March 21, 2002
The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, 2002, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Baker Kurrus presided.
T. Kenneth James, Superintendent of Schools
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
President Baker Kurrus called the
meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Six
members of the Board were present at roll call; Dr. Mitchell arrived at 6:15
Cynthia Crawford, teacher at Chicot Elementary School, and Steven Nichols, student at Fair High School served as ex-officio representatives to the Board for the month of March.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Kurrus made brief opening remarks and welcoming comments. He introduced Dr. James for the presentation of the student performing group and citations.
Dr. James introduced the choir from Pulaski Heights Elementary School. The students performed two choral selections. Their director, Adrian Westbrook, and Principal Lillie Carter were also present.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Prior to the student performance, Dr. James introduced Allyson Pittman for recognition of her volunteer activities. Allyson, a student at Pulaski Heights Middle School, volunteers each morning in the kindergarten class at Pulaski Heights Elementary School. Allyson has been volunteering in Ms. Jimmie Lou Neal’s class each morning for three years. Dr. James thanked her for her commitment to making a difference in the lives of these students.
The Superintendent introduced Al Flanigan, head coach at Parkview Magnet High School, and the members of the Parkview Patriots basketball team. The Patriots won this year’s 5-A championship. Present were Assistant Coaches, Zachary Burks, Jay Pickering, Art Johnson, and Lahoma Howard, and team members Tavarus Blanchard, Bradford Donley, Marcus Twillie, Terrance Akins, Rod Earls, David Kennebrew, Earnest Sweat, Jamal Anderson, Edmond Barnes, Robert Beach, Trey Sally and Mark Winston.
The “Safe Schools, Healthy Students” program produced a video for middle school students which has been shown in all middle schools and continues to be broadcast on LRSD-TV, channel 4. Mary Paal, Director of this program, worked with the LRSD communications office staff and an independent video production company to develop the informational video. The Public Relations Society of America recently selected this video as the winner of the Prism Award in the area of Electronic Media. Dr. James displayed the Award and thanked staff members who worked on this production.
Dr. James called attention to the Wall of Fame in the administration building lobby. This wall displays photographs of teachers in the District who have achieved special recognition over the past year in a variety of organizations.
Ex officio representatives to the Board were presented with certificates of appreciation for their service during the month of March; Cynthia Crawford, teacher at Chicot Elementary School, and Steven Nichols, J. A. Fair High School student.
Prior to the partnership recognition, Debbie Milam announced that the second Parent Institute was scheduled for Saturday, April 6, 2002 at Southwest Middle School. They are preparing for approximately 200 attendees.
In addition, Ms. Milam announced the date for the annual Evening for the Stars. It will be held on Tuesday, April 23, 2002, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Also, a Parent Involvement meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 30 at Parkview Magnet High School. Additional information on all these activities will be provided at a later date.
Ms. Milam presented certificates in recognition of new business / school partnerships as noted below. Ms. Magness made a motion to accept the new partnerships, Mr. Rose seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
The new partnerships were:
Accelerated Learning Center, represented by Carol Green and Barbara Coakley, in partnership with:
Apex Hospitality, represented by Angela Smith
Royal Coach and Tour, represented by L. M. White
Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, represented by Don Parrish
Sam’s Club #8104, represented by Sara Webster
Coca Cola Bottling Company, represented by Rusty Campbell
Tamidra Mason addressed the Board regarding the HIPPY program and possible budget reductions. She related the positive experiences she and her child have had during her two years with HIPPY, and she asked the Board to consider the impact of reducing funding to this early childhood program.
Amanda Gray serves as a German teacher at Hall and Parkview High Schools. She asked the Board to reconsider the possibility of reducing the budget for foreign language services to students. She noted that most of these students need the foreign language credits in order to qualify for the colleges they want to attend and reductions would have a very negative impact for these students.
Ms. Gray made several suggestions for alternate budgetary consideration including the athletic program, transportation costs, stipends and study hall.
Jennifer Lusk, also a German teacher at Parkview, reported on her participation in the Unitown Program. Unitown provides students an opportunity to talk about what they feel they need to excel and succeed in the classroom thus providing teachers an opportunity to hear directly from the students’ perspective. She asked that the Board look closely at programs that are not working before they begin making reductions to the budgets of the programs that directly impact and benefit the children.
Frank Martin addressed the Board and made reference to possible staffing reductions and contract provisions for notification when there are expected reductions. He noted that contracts for the District’s support staff have been finalized, and he asked the Board to review these contracts and ratify them.
In addition, Mr. Martin referred to an arbitration issue that has not been concluded as directed by the arbitrator. He asked the Board to ensure that the administration has considered this issue and reinstate the individual as recommended by the arbitrator.
E. Joshua Intervenors
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Ms. Magness asked Bill Goodman to make a brief presentation in honor of Harold Engstrom, former LRSD Board Member. Mr. Engstrom served from 1955 – 1958, and was on the Board when Central High School was ordered closed by Governor Faubus. Mr. Engstrom recently passed away, and Jim Engstrom prepared a script in honor of his father, which was read by Mr. Goodman.
Dr. Mitchell expressed gratitude for the support of her LRSD family and friends in establishing a scholarship fund for future Philander Smith College students. She also thanked everyone for their support and prayers during the time of her sister’s illness.
Dr. Daugherty thanked Mr.
Goodman for his presentation honoring
Mr. Engstrom and noted that it is important to remember the sacrifices made by Board members and their families during times of crisis, as in the 1957-58 school years.
Mr. Kurrus expressed condolences to Dr. Mitchell for the loss of her sister and thanked her for coming to the Board meeting during this difficult time. He also expressed high regard for Mr. Engstrom and for Judge Henry Woods, who also recently died. Mr. Kurrus stated that he was proud that his mother had served on the Women’s Emergency Committee in the late ‘50’s.
In addition, Mr. Kurrus complimented the ODM staff on their latest report on enrollment in the three districts, but took exception to the statements in the report that noted the numbers of students we have lost over the years 1987 – 2001. He reaffirmed his personal commitment to desegregated education and to neighborhood schools. He stated that he wants the LRSD to “embrace our diversity” and he invited the public to join us.
Mr. Berkley concurred with Mr. Kurrus’ statements and stated that the revised plan and the return to neighborhood schools was a concept embraced by the community. The LRSD’s commitment to quality neighborhood schools is intended to make our schools more attractive to our patrons.
Mr. Babbs thanked Mr. Kurrus and Mr. Berkley for their statements and said that it is important for us to remain mindful of the commitments made to the public in the revised desegregation and education plan. He noted that the District’s patrons are supportive of the neighborhood school configuration, and that as they become more familiar with attendance zone schools the District’s enrollment will be impacted positively.
In addition, Mr. Babbs noted that applications for the District’s four-year-old, Pre-K enrollment are in process, and are to be mailed on April 12. Special transfer requests are being considered and letters notifying parents will be mailed on March 28.
Mr. Goodman reported, noting that his written report was provided as part of the agenda. In addition, he reported that construction projects at Cloverdale Middle School, Franklin Elementary School, and Hall High School would begin next week, and that the media center project at Terry Elementary would be bid on April 10.
The Internal Auditors’ Report was printed as part of the Board’s agenda. Mr. Becker was present, but provided no additional information.
Ms. Neal was present and reviewed briefly the report printed in the Board’s agenda. She noted that the new telephone systems were operational at Metropolitan and at the administration building. Three more locations are to be switched over to the new system next week, and the phone numbers are posted on the LRSD website as they become effective.
The Board took a brief recess and reconvened at 7:25 p.m.
V. APPROVAL OF ROUTINE MATTERS
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on February 28, 2002 were presented for review and approval. Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Mr. Rose presented a resolution supporting the Pennbrook – Cloverhill Neighborhood Association’s efforts to have the City of Little Rock install a traffic light at Henderson Magnet School on Barrow Road. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the resolution as read, Ms. Magness seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. The original resolution will be mailed to Mayor Dailey, and a copy will be attached to these minutes.
VI. INSTRUCTIONAL SERVICES DIVISION
The Board was asked to approve the submission of an application for grant funding in early childhood programs. Pat Price, Linda Austin and Bonnie Lesley collaborated in the preparation of a proposal which will provide $273,358.00 from the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Education, under the terms of the Arkansas Better Chance Program, Act 212 of 1991 and Act 1132 of 1997. The proposal requires a District match in the amount of 40% of the total proposed budget. Ms. Magness made a motion to approve the grant application, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
VII. ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DIVISION
A. Personnel Changes
Personnel items were presented as a part of the Board’s agenda and the administration recommended Board approval. Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the personnel changes as presented. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
VIII. BUSINESS SERVICES DIVISION
A. Donations of Property
The Board was asked to approve acceptance of recent donations to the District. Mr. Rose made a motion to accept the donations, Ms. Magness seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. Mr. Rose read the list of items as noted in the following chart:
Booker Arts Magnet School
Folk Art and Country Sampler Engagement Calendars for teachers, “Cookie Joys” to be used as refreshments for staff development activities. Total value of donation $717.00
Charlie Huie / Country Cupboard
Pulaski Heights Elementary School
300 National Geographic magazines to be used in the library, valued at approximately $624.00
Pulaski Heights Elementary School
Rainforest rug, to be used in the library, valued at $453.22
Little Rock School District
$500.00 cash to be used to offset costs associated with the Parkview / Central basketball game at Alltel Arena
$250.00 cash to be used to offset costs associated with the Parkview / Central basketball game at Alltel Arena
Compaq Presario 1410 monitor, keyboard and Canon Bubblejet 210 printer to be used where needed, valued at approximately $100.00
Major Sports Association
Wendy’s – Fourjay L.L.C.
Mr. Milhollen was present to review the financial report printed in the Board's agenda. He noted that the report compares the first eight months of this fiscal year with the same time period last year. In addition, he noted that the annual audit report, which was presented at the last board meeting, is now available for review on the District’s website. Ms. Magness made a motion to approve the reports as submitted. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Dr. James presented the proposed listing of budget reductions for the Board’s consideration and discussion. These items had been presented previously at the agenda meeting and at a budget work session, and Board members had provided feedback and comment as the list was finalized. The items presented would result in a reduction in spending in the amount of $4.5 million, and Dr. James noted that this did not include any elimination of programs. Additional adjustments will have to be made as the enrollment figures are finalized and classes are formed, but these are usual adjustments that ensure appropriate class size ratios.
Ms. Magness made a motion to adopt and approve the budget reductions as submitted. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously by a roll call vote.
Board members commented on the process of deciding how these budget reductions would be implemented and expressed appreciation to the Superintendent and staff for their hard work. They expressed appreciation that cuts were made as far as possible from the students, and that as the changes take effect they will be monitored so that the instructional environment would not be adversely affected.
Dr. Mitchell expressed hope that the State will eventually restore funding to school districts across the state, and at that time some of the areas reduced would be returned to their previous levels of funding. Ms. Strickland noted that the reductions were made at all levels so that no one area or department was forced to take “a major hit.” No reductions were made in teacher salaries, and it was noted that they would be funded at the rate agreed in the negotiated contracts.
IX. SCHOOL SERVICES DIVISION
No items for consideration.
X. DISTRICT OPERATIONS
A. Easement: City of Little Rock / Mabelvale Middle School
B. Easement: City of Little Rock / Franklin Elementary
Mr. Eaton presented two requests for easements by the City of Little Rock. The first request provides for road maintenance at Mabelvale Middle School. The request will allow for expansion and widening of Mabelvale Road, and will not impact day-to-day operations of the school.
The second submission provides an easement for a drainage structure that will pass diagonally across the playground at Franklin Elementary School. Once the project is complete, it will not impact the operation of the school or interfere with use of the play area.
Mr. Rose made a motion to approve both of these easement requests by the City of Little Rock. Ms. Magness seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
XI. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. James reported that the second LRSD Foundation meeting had been held and that the board members had approved articles of incorporation and by-laws. The documents will be submitted to our attorneys for review and comment. The group reviewed the process for grant applications, and members of Dr. Lesley’s staff provided valuable information and assistance.
The Superintendent announced that Vicki Saviers will serve as the Director, and he reported that they are seeking additional people to serve on the board in hopes of eventually consisting of 35 members.
There being no further business before the Board, Mr. Berkley moved to adjourn at 7:43 p.m. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: 04-25-02 Original documents signed by:
H. Baker Kurrus, President
Tony Rose, Secretary