may 5, 2011

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special joint meeting session with the School Board on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 1:00 p.m., in the Tech Dining Room, Lake Technical Center, Eustis, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were:  Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Jimmy Conner; and Welton G. Cadwell, as well as School Board Members Debbie Stivender, Roseanne Brandenburg, Jim Miller, and Tod Howard.  Others present were:  Darren Gray, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; and Susan Boyajan and Shannon Treen, Deputy Clerks.

welcome and introduction

School Board Chairman Debbie Stivender welcomed everyone to the meeting and led the moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance.  She explained that they had wanted the Board and the School Board together so that the school system could display the different academies that they had throughout Lake County, and they have put together a program to illustrate some of the academies that they had both at the high schools and at Lake Technical Center (Lake Tech) which worked toward preparing the future work force in the County.

Commr. Hill thanked the School Board for hosting the meeting and stated that the Board was looking forward to working and partnering with them to continue to work towards education goals.  She commented that they recognize that education and having a strong school system is a major component of their County’s plan for economic development, attracting new businesses, and helping the expansion of existing businesses.

preparing lake county students for future workforce

Dr. Diane Culpepper from Lake Technical Center introduced Mr. James Spencer and Chief Richard Keith, two of their board members, and opined that Lake Tech is an integral part of the economic growth and development of their area.  She related that the mission of Lake Tech was to meet the educational needs of the community by offering a variety of high-quality career and technical training opportunities which focused on three areas, including their career or job prep training classes and programs to prepare post-secondary adult students for technical careers that are available in their community.  She commented that they want to be market-driven and realize that they need to prepare students for jobs that are either in their community or are coming to the community.  She noted that secondly they also have an adult academic component to prepare students for the GED and adult ESOL English classes, and listed a third component which was a short-term and customized training to assist industry and businesses that are already in the County to upscale their workforce or to do some quick-time training to prepare a workforce for companies that want to come to Lake County.  She emphasized that students choose to come to Lake Tech, giving them a greater incentive to strive for excellence.  She gave a history of Lake Tech starting in the 1960’s with business, cosmetology, and auto mechanics, mentioning that in 2004 they became a charter technical center, which was a unique entity giving them the autonomy and some opportunities to do some different kinds of things.  She stated that presently they focus on “the three R’s,” which were rigor, relevance, and responsiveness to the needs of both students and business people, and they offer about 25 certificate programs in 11 of the 17 career clusters that are sanctioned by the Department of Labor.  She then went over some of the programs they offer, including a commercial art program which they were currently converting into a digital design multi-media program, accounting, administrative assistant, solar energy, practical nursing, culinary, cosmetology, and law enforcement.  She pointed out that most of those jobs could not be outsourced outside of the area, and she mentioned that their programs run their own businesses to give their students actual hands-on real life work experience, as well as some entrepreneurial concepts.  She explained that they also offered GED preparation, remediation for students that wished to enter a career program who do not have the academic skills they needed to be successful, and adult ESOL on their campus as well as out in the community on six outreach campuses throughout the county.  She commented that they really wanted to assist the 42,000 adults over 25 in the county who do not have a high school diploma or GED, which will also assist that population to help their own children become better academic students.  She mentioned that many of their programs were open entry/open exit which allowed them to enroll any time throughout the year and exit when they have completed the competencies with no specific time requirements.  She cited statistical data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which reported that two out of three jobs created would require educational training beyond high school by 2028, but only 21 percent would require a college degree, which illustrates the importance of what Lake Tech is doing in the community.  She also reported that 10 out of Florida’s 15 fastest-growing occupations projected through 2018 required skills learned or certificates earned at a technical center, and the majority of their programs were on the 2010-11 regional targeted occupation list for high-skill and high-wage jobs that lead to productive job opportunities for students.  She emphasized that they were tailoring their programs to the needs of business and industry in Lake County and have many advisory members from the business community, many of whom hire the students who graduate from the program.  She related that she was proud that Lake Tech leads the state in the number of passed industry certifications reported.

Dr. Culpepper discussed some of the things they have been working on next for Lake Tech in the future, and she noted that they received a government grant to add a solar technology program, which would start the end of May or the first part of June.  They also have taken some paramedic training to Sumter County, and they have been working with the City of Leesburg in their visioning process for the airport development and discussing a mechanics-type program for airplanes.  She added that they have partnered with the Lake County library system to offer GED and ESOL classes, and their students can take some of the theory portions of their program online while taking the hands-on component on campus.  They are exploring additional health science offerings, such as medical assisting and patient care technician for CNA students to be more marketable in the hospitals and were in the process starting in June of implementing a high school LPN program at East Ridge High School.  She related that they have been struggling with the issue of how they could serve the South Lake community better as well as how they could use their funds efficiently and wisely while focusing on the needs of Lake County.

Commr. Cadwell asked about the makeup of their advisory boards.

Dr. Culpepper responded that the advisory boards were individualized to the particular program with business people in that specific field in the community who assisted, and she added that their charter board was like a school board.

Commr. Cadwell asked if there could be a place for a county representative or an economic development representative on their charter board.

Dr. Culpepper answered that perhaps they could have those kinds of representatives on the board, since she believed that to be very important, and they could discuss that.

Commr. Conner commented that he was impressed with what she had related about the LPN program being offered at the high schools, especially since the demand for services in the employment field currently is in health care.  He related that the Board wanted to help the school system better inform the public about what was being offered to meet the needs of the community, and he opined that should be one of the major objectives of this joint meeting.

Dr. Maggie Teachout; Director of Career, Adult & Community Education; announced that she would discuss what the middle and high school students are doing in career technical education (CTE), and she opined that Lake County schools have some of the best CTE programs in the entire state.  She mentioned that only 25 percent of the population nationwide and 23.6 percent of Lake County residents ever get a college degree, and middle and high school programs are important to reach all students.  She specified that they had a total of 92 individual programs this year in 24 different career areas that provide job skills, teamwork and problem solving skills; an opportunity to earn nationally-recognized industry adult certifications; and post-secondary adult coursework while still attending high school.  She noted that almost every one of their programs has a program advisory committee, and she mentioned that a few months ago a state audit for one of their federal grants reported that Lake County earned the only perfect score in the state, which she thought was indicative of the great job everyone in Lake County does.  She related that students in middle school explore their interests and learn skills that are a foundation for the programs in high school, and she illustrated on an overhead chart the five programs offered, including business technology education, family & consumer science, agriscience, and health, as well as the schools at which those programs were located.

Dr. Teachout explained that they narrowed down the programs in the high schools to teach very specific skills for specific careers, showing illustrations from the healthcare and television production programs.  She described the academy concept as a model for teaching applied academics and career skills, noting that there were a lot of statutory requirements for a CAP academy, including the opportunity for students to earn industry certifications and post secondary credits.  She pointed out that they only had one academy in 2008-09, but they have grown to 39 CAP academies with 109 students who have earned their adult industry certification.  She illustrated on the overhead a list of all of the programs that they offered and the high schools which offered them, including agri-technology, horticulture, plant biotechnology, and veterinary assisting in the agriculture field; digital design and television production in the arts, AV technology and communication profession; accounting operations, administrative office specialist, business supervision and management, international business, and legal administrative specialist in the spectrum of business management and administration; early education program; health science programs such as allied health assisting and nursing assistant; biomedical sciences; culinary arts; gaming simulation and animation programming in the information technology  realm; media technology; web design; robotics; marketing sales and service; and automotive collision and repair, auto body, and automotive service technology which are under the transportation programs.  She related that Lake Minneola High School would be opening with 13 new programs under seven new areas that they do not have anywhere else in the county, and they would also continue to support and develop programs that meet the economic need and student career interest.

Commr. Parks asked whether a connection could be made between the entrepreneurial program at Lake Minneola High School and the South Lake incubator.

Dr. Teachout opined that was a fabulous idea, and they would love to partner with the Board on that.

Ms. Stivender suggested that they could partner with businesses to help financially support new programs in areas they could be expanding in.

Commr. Campione asked if there was a plan within the next couple of years to specifically add any programs or if they look at those on a year-by-year basis.

Dr. Teachout responded that the district looks at the enrollment in the programs, and the allocations are projected for the next year based on the student enrollment for the previous year.

Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Schools, added that they also have to make sure that their programs are viable and current with the marketplace, and they are careful to update their curriculum and to phase out programs when they are no longer in demand in the community they serve.

Commr. Hill asked if they would allow a student to transfer to another high school if a program the student wanted to take was not offered at his or her particular high school.

Dr. Teachout stated that currently they do not have magnet programs, but the students in the north end of the County normally would come to Lake Tech, and she also explained that the parents of that student could ask for a zoning waiver, which was a site-based decision contingent on enrollment and whether there was room for another student.

economic action plan

Commr. Campione commented that she hoped that the Board and the School Board could come back together at another time in the future to discuss some specific ways they could all work together to effectively be partners in achieving the school system’s educational goals as well as their workforce needs and what they specifically are hoping to achieve from an economic development standpoint.  She stated that their vision under their economic plan that the Board has been working on is for a prosperous local economy supported by a wide range of career opportunities, a diversified tax base, and an exceptional quality of life, and she clarified that they were talking not only about opportunities for their college-bound students, but also for vocational and technical skills they have been discussing.  She elaborated that they were focusing on a diversified tax base to supplement their residential tax base with more commercial and light industrial, manufacturing, and technology-type uses that will actually take some of the burden off of the residential tax payers.  She opined that education was the number one thing people look at in an area to decide if they wanted to live there, and the school system was making great strides in the direction of having A-rated schools.  She noted that they had nine goals in their plan, with the third goal being to ensure that they have an available and well-prepared workforce for existing, emerging and prospective businesses and collaborate with Lake County educators to meet workforce needs and achieve educational excellence, which she believed merged with the School Board goals.  She stated that she would like to make the resource of business involvement that the County has with the business community available to the School Board as well to help meet those workforce needs.  She also mentioned that their economic development staff has the opportunity to see programs that are out there that might be perfect for classroom settings, such as the National Flight Academy classrooms that do simulated work, and the high tech corridor is another area where they engage with those partners in a lot of programs.  She relted that in their plan they had hoped that they could adopt a joint resolution with the School Board stating that they wanted to work together as two bodies to work on these specific goals, and she suggested that the next step would be to have their staffs work on that and then come back and look at adopting a joint resolution to that effect.

Ms. Stivender related that it was imperative that they keep meeting with the Board to update and work together, and she commented that the School Board was so focused on the needs of the students that they have not thought about marketing the system itself.  However, she pointed out that they have recently hired Mr. Chris Patton to help them work on marketing and letting the community know what they had to offer, as well as getting feedback from residents.  She believed that a joint resolution with the Board was a great idea and what she has been trying to achieve since becoming a member of the School Board.

Commr. Campione added that she believed that it was an ongoing process, since they came across new opportunities every day, and their goal was to be on the cutting edge and to get noticed for their efforts to help the local economy and achieve educational excellence.

Commr. Cadwell suggested that a School Board member or a Lake Tech representative join them in the site visits to their existing industries.

Dr. Howard suggested that they have their next meeting at Lake Minneola High School, so that everyone could see all of the state-of-the-art health care technology.

Ms. Stivender commented that that was a great suggestion and noted that the students would not be there during the summer.

joint use infrastructure

Ms. Stivender explained that joint use infrastructure refers to roads, parks, and a wide variety of facilities and resources in the County, and she mentioned that Commr. Parks was trying to work on something in the Minneola area.

Commr. Parks gave a quick update on the Minneola park situation, explaining that there was an opportunity to use the Minneola athletic complex (MAC) in a situation which would benefit the County, the City, and the school system, by managing and putting some of their own dollars into improving it with parking, new sod, and general improvements.  He related that he wanted to work with the School Board to use two of the fields for varsity baseball and softball, which potentially would save the School Board some money as well rather than constructing that kind of facility.  He pointed out that MAC was right across the street from Lake Minneola High School.  He reported that it was in the hands of the City of Minneola right now, and he attended a workshop on Tuesday evening, May 3, where the City discussed this issue and decided to put it on the agenda for a vote in two weeks.  He opined that this would be a great example of everyone working together.

Ms. Stivender noted that they would need to know soon about this project, so that they could decide whether or not to move forward with a stadium at the other site.

Commr. Parks assured her that time was of the essence for the Board also, since they need to address recreational issues in South Lake, but he believed a decision would be made within the next few weeks.

Commr. Parks mentioned that one concern the City of Minneola had was the ability of their residents to use the park, but he tried to assure them that they would come up with some detailed agreements that would take care of that concern and build a level of trust.

Ms. Stivender expressed concern about a major road situation in the area around Lake Minneola High School and asked for ideas about how to solve that issue involving four schools and a baseball complex.

Commr. Parks mentioned that topic was brought up at Tuesday’s workshop in Minneola, including the issue of sidewalks and accessibility once the school opens.

Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the City approved the school without the infrastructure there.

Commr. Parks related that he would meet with Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, and the County would do whatever they could, such as construction of possibly a sidewalk on the western side of Turkey Farms Road, some crosswalks, and temporary barriers to limit cut-through traffic.

Mr. Miller asked if there was anything the County could do about the intersection of SR 50 and Turkey Lake.

Commr. Parks responded that the issue was the purchase of right-of-way to put additional turn lanes there, but the real long-term fix would be to build North Hancock Road.

Ms. Stivender commented that she wanted to make sure they could all work together in order to resolve those issues.

Dr. Howard related that he spoke to the City of Minneola about this issue two weeks ago, and one of the possible solutions was to have crossing guards in the interim until they could make headway on the capital issues there.  He commented that a lot of issues such as young drivers driving to school, elementary children walking on the sides of the roads, and dark early-morning hours add to the possibility of having a catastrophic condition on their watch.

Ms. Stivender pointed out that the City of Minneola had put a task force together to work on the transportation issues, and she suggested that someone from the district, such as Mr. Will Davis, sit on that committee.  She also asked about the sidewalk issue with the County, and she related that the School Board sent a list to the MPO specifying where they need to have sidewalks.  She asked that the County let the School Board know if their staff could help the County get the right-of-way needed in order to get the sidewalks where they need them rather than necessarily where they have the right-of-way.

Commr. Campione suggested that they have Mr. Stivender come to one of the School Board meetings to discuss that, since he had ideas about timing and other factors that might help ease some of the concerns.

Mr. Gray stated that he would work with Dr. Moxley on that.

Ms. Brandenburg noted that some parents would start expressing concern about how long they would not have sidewalks and when roads were going to be put in, and she believed they should have a timeframe to communicate to those parents.

Ms. Stivender noted that having crossing guards there should temporarily alleviate those problems until construction of that infrastructure, and she mentioned that the Sheriff’s Department would also have a presence there.  She asked if the City would pay for the crossing guards.

Commr. Cadwell responded that they are paid for through the Sheriff’s Office, and he pointed out that it took years for the infrastructure needs to be met after the opening of East Ridge High School, expressing concern about having unrealistic expectations.

Commr. Parks inquired whether the Eustis School Board facilities were available for local little leagues and ball clubs to use easily.

Dr. Moxley explained that they had a detailed facilities use policy which outlines the criteria, and there was a schedule so that any cost involved is recouped.  She added that there was a form to fill out, and the principal would coordinate the use of a school facility, with coordination of other facilities going through their Risk Management Department.  She offered to send a copy of that policy to Mr. Gray which detailed all of the guidelines.

Commr. Parks commented that Lake County was a great place to have sports tournaments, and he proposed that they could market the ease of use of the facilities as an overflow option.

Dr. Moxley assured him that she will add that to the agenda of the meeting she had set up with Mr. Gray next week and that she would be happy to talk about that.  She added that the interscholastic sports for the middle and high-school students would take first priority, and then the principal of the specific schools would make the availability decision.  However, she would address any concerns that come up regarding the scheduling of the facilities and had final say on those decisions.

concurrency management without impact fees

Ms. Stivender emphasized that she wanted to get an update on how they were going forward in the future and what is happening in the legislature regarding concurrency rather than what has happened in the past.

Commr. Hill reported that they are continuing to monitor what the state legislative delegation is doing regarding concurrency, and they have not seen that they have eliminated it from the growth management bill, so she did not see any change whatsoever with concurrency at the state level.  She assured the School Board that if there was a change, she would address that with them as well as with the cities and that the County has adhered to the interlocal agreement and would continue to do that, which states that they would need a letter of approval in order for any new development to go forward regarding the mitigation process.  She also related that they have approved to advertise an ordinance that would expand the scope of the impact fee committee to include looking at capital facilities regarding the impact fees, and she mentioned that the School Board had a seat on that committee and that they would get the proposed ordinance to them to review.

Commr. Parks commented that they should make it clear to citizens that they were still a concurrency community despite what happens in the legislature.

Ms. Stivender expressed concern about a possible shortage of facilities and being in the same situation as they were six years ago if there is another economic boon.

Commr. Campione assured them that the Board was committed to making sure that they do not get in a situation where they were lacking school facilities if and when the economy picks up again, regardless of what the state legislature does.

Dr. Howard suggested that as they are working on agreements as separate boards and making decisions that are going to affect the other, it would be helpful to send a memorandum or a notice of waiver to inform the other board of what they were doing and any special circumstances that may be associated with a decision so that they do not miss the chance for communication.

Commr. Hill commented that they try to be good partners, which was why they have a seat for the School Board on the zoning and impact fee boards, but they would strive to be better at communication.

public input

There was no one from the public who wished to speak.

board member comments

Commr. Conner noted that the County had previously adopted a policy to allow its employees to be mentors and to give them compensated time off to do that, and he asked if they could send out another memo to try to recruit some of their employees for that.

Mr. Gray responded that he definitely would do that.

Commr. Parks mentioned the National Flight Academy again and wanted to make sure that they investigate the potential of that for the school system.  He also stated that one of his favorite programs was the competitive robotics program at the high schools and asked the School Board members to continue to support that.  He added that he would like to see the robotics program throughout all of the high schools in Lake County one day, and it is a great program that teaches math and science.

Dr. Moxley commented that robotics is a very up-and-coming area, and they had a very strong robotics program at East Ridge High School.  She reported that there are two types of robotic programs starting in their middle schools, which has been growing with a great number of middle schools participating, and those programs then feed into the more advanced and complex programs at the high-school level.

Commr. Hill expressed appreciation to the School Board for hosting the joint meeting, and she commented that she was very impressed with how Lake Tech has grown and the different courses that they have added since she saw their last presentation.  She opined that the Board realized that they would have to go beyond marketing of the school system, but this was a good first start.  She commented that she was looking forward to partnering with the School Board and looking even deeper into what they could do, and she felt that a lot of good ideas for doing that were presented at this meeting.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.




jennifer hill, chairman