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School district adjusts weapons language

By Staff | Oct 11, 2011

Verbiage has been changed to a Lee County School District policy regarding campus disorders and trespassing, which touches upon firearms.

The new wording states: “Employees are prohibited from carrying firearms and ammunition during and in the course of performing official duties, unless authorized by the superintendent. The possession of any other weapon, as defined in the Code of Conduct for Students, on a school campus or other school district facility, at any school sponsored event, or in a school district vehicle, is prohibited unless authorized by the superintendent.”

Board Attorney Keith Martin said the statute adopted by the legislature prohibits the school district from having a rule addressing firearms, so verbiage had to be changed to the policy.

A presentation was also given during the meeting Tuesday regarding the AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, program that began in the district in 2007 at Lehigh Senior High School. The program is now offered at 16 schools in the Lee County School District to help students reach their potential and attend college after graduation.

Lehigh Senior High School and Lehigh Middle School are working towards becoming the first National Demonstration School in the state of Florida and the second in the nation for the AVID program.

In other business, the school board approved the proposed high school graduation schedule for the 2011-2012 school year. That schedule for Cape Coral schools is as follows, Ida Baker High School at Germain Arena at 10 a.m. on May 19; Island Coast High School at the Civic Center at 2:30 p.m. on May 19; Mariner High School at Harborside at 7 p.m. on May 19 and Cape Coral High School at Harborside at 7 p.m. on May 20.

Board member Jeanne Dozier thanked everyone who put time into the graduation schedule Tuesday night. She said she appreciates the fact that duplicate schools received different times on the same day, so the board could attend their school graduations.

“Whoever put this together, thank you very much,” she said.

The school board also approved the Energy and Natural Consumption policy, which will help facilitate an increased awareness and more efficient use of energy and other natural resources in the Lee County School District.

The rule will go into effect on Oct. 12.

The district currently pays approximately $1.71 for electricity per square foot at each facility.

The policy, school officials’ hope will reduce the energy and natural resource consumption by a minimum of 10 percent, along with reducing more than $21 million the first year.

The reduction in cost will be implemented by educating personnel at all the facilities about energy conservation, identify simple behavioral spaces, along with sharing energy saving tips with the schools.

The board also approved the purchase of the Hampton-Brown EDGE reading intervention program in the amount of $251,000. The approval will allow the program to be implemented at Island Coast High School, South Fort Myers High School and Riverdale High School. There are now a total of six pilot schools in the district.

The program will motivate and engage students with systematic and focused instruction that will help in developing their reading skills for academic success and real world experiences.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke was absent from the board meetings Tuesday due to his travels to Columbus, Ohio with other key personnel from the district and teachers union, along with Marshall Bower, president and CEO of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Constance Jones, who was the acting superintendent during the meeting, said the district was invited to apply for a national grant with the National Education Association due to their collaborative relationship with business partners and the teachers unions.

“The grant is for the achievement gap,” she said. “Hopefully they will come back with good news.”

Only two grants will be provided.