back as they were previously.   Those sentences are, “Decisions pertaining to the construction, renovation, closure, or temporary inactivation of educational facilities will include the viewpoints and needs of students, staff, parents, and the public” and  “At such time when student projections, as made by the school staff and approved by the Superintendent, signal changes in enrollment which would provide economic reason to close, change the use, or temporarily inactivate one or more buildings, the Prince William County School Board shall consider such changes following appropriate public hearings”.

Bell proposed that the third paragraph from regulation 810-1 be moved to policy 810.  That paragraph reads, “The annual CIP document shall include recommended capital projects for the next ten fiscal years, a proposed construction schedule with cost estimate, and a summary of the status for the capital projects approved for the previous fiscal year.”

Discussion

  • Trenum – the reason I asked for the amendment is because the changes appeared to create an environment where public comment and input was not valued or sought out.  That’s not my policy or the practice of this board so I wanted the verbiage back in there to ensure that there was no confusion.
  • Bell – Regarding regulation 810-3, we need to ensure that school board members are notified when trailers are placed at a school.
    • Cline – My intention was never to reduce transparency and respect school board’s decision to amend regulation.  We will ensure that school board members are notified before trailers are placed at a school in their district.

#15 Presentation on the Landfill

See this link >>>>>  http://66.23.132.170//attachments/1c84ed69-67a9-45dd-bc5f-4388869fe746.pdf

#16 Annual Audit Plan

School board members voted to approve the audit plan for the coming calendar year.  The vote was unanimous.

Discussion {editor’s note:  from the discussion on the internal audit plan it appears that some of our school board members are unaware of what an internal auditor actually does or what they’re function is.  As a CPA I found the discussion which appeared to be derived from that lack of knowledge concerning.  Feel free to read the article I wrote last night in an attempt to shed light on the subject – Unannounced Audits}

  • Jessie – continue to have concerns about unannounced audits. Principal’s days are unpredictable with lots of unscheduled meetings. I don’t know how these would be addressed, Mr Cline and I met and he gave me assurances that Principal’s would be not be severely affected. I understand that this is research based, but not sure if that research is school / Principal based. Want some assurance that these Principals will not be asked to find things or ensure that cash is handled properly without notice.
    • Auditor – don’t overwhelm Principal and work with them to schedule meeting to discuss results. Most of time is spent with bookkeeper and property custodian, not Principal. Have done extensive work before visiting site.
  • Jessie – understand that, but when an item is missing I have to find it and when you meet with bookkeeper you meet with me. Best practice research may not apply to schools. Who is contacted prior to audit that knows about it?
    • Auditor – finance staff are aware of it because I need documents, but on day of audit I well send email to Dave Cline but don’t tell schools. Otherwise everything would be perfect. Only select 10 items from property list and expect that stuff to be there as that’s only a small subset of property. Focus of review is on process and tracking of assets in school.
  • Jessie – do Associate Superintendent’s know?
    • Auditor – they are notified afterwards but not before to protect integrity of audit.
  • Jessie – Want to make sure my concerns are noted.
  • Dr O – Jessie has a point. There has to be a way around this, but in my school we get 24 hours notice.
  • Covington – I think one of Ms Jessie’s concerns is that sometimes we have a scheduled full day and I have to respond to emergencies. Principal is the person who is torn in a dozen different ways all day long.
  • Jessie – that’s what I’m saying. I see the word Fraud throughout this report. We hire people with integrity. It does appear to be a Gotcha!
  • Trenum – unannounced audits can be useful without being hostile. They provide a valuable service and valuable information. I get that Principals days are adhoc often, but our auditor is sensitive to that. Principal won’t be held under lock and key and not allowed to meet with anyone.
  • Bell – collaboration has been the key to this whole thing. Auditor has been flexible and worked with Principals. Has there been feedback from Principals about this? As an Audit Committee member, we’ve never heard any complaints. Principals are coming in now and seeking out auditor and asking for unannounced audits.
  • Dr O – just asking that we give Principals tools and technology. Still accepting cash? {editor’s note – yes, and checks are considered cash.  And yes, you can make a deposit overnight as banks have nighttime deposit boxes just for that purpose}
  • Covington – main concern is with disruption coming in. If policies and procedures are followed, no one should be concerned with this.

#17 Avendale Rezoning

Gil Trenum had proposed that the land currently set aside for the Avendale development be re-zoned from TClay Wood to Nokesville Elementary.  There are currently 6 elementary students living in that area – those students would continue to attend T Clay Wood until the boundary change associated with opening the Nokesville K – 8 is effective in the Fall of 2014.  This change is needed because T Clay Wood is currently overcrowded and the developer has started construction on the site.  The Developer expects some number of houses to sell between now and the Fall of 2014, with 7 or more school age children moving into those houses.  Hope is that this change will reduce confusion and eliminate the possibility of miscommunication.

Boundary changes passed with 5 Yes votes, one Abstain from Jessie, and one No from Bell.

Discussion

  • Bell – quite a few questions. Brookfield homes. 295 homes in this development – how many students?
    • Beavers – Brookfield expects 25 homes by Fall of 2014 so that gives us 7 students
  • Bell – would we be double busing?
    • Cline – yes
  • Bell – what are transfers to NES?
    • Beavers – don’t have those numbers. Some schools are overcapacity because of transfers.
  • Bell – will this fill NES or will we be looking at doing another adjustment in 2014?
    • Beavers – we expect to do a regular boundary change process in January for the 2014. We expect 7 students for the Fall of 2013 and 34 by the Fall of 2014, so the scale wraps up.
  • Bell – would these kids then the up for re-drawing because of Spring school changes?
    • Beavers – this change would affect next year and the boundary change would affect 2014 year
    • Cline – 7 students are projected – could be more or less depending on sales.
  • Bell – what if one of these kids decides to stay at T Clay Wood – will we bus them?
    • Beavers – no.
  • Bell – when these boundaries done were they based on the old NES numbers or the K-8 numbers?
    • Beavers – old NES numbers
  • Bell – is this staff recommendation?
    • Cline – Trenum asked for this and this is our presentation.
  • Dr O – email from a community member from New Bristow Village and they are opposed to this. Are you familiar with that?
    • Trenum – yes. NBV parents were concerned that they would be moved by this adjustment.  I assured them that NBV children will not be moved as part of this.
    • Fagan – can not move NBV without public notice.
  • Trenum – this move will help us mitigate any possible impact from sales in Avendale while giving boundary committee less contentious environment.
  • Dr O – NBV doesn’t want to be part of K – 8?
  • Trenum – NBV will not be moved.
  • Covington – Mr Trenum, this fits you and your area and your parents. Does this fit your community parents. {
  • Satterwhite – look at map on page 4. Avendale splits map with NBV on the other side. Why is this a good idea?
  • Trenum – moves growth for houses in process of being built as opposed to kids who are already in PWCS.
  • Jessie – clarification from Cline – do you see this as advantageous and anticipatory instead of reactive.
    • Cline – we felt that full boundary process would best address entire process. In the full context of this, it is not a major decision, effectively addresses 7 students who don’t live here yet and may not live here.
  • Trenum – or it could affect more. {editors note – I’m fine with this.  People need to remember that this development is right in the middle of the area that saw the explosive building from 2001 – 2008 where planning estimates for new home construction were horribly low and resulted in elementary schools with more than 1200 students for years. The fear among many in this community is that development take off and T Clay Wood could find it self in a severe overcrowding situation, much like Cedar Point, Bristow Run, and Glenkirk experienced from 200 – 2010.  Moving those “kids” now, when they haven’t even arrive here yet, makes more sense that overcrowding an already overcrowded school.}
  • Bell – 6 ES students currently in thus boundary. Does this affect those students and shouldn’t we follow the boundary change process?
    • Fagan – my understanding is that there are 0 students affected, so doesn’t require hearing or any process.
  • Dr O – want to be sure New Bristow Village will not come back and complain. Want to ensure that they won’t be moved and will stay at Clay.
    • Cline – decision tonight has no impact on New Brisotw Village. We’ve communicated that to them and their representatives numerous times. They will not be reassigned as part of this. {editor’s note – I’m not sure who told New Bristow Village residents that they’d be moved from T Clay Wood to NES as a result of this change, but whomever told them that was either misinformed or lied.}

#18 Windy Knoll Farm & Education Center.

This was an informational presentation.

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