School Board Report – June 5, 2013

School Board Report for June 5, 2013.

Please be advised that unless otherwise noted, comments are not verbatim.

The meeting began at 7:20 PM with all members except Lillie Jessie, Occoquan, present.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda was approved unanimously by all members present.  Ms Jessie was absent.  The following items were on the Consent Agenda.

  1. Approve the agreement allowing PWC students to attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County.
  2. Authorize school division to provide utility easements to facilitate placement of trailers at schools in PWCS.
  3. Increase the 2012 – 2013 SY budget for the Governor’s School by $57,000 for grants received.
  4. Increase the 2012 – 2013 SY budget for food services by $1,000,000 to cover additional costs associated with the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Act”.  PWCS expects to bill the federal government for these additional costs.
  5. Improve traffic congestion on Garner Drive  resulting from morning drop off of students at Sinclar Elementary.  Improvement would connect school grounds to the parking lot of Hope Lutheran Church so that buses could exit through the church lot.  School division will agree to (1) widen the church’s entrance to Garner Drive, (2) maintain paved area connecting school lot to the the church lot, (3) rebuild 8 parking spaces lost as a result of the easement in the church’s lower lot, (4)  relocate the church’s sign, (5) place signs noting that the connection is for buses only, (6) place sings indicating that the church lot is for church use only, (7) prohibit buses from blocking the church entrance, and (8) consult with the school and church officials about using school and / or church lots for overflow parking during events.
  6. Approve the cooperative agreement among the Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park Public Schools, Prince William County Public Schools, Prince William County Community Services Board, and Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services to facilitate and provide effective transition services for students with disabilities to engage in gainful employment, post-secondary education, and community living.

Citizen Comments

19 speakers signed up to address the school board.

Speaker #1 – the President of the Kiwanas Club spoke about how much Learn and Serve has benefited the community.

Speakers 2,3,4,5, and 6 are students at Thomas Jefferson who spoke about the programs offered at the school and thanked the school board and school division for providing them with that opportunity.

Speaker #7 is a senior at Woodbridge High School who spoke about the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at the school.

Speaker #8 is involved with the Lakeridge Lancers and asked the school board members to support the aquatics complex.

Speaker #9 is a student at OP high school and asked the school board members to support the aquatics complex.

Speaker #10 is a student who and asked the school board members to support the aquatics complex.

Speaker #11 is the head of Prince William Swim Club,  he asked all swimmers in attendance to stand (more than 50 people stood).  He asked the school board members to support the aquatics complex.

The following speakers addressed the board after board comments at the end of the meeting.

Speaker #12 is a parent with a child at Hylton High School who suffered a concussion at a wrestling meet.  She thanked the school division and the faculty and staff at Hylton for supporting her son while he healed.

Speaker #13 opposed the aquatics complex.

Speaker #14 is  PE specialist at Graham Park Middle School who supports the aquatics complex.

Speaker #15 is a parent who advised the school board that SPED students need to be attended at all times.

Regular Agenda

Special Education Advisory Council Report (SEAC)

SEAC provided a report of their successes and concerns.  SEAC members are required to visit at least 2 schools each year.

Their successes include (a) successfully pushing the school division to provide a paved walkway between the trailer restroom and PACE East buildings so that students aren’t walking on the street or across the grass when they have to leave the instructional trailers to go to the restroom trailer, and (b) revising the practice of dismissing special ed students before dismissal.

Their concerns include the following:

  1. transportaiton
    • buses are frequently late and parents are not notified of delays
    • bus drivers are not trained to manage or support special ed students
  2. procedures for secluding and restraining special needs students
  3. inadequate training of school board administrative staff on rights, laws, and proper procedures for educating special needs students
  4. support services, from compliance officers to occupational and speech therapists are severely understaffed.

Questions:

Mrs Satterwhite. 

Thank you to the entire committee for your hard work.  How many SPED students do we have?

  • Answer – about 10,000 SPED students – approximately 11% of out student population.

Mrs Bell. 

Thank you to the entire committee for your hard work Did we approve some more compliance officers?

  • Answer – Yes.

Will the GPS system help with the late buses and what’s the status on that?

  • Answer – Yes, and it will go to pre-bid meeting tomorrow.

How many site visits do each of you do?

  • Answer – each of us has to do 2.

Do you primarily work from suggestions from parents or site visits?

  • Answer – Both

Dr Otaigbe

Thank you for your hard work.  How often are the problems we encounter the result of miscommunication?

  • Answer – Many of our problems stem from miscommunication and misunderstanding.  If we have more compliance and resource officers that would be reduced.

Mrs Covington

Thank you to the entire committee for your hard work.

Mr Trenum.

Thank you to the committee and chair for your hard work.  What concerns do you have with the separation of Independent Hill and PACE East?

  • Answer – What we learned as that people who do jobs at one facility frequently perform the same job at the other facility.  The students work with everyone there.  As the schools are separated, that continuity won’t be there, and with these special ed students, continuity is vital.
  • Answer – Mr Healey – we are hoping that having more sites across the county will reduce the late buses and improve the opportunities offered to all students.  We know communication is poor and hope that having more sites will improve that.

Ms Bell:

The Independent Hill School will be combined with the 12th high school.  I’ve had many discussions about aquatic therapy there.  Will PWCS be providing the therapy?

  • Answer -Therapy will be available, but will not be on IEPs.

My biggest concern is with the lifts.  Special needs children need different style lifts than adults.  Many will need assistance to get in and out of the water.  Will we have different lifts, will staff be knowledgeable about changing the lifts, and will staff be provided to assist students on the lifts?

  • Answer PWCS – we will have lots of different lifts.  Have not developed staffing plans.

What about changing clothes?  Many of our disabled students need help getting dressed and undressed.  Will staff be provided to assist with changing?

What about disposable adult aquatic diapers, which are very expensive.  Will we be providing them and, if not, how will we ensure equity for parents who can’t afford them?

Will the aquatics facility be a new specialty program for disabled students?  Will we have to turn students away because it gets too full?

Mrs Covington.

Sounds to me that if aquatics therapy would be good for the SPED students then the pool would be a good thing, if it was done properly.

  • Answer – we have been told that aquatics therapy and related services will not be included in students’ IEPs and, therefore, will not be provided by PWCS.

Mr Johns

Thank you to all of the committee and chair.  I appreciate your time.  I will remind people that we will have 3 1/2 years until the pool opens, during which time we can develop plans to address concerns.

Division-wide Aquatics Complex

Superintendent Walts.  The complex will be at one school and will serve all students of Prince William County.  The concerns expressed by SEAC will be taken into consideration.  The complex will offer much needed training and educational space for our students.  Because teams will train at the complex, it will free up lane space in recreation centers across the county and reduce the lane rental fees paid by all swim teams.  It will provide increased student athletic facilities that will help PWCS meet its Title 9 and ADD requirements.

Presentation:

Complex will have two pools; a competition pool and an instructional pool.

The competition pool will be 16 lanes vertically and 12 lanes horizontally, will have a deep area for diving, will have a movable bulk-head so that meets and diving competitions can be held at the same time.  The competition pool will be deep and will be kept at cooler temperatures as that’s the standard for swim practice and swimming competitions.

The instructional pool will be walk-in depth and will be kept at warmer temperatures for lessons and recreation.  We could install play equipment and a slide in this pool.

The complex will have areas for both wet and dry instruction. The viewing area for spectators will be on the 2nd floor and will be accessible via stairways and an elevator.  The complex will have a separate main entrance that the public will use and access to the school that students will use.

We envision providing swimming lessons to students during the day as part of their physical education. Lessons would be provided to students in 4th grade and middle school.  Students from other schools would be bused to the complex for lessons.  Lessons would span 1 week, so loss of instructional time would be mitigated.

Annual operating expenses have not been calculated.  Annual debt service expense, based on the projected construction cost of $10.5 million, will be $723,000, on average, over 20 years.  Funds for the operating and debt service expenses associated with the aquatics complex will come from the allocation PWCS receives from PWC.

Questions:

Mr Keen.

If debt service expense is $723,000 on average, what’s the actual annual cost?

  • Answer – we can give you a detailed schedule. The costs are different each year.  Year 1 will be about $900,000.  Year 20 would be about $400,000 – $500,000.

This will be a division-wide complex.  How will students from other schools be given access to the complex?

  • Answer – every student won’t use the pool.  There is a crisis in the availability of lanes and pool space in the county.  Hope is that this will open other pools up to the public and other schools.

You said this would provide the same kind of access as football and basketball.  How will that happen if each school had football fields and basketball counts, but not every school has a pool?

  • Answer – this is a division-wide resource, not a 12th high school resource.

This is expanding the school division’s authority into an area that has typically been the authority of parks and recreation.  I think we might need an public referendum on this.

Mrs Satterwhite.

Regarding loss of instructional time and swim lessons.  Children will lose core instructional time going to and from complex and taking lessons.  For some schools we’re talking abut 2 + hours a day.  Some of our schools don’t budget for field trips.  How will that work?

  • Answer – We are talking about 1 week a year for 4th grade students.  Maybe we trade as assembly or another all day field trip for this.

Regarding the Special Ed budget, which is stretched as far as it can stretch.  How will we budget for diapers and therapists and personnel?

  • Answer – we will provide teh equipment and staff for SPED students.

Will we have dressing room aides?

  • Answer – we will look into that.

How would therapy be provided if it wasn’t part of an IEP?

  • Answer – there are tremendous benefits to aquatic therapy for special needs students.  Students can still achieve benefits without an IEP.

We just went through the budget.  We’ve been told $15 million to reduce class sizes, but we can make an impact on classrooms with this money.  The facility is beautiful, but is it our business to put in pools for recreation and private swim clubs?  I think we’re getting away from our core mission here.

  • Answer – We visited QDD.  I was interested to see how our pool would impact their operation.  QDD said the pool won’t impact them at all.  They said the demand is so vast that QDD is considering building another facility in the county.

Ms Bell.

How will students be selected for aquatic therapy?

  • Answer – we will work that out with SPED.

Where will the money for the staff for the pool and SPED students come from?

  • Answer – Freedom and Chinn centers cover their operating costs.

Regarding use by private clubs.  Purpose is to free up lanes and raise revenue from clubs using the pool.  How will we accommodate all of our high schools and still have time for public use?

  • Answer – swim season is only from November to March.  Expect Patriot and Battlefield to stay there they are, as well as other schools.   Could give each team 4 lanes and have remaining 8 teams out in under two hours.

How long has parks and rec been involved in the process?

  • Answer from Parks and Rec – We began looking at the designs and plans about 6 months ago.

We sent the plans to the county in March.  We they have to be resubmitted for pool?  What about parking?

  • Answer – No.  Spaces currently provided are more than adequate.

Dr Otiagbe

I want to thank you for doing such a great presentation.  For the parks person, can yo give us your perspective.

  • Answer from Parks and Rec – PWCS provides a world class education and this is a world class facility.  Our swim facilities are bursting at the seams between schools and private clubs.  This would be a pressure relief.  This sort of thing is what makes us one of the top 100 communities to live in.

A lot of businesses choose the county for specific reasons.  One of the first things they look at is the school system and choices available in that system.  We did it with the Governor’s School and look at where we are.  There might be an angel investor who will fund this.  We are fighting over pennies in a $1 billion school system.  We should wrap out hands around this.  If we didn’t take the risks then we wouldn’t have the choices we have today.  Think big!

Mrs Covington.

I’m an older citizen and I’m conservative in spending, but I have to look towards our future.  We want what’s best for our children, and wellness and water safety are best for our children.  So I’m open minded about this.  I hear lots of pluses.  We spend lots of time on buses for specialty program, this would just be another choice.    I do, however, see some limits.

How would we make sure the fees students pay for lane rentals would be equalized?  For instance, students at a school that is still at another facility would have to pay for lane rental while schools at the 12th high school would not.

  • Answer – cost would be the same at all schools.

Mr Trenum.

How will we even out the lane fees?

  • Answer – we’d do a dollar cost average.

I have a few questions about roles.  Pools have always been the responsibility of parks and recreation and they have the personnel with the expertise to run something like this.  Will they run this or will PWCS?

  • Answer – there are 2 models we could adopt – one with us running it and one with parks and rec running it.

What is a good rough estimate for operating costs?  Is 10% of the build cost reasonable?  That’s $800,000 a year.  If you assume 70% of costs are recaptured, that’s another $240,000.  Add debt service to that and we’re at $1 million a year.  If we’re taking on what has typically been county responsibility, will the county pay for this?

  • Answer – We provide park facilities now.  Teams use school fields for practice.

What about public access during the day?

  • Answer – Arlington blocks out time for schools only. We’ve discussed this and believe there’s no reason why we couldn’t keep the facility open to the public and students at the same time.

I think we need to stay focused on our core priorities.  If we start expanding out a filling every community need, then where does it stop.  Do we install a school gold course?  A school ice rink? What’s the next step?

  • Answer – Two different bids will be released in the Fall – one with the pool and one without.  You will have to choose which alternate to accept then.

Mrs Bell.

For Moseley – what type of design is this?

  • Answer – it’s a conceptual design.

When were you brought into the process?

  • Answer – about 6 months ago.

BOCS members list their priorities and rank them.  No where on any of their lists is a pool.  Why are we proposing to undertake what has always been their responsibility and not them?  Would members of the public have to be scanned through the Raptor system?  How would we ensure student safety?  Would park and rec people have to go through the same background checks our employees go through?

  • Answer – that would depend on the use.

Mr Trenum

Is this in our 5 year plan?

  • Answer – yes.  It was in the CIP you and the BOCS approved.

Dr Otiagbe

I want to respond to Ms Bell.  In our role as school board members we set policy and the school division carries those policies out.  I think we need to be careful when we ask nitty gritty questions that we aren’t going too far and exceeding our authority.

Chairman Johns

Thank you for the presentation.  I think that many of these concerns and issues can be resolved in the 3.5 years we have until the building is complete.  One of my big issues is consistency.  We all need to keep that in mind.  Of the things I’ve heard tonight, I don’t support a voter referendum because that would mean subjecting all of our construction plans to the public and that would slow things down considerably.

We have decided in the past to spend on things that are not part of our core mission.  I’m proud of Patriot High School.  We have a turf field there.  We have the K – 8.  We had two board members lead the charge for new facilities for Independent Hill.  We have New Directions.  We had the Gainesville bus lot.  So these are my consistency concerns.

We spend on these programs at the cost of reducing class sizes.  We put things in our schools because they are good for our children.  This pool is for the advantage of our children.  Dr Otiagbe talked about businesses locating here because of our school facilities.  This facility will attract businesses here.

Revision to policy 346 – tuition.

Revisions were approved with unanimous consent of all members present. Ms Jessie was absent.

Revision to policy 711 “Student Registration and Withdrawal”

      Revisions were approved with unanimous consent of all members present. Ms Jessie was absent.

Proposed revision to policy 714 “Registration of Students in Foster Care” was read

Proposed revision to policy 552 “Probationary Periods” was read.

Proposed changes to policy 508.01, “Procedures for Adjusting Grievances for Certificated Employees” was read

Increase the FY 2013 Operating Fund

PWCS needs to increase the FY 2013 operating fund because of additional funds received.

Questions

Trenum.

Most of the federal funds are grants. The state funds are mix of grants and other stuff. Local funds are different. How much of this is general revenue?

  • Answer – most of the local funds are general revenue. Student parking fees are split 50/50 between school and central office.

Has the parking fee money gone to the schools?

  • Answer- Yes

Budget for parking fees is $125,000, but annual receipts have averaged over $250,000. Why is the estimate so low?

  • Answer – we’ve been conservative.

Operating budget was increased with unanimous consent of all members present. Ms Jessie was absent.

DARE Program at Dumfries Elementary

Mrs Covington.  I pulled this from the Consent Agenda. This program deals with gangs and keeping children out of them. The Dumfries town council is paying for this, not the school division.

  • Answer – correct. This is provided by the Dumfries Town Council and the school resource officer they provided for Dumfries Elementary.

DARE program was approved with unanimous consent of all members present. Ms Jessie was absent.

    GREAT at Dumfries Elementary

Mrs Covington.  I pulled this from the Consent Agenda. This program deals with gangs and keeping children out of them. The Dumfries town council is paying for this, not the school division.

  • Answer – correct. This is provided by the Dumfries Town Council and the school resource officer they provided for Dumfries Elementary.

GREAT program was approved with unanimous consent of all members present. Ms Jessie was absent.

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One Response to “School Board Report – June 5, 2013”

  1. Ed Says:

    BOCS members list their priorities and rank them. No where on any of their lists is a pool. Why are we proposing to undertake what has always been their responsibility and not them? Would members of the public have to be scanned through the Raptor system? How would we ensure student safety? Would park and rec people have to go through the same background checks our employees go through?

    •Answer – that would depend on the use.

    Excellent question that got a pathetic response. And then Dr O tries to stiffle debate…
    It is the school boards role to add the checks and balances that have been ignored over boundaries, test books and building projects.


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