Leon County Schools holds first board meeting of school year

Tuesday night, the first Leon County School board meeting since the re-opening of classes last week was held.
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 11:00 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The first Leon County School board meeting since the start of the school year was held Tuesday.

On the agenda was the new budget, COVID-19 concerns and how to better regulate employee behavior.

First and foremost, the budget for next school year was approved. But, while they’ve made it through the first week in the COVID Era, not everyone is breathing a sigh of relief.

Superintendent Rocky Hanna says his staff worked tirelessly on this year’s estimated budget. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no layoffs and some money was left over for an emergency fund, after some scrupulous maneuvering.

Dr. Alan Cox says mandated masks and their efforts at social distancing have resulted in low-transmission rates so far for coronavirus.

“I don’t care what the nay-sayers say,” Cox said. “It’s working.”

Five LCS employees and 14 students have tested positive while 52 have quarantined.

But, not everyone is so positive.

“12 hours a day. Just want to cry. When I get home, I have so much to do,” said teacher Shari Gewnater.

Gewnater was just one of several teachers who made public comments, saying morale is low.

“While this meeting was going on, I received a text from a colleague, and it starts, ‘Hey, I’m just venting. No need to follow up, but I’m about to quit,'” Scott Mazur, the President of the Leon Classroom Teacher Association, said. “This is the sentiment of a number of colleagues.”

Mazur says many are overwhelmed and, he believes, the voices of teachers are not being heard. The district says they plan to survey teachers to hear more about what issues are going on.

Several board members also were clearly upset with a recent controversial social media post by a Title I vice-principal, who was then reassigned.

Members proposed for communication within the board, as well as diversity training and social media policy for staff that will carry a penalty for those who violate it.

The district opted to explore the idea in future meetings.

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