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Nov - Dec  2013  Voter

In This Issue

1 Holiday Celebration
Calendar
Presidents Message
Charter Schools
Efficiency Commission
League Study
7   Common Core
MLD
9  Membership
10 Picture Gallery
11 Water & Land

12  Contacts





 

 

    Hot Topic:     

 

The Lois Cowles Harrison Symposium
On Women in Society
 
From Passion to Action
 
When:    Wednesday Nov 20, 6:30-8:30 pm

Where:   McKay Archives Center
           Florida Southern College
           Lakeland, Florida 33801


       LWV Polk is pleased to announce the Lois Cowles Harrison Symposium on Women in Society. This symposium, presented in collaboration with the Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History at FSC,  will integrate a panel discussion from a variety of perspectives with audience participation. In keeping with Lois’ interest in the equal involvement of women in all matters, LWV Polk seeks to use this symposium to ignite action. From equal participation in matters of public policy, to birth control, human trafficking and global hunger issues, LWV Polk intends to stir the passions of women and men. 
 
Panelists:
Barbara Cuthbertson
is a former Planned Parenthood Executive Director and the recently published author of Conversations with EVE, Women's TRUE Power.  She has a MA in Applied Cultural Anthropology. 
 
Sharon Masters, Ph.D., is a researcher, professor, author, and activist.  Her work focuses on environmental issues, deviance, and women’s issues with current emphasis on human trafficking.  She is recently retired from FSC, where she was Director of Women’s Studies.
 
Doris Weatherford has been publishing nationally recognized books on women's history since 1986.  She is active in political campaigns, and under Governor Lawton Chiles, established the Florida Women's Hall of Fame.  Her work, Women in American Politics won a major prize from the American Library Association.  
  
RSVP to Paula Mims, 258-1988 or pmmims@aol.com 
   No Admission Charge  Event is Open to the Public 
Bring a friend - use the social media icons below.
Facebook
Twitter
Our Website
YouTube
Email Us
Holiday Celebration

Tuesday, December 10
5 - 7 p.m.
Hosts:  Paula & Tom Mims
1524 Easton Drive, Lakeland


All members are invited to gather together and celebrate the seasonal holidays.  Bring a friend and holiday treat to share!

RSVP:  258-1988 or pmmims@aol.com 


      

Calendar
 

Nov 5, Tuesday
Municipal Election Day
 
Nov 11, Monday
Veterans Day

Nov 13, Wed, 12:30 pm
LWV Board Meeting
United Way, Highland
City  (bag lunch) 

Nov 20, Wed, 6:30 pm
Hot Topic:  Women in Society
Florida Southern College, Lakeland

Nov 28, Thursday
Thanksgiving Day
 * * *
 
Dec 10, Tue, 5:00 pm
Holiday Celebration,
(
see above)
* * *
 
Jan 22, Wed
Education Study Consensus Meeting
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
The Charter School Committee Report
 
The Charter School Committee has collected data on all the Charter Schools in Polk County. The Committee members are busy interviewing all the Charter School Administrators.

The demographic information we have gathered on the charter schools in Polk County is available on the website with other study materials at:

lwvpolk.org/Download2.html
 
We are winding up our interviews of our charters and will have another spread sheet shortly that will show the types of programs each offers, the type of students it serves, types of employees, governance, facilities, etc. 

Submitted by
Nancy Simmons

 

President's Message


 It has been an exciting month.  We had a wonderful turnout for the Back to League social event at the RED DOOR on October 10.  A good time was had by all.  It was fun to just chat with each other.  Watch for more of theses events in the future.  It would be great to fill the entire patio.

On October 30, Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy was the Hot Topic speaker.  She gave us much information about the direction the school system is going in the next few years.  In her short tenure (since June), she has guided the staff through a strategic plan to be presented to the school board in November.  She encouraged us to go to the school system website to view the plan and even give input.  She is all about attainable goals for the schools.  There are 48 low performing schools in Polk County.  Those schools are now receiving extra resources and also being held accountable for improvements

The Charter School committee is completing their visits to the schools. 
Nancy Simmons is doing a fantastic job of compiling all the information and putting it together on a easy to read and understand spreadsheet.  See her article to the left.

The Charter School Study is of particular note to all members, but I especially want to call our
NEW MEMBERS' attention to it.  Please read the material below on What a League Study is and how ALL MEMBERS participate in the Consensus Meeting.

We have another exciting program planned for November 20, at Florida Southern College.  "WOMEN IN SOCIETY"  Please plan to come.  You will receive reminders and RSVP information later in the month.  Thanks to
Paula Mims for putting together the panel for that event.

Thank you to
Salma Nawlo for volunteering as the newly official Marketing Chair responsible for public relations and marketing for the League.  She is going to expose us to the larger community and let more people know about the great things we do.  Any one interested in working with Salma should contact her and volunteer.

Thanks to all


Sue Schultz, President

 Efficiency
Polk Efficiency Commission Update
 
The Polk County Efficiency Commission was appointed February 2013 in accordance with the County Charter, which requires the appointment of an Efficiency Commission every eight years.  I was appointed as one of twenty-five commissioners (along with fellow League members Barbara Stampfl, Lillian Lima, and Salma Nawlo).  The Commission’s charge is to "conduct a comprehensive study of government in Polk County."
http://www.theledger.com/article/20130211/POLITICS/130219861

At the outset, due to time constraints, the Commission decided not to include the constitutional officers in the review (Sheriff, Clerk of Courts, Supervisor of Elections, Property Appraiser and Tax Collector) and to focus on the County government’s departments.  There was also some indication that the Commission will discuss whether the charter itself or its provision requiring the Efficiency Commission should continue to exist.
http://county.blogs.theledger.com/12788/efficiency-commissions-unexpected-turn/

The Commission, which has been meeting almost monthly, is due to give a report containing its preliminary recommendations by January 31, 2014 (the final report is due January 31, 2015).  To carry out its function, the Commission retained the services of MGT of America, Inc. to serve as the Commission’s executive director and facilitator.  MGT appears to be knowledgeable and capable in leading the Commission.
http://www.theledger.com/article/20130119/POLITICS/130129989  
(Here is a link to MGT’s website:  http://www.mgtamer.com/default.aspx )

The Commission’s work plan, developed with MGT’s assistance, has two primary objectives:  (1) propose changes to existing operations and practices to enhance efficiencies; and (2) develop strategies for the County’s leadership to continue promoting efficiencies throughout the County.  

At the October 29th meeting, MGT presented its preliminary recommendations to address Objective 1 (including eliminating duplicative middle management layers, centralize services, enhance contract consolidation & management, and improve management information systems use & implementation) and Objective 2 (including expanded use & integration of performance measures and developing procedures to identify recurring surpluses and deficits). 

The next two Commission meetings are scheduled for November 19th and December 17th 6pm – 8pm in the Multi-Purpose Rm. 413, 4th Floor, 330 W. Church St., Bartow.  The meetings are open to the public.

Submitted by Sandy Sheets
 What is a League Study?
 
Studies are part of 'League Program' and League Program includes all of the positions the League uses to affect public policy.
 
Program is such an integral part of the League that according to League Basics, "Program is the League's reason for being."
 
Program has three parts:

  1. selection of an issue
  2. study of that issue, arriving at consensus and formulating a position, and
  3. use of that position to influence public policy.
 
All League of Women Voters of Florida positions are included in the League publication:
 http://thefloridavoter.org/files/download/783
 
As a grassroots organization, we the members decide what issues are timely, we get ourselves informed, and we participate in consensus meeting.  We are provided volumes of factual material from an appointed LWVF committee which consists of members from around the state.  Our local open committee of volunteers condenses the material and passes it on to our membership through our VOTER.
 
At the consensus meeting, a member takes notes of the discussion and the Board sends our thoughts back to LWVF.  There a position is formed which all Leagues, speaking with one voice, can use.
 
All members will want to read the material.  We encourage full participation on that every-day-in-the-news topic at the Consensus Meeting.

 
Based on an article by Ruby Stinson in our February 2012 Special Voter Issue on the Privatization Study.

League Launches Charter School Study


Twenty-one Leagues, representing 27 counties including Polk, are collecting data and meeting with school officials as they gather information about Florida’s charter schools. The four main questions being asked are:

• Who do charter schools serve?
• Do charter academic programs differ from those in
traditional schools?
• How are charters owned and managed?
• What types of facilities do charters use?

Answers to these questions will help League members evaluate issues raised by the news media about resegregation of schools, dissipation of scarce resources, lack of significant educational gains and financial mismanagement. Consensus will be reached on whether or not these problems are simply outliers in what is otherwise a sound system. LWV Alachua County/Gainesville is leading the study.  Research articles are posted at
www.lwv-alachua.org/education.html   

For more information, please contact Nancy Simmons at
291-3734 or vicepresident@lwvpolk.org





Education and "Common Core"
v
 

There is a recent topic in the news gathering much heat and not enough light - the Common Core State Standards. What is Common Core and why all the hullabaloo? Common Core is set of standards which set a uniform benchmark for reading, writing and math. Florida adopted the Common Core in 2010 and applied for and received grant funds for implementation from the U.S. Dept. of Education under Race to the Top.

Common Core standards are the result of an initiative sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Forty-five states and Washington D.C. have adopted the standards. The express goal of the standards is to change from rote memorization to analytical and critical thinking skills. Another goal is to have a common assessment tool that will allow comparison in achievement from state to state. Comparison and uniformity in benchmarking is not currently available. Florida was the fiscal agent for developing the assessment tool commonly referred to as PARCC.

The LWVF has relied upon the position developed by LWV-US after a national study regarding the role of the federal government in public education. If you want to see the full detail of the position and the study go to the LWVUS web page. The league position today is that we should have broad common standards developed by educational experts with the local and state agencies building upon the standards. There should also be a curricular framework as a guide to state and local agencies and lastly, there should be a national assessment that informs and guides districts, parents and students as to how well they have mastered the criteria in the standards. LWVF believes that Common Core best meets that goal.

Those objecting to Common Core are most anxious about the role the federal government is playing in determining local educational decisions. Certainly, local school districts should create their own curriculum but we need to make sure every student masters the basics. Implementation will continue to be complex and will need adequate time for students and teachers to master the new criteria. School Accountability is another issue and may need to be suspended while the transition is made to the higher order thinking skills, but the league believes we must continue along that path.

There have been many articles written lately about the Common Core. The Orlando Sentinel recently ran a series of articles about it. The Florida Board of Education also held three hearings around the state and league presidents spoke in favor of Common Core at each hearing. This is a bipartisan issue. Common Core also has support from the Chamber of Commerce and the Council of 100 here in Florida to name a few.
Thanks to Pat Drago, League of Women Voters of Volusia County
Membership & Leadership Development
               Monthly MLD Guidance 
 
Each month, the Membership and Leadership Team  of Polk LWV receives  a guidance Idea from LWV to develop and explore.

This month's Guidance idea:  Sustainability

Local Leagues sustain themselves by providing value to the membership and the community.  It's important that we share with our friends and acquaintances what is special and valuable about our activities and ASK them to join us in the effort with their commitment of resources.

We fill a community need for well-researched and consensus-based positions on public policy issues.

Statewide and locally we are doing a charter school study to develop a position on charter schools through a process know as consensus.

We make a difference by providing opportunities to learn about proposed constitutional amendments.  We are involved in petition gathering for the Florida's Water and Land Legacy Amendment to keep Florida for future generations.

We assist with Voter Registration Drives as we did on the National Voter Registration Day.

We believe in the importance of individuals in the community becoming well-informed on public policy issues to keep our democracy vibrant and strong.  We offer Hot Topics Meetings open to the community to learn more about issues of importance to the community.  Public Transportation and Public Education are two recent topics with local leaders.

In conclusion, the beneficiaries of our actions are people in our local communities.  As members we must be prepared to Talk about the League successes, Look for Opportunities to share and inform others of what we do, and be ready to Ask for their support.

 
Team Members are Sue Schultz, Mary Jo Jarrett, Connie Prince, Paula Mims
 
Submitted by Mary Jo Jarrett

Membership


Thanks to the members that have already paid their dues for 2013-14.  Our fiscal year starts April 1 and our dues run with our fiscal year. Individual membership dues are $60 annually.  We also offer the Susan B. Anthony Membership level of $100 which helps support more local activities. One change this year is we have added the Carrie Chapman Catt Membership level of $250.

Membership

Individual Member                               $60
    Additional Household Member        $30
College Student                                   $40
Susan B. Anthony Membership          $100
Carrie Chapman Catt Membership     $250

If you have not renewed your membership yet, please submit a check to “LWV of Polk County” and mail the check to:

   LWV of Polk County
   PO Box 934
   Lakeland, FL   33802
   Attention: Vanessa Hammill

Thank you to the following for their support:

Susan B. Anthony Memberships
Suzy Bromwell
Judith Darby
Lisa Parks
Connie Prince
Ruby Stinson
Sheryll Strang
Jessie Thrasher
Ann Weeks
Debra Wright
 
Carrie Chapman Catt Memberships
Paula Mims
Beverly Sidenstick
Nancy Simmons
Barbara Stampfl
 


Welcome New Members!
 

Shannon Allen - Davenport

Dr. Irma D Dietert - Lakeland

Keith Merritt - Lakeland
 

Picture Gallery

Paula Mims, Salma Mawlo (Marketing Chair), Mary Jo Jarrett, Sue Schultz, Jerry Weeks
discuss marketing and publicity plans for the League.
October Board Meeting 
Connie Prince, Paula Mims, Sue Schultz, Vanessa Hammill, Nancy Simmons

Pictures from October Hot Topic
on Polk Public Schools with Kathryn LeRoy, Superintendent of Schools at Cleveland Heights

Photos from Back-to-League Social

Water
Zita Stanley has done a fantastic job collecting petitions for the Land and Legacy project.  The Supreme Court has now approved the language for the Constitutional Amendment.

As of October 25, volunteers and paid petition gatherers have turned in 604,725 signed petitions. The law requires 683,149 valid Florida voters’ signatures, so the campaign organizers say 900,000 petitions must be turned in to account for petitions deemed invalid.  For example, petitions may be deemed invalid if petition signatures do not match the signatures on voter registration forms.

We are two-thirds of the way there and at the rate we are going, we're confident that we will meet our goal and qualify for the ballot!  LWV Polk has collected over 500 signatures so far.

 Please let Zita know if you need blank petitions.  She will be glad to get them to you.  Her e-mail is zitastanley@yahoo.com and her phone is 646-4739.

   Click on logo above to view the website.

 CONTACTS:
   LWV POLK COUNTY  -
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
 
Sue Schultz, President
646-4634

President@lwvpolk.org

Nancy Simmons, Vice President
291-3734

Vicepresident@lwvpolk.org


Paula Mims, VP Programs
258-1988
VPPrograms@lwvpolk.org

Judy Walker, Secretary
299-9285

Secretary@lwvpolk.org

Vanessa Hammill, Treasurer
409-5548

Treasurer@lwvpolk.org


Wanda Howard
678-3176

wandafhoward@yahoo.com

Mary Jo Jarrett
644-8524

mjjarrett@me.com

Connie Prince
646-7101

prince.connie@gmail.com

Sue Schultz, Voter Service
Elections
646-4634
VoterService@lwvpolk.org

 



Off-Board Specialists:

Mary Jo Jarrett, Membership
644-8524
Membership@lwvpolk.org

Judy Walker, Voter Service
Guide
299-9285
JudyWalker@polkelections.com

Ann Weeks, Voter Service
Voter Registration
648-4127

Fundraising & Government
Paula McKay Mims
VicePresident@lwvpolk.org

Library, Barbara Stampfl
687-2787
stampfls@tampabay.rr.com

Speakers Bureau, [OPEN]
SpeakerBureau@lwvpolk.org

Voter Editor / Webmaster
Jerry Weeks
648-4127
Webmaster@lwvpolk.org


LWV Websites:

National: www.lwv.org

State: TheFloridaVoter.org

Local: http://www.lwvpolk.org
Copyright © 2013 The League of Women Voters of Polk County, All rights reserved.
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