The Leon County School Board held its monthly meeting on June 27th and addressed a number of topics summarized below.
The President of Leon Educational Staff Professional Association (LESPA) addressed several concerns before the Board. She said surviving her first year as LESPA President was not an easy road, stating, “I had no idea how many people and situations would come to my attention and need assistance navigating the inconsistencies of Leon County Schools.” She noted that “every job title in the LESPA Unit needs and deserves training on all policies and procedures.” She explained that when she asks members who are having problems if they’re trained, usually the answer is no. She then told the Board, “I sincerely hope you are planning a back-to-school training for support staff and readdress their job scopes and responsibilities.”
During discussion on an agenda item that would establish and advertise five athletic trainer positions, Board Member Marcus Nicolas said he disagreed with the item based on the position’s compensation, noting the position could make around the same amount as an assistant principal. However, staff explained that an athletic trainer would make $60,000-66,000, which is around four-to-ten thousand less than an assistant principal.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna noted that athletic trainers have been hard to come by, stating, “Traditionally, we’ve been able to somehow find these freaks of nature that are hybrids, that teach all day long and stay all afternoon and all night, taking care of our kids in case somebody gets hurt … those days have come and gone.” Nicolas pointed out that math and reading teachers are front line positions and hard to find as well, but the Board wasn’t scaling for those positions. The Board decided to pull the item for discussion at a later meeting.
The Board unanimously approved several items to renew contracts related to construction services for projects less than $1.5 million. However, Board Member Darryl Jones brought attention to the number of firms that are leaving the qualified vendor list because of the lack of opportunities they have due to the contracts being continuously renewed. Jones suggested that after the review of purchasing policies, the Board should readvertise agreements instead of renewing them. Jones noted that local preference matters, and that local firms are being upended by larger firms that come from outside our community. Staff explained that local preference is a separate policy, and they can bring that issue for discussion at a workshop.
The Board unanimously approved the appointment of Board Member Darryl Jones to the Children’s Services Council for a term of one year.
The Board unanimously approved an item for software enhancement for the existing camera system at five high schools, adding another level of security to prevent firearms on campus. When the cameras detect a firearm, the system will immediately take pictures and send them directly to a command center who will notify the principal, law enforcement, the school resource deputy and the district’s safety and security team.