Leon County School Board Meeting Briefs: February 14, 2023

Leon County School Board Meeting Briefs: February 14, 2023

Below are the news briefs from the Leon County School Board meeting that took place on February 14, 2023.

Board Member Laurie Lawson Cox, in her comments toward the end of the meeting, addressed Superintendent Rocky Hanna receiving a $35,000 grant from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the need for “truth, trust, and transparency.” The AFT is the largest teachers’ union in the country, and Lawson Cox pointed out that the AFT has gotten more political “in the last 20 years” spending money on “political campaigns, and promoting policies and agendas and lobbying for things that really don’t have much to do with reading, teacher retention, and with improving our test scores.”

She said that much of those political dollars come from teachers’ dues, and that impacted her when she was a member of the union when she was teaching.

Lawson Cox continued her comments by saying that the AFT’s donations go “to one political party” and the effects of their advocacy of keeping schools closed during COVID is showing up in student proficiency now.

She said she was “very disappointed” that LCS accepted money from the AFT, of which “is not really even a teacher’s salary” while having very little presence in Florida.

However, Superintendent Hanna commented by saying that he was asked by the Leon Classroom Teachers Association (LCTA) to accept the money to “help with teacher recruitment and retention.” Hanna insisted that the money was not donated to Leon County Schools but to LCTA.

Board Chair Alva Swafford Striplin said that she understood the contribution from the AFT the same way as Lawson Cox, that LCS was the recipient of the money. Again, Hanna said the check was made out to the LCTA.

Board Member Darryl Jones contributed by saying that he also believes in “truth, trust, and transparency” and he said he was unaware that LCS lost any of that. He does not believe that the board and LCS needs to “reestablish” trust, seeing that he does not view they have lost trust with the public.

During consent agenda portion of the meeting, the school board approved a number of items in bloc format. Many of them were construction projects at a number of the local schools.

Some of those projects include: a school initiated to install an outdoor eating area at Gilchrist Elementary School, Phase III Hartsfield Elementary School Building 2 Cafeteria Replacement Project to be submitted for review by the Department of Education, Phase III for the WT Moore Elementary School New Construction, Remodeling, Renovations, and Site Improvements Classroom Redesign Project, professional services at Buck Lake Elementary School for parking lot improvements in the amount of $43,020.00, increase the contract amount by $45,376.00 for the Parker Brothers Roofing contract at Leon High School, and a school initiated project at Roberts Elementary School for a new Pre-K/Kindergarten playground.

The school board considered an item and had a discussion around it related to Heritage Trails 5-Year Educational Plant Supplemental Survey. Board Member Marcus Nicholas opposed the language under the “Survey Annotation” portion of the document that stipulated “Heritage Trails will be converted to house Elementary Second Chance students (Building 2).”

Board Member Jones concurred with Nicholas saying that he is aware that the Second Chance program is housed at Pineview Elementary and there is interest by the current Pineview principal to “fortify the current program.”

As part of the conversation later on, Superintendent Rocky Hanna said he did not understand why there was opposition from the board regarding the language of moving the Second Chance facility to Heritage Trails.

Eventually, the school board approved the document removing the language “Second Chance.”

With the meeting taking place on February 14, Superintendent Rocky Hanna reminded the board it was the five-year anniversary of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. As part of this remembrance, he pointed out the efforts LCS has taken regarding school safety including implementing “puppy patrol” from a K9 unit and an anonymous app that is up and running where students can alert security personnel if they see anything suspicious.

The full meeting can be watched here.

11 Responses to "Leon County School Board Meeting Briefs: February 14, 2023"

  1. For all of you hoping that Cox will replace Rocky- not likely. More hopeful is Desantis investigation into her LBGTQ guide comments. Cox supported Hanna and the guide while campaigning and even spoke
    In favor the night before the governor’s office investigation. Convenient politics!

  2. We have heard lots of comments about * Woke * Wokism*, but I have yet to hear or see in print the definition of either.It is an emotional and political trigger that is used to incite further ignorance and a dumbing down of those who choose to continue to wear blinders and to be led by fascistic tropism. Maybe it is Time to Wake UpAmerica .

  3. This Cox woman is a stain on everything good and decent in Tallahassee. She is NOT looking out for our children, but is a political tool of DeSantis (DeathSentence).

  4. Why didn’t the AFT give the Grant directly to the LCTA instead of using a Middleman, especially if the Check was made out to the LCTA. I never would have accepted it on the LCTA’s behalf. I think there is more to this that isn’t being told.

  5. Come get him Govorner Desantis. Yeah we know your busy, but it will likely take all of five minutes, you can install Ms. Laurie Cox as interim Superintendant. Help us Govorner Desantis we are suffering here in Leon County.

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