Agenda Plus
School Board of Clay County
District Multi-Purpose Center, Corner of Gratio Place and Walnut St., Green Cove Springs, FL
October 24, 2023 - School Board Workshop
Date: Oct 24 2023 (9:00 a.m.)
Invocation  (Ashley Gilhousen)
Call to Order  (Present: Erin Skipper, District 1; Mary Bolla (attending via teleconferencing), District 2; Beth Clark, District 3, Michele Hanson, District 4; Ashley Gilhousen, District 5; and Superintendent David S. Broskie)
Workshop Items
1. Review Draft Agenda for Regular School Board Meeting on November 2, 2023


  • Recognize Art in the Capitol Winner - no discussion;
  • Recognition of Clay High School Class 5A Division Recipients of the Floyd E. Lay Sunshine Cup All-Sports Award - no discussion;
  • Recognition of Coaches of the Year - no discussion;
  • Recognition of the 2023-2024 Clay County Principal of the Year - no discussion;
  • Recognition of the 2023-2024 Clay County Assistant Principal of the Year - no discussion;

Consent Agenda:

  • C1 Minutes of School Board Special Meeting on September 14, 2023; School Board Workshop on September 26, 2023; Student Discipline Hearings and Regular Meeting on October 5, 2023 - no discussion;
  • C2 Personnel Consent Agenda - no discussion;
  • C3 Proclamation #24-07 to Establish November 13 - 17, 2023 as National Education Week and November 15, 2023 as Educational Support Professionals' Day - no discussion;
  • C4 Elementary Student Out of State Travel - no discussion;
  • C5 Amendment 1 to Agreement between the School Board of Clay County and PACE Center for Girls - Clay - no discussion;
  • C6 K-12 Academic Services Out of State and Overnight Student Travel - no discussion;
  • C7 2023-2024 Uniform Statewide Assessment Calendar - no discussion;
  • C8 Proclamation #24-06 to Establish School Psychologist Week November 6 - 10, 2023 - no discussion;
  • C9 Clay County District Schools & the University of Central Florida - no discussion;
  • C10 Proposed Allocation Changes for4 2023-2024 - no discussion;
  • C11 Monthly Financial Reports for September, 2023 - Mrs Hanson wanted to ensure that Superintendent Broskie, when executing contracts, is considering whether the item or service is truly a need, given the need to conserve resources; Mr. Broskie advised that funds are analyzed as well as positions at each school, and that some of the items may be supplemental materials that are part of a larger body of instructional resources;
  • C12 Budget Amendment Report for September 30, 2023 - no discussion;
  • C13 Deletion of Certain Items Report October, 2023 - no discussion;
  • C14 BID Renewal - no discussion;
  • C15 Change Order #1 for Orange Park Junior High School Window Replacement (Buildings 1, 2, 3, &4) - no discussion;
  • C16 Purchase Agreement for Sale of Two (2) Portable Classrooms and Two (2) Sets of Ramps and Stairs at Paterson Elementary School - no discussion;
  • C17 Interlocal Agreement to Sell Low-Priced Fuel to the Clay County Board of County Commissioners for Use of Fire and Rescue Vehicles in the Keystone Heights Area - no discussion;
  • C18 Resolution and Option Contract Sale Agreement for .16 Acres at Montclair Elementary School - no discussion;
  • C19 Prequalification of Contractors - no discussion;
  • C20 Substantial Completion of Lakeside Junior High School Restroom Renovations - no discussion;
  • C21 Final Completion of Orange Park Junior High School Restroom Renovations - no discussion;

Discussion Agenda:

  • D1 Public Hearing to Approve as Advertised Revisions to School Board Policy 1.15 (Parental Rights, Notification and Student Welfare) - no discussion;
  • D2 Human Resources Special Action A - no discussion;
  • D3 Human Resources Special Action B - no discussion;
  • D4 Human Resources Special Action C - no discussion.
2. Discussion of Legislative Priorities

Superintendent Broskie reviewed prior legislative priorities and the three (3) proposals that were previously submitted via the lobbyist, The Southern Group.  Two (2) proposals were approved for appropriations (expand Elevation Academy and CNA Program at Fleming Island High) but funds have not yet been received.  Mr. Broskie advised our priorities always include increasing the base student allocation (BSA) and may also include the request to provide the full cost of the expected cost of vouchers to ensure adequate funding and budgeting.  He would like to finalize the Legislative Priorities by the next workshop due to the earlier scheduling of this year's Day in the Legislature.

Mrs. Hanson suggested a revision to the wording of the teacher Salary Increase Allocation to include unrestricted increased funding.  Mrs. Gilhousen pointed out greater success when requesting something more specific, and Mr. Broskie advised staff are currently working on a plan that will be made public at a later date as the legislative priorities are built.  Mrs. Gilhousen is very interested in Career and Technical Education endeavors, noting the natural fit that would be given workforce shortages.

Board members were invited to contact Mr. Broskie with any additional suggestions.

3. Overview of Accreditation Process

Laura Fogarty, Director of Climate and Culture, provided an overview of the accreditation process. Cognia Performance Standards will be used to reflect and examine the district's progress toward its mission, purpose, and strategic direction.  New accreditation standards were implemented last year, and staff has attended trainings re the standards.  Accreditation is a continuous improvement process that will help the district improve teaching and learning. The key characteristics of areas assessed were noted as well as the documentation or evidence to support the areas identified.  Mrs. Fogarty requested the board members provide verification of any training or professional development they have attended to assist with the response to Standard 8, which substantiates that the board demonstrates a commitment to learners by collaborating with leaders to uphold the institution's priorities and to drive continuous improvement.  The accreditation process will not include interviews of board members. 

4. Review of Tobacco Policy

Monique Johnson, Tobacco Policy Manager,Tobacco Free Clay, and Julie, Community Engagement Specialist, Tobacco Free Clay, were introduced.

Laura Fogarty, Director of Climate and Culture, provided draft policy revisions to the board re School Board Policy 4.15 Tobacco Use, giving consideration to suggested policy from Tobacco Free Clay, but making the policy more generic (no name brands) to avoid the difficulty of keeping up with trends.

Mrs. Skipper asked Jeremiah Blocker, School Board Attorney, if, from a legal standpoint, the proposed policy ensures that there will be no tobacco use on campus.  She is concerned that, with fentanyl now being used in vapes, there are steps in place for vaping to stop.  She also wants to ensure the district is leading by example and that teachers are not smoking on campus in view of students.  Mr. Blocker indicated that the policy is carried out through the Student Code of Conduct, but expectations need to be clear and ensured of being met.  Signage does not need to be included in the policy to make it actionable, and out-of-county events are still governed by the proposed policy.  The policy gives staff the ability to apply it, without the identification of specific brands which can be limiting, and the policy provides for flexibility in its application.  Adults are also addressed in the proposed policy.

Mrs. Skipper proposed further restrictions for employees, parents, and visitors, and Mr. Blocker indicated that a potential challenge to that would be a lack of authority re the enforcement of the policy on certain individuals.  Employee tobacco use restrictions may be included in the Employee Handbook, and Mr. Blocker can work with Mrs. Fogarty on that language.

Mrs. Fogarty noted the district's partnership with Clay Action Coalition, which provides a 6-week program for students and parents, required for certain student vaping violations.

Ms. Johnson advised that her organization is tasked with working with policy across all school disricts and the model policy provided has been enacted in some districts, enumerating the beneficial aspects of the Tobacco Free policy.  Ms. Johnson and her team will view the signs already in place at schools and discuss how they can assist with improved signage for all schools.

Victoria Kidwell, President, Clay County Education Association, expressed concern that revising the Employee Handbook may constitute a change of working conditions in a district with current employment openings that is already tobacco-free, and it is important to understand what enforcement will mean.

The board would also like improved education on the numerous free resources available to employees and families.

5. CCSO Presentation on Contracted Services for School Resource Officers

This item was heard first on the agenda.

Michele Cook, Sheriff, Clay County Sheriff's Office, presented the organization and timeline of events following a request she received to provide a proposal to assume the safety and security services of Clay County District Schools.  The Board of County Commissioners were also engaged in this process because they approve CCSO's budget.  Sheriff Cook's proposal included the option for CCSO to provide direct support to all schools and a second option for the existing interlocal agreements with Green Cove Springs Police Department and Orange Park Police Department to remain in place, maintaining those five (5) officers currently provided to area schools.  The proposed plans would create the position of director who would report to the undersheriff and Sheriff Cook.

Vicki Adams, Chief Financial Officer, Clay County Sheriff's Office, reviewed the financial portion of the detailed line items provided to the board members for their consideration.  The proposals include the assumption that all existing CCSDPD officers would be rolled into the new compensation plan with all current CCDSPD officers receiving pay increases, and their years of service and accrued time off would be honored.  The proposal is based on 365 days per year, bell to bell, with this "arm" dedicated to school safety.  If interlocals with GCSPD and OPPD are maintained, dispatch would come directly into CCSO rather than being relayed.  Proposals include operating expenses, liability insurance, auto insurance, enhanced legal coverage the cost of replacing equipment that expires at regular frequencies and are based on 2024/2025 cost projections, to be funded from the one mill.  At the end of each year, their books must be zeroed out and any unused funding would be returned to CCDS.

Mrs. Clark expressed difficulty with the difference in cost and believes that may be due to CCDSPD's numbers being taken from the 2022/2023 year.  She agrees that vehicles and equipment should be transferred to CCSO so citizens do not have to purchase equipment twice.  Sheriff Cook indicated that each year, CCSO would provide a line item accounting of the budget, reflecting a revenue-neutral status with leftover items returned, stressing they are not going to make money for providing these services.  Sheriff Cook does not plan on instituting unnecessary change and understands the concern, operationally, of officers transitioning to different positions.  She is committed to a smooth transition and leaving officers in place wherever possible.

Mrs. Skipper advised she has previously expressed her concerns about the safety and security of students and is committed to upholding transparency, the law, parental rights, and she stated that student safety is far more important than a dollar amount.  She believes the board has a responsibility to the taxpayers and is infuriated with her inability to receive a line-item budget like the one provided by CCSO.

Mrs. Bolla asked if Sheriff Cook has worked closely with CCDSPD on training, Sheriff Cook advised she has, but that they have their own training program.  Sheriff Cook views the guardian positions as a force multiplier, providing an additional set of eyes and ears focused on safety.  Although guardians are not part of the police force, they are trained through CCSO although they work for CCDS.  Mrs. Bolla asked Dr. Susan Legutko, Assistant Superintendent of Business Affairs, what differences she sees in the financials and if she foresees additional expenses.  Dr. Legutko advised she reviewed CCSO's budget, which appears to be $3.9M more than what is currently being expended.  She is unable to calculate 2023/2024 projections because it is not yet known what funding will be received from the state as a result of the legislature's annual meeting.  State funding is based on property values and revenue-based FTE (full-time equivalency).  Dr. Legutko also expressed concern that the one mill is a temporary funding source, approved by Clay County voters, so there is the possibility that this funding will be unavailable in the future and, as Chief Financial Officer, she would have hard decisions re managing and deciding how that cost would be absorbed in an already declining budget.  CCDS also includes the hardening of schools in its 5-year Educational Facilities Plan, and an increased cost of providing police officers would necessitate the elimination of some school hardening projects.  Dr. Legutko also advised she has always provided transparency with financials and her department and team are willing to provide whatever additional information the board specifies it needs.

Mrs. Hanson advised she openly listens to constituents and believes that, when transparency is presented and the taxpayers understand how every dollar is spent, the voters will continue to support the mill tax.

Mrs. Bolla asked Sheriff Cook about the transition of officers and what plan is in place if CCDSPD officers elect not to transfer to CCSO.  Sheriff Cook responded that CCSO SROs are guaranteed to be experienced officers.  Mrs. Bolla advised she was not seeking this transition and noted the effectiveness of CCDSPD, concerns re the increased financial cost with CCSO particularly in uncertain economic times, and her concern that the continuous effort of hardening schools will be adversely affected by an increase in SRO costs.

Mrs. Clark indicated she does not see the cost difference indicated by Dr. Legutko, and Dr. Legutko responded that transition costs account for the majority of the increase.  Sheriff Cook advised there is a cost of transitioning the SROs to CCSO, but that transition costs may be reduced as CCDS provides equipment and vehicles to CCSO.  Sheriff Cook also noted her plan accounts for the expense of expiring equipment such as vests, vehicles, defibrillators, etc.

Bryce Ellis, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, asked Sheriff Cook if she would consider partnering only in secondary schools, and Sheriff Cook advised it is not best practice to compromise the continuity of services and their critical components.  Ms. Ellis also asked if the partnership could use a limited number of days to offset the cost, and Sheriff Cook advised the 365-day model is a clearer line for using the millage rate.

Victoria Kidwell, President, Clay Education Foundation expressed her concern that, given the need for restorative justice and the need to educate and provide guidance and goals, would this concept conflict with law enforcement's "on the street" goals.  Sheriff Cook provided assurance that she would continually pick the best people for each position, placing the best people over them to ensure an effective top-down approach.

Constance Higginbotham, Clay Education Foundation Retired, stated she has heard many citizens talking about what a great job CCDSPD is doing and questions the move to change.  Mrs. Skipper replied that she has seen a variety of issues from dispatch, to reporting, to best practice.  Mrs. Hanson stated that it comes down to the type of leadership, organization, transparency, and consistency of the organization.

A recess was taken at 10:32 a.m. and the meeting resumed at 10:45 a.m.

Mrs. Gilhousen indicated her inclination to place an item on the November agenda to ask the superintendent to begin negotiations fora contract, with an ultimate vote in December.  Mr. Blocker indicated that the decision today would be to place an item on the November agenda to allow the superintendent to enter into contract negotiations giving consideration to the legal framework to include identifying a scope of services and a final price point.  Coordination with the Board of County Commissioners will be necessary.  Mr. Broskie will form a team with the CFO and Legal Department to consider the terms of the proposed interlocal agreement.

Board discussion yielded consensus for the contract term to be three (3) years and the desire to maintain existing interlocals with OPPD and GCSPD.  Charter schools will continue to receive an appropriate portion of funds for providing safety and security as they choose.  Standard operating procedures will be created and Mr. Blocker will represent the board through the negotiation process.

Questions from the Audience
6. Questions From the Audience

Questions from Victoria Kidwell, President of Clay County Education Association, were heard during "Review of Tobacco Policy" item and noted within the minutes of that item.

Superintendent Comments  (None)
School Board Attorney Comments
7. School Board Attorney Comments

Jeremiah Blocker, School Board Attorney, indicated that he has received the letter of intent from Sheriff Cook and will review it with Superintendent Broskie.  

He further noted that some districts are looking at class action lawsuits re social media use and he will also discuss that with Mr. Broskie.  These lawsuits are identifying how some of the social media sites cause harm to students.  Being identified as a party to the suit may result in judgment funds that could help finance anti-bullying education.

School Board Comments
8. School Board Member Comments

Mrs. Hanson suggested that, as the district moves forward with policy review and revision, she would appreciate an email advising which policies are being examined so she can provide her input prior to receiving a first look at the proposed revisions.  She indicated she was proud of Mr. Blocker, Mr. Dailey, and Mr. Broskie about what she hopes is progress with the library media policy.  The policy is expected to be brought forward on the January agenda.  Additionally, she will be holding office hours at public libraries on Thursdays (with the exception of board meeting days) and she also plans on holding a monthly Tuesday forum called "Your Voice Matters" to give citizens an opportunity to express themselves on topics of their choice.  She also renewed her request for the district to review the budget portion of Duval County Public Schools' website as an excellent example of financial transparency.

Mrs. Skipper discussed moving away from the American Library Association.  Mr. Broskie advised there is no contractual relationship with ALA so no actionable item is required.  ALA is noted in the library media policy, so that may be an area also targeted for revision.  Mrs. Skipper reiterated a prior suggestion to obtain a software program that would enable staff to produce requested information without using crippling amounts of staff time.

Mrs. Gilhousen noted that the accounting practices utilized by CCSO and CCDS differ, but there is likely not one that is right and one that is wrong. 

Mrs. Clark recently toured Marjory Stoneman Douglas.  She will be contacting Mrs. Fogarty to discuss the things she learned there, noting the need to keep portables on the forefront and the construction of buildings on the front burner.

Adjournment  (12:45 p.m.)
Superintendent of Schools School Board Chair