LCPS SB Meeting 11/29/22 “Bites” From Tiffany Polifko
11/29/22 School Board Meeting Bites
Policy 5055: Parental Notification of Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content
I made a motion to amend to strike the word “when” and insert the words “whether or not they are” in front of the word “assigned” on line 59 to read “Library materials are considered instructional materials whether or not they are assigned by a teacher to be used for (i) for completion of an assignment, or (ii) as part of an academic or extracurricular educational program.”
Why did I make this motion? The policy is in direct conflict with Policy 5045 (Selection Review and Challenge of Instructional Resources) as Policy 5055 does not consider library materials instructional materials, yet Policy 5045 does. We currently have sexually explicit books in our school libraries and the passage of Policy 5055 does not address these materials.
The motion for this amendment failed 3-6 with Mahedavi, Sheridan, Reaser, Ogedegbe, Serotkin, and Corbo opposing.
Final motion to pass the policy passed 7-2 with Polifko and Reaser opposed
Why did I oppose? I do believe parents should be notified of any sexually explicit material. That is not why I opposed this policy. It was my opinion that passing Policy 5055 effectively codifies sexually explicit material in our schools. Policy 5045 enabled the entrance of sexually explicit material in our schools and considers library materials instructional materials. Without including my proposed amendment, Policy 5055 ignores the existence of sexually explicit library materials that aren’t specifically assigned by teachers.
2023-2024 Calendar: 6-3 adoption of calendar #5 (Serotkin, Corbo, and Polifko opposed). I received feedback from many regarding their preference for option 6 based on requests for consistency. VA requires 900 hours of instruction in a given school year and option 6 provided, 1044, which exceeded that requirement. However, I view option 5 as a close second and fully support its adoption.
LCPS prioritization of employee compensation
~Prior to the pandemic historical pay increase was surpassing inflation rate. Recently the inflation rate has surpassed the compensation rate.
~WABE (Washington Area Boards of Education) guide has LCPS leading in terms of bachelors pay scale at step 1, master step (i.e., 10-25) 1, and 4th in master middle step when compared to PW, FFX, Alexandria, and Arlington. Board members were asked to begin considering philosophical questions related to salary scales (5% average increase vs. minimum 5% pay increase), as well as targeted adjustments, equal adjustments, or equalized percentage increases between steps. We will discuss this more at the next board meeting.
Student transportation operational update
~LCPS is investigating purchasing 16-passenger buses for sports teams with smaller numbers (wrestling, swimming, golf, tennis). Dept. of ed prohibits the use of passenger vans. Drivers would go through a less intense training than would be required to obtain a commercial license. I requested information about specific feedback that had been solicited from coaches at this time. LCPS is waiting on more information from the board about acceptance of this idea as well as the fact that LCPS doesn’t currently have the buses.
FY23 1st Quarter Financial Review and COVID Funds Update
~ARP IDEA: LCPS indicated it is on track to fully spend the rewarded $4.2M for OTs, PTs, Sped teachers, IAs, Sped Supervisors, etc. However, something important to consider is that contract positions filled will end when the funds are no longer in existence. I have concerns about how this will impact special education students.
LCPS in the news: Lundsford Middle featured on Fox 5 for creating assistive technology to support peers with special needs. I particularly loved the symbols on keyboards to help kids remember letters for passwords, etc. I thought this was a creative way for peers to support each other and I hope to see more of this in the future.