Archive for School Board Meetings

Purple Heart Anniversary

Purple Heart Anniversary

Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776, Military Order of the Purple Heart

IMG_0208Today at our August 2016 Regular School Board Member in honor of August 7th Purple Heart Anniversary, Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776, Military Order of the Purple Heart Commander “Bud” Allen and Chapter Adjutant and Historian Curt Ebitz helped with the opening exercises.

The Citrus County School District was again recognized for being the First Purple Heart School District and for the Veteran’s in the classroom program.  During the meeting a new plaque honoring Citrus County School District as being the First Purple Heart School District was unveiled.

During the opening Curt Ebitz read the ‘The History of the Purple Heart’  and shared that approximately 130 Purple Heart recipients currently live in Citrus County.

The History of the Purple Heart, first known as “Badge of Military Merit”

At his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, on August 7, 1782, General George Washington devised two new badges of distinction for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers. To signify loyal military service, he ordered a chevron to be worn on the left sleeve of the uniform coat for the rank and file who had completed three years of duty “with bravery, fidelity, and good conduct”; two chevrons signified six years of service. The second badge, for “any singularly meritorious Action,” was the “Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding.” This device, the Badge of Military Merit, was affixed to the uniform coat above the left breast and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge and to have his name and regiment inscribed in a Book of Merit. The Badge specifically honored the lower ranks, where decorations were unknown in contemporary European Armies. As Washington intended, the road to glory in a patriot army is thus open to all.”

Pre-WW2 Awards: The Purple Heart as we know it today was reestablished in 1932 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. The original criteria for award of the Purple Heart as published in the War Department Circular No. 6 of February 22, 1932 states that the medal be awarded to anyone serving in the Army who had received combat-related injuries or had received the AEF’s Meritorious Service Citation Certificate during WWI, the latter criteria harkening back to the intent of George Washington’s “Badge of Military Merit”.

WWII Awards: In April 1942 the War Department amended its policy regarding the issuance of the Purple Heart. The new regulations authorized the posthumous award of the Purple Heart retroactive to December 7, 1941, and eliminated the use of the medal as a merit award.


Millage & TRIM

Millage & TRIM

July 26, 2016 Board Workshop Presentation

At our July 26, 2016, School Board Public Hearing Meeting, the School Board adopted the tentative budget and millage rate for the 2016-2017 year as required by law.  The district’s tentative budget comes in at $208,304,509. The board approved a required local effort rate of 4.677 mills set by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Legislature, which would raise $40,741,612. That is a decrease from the 2015 rate of 4.9410 mills. The board approved a discretionary rate of .7480 mill, unchanged from last year, which would raise $6,515,870. Its capital outlay rate was set at 1.500, unchanged from last year, which would raise $13,066,585.  Total millage rate approved 6.925 mills, which would levy a total local school taxes of $62,837,570, which is estimated to be $413,635 less in local school taxes compared to last year.

Following the public Hearing the school board had a Workshop that included a presentation by Tammy Wilson, Director of Finance on ‘Millage and TRIM’ to share with the public information on what millage rates and TRIM notices are.  I wanted to share this valuable presentation.

Click Here to Download Presentation or view below

Historical Millage & Local School Taxes Levied

Total School Millage compared to Total School Taxes

School Board has workshop on Mental Health

School Board has workshop on Mental Health

Chronicle 01-30-2016At last Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 school board workshop, our board received a detailed update on how our schools monitor, evacuate, and address mental health with our students and staff.  This was an important workshop for our board and community to have happen and I am grateful that School Board Chairman Linda Powers arranged it. I shared with the Chronicle, “I thought it was one of the most productive and collaborative workshops”.

Further I shared how excited I am about our school board “I felt excited to be part of that team. The four of us are really learning to work together. … The community needs to know we are asking questions.”

Read the entire report of the workshop by Andrew Caplan by following this link:

Board Meeting Recap for Nov. 12, 2013: Board Selects New Chairman

CCSB ChairmanSchool Board Meeting Recap for Nov. 12, 2013

Annual Organizational Meeting Selects New Chairman

Each year by Florida statute local governing boards and commissions must have an annual organizational meeting where new officers must be elected, meeting dates and times must be set and in the case of the Citrus School Board, we must also hire our attorney as well.

While not specifically set by policy or statute, generally the Chairman position is chosen through a rotation. This past year the Honorable Ginger Bryant was our Chairperson and the Honorable Pat Deutschman was Vice-Chairperson.  During the meetings I sit next to Ms. Deutschman and when Ms. Deutschman was to be elected Chairperson I would have been potentally in line to be the Vice Chairperson in coming year.  Again, while this is generally what occurs, it is not required to happen.

During yesterday’s organizational meeting when the opportunity came to nominate Ms. Deutschman as Chairperson three of us board members all spoke at once to nominate Ms. Deutschman. I seconded the nomination. Ms. Deutschman’s response to the nomination was most surprising.  Ms. Deutschman shared that she has served as Chairperson more than once and that she believed someone else had earned the honor of being nominated. She respectfully withdrew her name from nomination and made a motion that, “Thomas Kennedy be Chairperson”.  I was stunned and humbled.  As board members we often challenge each other and do not always agree but we work together for the students, schools and public to make the best decisions we can. Our School Board is known around the state of Florida as one of the finest examples of a highly functioning and successful board for doing the business of the people.  This only comes from the respect of your fellow board members.   Ms. Deutschman’s nomination, if nothing else, affirmed this to me.  I was further humbled when Ms. Bryant seconded the nomination and my fellow board members voted unanimously to elect me Chairperson for the 2013-2014 year.  I was still a bit stunned as Ms. Bryant handed over the gavel to me.

At that point I presided over the meeting with our next order of business choosing a Vice-Chairman.  Ms. Bryant nominated Ms. Deutschman and the board voted unanimously to elect Ms. Deutschman as Vice-Chairperson for the 2013-2014 year.

Next order of business that the board voted on was dates and times for the board to meet during the coming year. It was voted to continue to meet on the second Tuesday of each month (with the exception of November 2014 which is the 3rd) with the meeting time to also continuing to begin at 4:00pm.  This time provides two opportunities for public input, the first Citizen Comments at approximately 4:05pm is reserved for comments on the items requesting approval on the meeting’s agenda and a second opportunity is available for any subject at approximately 5:45 p.m.  (Citizen Comments Times can fluctuate somewhat based on the agenda.)

The board then approved the reappointment of the School Board Attorney Wes Bradshaw.

Next on December 2nd I attend the Florida School Board Associations new Chairman training in Tampa, with our next board meeting scheduled for December 10th.

I thank my fellow board members for their confidence in electing my as the 2013-2014 Chairman and I look forward to this opportunity.

Citrus Schools state of the District Part III

State of the District IIICitrus Schools state of the District Part III

This past week’s school board workshop was the last of a three part series report on the Citrus Schools state of the District.  During these presentations staff gave updates and reports on Clinic Procedures, professional development, the district Wellness Center, SRO curriculum and some student safety statistics.

Last year due to new legal opinions the school district found it necessary to no longer carry Epinephrine pens (a.k.a. EpiPen) that did not have a specific prescription for a specific student.  In the past the school health clinic would keep on hand EpiPens in case a student or staff member had an unexpected allergic reaction. EpiPens can be an important lifesaving tool to have.  The school board, preferred to have them in the clinic and we were disappointed when we could not.  This past legislative session Senate Bill 284 was passed and signed into law permitting schools to have on hand EpiPens. Citrus School’s Student Services department worked out an arrangement with our Wellness Care Program here and their physician to have the new necessary paperwork on hand at each school.  Student Services also obtained a grant through the “EpiPen 4 Schools” program to pay for the pens.  Now our schools have all of these important tools on our school campuses and in our clinics should they be needed for our students and staff.

Director of Professional Development, Belinda Woythaler, shared information with us about the Professional Development Department Mission.  The mission of the Professional Development Department is to foster academic and social growth of all students through promotion, support, and communication of continuous improvement strategies and the facilitation of high-quality professional development for all staff.  Ms. Woythaler explained that High Quality Professional Development includes a focus on content that Develops pedagogical knowledge and skill.  Those skills then align with standards, curriculum, and assessments. Teachers become active learners through participation and applying the context of teacher practice with participatory and collaborative skills.

The Citrus County Sherriff’s Office and the Citrus County School District have an important working arrangement for student safety through the use of School Resource Officers (SRO) at our schools. This is done through the critical curriculum they teach and the safety they provide at our schools. The SRO supervisors Sgt. Ron Frink and Sgt. Scott Farmer gave a presentation explaining the SRO program and curriculum.   An SRO is a law enforcement officer who is assigned to elementary, middle, and/or high school.  The main goal of the SRO is to prevent juvenile delinquency by promoting positive relations between youth and law enforcement. The SROs programs include the FOCUS, Junior FOCUS, Child Lures, Explorer Program, Teen Driver Challenge and more.  These officers are one of the first lines of defense in protecting and helping our students.

Student Services director, Regina Allegretta, shared some positive information about the Citrus County School Board’s bullying policies and procedures, as well as some encouraging district statics. Ms. Allegretta shared that the Florida Department of Education: Office of Safe Schools (OSS) recently performed an audit on Citrus’s bullying policies and procedures.  Following that we were notified that CCSB was in full compliance of all mandatory items.  The Office of Safe Schools complementary letter of commendation CCSB by saying, “…you on your extensive outreach, trainings, promotions, etc. to parents, teachers, students (Compliance Item #6). You compiled quite a comprehensive list of bullying-related activities and trainings going on at the district. This should be shared with other districts.”  Afterwards Ms. Allegretta updated the board on the district’s bullying policies reporting process and reviewed the annual ‘Reported Incidents’ for Citrus schools which is sent to the state. While any number of inappropriate behaviors by one students towards another is one too many it is encouraging to learn that of the approximately 15,600 plus students in 23 schools in Citrus School Districts that this year (2013-2014) to date, 4-Substantiated and 8-Unsubstantiated bullying cases have been reported in all Citrus schools. During the 2012-2013 school year, 12-Substantiated and 8-Unsubstantiated, and in 2011-2012 school year, 8-Substantiated and 0-Unsubstantiated bullying cases have been reported in all Citrus schools. For additional information on the district’s bullying policies can be reviewed CCSB Student Code of Conduct, and the CCSB policy 5.321: Bullying and Harassment.

I always encourage the State of the District workshops as it gives board members and better opportunity to learn about the detailed working of our districts and its programs.

Board Workshop Today on Common Core

School Board WorkshopBoard Workshop Today on Common Core

“Why is Gov. Scott doing this?”

Today at 9:00am begins a School Board workshop and board meeting which includes conversation about Common Core. With yesterday’s announcement by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott that he is requesting that Florida withdraw from using the Common Core assessment PARCC test and with Gov. Scott’s multiple letters which seem to indicate that the Common Core standards that his office pushed and he now seems against, many questions are unanswered at this time. It appears Florida’s entire transition to Common Core standards that are were passed into law in 2013 legislative session, which were intended for career and job readiness, as well as who’s student assessment data counts towards 50% of a teachers evaluation is all up in the air.

Hopefully we will learn more today.
Watch the school board meeting live at