The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, 2005, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Larry Berkley presided.
Roy G. Brooks, Superintendent of Schools
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Mr. Berkley called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. Six members of the Board were present at roll call; Dr. Daugherty arrived at 5:40 p.m. Ex officio student representative, Marcus Kennedy, from McClellan High School was also present. The teacher representative did not attend.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
President Berkley welcomed the audience and asked Dr. Brooks to proceed with the citations and presentations.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Special recognition was given to four employees of the District who recently returned from military duty in Iraq. Dishoungh White, Jacquelyn Williams, Johnnie Davis and Eric Brandon were presented with an American flag and a citation of appreciation for their service to our country.
The Annual Stephens Awards of the City Education Trust were recently announced. The Superintendent commended the District’s students and teachers who were selected for this recognition: Terrie Evans, teacher at McClellan Magnet High School; Ruth Eyres, teacher at J. A. Fair High School; Carolyn Foreman, teacher at Parkview Magnet High School; Mark Doramus, Lawrence Watts, and Gregor Nazarian, students from Central High School; and Christopher Stewart, student from Parkview Magnet High School. The teachers received a $5,000 cash award and the students will receive a $5,000 scholarship when they enter college.
Terricka Thomas, junior at J. A. Fair High School, was presented with a citation in recognition of her selection to receive President’s Volunteer Service Award. Terrika volunteers her time with the American Red Cross.
Dr. Brooks introduced Jo Evelyn Elston, Director of Pupil Services, who made a presentation to the American Red Cross on behalf of the District’s Peer Helpers. Students from Booker, Geyer Springs and Gibbs Magnet were present and briefly described their participation in raising over $10,000 for Tsunami Relief efforts. Representatives of the Little Rock Chapter of the American Red Cross were present to receive the donation, and in turn provided certificates of appreciation to the students for their efforts.
Mike Peterson, principal of Metropolitan Career & Technical Center, introduced students who participated in the annual Skills USA state competitions in April. Many of the District’s students who took bronze, silver and gold medals will go to national competitions in Kansas City over the summer. Instructors Darrell Berry, James Blanchard, Linda Soderling, Reba Alexander, and Carl Grummer were present. Student winners included:
Advertising and Design - student Jasmine Powell was recognized as the state winner of the VICA pin design competition; Savannah Ryan won a bronze medal in photography.
Cosmetology - students Brittany Williams, Jakita Bass, Jassy Palmer, Deidra Moragne and Krystal White won gold, silver or bronze medals.
Commercial baking - DeAndrea Gooden won a gold medal, Laura Fuentes won a silver medal, and Samantha Ryan won a bronze medal in commercial baking.
Diesel technology - Jonathan Motl took the gold medal, Doug Petz and Ben Necessary won the silver, and Nathan Leonard won a bronze medal.
Graphic Information Systems - Kevin Williams won the gold medal and Jordan Brown won the silver.
Dr. Brooks asked Katherine Wright Knight to introduce the District’s current National Board Certified teachers who assisted the teachers who are going through the national board process this school year. The teachers were: Trina Bright, Chenetta Case, Terrie Evans, Ruth Eyres, Sharra Hampton, Catherine Koehler, Lou Ethel Nauden, and Mary Zies. They were given a certificate of appreciation for volunteering their time to assist others in their efforts to become nationally certified.
Lenora Nunnley, student at J. A. Fair High School, was recently named a Beta Scholar by the National Beta Club. Lenora will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the National Beta Club. In addition, Lenora was selected to participate in the University of Arkansas Gifted and Talented Scholars Program.
Donald Price, student at Mitchell Academy, and Shaun Wilson, student at Central High School, were recognized for being selected as winners in the annual statewide PTA Reflections Program. Donald won in the art category and Shaun won in the music category. Their work will be submitted to the national PTA Reflections awards program representing the state of Arkansas.
The CAP Charitable Foundation selected Kristian Henderson, Central High School student, as a Ron Brown Scholar. Kristian will receive $10,000 per year for four years.
Debbie Milam presented new partnerships for the Board’s review and approval.
Accelerated Learning Center, represented by Carol Green and Beverly Thrasher, in partnership with: Carl Gray Henson Construction Company, represented by Kathy Henson and Hurricane Golf and Country Club
Metropolitan Career & Technical Center, represented by Mike Peterson and Allie Freeman, in partnership with Remington College, represented by Dan Snider and David Cunningham
Elementary School, represented by
Becky Ramsey, in partnership
with: Papa John’s Pizza,
represented by Jill Ponder, CiCi’s
Toys “R” Us
Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the partnerships, Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Tawanna Gantt addressed the Board regarding concerns related to moving a Community Based Instruction (CBI) Class from Mabelvale Elementary School. Her child attended Mabelvale, and she was opposed to any disruption of the educational environment for her child and other students who were served in that setting.
Kenny Fisher addressed the Board regarding a letter he had sent to Board members concerning issues with the working conditions at Cloverdale Middle School. Mr. Fisher stated that he had spoken with District administrators, and that he felt threatened by the demeanor and actions of another employee at the school. He asked the Board to intervene to have something done to improve the conditions at that school for students and employees.
Katherine Wright Knight congratulated all of the recipients of awards, citations and recognitions, with special recognition to the students from Metropolitan and the winners of the Stephens Awards.
She thanked Dr. Brooks and Beverly Williams, Human Resources Director, for the efficient process for reassignment of the faculty and staff from Fair Park and Mitchell. She expressed concern for some of the staff members who would be displaced by the reorganization and she asked that seniority be considered when placing the secretaries and other non-certified staff members.
Ms. Knight welcomed Mr. Hattabaugh and congratulated Marian Lacey on the announcement of her retirement. She thanked Mr. Berkley for leading the Board in a positive relationship with the CTA, stating, “We are all on the same team.”
Ms. Knight reported that there are currently fourteen National Board Certified teachers in the district, and there are thirty-one candidates for certification this year. She thanked the Board for supporting this initiative, noting that the State provided funding for some of the teachers to participate, while the District made a contribution to assist others.
Mr. Berkley asked that the information on National Board certification be posted on the website, and Ms. Knight was asked to work with the communications department to facilitate this posting.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Rose discussed the necessity for dramatic change in the District. He acknowledged that change was difficult, that there was to be expected some “crying and cussing,” but he noted that once the process is allowed to take its course, things would smooth out for the better.
He spoke briefly to NCLB legislation and the ineffectiveness of teaching to a national test. He stated that teachers feel their creativity is being stifled by these requirements and he encouraged them to “think outside the box” in order to teach students to love learning instead of teaching them how to take a test.
Mr. Kurrus reported that he had attended a Scholars Program in Fayetteville and that he had also been at the Central High School honors convocation. He congratulated all of the students who received recognitions and awards, but expressed interest in determining why some of our students don’t succeed. He stated that we need to do a better job, become more efficient, in helping all students reach their full potential - - not just the high achievers, but all students.
Mr. Kurrus also noted that he had received e-mails about some of the reorganization cuts, especially in the pre-K program. He noted that we must begin to take a more global view of our services and how our services are delivered to children. Pre-K and other programs cannot operate in isolation, and must become part of the full systematic process.
Dr. Mitchell commended the ViPS Board and staff for their annual awards celebration of volunteerism. She also commended Sandy Becker for coordinating a program at Henderson Middle School where twenty-seven students received computers as a reward for academic achievement and good behavior.
Dr. Mitchell noted that the District had been commended for its’ quality pre-K programs and expressed hope that the organizational changes will not have a negative impact on the success of the program. She requested additional information on personnel assignments, duties and responsibilities, and stated hope that we don’t lose the most experienced employees in this process.
Mr. Day congratulated Dr. Lacey on her retirement, wishing her “Godspeed.”
Mrs. Strickland welcomed Mr. Hattabaugh, and thanked the staff for working diligently through this transitional time. She stated certainty that the best years are ahead. She thanked Dr. Brooks for his commitment to positive change in the LRSD.
Dr. Daugherty responded to the parent who addressed the Board earlier in the meeting regarding a classroom group of CBI students being transferred to another facility. He stressed the importance of serving students with disabilities in a safe and comfortable learning environment, and he asked the staff to conduct an impact study to determine how many students would be affected by the proposed transfer
Dr. Daugherty also recognized students from Mann who recently participated in the SECME Olympiad. He noted that these students would receive additional recognition at a future Board meeting; however, he wanted to congratulate them on their achievement and good sportsmanship.
Mr. Berkley thanked Marian Lacey for her years of serving the students in the LRSD; he noted that his daughter had attended Mann while Dr. Lacey was principal. He also reported that he had attended the National School Boards Association Conference in San Diego, and counted it as a good opportunity to become reinvigorated on Board service. He expressed appreciation to Debbie Milam and the ViPS staff for the Evening for the Stars program.
Mr. Babbs was present, but had no formal report.
Mr. Milhollen reported briefly on the process that would be used to formulate the 2005-06 budget. The legislative session did not provide any funding for facilities in the LRSD, and many districts across the state are facing fiscal uncertainties. The Pulaski County School District has been designated in “fiscal distress.”
Budget packets have been sent to the schools so that building principals can begin the process of allocating their funds using their per-pupil projections.
Mr. Milhollen reported that he would be preparing for a budget worksession in late May or early June so that the Board will have an accurate overview of our present financial status. Initial steps to control spending have been taken and department budgets have been frozen so that some of the remaining 2004-05 budget can be returned to the fund balance.
Mr. Day asked Mr. Milhollen to develop some various scenarios for growing the fund balance so that the Board can get a better idea of how to prepare for this necessary action.
Mr. Goodman reported that bids on Rightsell would be let on May 25. Dr. Mitchell asked if it would be possible for the work at Rightsell to be done over the summer months so that the students would not have to move to Badgett. Mr. Goodman responded by acknowledging the scope of the project and the difficulty in attempting to complete a project of that size over a few months time. He noted that the building was constructed in 1907, and until the contractors have done a thorough assessment, it is not known what the complete project will cost.
Mr. Becker’s monthly update was printed in the Board’s agenda
Ms. Neal was present and briefly reviewed the summary report that was part of the Board’s agenda. In addition, she reported that parents at all high schools had been involved in training for use of Edline, on-line accessibility of student grades and attendance reports. The program is very popular and has received a lot of positive feedback.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on March 24, and from special meetings held on April 5 and April 14, 2005, were presented for review and approval. Mr. Day moved to approve the minutes as presented. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Board Meeting Dates
The proposed schedule for regular meeting dates for the 2005-2006 school year were presented for the Board’s consideration. By policy, the second and fourth Thursday of each month are designated as regular meeting dates. Exceptions are made in November and December to avoid conflict with the holidays. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the meeting dates as presented. Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Elimination of the Sixth Grade Athletic Program
The administration presented a recommendation for elimination of the sixth grade athletic program in the district’s middle schools. Concerns regarding the district’s liability in case of accident or serious injury were presented as the basis for the recommendation, along with the need to provide a greater emphasis on sixth grade academic aspects of the transition to middle school.
The Arkansas Activities Association does not regulate athletic programs for sixth grade students, and the LRSD was the only district in the state to provide an athletic program for students younger than seventh grade. The recommendation will save the district approximately $80,000 per year. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the recommendation; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried 7-0.
Although the recommendation was approved, it was noted that the Board requested the administration to determine ways to enhance the school physical education programs for these students, increase recess time, and provide more access to after school activities to enhance health and physical fitness.
B. Report: Mitchell School Update
Dr. Daugherty, chairman of the Mitchell School Committee, reported that the group had met regularly to develop recommendations for use of the building. A survey was administered to the community, with 137 responses received. Dr. Daugherty briefly reviewed some of the responses, and promised to provide a copy of the complete results after the next committee meeting. The final meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 5, at the Instructional Resource Center, and board members were invited to attend.
A. Report of Recommendations: Fair Park Early Childhood Center
The administration presented a report of recommendations, The Big Picture – Fair Park Early Childhood Center, and a brief overview of the planned transformation of Fair Park Elementary School into an Early Childhood Education Center. The Board approved the conversion in December 2004, and since that time, the planning team and advisory committee have worked together to develop a plan for operating a high quality and effective early childhood education center.
Krista Underwood, Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Literacy, presented the recommendations and responded to questions. The Board accepted the report and expressed appreciation to Ms. Underwood and members of the committee for their leadership and commitment to the project. She thanked Ms. Strickland for serving as the Board’s representative to the committee.
A. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Daugherty moved to approve the personnel actions as presented. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Brooks welcomed Hugh Hattabaugh, deputy superintendent, and provided him an opportunity to address the Board. Mr. Hattabaugh thanked the board for the opportunity to serve the students, teachers, principals and parents of the LRSD. He accepted the challenge of working toward the goals of ensuring success for every student in the District.
B. Update - Reorganization / Continuation of Services:
In response to a request from Dr. Mitchell, Beverly Williams presented a matrix designating the duties and responsibilities of the positions that were recently eliminated by the reorganization of the District’s administration. Those duties and responsibilities have been assigned to the appropriate division, director, or department, with the assurance that essential services to students, teachers, parents and principals will not be neglected or overlooked. Specific details regarding the persons assigned to each function will be provided as the reorganization is phased in, and as directors and other supervisory staff members are assigned.
A. Request for Right of Way and Easement – Geyer Springs Elementary School
The City of Little Rock requested a construction easement and a temporary right of way for the purpose of widening Mabelvale Pike near Geyer Springs Elementary School. The LRSD was offered $4,500 for the permanent easement for construction of a drainage system. The administration recommended approval of the request. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the recommendation. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Donations of Property
The Board was asked to approve the acceptance of recent donations to schools and departments within the District. The donations are listed in the following chart. Mr. Rose read the items listed in the Board’s agenda, and made a motion to accept the donated items. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Booker Arts Magnet Elementary School
Playground equipment, safety surfacing and installation, valued at $20,492.58
Booker Arts Magnet Elementary School PTA
Central High School
Equipment, valued t $405.71 for use in AP Spanish classes
J. A. Fair Magnet High School
Decorative rock, valued at $1,500 for use on and around outdoor classroom
Jason Roy / Altech, Inc.
Geyer Springs Elementary
$10,000 to be placed in a trust fund at Metropolitan Bank for ten fifth grade students (Children of Promise) for college scholarships
BFI Waste Services
Pulaski Heights Middle School
$500 cash to be used to refurbish the Parent Center
Hillcrest Residents Association
Rockefeller Elementary School
$5,000 cash to purchase “Climbing Wall” equipment for the gym to enhance P. E. program
Rockefeller Elementary PTA
C. Financial Report
The monthly financial
summary reports were provided to the Board as part of the printed agenda.
The Board requested information and clarification of the budget for the CARE program. In addition, there were questions regarding whether the CARE employees were actually LRSD employees, how staffing was accomplished, how the salaries were allocated, and what the District’s liability would be if a student or employee were injured while in the CARE program. Additional information will be provided for the Board’s review and consideration.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. on a motion by Mr. Day, and seconded by Dr. Daugherty.
APPROVED: 05-26-05 Originals Signed by:
Larry Berkley, President
Katherine P. Mitchell, Secretary