Below are the news briefs that took place during the Leon County Schools Agenda/Workshop meeting on September 6th, 2023.
LCS staff gave the Board a presentation on budget updates and explained the millage rate would be set at 5.464 which is .004 less than the previous year, although a true rollback millage rate would have been 5.091. Additionally, staff explained there’s an exception this year for $1,000,000 of Capital Outlay funds to be transferred in order to support bus driver salaries. However, Chair Alva Smith noted that she heard that certain projects would be delayed because of this increase and that she is extremely opposed to this. She went on to say that she wished that the Board would have been engaged in this discussion more.
The Director of Early Learning for Leon County Schools and two guests representing the Rebound and Recovery program provided the Board an overview of the curriculum. LCS teachers will be trained to provide developmentally appropriate resiliency instruction to their students. The curriculum teaches students to “Recognize” their emotions, thoughts and behaviors, “Reflect” on the connection between their emotions, thought and behaviors, “Reframe” their negative thoughts, and “Regulate” their emotions and behaviors. The initial curriculum is ten lessons that teachers may implement however they choose.
LCS staff gave a presentation on the options for the history curriculum for Board approval. Previously, the options were presented to LCS teachers to review and rank. Gallopade was the highest ranked of the options despite not having a digital version. However, during Board discussion on the topic, Board Member Marcus Nickolas noted that when he was looking over the Gallopade curriculum, he noticed that some of the information on African American history in Western Florida was mistranslated.
LCS will be receiving about $59,000 from a settlement from the parent company of Juul. The Board will also receive funds from another settlement that took place in March from Juul itself. Once the funds are received, the Superintendent will make a recommendation on how the money should be spent. Staff noted it will take around 1.5 years to receive the full amount of both settlements. Additionally, Board Member Rosanne Wood noted she hopes the money will go toward a vaping prevention program to help students.
Chair Alva Smith noted that several weeks ago she got a call from a company by the name of Bus Patrol who offered to install cameras on LSC buses free of charge, which would generate revenue by giving people traffic citations. Additionally, Mrs. Smith explained that if the cameras were installed that would mean there would be GPS on the buses as well which means that with the addition of student swipe cards, it would allow for students to be tracked getting on and off the school bus.