Tavares, FL July 23, 2015 www.FiscalRangers.com
by Vance Jochim
Updated August 19, 2015 to reflect additional facts
James Krakowsi and I were at the recent July 20th Lake County School Board afternoon "Special Meeting" (like a workshop) and he did such a good job describing what happened that I am including it here. James is a leader in the South Lake 912 Project group that meets in Clermont. Their website is at http://www.southlake912project.com/ .
Most of the reports are routine, but I spent time and added comments below on the PD360 program which is a classic case of government mis-management and waste. But the Dept of Evaluations & Accountability staff did a great job of exposing it after Board member Marc Dodd asked for a review of it. (Update: I was told that Supt. Moxley requested the review before Dodd asked questions, but in my opinion if he didn't ask questions and maintain visibility it might still be sitting in a drawer.)
You can read or download the full agenda of the meeting HERE on BoardDocs on the School District website. Attachments or Powerpoint are on the agenda. This is a workshop format so only 8 items were on the agenda and each was discussed.
My Comments / Observation – Lake County, FL Jul. 20 School Board Meeting
July 20, 2015
(Jim Krakowski 7/23/15)
(Editor comments in italics are from Vance Jochim)
Monday’s LCSB Workshop meeting focused on the continuation the 2015-16 budget specifically as it
relates to transportation
Transportation - Budget: Specifically the transportation (bussing) of elementary students was
discussed as it relates to Parent Responsibility Zones (PRZ).
• By state statute school districts are not compensated for students bussed who are 2 miles or
less from their respective school. The only exception is if the student must walk through a state
defined hazard area in order to arrive at their school. LCSD looks at the state’s definition and
can further define a hazard more narrowly.
• The state compensates the District based on the actual students bussed that are outside the
• Currently the District transportation costs are approximately $18 million and they receive $8
million from the state … thus the $10 million ($18 - $8) is taken from the general operation
The SB (School Board) determined that having elementary students walk to schools within the PRZ as defined by the state is a hardship that should not be imposed on elementary students (K-6) and asked the
staff to present data showing alternatives. The alternatives reviewed were:
• Busing eligible students greater than 1 mile
• Busing eligible students greater than 1/2 mile
• Busing all eligible students
Bussing eligible students and students greater than ½ mile are both cost prohibitive. In addition
the District does not have enough busses to accommodate either of these alternatives. The SB
settled on the 1-mile option since busses would be available but this will cost the District an
additional $307,000 per year. There will not be any additional funding available from the state,
thus this $307,000 would be taken from the General Operation Funds.
Expenses Increase – Budget: The overall increases in expenses changed only slightly from the
previous presentation. The increase from 2014-15 vs. 2015-16 is estimated to be $16.3 million. This
compares to an increase in available funds of $11.2 million.
My Comments: Even though transportation costs will increase by going to the PRZ of 1 mile,
having elementary students walk up to 2 mile to schools seems to be excessive … especially
for a K-3 student.
As I understand most of the $16.3 million increase in expenses relates to Salaries and Benefits.
When specifically asked, the answer I received was that the budget is still “preliminary” and all
will be identified when the budget is finalized and approved by the SB. I am still uncomfortable
with this increase not being more specifically identified.
Salaries $162.8 Million
Purchased Services 18.2
Energy Services 10.4
Materials & Supplies 5.6
Capital Outlay 1.8
Plus Charter Expenditures 38.6
Net District Expenditures $290.0
Total Expenditures for 2014-15: $292-million
For 2015-2016 (estimated) $308-million
Engage LCS - AVID & PD360 Review: As a reminder the Engage LCS is a process funded by a grant
from the Gates Foundation and developed with the guidance of the Boston Consultant Group. The
objective is to evaluate all expenditures based on the return on investment (ROI) and the cost vs.
benefits of the expenditure. The Advance via Individual Determination (AVID) and PD 360 were
reviewed using the Engage LCS process regarding the costs vs. benefits of each.
(Editor's note: The presentations on AVID and PD360 were EXCELLENT, and were by Jeff Cooper & Dr. Parul Acharya of Dr. Kathleen Gingras's Program Evaluation & Accountability office. If you want to see how they reviewed these programs, go HERE to watch the video starting about 1:59:17 into the meeting. You can also find the Powerpoint files HERE on the agenda page for agenda items 3.05 & 3.06.)
• AVID: AVID attempts to reach students traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
These students are identified as students scoring proficient on the statewide reading
assessment (3 or higher) and may need additional attention to meet or exceed achievement for
college and career (C2) readiness. Participation in the program is voluntary for qualified
students who must submit an application each school year for program acceptance. AVID
students score higher on the FCAT 2.0 reading, and end of course assessments in algebra,
geometry and biology than comparable students not enrolled in the AVID program. ( You can find more details on the AVID program HERE. )
• PD360: PD360 is a development program that allows educators to view a range of professional
development videos on instructional and classroom management. The participation by
educators does not justify the costs and based on the Engage LCS process this program does
not provide the return on investment to justify its continuation.
(Editor's note - Vance Jochim: This PD360 program was up for renewal last year but Supt. Dr. Susan Moxley and and above mentioned Kathleen Gingras started the PD-360 review and later board member Marc Dodd asked for some more performance statistics provided in this review. It turns out hardly any teachers were using the product, and they were paying for it for 3 years. Only 284 teachers out of 2681 eligible teachers used this program over FIVE minutes, but the school administrators paid $281,190 for 3 years. Thus it means the School Board approved a program that cost about $990 per teacher that used it to view continuing education videos. This is a problem with school administrators - they rarely look at performance measures to see if a program or product is actually doing what was expected when approved. The program would probably have been renewed if Dodd had not asked about the results. The detailed report has many gruesome details of the waste in this program, which the Board smartly terminated at this meeting. - Vance Jochim)
My Comments (James K.): My “take-away” from this presentation was that the Engage LCS process appears to have worked in the evaluation of both of these programs justifying the continuation of the AVID program and the termination of PD360.
District vs. County Wide Elections: My previous Comments & Observations regarding the July 13th
SB meeting stated my position on having SB members being elected by district or elected county
wide. Bill Mathias is pushing for a voter referendum to be placed on the ballot this November, but he
needs two additional SB members to move his position forward. I have a lot of respect for what Mr.
Mathias has done over his tenure …. but he is misdirected on this issue. In my opinion having district
elections will increase the conflicts and animosity between districts to the detriment of all Lake County
Schools. SB members are elected to be a spokesperson for their district and vise versa … being the
conduit for communications. The August 10th meeting is when the SB members will determine if this
goes forward or not.
By James Krakowski