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School Board: Is your student learning enough about black history?

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

During the regular meeting of the Madison County District School Board on Tuesday, May 16, the Board held a public hearing on a new social studies textbook to be used in the coming school year. This textbook has been available for public inspection since January, 2017, both online at the District’s web site, and in the schools of the District. During the public hearing, several residents voiced concern that not enough attention was being paid to the history of the black race in the United States. One teacher, Mrs. Hubbard stated that two students had told her that no attention had been given to black history. “There’s a lot more to black history than just Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglas,” said Hubbard. Paula Ginn, District Coordinator of Federal Programs, Curriculum, and Instruction, informed those present that the proposed textbook did conform to Florida state standards in teaching black history as it relates to US history overall. This did not seem to satisfy some of those present. When asked if those present had examined the proposed textbook, they admitted they had not. The proposed textbook is available for review and examination on line at www.madison.k12.fl.us. A check on the Madison County District website found the link to the textbook review was not working. The proposed textbook may still be seen at the various schools.

In other business, the Board passed the consent agenda, which consisted of minutes from previous meetings, permission to advertise ESE special programs and procedures, Title 1 Part D-Amendment 2, a joint-use agreement with Madison County 4-H, School Improvement Grant section 1003(g)-Amendment 9, GED requests, and non-general fund staff trips.

The Board approved an out-of-county trip for the Madison County High School (MCHS) baseball team to travel to Ft. Myers to compete in the State Class 1A Baseball Championship.

The Board approved the sale of excess musical instruments to the Madison Creative Arts Academy from the Madison County Central School (MCCS). Money from the sale will be used for the Band Program. The Board was also informed the water heater at MCCS needed to be replaced. There is no hot water currently available at MCCS. The Board approved the bid of $28,000 from Dowdy to replace the water heater and tank. This money would come from PECO funds and not the general fund.

New job descriptions were passed.

A motion to advertise the code of student conduct was passed.

There was discussion about an $18,000 bill for bus repairs. Although several of the Board members agreed this bill was excessive, it was acknowledged that the bill must be paid. A motion to pay the bill was passed.

A four-day workweek for the summer was passed. Staffing table revisions were passed.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Pickles updated the Board on the final education budget and education bills passed by the legislature. Pickles told the Board that the District should be receiving more revenues, but that was due to increased student population. Overall, funding will be lower. “We will have to educate more kids with less money,” said Pickles. The Governor has not yet signed the new legislation, and it is expected he may veto the sweeping education legislation when it arrives at his desk. Both the Florida School Board Association and the Florida School Superintendent’s Association are urging Gov. Scott to veto the legislation. If the legislation is vetoed, a special session of the legislature may be called over the summer months in order to hold another vote.

The next scheduled meeting of the Madison County District School Board is set for Tuesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. in the School Board meeting room at 210 NE Duval Ave., in Madison.

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