State Board Meeting – February 9, 2012

So I drove to Montgomery bright and early this morning to attend the State Board of Education meeting.  Here’s the agenda [looks like the link might be a reusable one where the Alabama State Department of Education, ALSDE,  just posts the most recent agenda.]

All seven district board members were in attendance.  Governor Bentley was not in attendance, but his policy advisor, Emily Schultz, did attend the meeting.

Time, 9:30 a.m. After the obligatory call to order, invocation, pledge, approval of minutes and approval of agenda (no public hearings on the docket today), the action items were considered.

First topic:  “unfinished business”.  That is a loaded action item, don’t you think?  The state board, however, had no unfinished business according to the agenda, so on they moved to “new business“.

New business consisted of many resolutions commending schools and students for their accomplishments and achievements, bringing honor to themselves and to the state of Alabama.  Many people traveled from miles and miles away to attend the meeting and be recognized.  State Superintendent Dr. Bice and individual board members presented the certificates of resolution to the recipients.  The agenda spells out names and details.  Congratulations to all. 

The board then proclaimed February to be:

  1. Alabama Digital Learning Month
  2. Alabama Career and Technical Education Month
  3. Alabama College Application and Financial Aid Month

The week of February 6 to 10 was proclaimed to be National School Counseling Week.

The board then resolved to appoint the Science Course of Study committee.  Bice noted that this was an affirmation of what was presented to the board in the previous work session.  No details were thus shared with attendees.  Nothing more to report there.

Five Teacher Education Programs were then approved (standard measure).

Dr. Yvette Richardson, representing District IV, will now represent the State Board of Education on the Teacher of the Year Committee.

Next on the agenda, Item H, was the Superintendent’s Report.  Dr. Bice recognized the winners of the Growing Our Own competition.  A team of students from Foley High School won for “notebook and display”; a team from Robertsdale High School won for “lesson plan and video”.   Congratulations to these students and their sponsors and families.  Take a moment to read about Growing Our Own, a partnership between the ALSDE and the Alabama Education Association (AEA).  It is designed to attract talented students to the teaching profession.

Bice then recognized David Perry for assisting school districts hit by the April 27th tornadoes with the process of securing financing to rebuild damaged schools.

Last, Bice mentioned that the 2012 Regular Session of the Legislature began on Tuesday, February 7.  Bice stated that his office received the Governor’s proposed budget yesterday.  He stated that the budget was $644 million less than what the ALSDE had requested and $300 million less than what the ALSDE received in FY12 (the period from October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2012).  Bice said he understood the governor is in a difficult position, adding that all parties are committed to and are looking forward to working through this.

Board member Stephanie Bell asked if board members could be provided with a daily or weekly update of legislation that is being considered that may affect the K-12 environment.  The ALSDE has a wonderful bill tracking service from which we can all benefit.  [Check out the Reports and Stuff page on this site  and check out the various organizations’ bill trackers.]

Board member Ella Bell asked Bice whether she heard correctly that Governor Bentley’s budget planned to move responsibility for children’s health expenditures from the General into the Education Trust Fund (ETF).  Bice responded to Mrs. Bell that yes, $225 million of the ETF is now being considered for use to pay for health expenditures, but reminded Mrs. Bell that this is a work-in-progress.

Board member Dr. Yvette Richardson asked to be notified of when the hearings for the education budget are being held.  Bice explained that the hearings for the General Fund are being conducted first and board members would be notified when the ETF hearings were scheduled.

The meeting adjourned around 10:40 a.m.  The next work session is scheduled for February 23rd.  [By the way, the work session is where the real discussion happens…..I hope to attend on the 23rd and share what I learn on these pages.]

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