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Throngs Voice Opposition as School Board Endorses Cuts With Sweeping Consequences

| March 15, 2011

The view from school board members' seats Tuesday evening. (FlaglerLive)

No such crowd has filled the board chambers of the Government Services Building in Bunnell in at least over a year. Every seat and most remaining square footage, including table-tops and carpeting, was taken up by a throng of school employees, parents and students who turned out for the Flagler County School Board meeting Tuesday evening, overwhelmingly to oppose the district’s plan to cut next year’s budget by $3.5 million.

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The cuts are the result of the most severe drop in funding in memory as property values continue to drop, federal stimulus aid runs out, and the state refuses to make up even some of the difference by drawing from other sources or raising taxes: Gov. Rick Scott’s budget projects a $1.3 billion cut in education funding in addition to tax cuts. The state is essentially leaving it to local school districts to keep together what pieces of their budget they can.

In Flagler County, that will likely mean lay-offs to 42 teachers, possibly more—the district told 177 teachers that their contract is not being renewed; they all have to reapply. It will mean the end of numerous elective classes in middle and high school and the reduction of the school day by about 45 minutes, the shrinking of Pathways, the alternative school for misbehaving students, by $250,000, which will translate to fewer students being able to attend–and more students being expelled. It will mean reductions in many employees’ work schedules by five or six days, the elimination of tutoring and all but skeletal summer school programs, and cuts in other, less visible functions such as energy (which will mean that all but two schools will be functional this summer).

One striking contrast the unions are likely to seize on in coming negotiations: while teachers are being targeted in large numbers, not a single administrator appears in danger of losing his or her job–not at the school district offices, not in any of the schools, some of which have, according to one teacher who spoke later this evening, more assistant principals than the staffing formula warrants.

One after the other, students, parents and teachers spoke to the board, usually pointing to the specific consequences the cuts will have on themselves, their children or their students.It didn’t help. The school board, a little after 7:30 p.m., voted 4-1 to accept the recommended cuts. Those cuts are not going into effect unilaterally: the board may put some of them into practice (energy savings, for example), but most must be approved through negotiations with the teachers’ and service employees’ unions. Board members Andy Dance, Sue Dickinson, Colleen Conklin and Trevor Tucker voted for. John Fischer, the newest board member, voted against.

At the end of the meeting, during board members’ comment period, Fischer delivered a long, circuitous speech that sounded as if he’d forgotten how he’d just voted. Rather than explain his dissent, he spoke of “economic times” the district was going through and asked the assembly to remember that tough times mean that, “unfortunately, tough decisions have to be made.” Speaking of the board from which he’d just dissented, he said: “We’re making options and again they’re not all solidified as of yet.” Noting the public comments to the board about impending cuts, he said, “this hate stuff has to stop. It’s kind of like forgive and forget.” But one of the evening’s distinguishing characteristics was one form of indisputable unanimity: those addressing the board did so with courtesy and a absence of animosity, as if understanding, at least to some extent, that these decisions are not all in the school board’s control. Asked to clarify his vote after the meeting, Fischer said he disagreed with some of the proposals while others he would have approved didn’t make the list. He said duplication in administrative ranks, inventory and transportation could all be options. “It’s a government situation,” he said. “There’s a lot of waste.”

Fischer during the meeting did propose that employees could give up a percentage of their pay–he cited 1 percent–which, might help make ends meet. That got a nod from fellow board member Colleen Conklin. “If everybody took a 3 percent cut, it would equate to $1.8 million,” she said. “I know it’s not popular, but I commend you for recommending it publicly.”

The district is soliciting budget-cutting ideas through its web site.

Several students from Matanzas High School spoke about the effects of a reduced schedule on their ability to fulfill their requirements, or on the ability of lesser-achieving students to make the grade without room for any failure. A teacher spoke about the importance elective classes play in keeping students in school and interested. Electives are classes other than FCAT-driven basics such as English, math, social science, science.

John Seth, the band director at FPC and a leading force in lifting the profile of county’s band program, made the point regarding the hundreds of students in band at the two high schools and the two middle schools. “We have a growing programs,” he said, “doing things that from a school standpoint we’ve been asked to do.” He was not referring only to his program but also to chorus, dance and visual arts classes that are facing the ax. Most of the students in those programs are among the district’s higher achievers, seeking as they do the well-rounded profiles sought out by college-acceptance committees. That won’t be possible for many if the school day is cut short. “We’re really hoping to see our programs thrive and continue to grow, and we just feel like this will kind of put a stop on things.”

Katie Hansen, the president of the Flagler County Educators Association, elicited the most extended round of applause when she objected to the district sending non-renewal letters to 177 teachers without exploring the consequences of, for example, the cost of 177 individuals’ unemployment, how the district would meet its class-size requirements  and other matters when, Hansen said, “the state budget has yet to be determined, and, not to be mentioned, our bargaining team has yet to come to the bargaining table.”

Of the 18 people who appeared before the board during a nearly hour-long public comment period, more than half were there to advocate for Phoenix Academy, the district-run charter school started to address students with particular learning needs. The school costs $161,000 to run. That funding will be left intact. But the school may move location. Those who spoke, including students from the school, enumerated their successes—and asked that those be preserved.

“We’re fighting amongst ourselves for all of the wrong reasons,” Conklin said toward the end of the meeting. “The bottom line is unfortunately we have to do with what we have been given.” Fellow-member Dance said the budget-cutting process isn’t over. He solicited ideas. Trevor Tucker presented one of his own, a broad, esoteric plan that would have all employees’ pay rise and fall depending on available funding.

49 Responses for “Throngs Voice Opposition as School Board Endorses Cuts With Sweeping Consequences”

  1. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Let’s mix some metaphors. They spent like drunken sailors and now they have to bite the bullet.

  2. A parent says:

    How in the world can I give up 1% of my salary when the “governor” wants to take 5% of it to give to the pension fund, all of which I will never see again in my lifetime??? I only make $10.92/hr and work a 6.5 hr day on top of which they are going to take 5-6 days from me during the school year!! I’m 52 and raising a teenager in middle school. And I get NO pay for the summer months. My husband makes less than *I* do. We just CANNOT afford anymore money taken from us!!! Someone needs to stop this garbage soon!!! Now is NOT the time to take money out of our already shamefully low pay!!! Even school employees in Volusia make a whole lot more than we do here in Flagler!! Shameful! Tsk tsk.

  3. I Think and I Vote says:

    The state has to withdraw many, if not all, of its regulations regarding class size, curriculum, teacher pay, and FCAT, if it is unable or unwilling to pay for it. The Teacher’s Unions have to make a call, give back pay and benefits or lose jobs, members and dues. The real estate bubble has hit our county hard and there’s just about 1/2 of the tax base in assessments as there was in 2006. That’s a reality. I’m certain that there is a lot of fat in our current school system expenses that can be trimmed. One suggestion is to have students whose conduct has merited a detention or suspension work that time cleaning, raking, hauling trash, anything but sitting in a room with a paid teacher supervising them. Disciplinary actions should be used constructively and for making a positive contribution to the education environment. As an 8th grader, I got in trouble in school. My detention was to stay after school and wash the blackboards on the junior high floor of the school. We could always tell when no one had detention from the condition of the boards.

  4. Liana G says:

    Has the district looked into having co-taught classrooms that will allow for larger class size while pairing experienced teachers with inexperience teachers.

    Rather than eliminate electives completely, can the district hire these teachers part time and offer classes once or twice a week instead.

    Can the district get volunteers/administrators/teachers/parents to commit at least one day during the summer to keep these programs going?

    Volusia County has substitue volunteer teachers – is this feaible here?

    Finally: ” the shrinking of Pathways, the alternative school for misbehaving students, by $250,000, which will translate to fewer students being able to attend–and more students being expelled.”

    This is counterproductive and I hope the parents are given vouchers so that they can place thier child in a school willing to take on the responsibility of teaching! In this grand capitalist society of ours, these schools will be popping up everywhere and would be a great alternative to having the kids stuck at home with nothing to do but get into mischief!

    Actually, with the economic downturn many private schools have lost quite a sizible portion of their students and now have plenty of room available for new ones. One man’s spoil is another man’s treasure? The governor’s school voucher initiative makes sense.

  5. I don't get it says:

    How about going back to an all volunteer elected School Board?

  6. flagler1 says:

    Does the whining ever stop?

  7. Jojo says:

    That’s what I’m talking about (I don’t get it). Let’s get rid of these high paying administrative positions. They go around tripping on themselves. Why not have these administrators fill in for the 45 minutes at the end of the school day to make up the cuts. I feel we don’t need a high paying school board. I say vote them out and elect residents of Flagler County for half the price. By the way, where are the jobs in Flagler County. We need to wake up Flagler and get rid of these Commissioners too. They haven’t created one job in this County and you want to lay off hard working teachers that are required to work miracles to make the Supt and administrators look good. Bums – i’d throw you out with the bath water too.

  8. A teacher says:

    Phoenix Academy is not a charter school.

  9. Thinkforyourself says:

    What the hell is wrong with you people! It’s not the local school board, they need to cut almost 4 million dollars from the budget. Do you really think anyone wants to make those cuts?? Seriously, as a mom, an educator, when the hell did things get so ugly. When did we become the enemy? I’m shocked at the level of pure ignorance by some of the posters. Do some research before opening your mouths and spewing your venom. They’ve been cutting from the school budget for the last 4 years, I don’t see any drunken soldier!!

  10. LivinginReality says:

    Have any of the administrators volunteered to take pay cuts or even the superintendent who make over 160,000 a year. No they haven’t. Flagler county id full or morons and more will be coming not that the school budgets have been gutted like a fish. I feel sorry for these children that will have absolutely no future in the schools of Flagler county. More unemployment more uneducated people will lead to fewer jobs and more foreclosures and Palm Coast and Flagler county will be come a ghost town. You retirees can have your precious retirement community back.

  11. dlf says:

    Still,no one has come up with any other plan or suggestion to help solve this problem. Do we need school board members making $30,000- $35,000 a year(it this a full year), driving around Flagler in their Lexus sport cars telling us it is not their problem but blaming big business.. Could two board members to the same job?. Whats wrong with a 1% cut in pay, better than no pay. I would be willing to pay more tax money if I saw some movement by the other side, besides spend spend and spend some more. What does a school board member really do? what value added task to they perform? To quote Conklin” “we are fighting amongst ourselves for all the wrong reasons”: Maybe she should come up with some of the right reasons,make some suggestions to help solve these problems, think out of the box and stop blaming everyone else, how long have these members been part of the problem? It is time they start solving some of the problems and earn their big salary!

  12. LivinginReality says:

    LianaG vouchers won’t help the problem, they will only hurt more. The vouchers take “public tax money” and gives it to “private” schools. This does nothing to help the situation.

    The school board is needed, but it is a part-time job I believe, do they need to get paid as much as a starting teacher, when they make decision by not making decisions.

  13. PC MAN says:

    Some of these comments are bizarre, save money by having kids do janitorial work ? note to pops they don’t use chalkboards anymore. The gov cuts 1.3 BILLION from education and the local school board has to cut 3.5 MILLION and all you can do is gripe about a 5 member school board with a total of $175000 in salary or a superintendent making $160000. The people of Florida have a choice as to what their values are, quality or quantity.

  14. Colleen Conklin says:

    Well good morning dlf, it’s me Mrs. Conklin here, for you’re information our state constitution requires that you compensate your elected officials. We have frozen our salaries for a number of years. I’m glad you like my car! Maybe you didn’t notice but it’s almost 10 years old and if you must know I paid $10,000 for it after selling my last car and oh wait forgot to mention in has over 100,000 miles on it. I saved a long time for my almost 10 year old car and I’m really enjoying it. The school board staff and for that matter the entire district is constantly looking for ways to cut our budget. Let’s not forget that we have cut our budget for the last few years, we are now at the bone. I’m a human being apparently you find that hard to believe, none of these cuts are easy and yes I’m beyond frustrated with our state leaders! We are the ones who have to look those who may be laid off in the eyes. These are friends and neighbors. So please spar me the drama about my old car or even my constitutionally required salary, you’re right about one thing we need solutions and I can promise you one thing we’ll make it work, we have to. Now go ahead knock yourself out with your nasty comments and let’s not focus on the real issue.

  15. dlf says:

    Colleen: don’t break your arm patting your self on the back. If you had done such a great job the last years why are we still having problems?. What you have done in the last two years is to kill the golden goose, the tax payer. Like I said I Would be willing to pay a higher tax rate if I saw some give and take by the other side.Again I ask the question , again, what value added task does the school board add to the end product, our children’s education? I did not hear one suggestion from you or the other members of the board the other night on how you intend to help solve these issues, nothing but whining and how bad you feel. Everyone does, but you are getting paid to feel bad and come up with some solutions..

    Colleen: I forgot to mention if you and the rest of the board worked for “big business” and had the results you are so proud of you would have been fired a long time ago.

  16. rob says:

    You wanted Rick Scott now you got him.

    Why is the teabag crowd so silent? Why? Because most of them are retired and their only concern is medicaid and cost of living increases to their social security and pensions.

    Fellow board member Colleen Conklin says. “If everybody took a 3 percent cut, it would equate to $1.8 million,”
    Ok let’s start at the top with the school board and superintendent and work down. Why not make it 5% for school board and those making over $75,000 a year? Then drop the percentage as the income level drops.

    I don’t think that sounds so good when administrators and board members have to dig into their pockets.

  17. Liana G says:

    “LianaG vouchers won’t help the problem, they will only hurt more. The vouchers take “public tax money” and gives it to “private” schools. This does nothing to help the situation.”

    Yes it does. Students are still getting an education. This is not different from the GI Bill – veterans given an allowance (public tax payers money) to attend an approved educational instution. And parents are tax payers too!

    “state-sponsored education is a contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another.”
    (John Stuart Mill)

    “The school board is needed, but it is a part-time job I believe, do they need to get paid as much as a starting teacher, when they make decision by not making decisions.” ???

    I have never advocated nor do I find justifiable the annual salary of $30,000 for a part time school board member. Not in this poor district anyway.

  18. observer says:

    i agree the law says we must pay our elected officials but it really does not specify how much. I do agree also the board is only doing what our top elected official is mandating, so where does this body go (school board).
    Maybe if the citizens of Flagler County saw some give and take on both sides there might be a greater willingness to find a middle of the road agreement.
    These kids need the extra program offered, what about the scholarships that enable some of these kids to go on to college because of baseball, football, band, drama etc. With all of these programs it makes the child well rounded and yes it is the responsiblity of the parents but there is only so much a parent can do to assist the child in this area.
    Why not cut some of non-essential employees in the school if we have to cut ie the grumpy lady at the front desk at Buddy Taylor. She must not be happy with her job so give her the opportunity to find something else.
    Like I said I am just an observer looking in on an impossible situation.

  19. Jim Guines says:

    Boy, I hate to read this stuff. This anger and frustration must be focused on the leaders of the state. As a former board member, I can understand the frustration that is being directed at the board of education. It happens to be the only board that I know of that is paid a salary and a retirement pension after serving on the board for two terms. You will not find that anywhere in the United States other than right here. Frankly, it is hard to fight the governor when he and the “old boys” pay your salary. Some money is not worth taking and that is why I gave my school salary to students as scholarships. When I did, I slept better at night!

  20. A Mom, A Volunteer and an Advocate says:

    First and foremost lets stop bashing the local government. These budget cuts are out of their control and they have to deal with them as they come in. I don’t necessarily agree with all the local cuts, but what would you like them to do? It’s funny how people start complaining when it’s too late and decisions have to be made. Maybe you should have been involved a few years ago when these horrible budget cuts came to light, but maybe you weren’t aware of the fact that they have been cutting the budget for the last few years and now there is no where else to go. In the past they have done a fabulous job with the budget cuts, but no one seems to care about that, now do they? Just ask and they will share with you how much they truly have cut already. I think you would be surprised. And as far as the comments concerning the school board salaries…have you guys ever sat with them on a day to day basis and see what they actually do? Trust me you would not want to fill those shoes and if you think you can do better than I hope to see your name on the ballot. It’s not a part time position, it may state it, but mark my word I know several of these board members and it’s not part time. It’s a continuous job, whether it’s at an office or at their personnel home. Where ever they are they are doing their job. So people, if you want to make a difference, get involved, know your facts and quit blaming the locals. It’s much bigger than that . And by the way, I am not a school board member or a teacher. I am a parent of 4 and have volunteered in our school system for 14 years. Have I always agreed with everything they have done? No, I have not, but what I have not done is fought them tooth and nail over things that are out of their control. Instead I have fought with them in making this county a wonderful place to raise our kids. I not only advocate for our children, but our teachers and administration as well. We should all be on the same team and fighting the good fight against the state levels instead of each other.

  21. 400 Americans are the greedy enemies says:

    How much more in taxes do I need to pay to keep these jobs and keep Flagler moving forward?

    I mean really are we talking an extra $150 or so a year. I think I can miss two dinners with my Fiancee a year to keep a few teachers, Fire , Cops and EMS workers with a roof over their head. I get a homestead on my home so I am willing to give a little extra a year for my fellow man and woman. I am sick and tired of hearing from the GOP that the people that teach and save WE THE PEOPLE are greedy enemies of the state of the union. Last time I looked 400 Americans own more wealth than half of all American households, why aren’t they the enemy. Here is the facts for you that need it.

    I also hear Rick Scott is going to cut my taxes again. I would like to know how much and how can I just tell him to keep it, I heard it was about $50 total for the average tax payer.

  22. LivinginReality says:

    Liana you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, the GI Bill is funded by the Veterans Administration not the department of education. It does not take funding from “public education” to pay for “private education”. The GI Bill to funding that is separate from education funding. Veterans also fall into a special category when applying for college admissions as well, they are not counted in the normal number of limited student admissions so they don’t take the place of a a non-veteran student.

    As far as cutting the electives classes and extra curricular activities, those will keep Flagler county students from getting in to colleges. If a college has 2 applicants that have the exact same grates in the same academic classes but on has electives and one doesn’t. They will take the student who has had the electives and extra curricular activities. so but cutting these programs we are going to limit the acceptance rate of students from Flagler county. Fewer and few students will end up going to college and therefore more unemployment and more people needing government assistance money.

    My question about the superintendent’s, schoolboard’s, and administrator’s salaries is have they volunteered to take a pay cut. No they haven’t. that would be a place to start by being leaders and making scarifies when the are firing and making teachers reapply for their jobs. The need to steppe an lead by example.

    Yes the state cut education budgets. That what we get for electing this shady Rick Scott as governor. Don’t forget he cut education by 1.6 billion dollars and gave a tax cut to corporations totaling 1.7 billion. Hmmm, lets cut to from education and give that money to businesses that pay one of the lowest tax rates in the country, now our state legislators have also capped sales tax on boats and yachts to the first $18,000 in price. Lets give the rich even more tax breaks.

    We sure have some great people running our government.
    Maybe someone will step up and lead by example, but I doubt it.

  23. Dorothea says:

    The only businesses that this state will attract will be more thieves like the governor. What thriving legitimate business would bring their employees to a state that lacks good educational facilities and has regressive law-makers? In fact, what kind of families would come to Florida if their kids can’t get a good education? Probably more tea bag types who don’t want to pay taxes and could care less if their kids get a decent education.

    Florida, the tax haven for the wealthy will now pay for the wealthy to send their kids to private school.

  24. Jojo says:

    Great people, like Rick Scott, are crooks themselves. The only reason he is Gov is because, let’s not forget this people, I certainly will never understand why this man was elected Gov. Oh yes, I do remember – he paid 74 million to advertisers to get elected. Yes, Rick Scott, bought the Governorship and spent his childrens inheritance.

    I did not know that Flagler County is the only School Board that pays a salary in Florida, hmmm. Someone dropped the chalupa. I thank Mr Guines for his honesty and one who gives back to the children of our community.

    I would also like residents to start holding the five (5) County Commissioners responsible for creating jobs in this County. It’s getting worse not better. What in the hell are you doing about it. Y’all need to get off your asses and start bring in jobs to our County or are you listening to your Hammock Dunes benefactors? We the people need to wake up and send a clear message at election time. Get on the shtick.

  25. Jim Guines says:

    JoJo ALL counties in Fla is paid a salary and retirement if you serve two terns.

  26. I don't get it says:

    Can someone please clarify: Mrs. Conklin says it is mandated for the SB to receive a salary and Dr. Guines says Flagler is the only county to do so? Which way is it?

  27. Rain says:

    How can we more money be taken from the education fund, lay-off more Flagler County residents and justify spending over $10,000.00 a month to maintain the old Courthouse that has been vacant for 3 and 1/2 years with no tenant on the near horizon? Can anyone explain that?

  28. Jojo says:

    My bad Jim. Thank you.



  29. palmcoaster says:

    Rick Scott your can s…save your mendacity $50 or so tax cuts for this tax payer if is going to cost more unemployment in my district and further insufficient education for our students. How come the secy of the secy of the assistant of the administrator is not let go too? C’mon school board be fair?
    Should be the other way around Scott and his cronies in the top 1% should be paying the fair taxes equivalent to the same rate 39% or over that we middle society workers pay. No more GOP lobbyed/ promoted/protected tax subsidies, no more Caiman Islands, Bahamas BS or Tequerary tax shelters, no more Fed Reserve loans for zero interest, no more stimulus when massive thievery dooms them, no more gouging at the pump from Wall Street Nymex future traders while our President, does not take a stand against it. When my equipment fails in my business I do not expect and no one comes and gives me free money or tax breaks/refunds or incentives, like the GOP sheltered big corporate Barons get. We better take a stand against these abuses or “we will end up all working on the chain soon” or worst begging for food in the streets.,%5EDJI,%5EGSPC,TBT,XLF,XLV,GLD&sec=topStories&pos=8&asset=&ccode=

  30. A support staffer and a parent says:

    Hmmm. Ms. Conklin said: “We have frozen our salaries for a number of years.” But Ms. Conklin, no one on the board has suggested that you give up 1% of your salary to help meet the budget cuts. Yet you seem to think it’s alright to take 1% of mine. I, too, have not had a salary increase in a few years. Go ahead, take what little I make. Take food from our table. We filed bankruptcy a year ago. We’re living paycheck to paycheck. Nothing in savings. Can’t even think about that. So go ahead, Ms. Conklin. Come tell me how bad you have it. Better yet, come to my home and explain to my son why it’s OK to take money from us. Money we don’t have to save much less give up to help with the budget. I have been working for the Flagler County School Board for 5 years. My salary is 13,486.20. My husband’s is $21,840. We have a 13 yo attending middle school here. I teach but I’m not a “teacher”. I nurture children all day long. I love my job. But all the accolades in the world don’t pay my bills. Simply put, I CAN’T AFFORD A PAY CUT!!!! How ’bout YOU take a pay cut. Forget about no increase in years. None of us has had a significant increase in years.

    All I can do is beg you and the other school board members to not take what little I get. I just can’t do it. We’ll literally wind up on the streets of Flagler County…WITH jobs no less!

  31. Liana G says:

    “Liana you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, the GI Bill is funded by the Veterans Administration not the department of education. It does not take funding from “public education” to pay for “private education”. The GI Bill to funding that is separate from education funding. Veterans also fall into a special category when applying for college admissions as well, they are not counted in the normal number of limited student admissions so they don’t take the place of a a non-veteran student.”‘

    Why are you misunderstanding me? The GI Bill is funded with TAX dollars, education is funded with TAX dollars. Hence they are both funded with TAX dollars.

    “As far as cutting the electives classes and extra curricular activities, those will keep Flagler county students from getting in to colleges. If a college has 2 applicants that have the exact same grates in the same academic classes but on has electives and one doesn’t. They will take the student who has had the electives and extra curricular activities. so but cutting these programs we are going to limit the acceptance rate of students from Flagler county. Fewer and few students will end up going to college and therefore more unemployment and more people needing government assistance money.”

    Where did I say to cut electives? I advocated for limited electives instead of NO electives which is what is being proposed.

    My kids are in Art, Chorus, Spanish and Journalism – and they absolutely enjoy these elective classes. They personally chose their electives without my influence.

    On a side note – colledges are the newest money making scams. No student is going to be turned down when there is money to be made. Many state colleges are actually increasing the number of remedial classes and lowering their standards so that they can accommodate students. Yes, a POOR student may not get into MIT, Brown, Yale etc. unless they are at the top of the charts, but they’ll get into a college. Next time you shop in Wal-mart, or Target or Sam’s Club – ask any of their employees if they have a college degree. Today, you pretty much need a college degree to pick strawberries. For the right amount of money, a person can actually buy a PHD in economics etc, without actually knowing much.

    I am not knocking a college degree – My oldest is in college – environmental engineering, My 9th grader wants to go to Columbia – marketing, and my youngest two, 7th grade, want to attend college in Japan – computer animation/graphics. These are their personal choices and desires and I am full of encouragement. Whatever disappointments comes along, they will live with it.

    My brother-in-law is an ER nurse. Mom, college professor at Brigham Young. Dad, private practice dentist. His wife, my sister is an ER nurse, Mom a child bride at age 13 (cultural influence). Dad, died when she was 9 and I was 4. I was a ‘confidential secretary’ to the Managing Director of a international corporation until I gave it up for motherhood, now I am back in college switching gears because I want to. My brother is/was a CPA now computer engineer. – personal career switch. My other sister – communications specialist for a telephone company. It’s about personal motivation and beating the odds.

  32. Dorothea says:

    Maybe Rick Scott had some of the above uninformed commenters in mind when he gave business and property tax breaks that amounted to more than the amount he and his cronies cut from education. In case you aren’t aware, the overall tax decisions are made at a state level, not a local level. Apparently, Scott figures that the local school boards would get the heat and Scott would get off scott free of blame.

    As for school board members, the STATE makes a mandatory decision on how much board members are paid. No options there either. So put the blame where it is justly deserved; the governor and the Republican controlled state government.

  33. dlf says:

    Support staffer:you state you and your husband are making $35,326 per year for both of you. That is only $4975 more than the School board member is making is making. I assume you and your husband work full time jobs, I am not sure the school board members do the same, remember I said I don’t know if they do work full time, nor do I know what their benefits are if any.. But it does seem strange they are asking you to give up 1% when they have not stated what they are willing to kick in. Again I think most people would be willing to pay some increase in tax if we saw the other side be willing to kick in something also.If we saw our tax dollars being spent in a manner that ended with positive results, children coming out of the school system with a world class education.

  34. A support staffer and a parent says:

    Thanks, dif. I agree with you. Don’t take my money if you’re not willing to match it. It doesn’t matter whose fault the budget cuts are (but don’t get me started on Rick “The Crook” Scott and his $3M he stole from Medicaid/Care!!!!). If they want me to give back money they should be willing to do the same. MHO.

    (As a side note, we certainly don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, never have. I just hope I can get some summer work this year.)

  35. palmcoaster says:

    Mrs Conklin I agree with most here. If non administrators/board members have to come up with a 1 to 3% cuts, what about yourself and the other Board Members and those administrators as well? You are the decision makers then set the example. Cuts across the Board, no exemptions specially for administrators like the school buyer that outsource’s most of the tax payers paid school contracts out of Flagler County to NJ and other places. Cut the real fat instead of the teachers.
    As per your choice of car and being that as board member you get paid by us, as well, I would have picked an American made car other than a Lexus, unless that you, like your school chief buyer Campanella, are into the “outsourcing policies” as well.

  36. palmcoaster says:

    I will suggest the Tea Parties in Grand Haven that campaigned and voted Rick Scott in, to get back to him and put some common sense in his white supremacist style head as his actions suggest likewise. Tell him I do not want any tax cuts at the terrible cost of more unemployment in spite that I do not live in trendy gated Grand Haven. I am not that greedy. Our teachers and public workers need their jobs and our children need their education. Otherwise and if we have a recall procedure in the Florida Constitution we need to recall this Governor and his cronies and better start gathering signatures now. The sooner the better.

  37. flagler1 says:

    Am I the only one in Flagler county that voted for Rick Scott.? We (tax payers) have not been getting a good product (educated children) for our money, for a long time. Does anyone, ANYONE, move to Florida and expect a quality education for their children in the public schools? I don’t get it. Have you talked to a high school student renently that can use whole sentneces?

  38. Mike says:

    flagler1 says: Have you talked to a high school student renently that can use whole sentneces?

    Did anybody else catch the irony in this poster’s question regarding whole sentences? Now, at very least, I know the mentality of the individuals who voted in Rick Scott.

    Oh, and to answer this poorly written and proofread question, indeed I have. Some speak quite eloquently. Some do not. But, with your line of reasoning, I guess we should just blame the teachers and cut their salaries. Because it is most obviously all of their fault. Nobody else has a hand in their upbringing…

    The ignorance on this message board is depressing me again.

  39. johninc says:

    Well, there is some good news: as long as local governments continue to their job dismally and keep eroding our local economy, younger families will continue to leave Flagler County, which translates to smaller classroom sizes.

  40. Jojo says:

    Education! There is no education in Florida. The State and Administrators are taken up with nonsense issues. Do you think it’s any better at Daytona State College. The grammar, writing and math skills are deplorable – shameful. So shameful that I’m embarrassed. But, they pack them in only so the administrators, teachers and staff get their bonus because they keep letting us know enrollment is up. Enrollment is up because there are no jobs which allow for more federal funding. Florida is all about the service industry, cutting grass, golf course maintenance, Mickey Mouse, sea cruise travel. Governors and Legislators have not prepared Florida over the years to adjust. Sure, there are plenty of medical positions but that will be overrun too. We graduate people every year from the best colleges in Florida only to lose them to other states. Why?

  41. YIKES!! says:

    Dear Mrs. Conklin,

    Who do you think you are – – Some elected official who feels entitled to be paid for your work?!?!?

    I, for one, would think it’d be easy to drive around in a 10 year old car while pondering difficult decisions regarding the future of our counties students, teachers, and families. It’s obvious these decisions are made lightly anyway, being that you’re only required to spend countless hours weighing options, studying data, and discussing issues at disgusting lengths all in attempt to make decisions you’ll be despised for making, regardless of what those decisions may be. Yep, and I bet you sleep just fine knowing that nothing will be good enough for all. CHERRY ON TOP = BEING PAID ABOUT $30K/Year for doing so. Why, I bet your job is just like stickin’ your fingers in a toaster… You lucky gal you…

    Anyway, I don’t know who you think you are, but I know who I am…

    I am a Palm Coast resident who has no experience in Flagler’s schools, or any educational field, or children at all for that matter. But, my opinions are factual because they mimic rhetoric I’ve heard from random news stories, mainly on FOX. For instance, even though I know nothing of the true data related to education, I know that Florida schools are the absolute worst in the nation and entire world! This must be true, because along with hearing it in the news, I also once talked with a child. Said child, was blubbering sentence fragments and could barely tell me where the shot heard ’round the world was fired. Stupid kid, obviously educated in Florida!

    Finally, I understand that we are under budgeted, but you should only cut the things we do not need, or may need, or like, or should like, or might need or like in the future. Things we needed and liked in the past should also be left alone. If it’s old, definitely leave it alone. Then again if it’s new, it should be left alone as well. If we don’t know what it’ll do, yep, leave it be. If it helps dreams take flight, like families, don’t go near it. So, my advice to you would be to only cut the things that do not fall into those categories, and give us $300 from your personal salary. Then we should be even.


    Love Always,
    Glen Beck

  42. W.Ryan says:

    Jojo, take the text messaging and the spell check out of the equation and you will see the change in all of the things you sited. Education is reinforcement of knowledge. As for all of the Rick Scott / Rubio / Fischer voters…You get what you vote for. As for this Republican State that wants every rich individual and every Corporation to not pay their fair share because they earned a pass…Wake Up! The fault is with the voters who constantly vote against their interest and then want to impose lay-offs and givebacks to the middle class. These Teachers and School Board Members should get compensated without rebuke. Unfortunately; because of the poor choices of the voters, we are at the breaking point.

  43. Jojo says:

    Yikes, I pissed in my knickers – LMAO.

    W.Ryan will u be wearing the green come sunup.

  44. AP says:

    The fact that half these comments are souly based on a car is absolutly rediculous, and completley beyond the point. You need to focus on the well being of the student. One thing the school board needs to take into consideration is the AP students, if we take a course in the first half of the year, and then are tested after a half year of not reviewing its inevitable that the scores will fall. This “block” scheduele isn’t even putting this into consideration. Focus on what matters.

  45. butterball says:

    Outsourcing, thats funny. Do you even know what that means. Flagler County Schools does not out source.

  46. w.ryan says:

    How’s this helping Jojo. Fact is, America’s crumbling with these “Party Themes” Be pragmatic and not divisive. Obviously we are fighting amongst ourselves.

  47. Jojo says:

    I’m pissed that Piers Morgan and CNN are interviewing the PM of Israel (Net) instead of an Irishman on St. Patty’s Day. Boy, that’s not helping Irish pride today.

  48. Liz McLaughlin says:

    To Flagler1: In answer to your question – YES. My family moved from “up north” and chose Flagler County because of the high rating and respect the school district had earned. Our trust in the Flagler County School District was well placed. Our two eldest children received a top-notch education at Indian Trails K-8 and then continued on at FPC in “honors” and AP classes. They graduated in the top 10% of their approx. class of 700. They went on to colleges highly rated in the Princeton Review and Fiskes Best Colleges. College professors told them they were well prepared for the rigorous courses and were part of a minority that could actually write a college paper (thank you Ms. Phalen:). Our first daughter is now in graduate school at Fordham University. Our third child is at Matanzas HS and is also receiving top notch education. By the way, Matanzas recently earned the distinction of having a 90% graduation rate – a feat that is rare these days. Oh, and regarding your assessment of Florida schools in general: you are not up to date with your facts sir. According to the 2011 edition of “Quality Counts”, the newspaper of record for American Education news, Florida now ranks 5th in the nation! The school board of Flagler County has served us well over the past 12 years. They are not the enemy. Look to the Florida State Legislature and the new Governor for that. May I offer you a little crow Flagler1?

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