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HomeTopicsEducationNassau County School Board Instructional Salaries Budget Increases 20% in June

Nassau County School Board Instructional Salaries Budget Increases 20% in June

Club 14 Fitness


By Matthew Decker


During the Schoolboard meeting on August 11th, the school board approved a June Budget Amendment that included a 20% budget increase for the Instruction and Curriculum Account and 24% for the Instr. Tech Account, over the original 2021-2022 budget. The school board heard legislative updates from the Florida State House and Senate. Among the legislative updates was the establishment of the Victims of Communism Day on November 7th and the restriction of classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.

All Board members were present for the Nassau County School Board Meeting.

Agenda Approval:

The board adopted the agenda for this meeting, with one public comment from Richard Lamken. Mr. Lamken started by stating that his reason for bringing these items up in the meeting was that, “I have attempted to meet with the Superintendent… and can no longer have a conversation with someone who treats me and my organization [Common Sense, Fernandina Beach] with complete and utter disrespect and disregard.” Mr. Lamken then criticized the proposed June budget amendment by commenting that, “[Instruction and Curriculum (Acct. 6300)] increased by 20%” and the“[Instr. Tech.(Acct. 6500)] “ increased by 24%.” The June budget amendment can be found, here. The School Board unanimously approved the agenda.

Superintendent Spotlight:

This meeting’s Spotlight highlighted School Resource Officer Brian Evatt. Officer Evatt is responsible for the safety of almost 1,000 students at Fernandina Beach High School.

Consent Agenda:

  1. Mental Health Assistance Allocation Plan.

This item is required by the Florida Legislature. It requires strategies to increase school-based mental healthcare.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the plan.

  1. Job Description – Assistant Superintendent, Administration

This item revises the description of Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Durham’s, current position. Mr. Lamken provided a public comment stating that this is one more case of the Superintendent hammering a round peg into a square hole. asserting that the School Board is not correctly defining or filling the position. He said that this is best filled by an Executive Director of Financial and Administrative or Operational Services, a position that the District recently eliminated. He further said that Mr. Durham is not qualified as a PIO, which is listed as his # 1 responsibility. Superintendent, Dr. Burns, stated that, “We do not have the luxury to have that person [PIO] in the district.” The Board then proceeded to defend Mr. Durham’s performance and qualifications.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the job description change.

  1. Dual Enrollment Articulation Agreement with Florida State College at Jacksonville

This item allows students to be dual enrolled at Fernandina Beach High School and Florida State College in Jacksonville.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the agreement.

  1. Administrative Rule 2.44 – Public Information and Inspection of Records

This item clarifies the description of the District’s rules for public records.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the rule revision.

  1. Administrative Rule 2.49 – Background Screening for Contractors

This item revises School District code to reflect current regulations regarding background screenings.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the rule revision.

  1. Administrative Rule 2.51 – Safe and Secure Schools

This item revises School District code to reflect current regulations regarding school safety and security.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the rule revision.

  1. Administrative Rule 2.56 (new) Suicide Prevention

This item increases measures to prevent suicide throughout Nassau County schools.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the rule revision.

  1. Administrative Rule 5.03 – Original Entry, Requirements

This item revises School District code to reflect current regulations regarding first time student school entry requirements.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the rule revision.

  1. Janelle Lavelle as Parks Department Head – Fernandina Beach High School not sure this is the right title; I can’t locate her in the Personnel Agenda or Addendum.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the hiring.

  1. Budget Amendments for the Month of June.

This item addresses the June budget amendment.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the amendment.

  1. Millage Tax Revenue Pie Graph

The Millage Pie Graph depicts how revenue from the proposed property tax increase will be spent by Nassau County Schools. 70% of the new tax revenues, approximately $9,100,000, will be spent on salaries.

The Board voted to unanimously approve the graph.

Discussion Items:

  1. District Organization Chart.

The District Organization Chart was discussed, it can be found here. This is a proposed chart and must be voted on prior to adoption. Mr. Lamken offered a public comment criticizing the organizational chart for being a “relationship chart” that does not accurately depict organizational relationships and stated that clearly this is not an organizational chart and provided clear evidence of same, pointing out, among other things that the District failed to clearly define its supervisory relationships. He also pointed out that previously the “Citizens of Nassau County” were listed at the top of the organizational chart, showing that the Schoolboard reports to the Citizens.

Legislative Updates:

The Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Durham reviewed the legislative changes to education from the Florida State House and Senate.

SB 1048 – Student Assessments

  • Eliminates standardized testing.
  • Replaces testing with several progress-based assessments, determined by the State.

HB 7 – Individual Freedom

  • Amends the Florida Civil Rights Act.
  • Protects students from teaching of white guilt or of institutional racism.

HB 395 – Victims of Communism Day

  • November, 7th.
  • Memorial to those who died due to Communist regimes.

SB 1054 – Financial Literacy Instruction

  • Creates a ½ elective course to teach financial literacy.

HB 1467 – K-12 Education

  • Establishes new term limits for schoolboard members.
  • No more than 12 consecutive terms starting at the next election.
  • Subjects all committees that rank, select, or eliminate instructional materials to the Florida Sunshine Law.
  • Those who select library materials must take a required Florida DOE training.
  • For Elementary grades, all library and required reading books must be listed online.
  • Objections raised about instructional materials must be presented to the State yearly.

HB 173 – Care of Students with Epilepsy or Seizure

  • Creates an Individualized Seizure Action Plan for students who need care.

HB 225 – Restraint of Students with Disabilities in Public Schools

  • No mechanical restraints to be used on students with disabilities.
  • Exceptions for guards and School Resource Officers.

HB 758 – Charter Schools

  • Establishes a State Charter School Review Committee to review Charters.
  • Independent of School Districts.
  • School Districts will still sponsor Charter schools but will not have ability to approve or deny Charters.

SB 2524 – Education

  • School capacity numbers must be accounted for by grade level.
  • School capacity must be updated online every 12 weeks.

SB 1421 – School Safety

  • Requires development of family reunification plan for students in cooperation with local government and law enforcement.

HB 1557 – Parental Rights in Education

  • No classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from Kindergarten through Third grade.
  • District must notify parents of changes in their children’s mental state.

SB 896 – Educator Certification Pathways for Veterans

  • Establishes alternative educator certification pathway for veterans.

Public Presentations:

Douglas Cronky of the St. Johns River Water Management District presented the School District with information on the Blue School Grant Program offered by St. Johns to educators who promote Florida’s freshwater resources and estuaries. The goal is to train and inspire the next generation of environmental science experts in Florida. The grants are available to educators and applications are accepted from August 1st – September 15th.

The full meeting video is available, here.

Matthew Decker is a Co-Founder of Citizens Journal Florida, having set up some of the technical and social media infrastructure. He also developed sourcing for some of its municipal government and business content. He is an Aerospace Engineer by trade. He has worked in NGO’s performing civic activities. He originally hails from Ventura, CA

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