School Board Report – June 19, 2013

School Board Report for June 19, 2013.

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

The meeting began with all members present except Gil Trenum, Brentsville

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda was approved unanimously by all members present.  Gil Trenum was absent.

Citizen Comments

8 Citizens signed up to address the board.

Citizen #1 – 3 students from Woodbridge High School brought the robot they designed that compete in the National robotics competition in Anaheim California and thanked the school division and school board for supporting them.

Citizen #2 spoke in support of the aquatics complex.  She said that students’ lives could be saved by the pool.  She said drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of children. She questioned Alyson Satterwhite’s opposition to the pool by claiming that swimming would better prepared students for their lives than Cosmetology courses.  She also attacked bloggers for questioning the aquatics complex and accused bloggers of making vitriolic statements about the pool.

Citizen #3 a parent of a Brentsville High School student spoke on behalf of her daughter, who just graduated at the top of her class.  She thanked members of the staff at Brentsville for supporting her daughter and son during a difficult time.  Unfortunately her time ran out and she was unable to complete her comments.

Citizen #4  a citizen and representative of Delta Sigma Theta spoke about the importance of students applying for scholarships.  Delta Sigma Theta has awarded over $40,000 in scholarships to PWCS students.

Citizen #5 a sophomore at JMU and recipient of one of the Delta Sigma Theta scholarships spoke of the value of the scholarship he received.  He thanked Delta Sigma Theta for the opportunity the scholarship has given him.

Citizen #6 a recent OPHS graduate and recipient of one of this year’s Delta Sigma Theta scholarships spoke of the opportunity she will receive as a result of the scholarship.  She thanked Delta Sigma Theta for the opportunity the scholarship will give her.

Citizen #7 a recent Woodbridge HS graduate and recipient of one of this year’s Delta Sigma Theta scholarships spoke of the opportunity she will receive as a result of the scholarship.  She thanked Delta Sigma Theta for the opportunity the scholarship will give her.

Citizen #8 was Jim Livingston, President of PWEA presented a check to the Principal of River Oaks Elementary school on behalf of PWEA for Read Across America.

Regular Agenda

FY 2013 4th Quarter Budget Review

No slide show.  PWCS is at the end of the fiscal year and the auditors have begun work.  Expectation is that financials will be in line with May presentation.  Once books are closed and audit is complete, the financials will be available for review.  That will likely be sometime in the Fall.

Compensation Study Update

Committee consisted of 64 members – teachers, administrators, parents, central administrators, and classified employees.  Committee had 4 meetings and did extensive work between meetings.  Their recommendations include the following:

  • Compensation information should be provided to all current and prospective employees in a transparent and easy to locate and understand format
  • Staff should investigate and consider recognizing and rewarding all employees for attaining higher education and specialized training and certification
  • Staff should develop a division wide compensation statement that includes School Board goals
  • Nurses should use the current classification review process as described in policy 523, regulation 523-1
  • Staff should update 524 policies and regulations to ensure consistency in language and application.

Questions:

Chairman Johns – thank you to the committee and chair for their hard work.  I attended most of the meetings. I think this resulted from miscommunication about compensation.  One thing I noticed that is not a recommendation is any sort of change in the step / scale program

  • Answer – at the beginning of this process I realized that we needed to educate committee members first.  So the first meeting was dedicated to education.  Then we looked at other school divisions and other compensation structures.  Committee felt that what we had in place is a solid framework.  There may be some things and issues that need to be looked at, but for the most part the bones of our structure are solid.  There was no overwhelming request to look at other compensation scales and the surrounding jurisdictions look like us.

Chairman Johns – Thank you.  Can committee members please stand to be recognized?  Thank you for your work.

Mrs Covington – #2 recommendation.  That doesn’t necessarily mean monetary rewards, or does it?  Could it be some other reward?

  • Answer – it could mean a lot of different things.  Our recommendation is that it be recognized and that some sort of reward be offered.  We did a benchmark of region 4 schools to see if there were other divisions that were rewarding this.  We’re really talking about classified employees.  Classified employees who earn certifications don’t necessarily get additional compensation.  You only get an increase if you apply for and are hired for a different position.

Mrs Covington – So we do that for teachers.  This is saying we will reward classified employees as well?

  • Answer – Yes.

Mr Keen – #4 is the nurse review process not happening now?

  • Answer – one of the concerns was that nurses were not on the certificated scale and they felt they should be on grade 12.  There was a lot of discussion and we realized that there is a regulation in place today that employees groups or individual employees can go to. It is 523-1.  We wanted to educate all employee groups that there is a process out there for them.  There is lots of information on our website about compensation, but it isn’t user-friendly.  I believe that more transparency is a good thing and will make our lives easier.  There are some neighbors to the north of us that have very easy to navigate sites.

Mr Keen – #5 policy 524 update.  Is there inconsistency in the language and application?

  • Answer – Yes.  Most have been updated, but there is a need for consistent language from one policy to another.

Dr Otaigbe – Thank the committee for your hard work and putting together something we can discuss.  I like your comment that the bottom line is we have a good framework in PWC.  Would you say that all stakeholders were involved in this deliberation?

  • Answer – Yes.  We had great attendance throughout this process.

Dr Otaigbe – one of reasons we set up this committee was to avoid teacher turnover.  I was reading the Strategic Plan of the school division and saw that our goal is to not lose more than 12% of our teachers per year.  How are we doing?

  • Answer – we talked about that issue with the committee.
  • Answer – Mr Johnson – our turnover is about 9%.  Nationally the rate is about 16%.

Ms Jessie –  Thank you to committee and departments for preparing this.  Where we talk about the transparent and user-friendly format, I’m not sure I have the gene to understand how this works.  I think it’s important for teachers to understand where they are on the scale and how they were placed there.  Who will address transparency?

  • Answer Mr Johnson – Yes.

Ms Jessie – We really should provide a ladder for our exceptional teachers to be allowed to remain in the classroom without having to become administrators to increase their compensation.

  • Answer – that’s a good point.  I don’t think we were able to address all issues.  There are some other things that could be reviewed and researched.

Ms Jessie – We do need to offer other opportunities for compensation for coaching positions and master teachers.  That’s something we need to look at.

Mrs Convington – I think we do with +15 now.

  • Answer Mr Johnson – Yes.

Mrs Jessie – I would like to see that expanded.

Mrs Bell – Can you clarify the 2nd one.  Did you say there isn’t something in place to give them the plus for their certifications?

  • Answer – we do not have anything in place for classified employees attaining higher degrees.  They get the increased compensation only if they apply for a different position.

Mrs Bell – Is that consistent with other jurisdictions?

  • Answer – out of region 4, some of the smaller school divisions do that, but larger ones do not.

Chairman Johns – Mr Livingston, is there anything you’d like to comment or remark on?

  • Answer – Mr Livingston – I’d like to say how much I appreciated how the committee was managed and run.  I would also like to echo what he’s said that the recommendations were based on consensus.  This process could have a longer life and I’d recommend that.  We do have a solid framework, but there are area where improvements can be made.  making those improvements will take time and effort.  I would ask that the board consider continuing this process, maybe structured differently, so that we can continue to make improvements.

CTE Advisory Council Appointees

Appointees were approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

Revision of Policy #714

Revision was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

Deletion of Policy #715

Revision was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

Presentation of the VISTA program

Chairman Johns.  I requested this presentation.

VISTA is a statewide I-3 grant that provides education to teachers.  See here for presentation.

Revision to Policy #552

Revision was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent

Revision to Policy 508.1

Revision was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent

Awarding of A&E and Related Services Contracts

This item awards contracts for unspecified projects over an unspecified duration of time for unspecified amounts that may exceed $500,000 as follows:

  • for landscape architectural services to Bowman Consulting and Timmons Group
  • for wetland environmental engineering services to Wetland Studies and Solutions
  • for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing Services to B2E Consulting, Blitz Associates, PA, Gauthier Alvarado Associates, Moseley Architects, and RMF Engineering, Inc.
  • for geotechnical engineering services to ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC and WDP Consulting Engineers, P.C.

Questions:

Mrs Satterwhite – in the final score sheet that were provided for Mechanical and plumbing, why are 5 approved when in the other categories only 1 or 2 were awarded?

  • Answer – we use those firms a lot and our past history indicates that we were able to keep those companies busy.

Mrs Satterwhite – So we will be giving contracts to 5 different companies for plumbing?

  • Answer – they’ll be given contract and we will issue task orders as needed

Mrs Satterwhite – We will do bids for that work

  • Answer – no.  We try to pick the company that is most experienced in that area and use them. They are bound by pricing listed here.

Ms Bell so do those projects get listed anywhere for the public to see?

  • A – No.  This is known internally.

Ms Bell In the first paragraph on the agenda it talks about that services are indefinite at this time and that some contracts may exceed $500,000.  Would those then come to us for a vote?

  • A – the intent in bringing it to the board tonight is to let you know that some of those will exceed $500,000 so that we can execute the task orders over $500,000 without notifying the board.

Ms Bell.  I’m not comfortable with this wording.  If we want to delete that wording so that anything over $500,000 comes to us for approval.

Chairman Johns – my understanding is that any contract or task order over $500,000 comes to the board for approval.

  • Dr Walts – That’s my understanding.
  • Mr Cline – we can make sure that happens.

Mrs Covington – I recall a heated discussion years ago to place the threshold at $500,000.  Anything over $500,000 must come to board for approval.

  • Mr Cline – We provide a report to the board for contract over $250,000

Mr Keen – I was surprised by the initial response to Ms Bell.  I understand the open PO concept, but don’t understand why the policy of getting board approve for contracts in excess of $500,000 would change.

Ms Bell – so that last line will be deleted off of here?

Chairman Johns – the motion is just background.  The language is that we approve the contracts to the companies.  I expect that any task order over $500,000 would come to the board.  So I don’t think any change is needed.

Awards were approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

Boundary Property Line Adjustment for Mt View Elementary

Adjustments were approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

Delegation of change order authority for summer

Ms Bell – I pulled this because the wording has changed in that the $500,000 threshold is no longer mentioned.

  • A Mr Cline – the $500,000 threshold is in place.

Ms Bell – In previous years in September we vote for contracts that exceed $500,000 and there are none.

  • Cline – we don’t anticipate any this summer

Ms Bell – I know in Sept of this year I asked for the total amount under $500,000.  We narrowed it down to $250,000 and what I got back was 11 of them that totaled $4 million.  And that didn’t include anything under $250,000.  What I’ve noticed is that we’ve had an increasing number of summer contracts.  We spend a lot of money in the summer under contracts.  I get concerned when we don’t see those things come through in the Fall.  I’d like to propose that we either lower the threshold back to $250,000 now or in the agenda for the Fall.  This isn’t a reflection of my faith in Dr Walts but what I believe my job is.

Chairman Johns – it’s inappropriate to do that tonight. We could put that on the agenda in September to discuss it.  If we want to have meetings over the summer we can all come back in and vote on these things.  I think it still follows the policy.  If we want to see stuff lower than $500,000 then we need to change the policy.

Bell – I get concerned when I see a pattern that we’re spending more and more in the summer months and I want to know why that is.

  • Answer – Mr Cline – I’d have to look at the specific items.  In the last 2 -3 years we’ve increase the number of renovations that occur over the summer.  That will result in increased awards.
  • Answer – Dr Walts – we can put that together for the Fall.  To ease the understanding of this, I get a 4 page list of the summer projects every Fall.  We can put those together or in a different format that would make you more comfortable.

Ms Bell – I just wanted to have the list of awards available.

Delegation was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

Purchase of Stream Mitigation Units

Ms Bell.  I pulled this so that I could understand it.  Did we bid this our or is this sole source?

  • A – Mr Cline – Yes.  We bid it.

Ms Bell Could we get the tabulation?

  • A Mr Cline – Yes.

Purchase was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

Purchase of Wetlands Mitigation Units

Ms Bell.  I pulled this so that I could understand it.  Did we bid this our or is this sole source?

  • A – When we do a project with wetlands or streams, we do a survey and that goes to the Corps of Engineers for a delineation.  Then we get with DEQ and there are guidelines in place for the cost of each disturbance.  We have to purchase these units from a mitigation bank.  The prices are set so we don’t negotiate on that.

Ms Bell – so we can’t keep them in PWC?

  • A – if there were a bank in PWC we could do that.  If not, we use the closest bank.   This money is used to rebuild a wetland somewhere else.

Ms Bell – is the rate the same across the state?

  • A – I don’t know.

Chairman Johns – so these are contracts we’re required to take because of state and federal regulations, So we can’t compete because the regulations are set.

  • A – Yes.  In the case of the 12th high school we modified the design of the parking areas to minimize the stream restorations needed.

Ms Bell.  Is this amount typical for a school?

  • A – Yes, but it depends in the site.  For Patriot it was $600,000 I think.

Ms Bell – that you for your answer.

Dr Otaigbe – have we ever received funds like this from outside of PWC?

  • A – no.  We don’t receive anything.

Dr Otaigbe – at one time in history PWC was somewhere else.  If we had received funds in this bank or other banks to use somewhere else.

  • A – no.  There was a site further out west, but it’s complete.

Chairman Johns – Dr Walts, do you have any personal deposits at the North Fork bank?  Do you get cut rates on auto loans from the Wetlands bank?  Just to make sure?

  • Dr Walts.  No.

Purchase was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mr Trenum was absent.

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2 Responses to “School Board Report – June 19, 2013”

  1. Ed Says:

    I wonder if there are multiple sub-$500,000 awards to the same firm to stay under the radar…


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