On May 11th, Leon County School Board Member Laurie Cox did an interview with local Tallahassee radio host Steve Stewart on Real Talk 93.3. Recently elected Ms. Cox was asked to address a number of current issues facing Leon County School Board, her answers are provided below.
Fiscal Responsibility: Laurie Cox praised Superintendent Rocky Hanna and noted that regardless of the criticism Mr. Hanna receives, “He’s probably one of the most fiscally conservative superintendents that we’ve ever had.”
She continued by saying that since she’s been on the School Board two audits have come back perfect which she stated is “unprecedented”. In addition, Ms. Cox stated that an audit of $20 million in federal funds related to the COVID pandemic also came back without any problems.
Career Programs: Ms. Cox was asked about the programs Leon County Schools offer to guide students related to career focused paths. She explained that starting in elementary school there is a career awareness program, a career exploration program in middle school and a career preparation program for high school. She continued to say that every high school has a career dual enrollment opportunity.
Cox cited the building and construction program at Leon High School and the aerospace engineering program at Godby. The aerospace program gives students the opportunity to use and operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems with an emphasis on operations. Coursework prepares students to integrate robotic technology into hardware and software regimes of unmanned aviation.
Cox also noted that students can come out of high school with a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification. The CNA Program via Lively Technical College is hosted on the campus of SAIL High School! The CNA program prepares students for employment as nursing assistants, nursing aides, and orderlies, nurse aides in nursing homes or nurse aides, orderlies & attendants.
Discipline Issues: Ms. Cox was asked about the measures the School Board was taking to address the discipline issues plaguing Leon County Schools since the Covid lockdown. She stated the behavior of the students is “frightening”, and that Superintendent Rocky Hanna has made it a priority to make sure teachers have support in the class room, for academic reasons as well as discipline.
Coaches Get Payment Increase: Ms. Cox noted the importance of extracurricular activities for students in middle and high school and noted that participation is oftentimes the motivation for attending school.
Ms. Cox explained that she wasn’t aware that school sports coaches were being underpaid until being elected to the School Board. She stated, “I don’t know that people realize how little coaches get paid for the hours and hours of extra work that they put in to coach a sports team.” Last year the Superintendent raised the supplement the coaches receive. Ms. Cox said she thought it was a great direction to move in, and that the head coaches in our high schools could potentially deserve more.