The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, 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 5:34 p.m. All members of the Board were present at roll call. In addition, ex officio teacher representative Carolyn Jennings from Southwest Middle School, and student representative Naomi Bland from Hall High School were also present.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Berkley welcomed the audience and noted that this was the first board meeting of the school year. He introduced the ex-officio representatives and asked Dr. Brooks to proceed with the citations.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dr. Brooks introduced district administrators who were recently recognized for holding office on board of professional organizations.
- Ann Blaylock, principal of Mabelvale Magnet Middle School, serves as President of the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Administrators.
- Lillie Carter, principal of Pulaski Heights Elementary School, is secretary-treasurer of the Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals.
- Deborah Mitchell, principal of Fulbright Elementary School, is Zone Director for Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County with the Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals.
- David Hartz, Senior Director of Human Resources, serves on the Board of Directors and as the Legislative Liaison of the Arkansas Association of School Personnel Administrators.
Students identified by the Duke Talent Identification Program as gifted in mathematics by the results of the ACT or SAT, taken as seventh graders, were recognized by the Superintendent. Two of the highest scoring students were invited to Duke University to participate in a national recognition ceremony. Those students were Seemaab Ali, from Mann Magnet Middle School, and Rachel Roberts from Pulaski Heights Middle School.
Other students recognized at the State Recognition Ceremony are listed by school.
- Dunbar Magnet Middle School: Claire Carter, Emily Dobson, Jeremiah Harpool, Imani Hudson-Hill, Meliss Loeffelholz, Christa Page, Jessica Riddick, Macon Speed, Maria Sudibjo, Vihitha Thota, and Taylor White
- Forest Heights Middle School: Erin Childress, Adam Meeks, William Ragsdale and Sarah Robins
- Henderson Magnet Middle School: Phillip Turner
- Mann Magnet Middle School: Reagen Beaverson, Mari-Anne Caldwell, Dylan Clifford, Matthew Crockett, Brenna Gilstrap, Rashida Herndon, Joshua Lyon, Ryan MacLeod, Dariane Mull, Patrick Phelan, Brenna Raney, Shannon Rookey, Stephen Rookey and Shelby Thomas
- Pulaski Heights Middle School: Grayson Barber, Matthew Christie, Erin Gauger, Holly Hilliard, Caitlin Robertson and Charles Watts
Tommy Foltz from the Arkansas Adopt-A-School-Bus program and the Arkansas Clean Cities Program attended the meeting to present a letter and recognition to the LRSD for the district’s efforts to use bio-diesel fuel in all our school buses. Biodiesel is more environmentally friendly and buses get better mileage from this alternative to pure diesel fuel.
Dr. Brooks introduced employees who were recommended for administrative appointments later in the Personnel section of the action agenda. These appointments included:
- Stephen Ewings, assistant principal, Cloverdale Middle School
- Richard Mills, assistant principal, Cloverdale Middle School
- Steve Geurin, assistant principal, Forest Heights Middle School
- Timothy Hopson, assistant principal, Dunbar Middle School
- Judge Evans, coordinator, Felder Alternative Learning Academy
The exofficio representatives for the month of August were also presented with certificates of appreciation: Carolyn Jennings, teacher from Southwest Middle School, and Naomi Bland, student from Hall High School
Ms. Debbie Milam was present to introduce new business partnerships within the Partners in Education Program.
Hall High School, represented by John Bacon, Sonja McKastle, and Kitty Sanders, in partnership with UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, represented by Professor Sheena Olson and Kelly Olson
Dr. Mitchell moved to accept the new partnership; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Lisa Black, representing the Little Rock Public Education Foundation, discuss Project SOAR and spoke in support of the Achievement Challenge Pilot Project. She noted that many districts across the country are paying incentive bonuses and that it is important to support student achievement by encouraging excellence in the classroom by providing additional financial incentives to quality instructional staff.
Melanie Fox, thanked the Board and district employees for a wonderful opening of school. She agreed with comments made by Board member Baker Kurrus at a meeting several weeks ago, that the reorganization has stirred excitement and enthusiasm within the LRSD - - teachers, students, and other staff members are excited about the opportunity to make positive change that will benefit all the children in our schools.
Kathy Thomas, teacher at Meadowcliff Elementary School, spoke in favor of the Achievement Challenge Pilot project. She noted that teachers at Meadowcliff had participated in the first year of this incentive program and were encouraged by the results achieved by their students. She noted the benefit of having individual student’s test scores on hand at the beginning of school year and a method of measuring remediation that might be needed after the summer break.
Grainger Ledbetter, Executive Director of the CTA, addressed the board regarding the Meadowcliff incentive plan. He asked the Board to set aside the vote on extending the project until the appropriate negotiations have taken place with the union. He noted that the current professional negotiated agreement provides a process for the district to apply for a waiver in order to implement such a project.
Mr. Ledbetter also questioned the use of a norm referenced test to measure student progress for the incentive program when the State requires academic improvement measured by the ACTAAP benchmark criterion referenced test.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Ms. Strickland reported that she had visited schools on opening day and that she was pleased with the positive changes she had seen. She thanked the district’s staff, teachers and principals for their extra effort to make the first day of school the best opening she had ever witnessed.
Dr. Daugherty welcomed teachers and students back for a new year and expressed hope that this would be one of the best school years ever for the LRSD.
Mr. Berkley thanked district staff for their hard work over the summer to get the school buildings and grounds ready for school opening.
Mr. Rose expressed appreciation for the teachers and administrative staff and excitement for the “perfect” school opening. He especially thanked Mark Milhollen, David Hartz and Hugh Hattabaugh for their extra efforts during contract negotiations.
Mr. Kurrus noted that his children, a senior at Central High School, and an eighth grader at Forest Heights, were very happy to be back in school. He noted that the organizational audit had energized district employees, especially school leaders and teachers. He congratulated all district administrators who played a part in making the reorganization a success.
Dr. Mitchell encouraged parents to get involved in their students’ school day, to meet their child’s teacher, and to work with their children to ensure success in school.
Naomi Bland, student ex officio, reported that it was going to be a “great” school year at Hall High. She noted that the opening of school was very smooth and the changes there were very positive.
Teacher ex officio, Carolyn Jennings, reported that Southwest Middle School was up and running, off to a good start this school year.
Dr. Brooks reported an increase in enrollment on the third day counts of over 1,000 students as compared to third day in 2004-05. Board members were provided a copy of the third day enrollment comparison for review and comment.
No report. Mr. Milhollen reported that he would provide his update during the Financial Services section of the agenda.
The monthly Construction Report was printed in the Board’s agenda. Mr. Goodman was present and responded to questions from the Board regarding construction at Rightsell Elementary School.
Mr. Goodman reported that the administration had requested an extension on the bids in order to gain approval and authorization to spend more than the amount originally allocated for this project.
In addition, Mr. Kurrus asked about the projects at Forest Heights Middle School and asked that the information be brought back to the board for review and a decision.
Mr. Becker’s monthly report was printed in the agenda. He reported that he was conducting sessions with school personnel and PTA officers involved in fundraisers and that he had also coordinated training for the statewide PTA’s on accounting for proceeds from fundraisers.
The monthly technology report was printed in the Board’s agenda. Mr. Ruffins and Ms. Neal were present, but no additional information was presented or requested.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on July 28, and from special meetings held on July 11 and August 11, 2005, were presented for review and approval. Mr. Rose moved to approve the minutes as presented. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Achievement Challenge Pilot Project
The Achievement Challenge Pilot Project would provide financial incentives to classroom teachers and other staff members for making significant gains in student academic achievement at Meadowcliff Elementary School. Meadowcliff School staff participated in this program during the 2004-2005 school year, with a private contributor funding the program. Dr. Brooks asked the Board to table action on this item until further discussions could be held with the CTA.
Ms. Strickland made a motion to table action on the Achievement Challenge Pilot Project; Mr. Rose seconded, stipulating that the item be brought back at the August agenda meeting for review and action. The motion to table carried unanimously.
B. Fourth Quarterly Update to ODM and Joshua Intervenors
As required by the District Court’s 2004 Compliance Remedy, the fourth quarterly report was provided for the Board’s review and approval prior to submission to the Court. Mr. Rose moved to approve the update as presented by the PRE Department evaluators. Ms Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel items were printed in the Board’s agenda, including those administrative appointments noted during the Superintendent’s Citations section of this agenda. Dr. Daugherty moved to approve the personnel actions as presented. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. On-line / Paperless Agenda Solution
District staff, in cooperation with Technology Consultant Sharon Dowdy, reviewed seven RFP’s submitted in response to a request for an on-line, paperless agenda software product. After viewing three on-site demonstrations, the committee unanimously selected Novus Agenda as the preferred vendor. The administration requested Board approval.
Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the request; Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 6-0-1, with Dr. Mitchell abstaining.
Mr. Day left the meeting at 6:45 p.m.
B. Donations of Property
No property donations.
C. Financial Report
Financial reports for the final month of the 2004-05 school year were presented for the Board’s review. Mr. Milhollen provided a brief overview and responded to questions from the Board. He reported that the projected budget for the 2005-06 school year was being prepared for submission to the Arkansas Department of Education, and that the board would be asked to meet and approve the budget prior to September 15.
IX. CLOSING REMARKS
No additional information was reported.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 6:58 p.m. on a motion by Dr. Daugherty, seconded by Mr. Kurrus.
APPROVED: 09-22-05 Originals Signed by:
Larry Berkley, President
Katherine P. Mitchell, Secretary