The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 24, 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 5:30 p.m. Six members of the Board were present at roll call; Dr. Daugherty was attending a Mitchell committee meeting in the administration building and entered the board meeting at 5:40 p.m. In addition, ex officio representatives for the month of February were also present: Shirley Harper, teacher at Dunbar Magnet Middle School, and Vantina Hampton, J. A. Fair High School student.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Berkley welcomed the audience and introduced
Danny Fletcher, Director of Fine Arts, who presented students from Mitchell
Elementary School. Their teacher, Kelly
Keck, provided a brief description of the grant received by the LRSD to provide
music training for elementary school teachers and the benefits of this grant
for our students.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dr. Brooks recognized the Central High School Tiger football team, the Arkansas 5-A champions for the second year in a row. Coach Bernie Cox and members of the team were present, as well as Nancy Rousseau, Central’s principal.
In addition to the team’s recognition, Coach Cox was honored for his selection as the High School Coach of the Year. This honor was given to Coach Cox by the Little Rock Touchdown Club and the National Federation of State High School Coaches Association.
The Board suspended the rules at this point in the agenda to honor Coach Cox by naming the football field at Quigley Stadium in his honor. That action will be reported later in these minutes.
Chloe Smith, student at Mann Magnet Middle School was recognized for her selection as one of two Arkansas winners in the national Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Chloe works as a volunteer in an after school and summer camp sponsored by Easter Seals of Arkansas. She will receive a $1,000 prize, an engraved medallion and a trip to Washington D.C. in May.
Dr. Brooks presented a citation to Mrs. Carolyn Foreman, director of the Parkview Magnet High School Choir. Mrs. Foreman was named 2004 Central Region High School Choir Director of the Year by the Arkansas Choral Directors Association.
The superintendent presented a citation to Nancy Rousseau in recognition of Central High School’s selection as one of twelve high schools in the nation to be recognized by the Siemens Corporation and The College Board. The Siemens Award is given in recognition of exceptional Advanced Placement math and science programs.
Brenda Futrell, Central High School teacher, was honored for her selection as the 2004-05 Arkansas Marketing Teacher of the Year. Ms. Futrell sponsors the Central High School chapter of the Distributive Education Clubs of America. Two of her students won medals at the state level competitions this year, Patrick Beavers for Food Marketing, Associate Level, and Leslie Rogers, Full Service Restaurant Management.
Dr. Brooks presented a citation to Eliza Borne, editor of the Central High Tiger newspaper. Eliza has been selected to receive two scholarships: the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholarship, in the amount of $1,000, and the Guideposts Young Writers Scholarship in the amount of $4,000. In addition to the cash awards, Eliza will travel to Washington, DC where she will meet with other top journalism students from across the country.
The final citations were presented to the ex officio board representatives, Shirley Harper, teacher from Dunbar Magnet Middle School, and Vantina Hampton, student from J. A. Fair Magnet High School.
Dr. Brooks introduced Deborah Price, who was recently assigned as principal of Forest Heights Middle School, and Becky Ramsey, who was appointed as the principal of Terry Elementary School.
Debbie Milam addressed the Board, reminding the audience that the annual Evening for the Stars would be held on April 26, 2005.
The Board was asked to approve recent partnerships between schools and businesses:
Alternative and Accelerated Learning Centers, represented by Jodie Carter and Carol Green with Little Rock Job Corp, represented by Willie Brown, Willie Jones and Mary Ellen Cody
Chicot Elementary School, represented by Delwin Smith with Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits, represented by Mr. Berry
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, represented by Tyrone Harris with Cozymel’s, represented by Linda Fletcher and Tiffany Jones
Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the partnerships, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Gwen Marshall introduced herself as a teacher at Mitchell Elementary School. She reported having continuing health problems which she contributed to working in the old Mitchell building. She asked the Board to consider the health issues that remain among teachers and students who were exposed to the unhealthy air quality and environment of Mitchell.
Rebecca Campbell stated that she was a parent of two students at Central High School. She asked for the Board to grant an exception to the policy that prevents employees from doing business with the District. There was an action item on the agenda for the Board’s consideration which would allow a District employee to sell soccer equipment to the school teams.
David Duke, volunteer soccer coach at Central High School, asked for the Board’s consideration of the request for Jennie Cooper to be allowed to do business with the District. He stated that he was forced to purchase $4,500 worth of soccer uniforms and equipment from an out-of-state, on-line vendor because of the restrictions imposed by the District’s policy.
Jennie Cooper asked for the Board to consider her request to be allowed to sell soccer equipment to the District. She asked the Board to consider the fact that most of the money spent on soccer uniforms and equipment was contributed by parents, and that only $600 per year was allocated per team from the District’s budget.
Pastor Clarence Thornton, minister from Macedonia Baptist Church, commented on racial issues within the LRSD. He spoke of concerns that the LRSD is not adequately educating African American students to be successful, and that the administrative and teaching staff of the District was not reflective of the 70% minority student enrollment. He asked the Board to develop a plan to ensure that we have a school district that is reflective of the make up of the community.
Katherine Knight congratulated all of the students and employees who were recognized by Superintendent Brooks earlier in the agenda. She reminded the Board that contract negotiations were scheduled to begin within a few weeks. She was anticipating a quick bargaining session with few issues for negotiation.
Ms. Knight provided a brief review of the National Board Certification process, noting that portfolios were scheduled for submission by the end of March. She thanked Dr. Brooks and the Board for providing the stipends that allowed more of our teachers to participate in this process.
The perfect attendance incentives were paid out on the Friday prior to the Board meeting. This negotiated benefit allowed a reduction in the need for substitutes and gave the teachers a financial reward for coming to work regularly.
Ms. Knight thanked Olivine Roberts for working with the CTA and District special education administrators and teachers to resolve some serious concerns and issues. She reminded the Board that Benchmark tests were scheduled within a few weeks and she extended best wishes to students and teachers who had been working hard to make sure that students succeed on these assessments.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Ms. Strickland stated that she was excited about the future of the LRSD, and thanked Dr. Brooks for his leadership. She stated that she was anticipating nothing but good results from his efforts to lead the District to success.
Dr. Daugherty reported that the first official meeting of the committee to find an alternate use for the Mitchell School building had been held immediately prior to this board meeting. He noted that many ideas had been generated by the committee members and stated that they would schedule additional meetings to assess the needs of the community. Their comments and suggestions will be included in a recommendation for the Board’s consideration.
Mr. Berkley reported that he had substituted at McClellan High School and stated that he had a new appreciation for what our teachers are facing each day in the classroom. He encouraged others to get into the schools to see firsthand what it is like to be a teacher in the LRSD.
Mr. Rose stated that he had attended a mathematics leadership workshop sponsored by UALR. He reported that sometimes the responsibility for education is removed from the student. He suggested that the students must be held accountable for their own educational success.
Mr. Kurrus reported that he had been attending soccer games and that he was pleased with the good sportsman exhibited by our students. He said that they compete hard and fair and win gracefully. He stated that he had been invited to speak at the state PTA legislative conference. State legislators are showing a lot of courage in making the decisions that should be made for our kids.
In closing, Mr. Kurrus discussed the rapid changes that would be taking place in the LRSD over the next few weeks and months. He noted that we would become much leaner and that we must change the way we deliver education to the children.
Dr. Mitchell thanked everyone for expressions of support and sympathy in the recent loss of her mother. She reported that she had attended the open house at Metropolitan and congratulated the individuals who work in that program, preparing our students to enter the workforce. She also commended Sandy Becker on his selection to receive a service award from the Arkansas Association of Certified Public Accountants.
Dr. Mitchell expressed concern about the reorganization of the District, stating that there were too many uncertainties involved and too many people who had not been informed about how they would be affected by the changes. She felt that employees who had the most to lose were those who had not been informed about the impact of the changes. She questioned the reasoning behind paying consultants to tell us how to reorganize.
Mr. Babbs reported that assignment letters for the 2005-06 school year would be mailed out on March 4, 2005. Letters for Pre-Kindergarten students would follow on April 8.
Mr. Milhollen reported that the first installment of the attendance incentive payments had been mailed to teachers. These payments were a part of the contract negotiations for the 2004-05 school year and that teachers who were eligible would receive as much as $1,300 per year as an incentive bonus for not missing any days from school. Other employee groups were scheduled to receive payments, but not in the same amount. 873 teachers had received the stipend, for a total payout for the District of $318,601. It is hoped that this incentive will reflect in better student achievement by having the teacher in the classroom every day.
Mr. Milhollen also reported on monitoring of the legislative facilities review. Four bills had been drafted that would impact the facilities needs across the state. He promised to continue to monitor the legislative actions and report to the Board as more is known.
Mr. Goodman reported that the drawings for the Rightsell renovations were expected by the end of the month. Once those are reviewed, the District would enter into the bidding process for completing the recommended work. The complete bond project report was printed in the Board’s agenda.
Mr. Becker was present. His printed report was provided as part of the Board’s agenda.
Ms. Neal reported that installation of Edline at Parkview was complete. Staff training was complete, and training for parents was continuing. Edline will be installed at the other four high schools after spring break. A written report was provided as a part of the Board’s agenda.
The Board took a brief recess and returned at 7:15 p.m. Dr. Daugherty did not return.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on January 27, and from a special meeting held on February 10, 2005, were presented for review and approval. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the minutes as submitted; Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Naming of Facilities: Proposal to Name Football Field at Quigley Stadium
The Board suspended the rules during the Superintendent’s Citations section of the agenda to allow action on this item. Mr. Kurrus made a motion to suspend the rules, seconded by Mr. Rose, and unanimously approved.
In accordance with Board Policy FF: Naming of Facilities, parents, students and supporters of the Central High School football program submitted a request to rename the athletic field at Quigley Stadium in honor of Coach Bernie Cox. Coach Cox and his wife were present.
Mr. Kevin Crass, Central High
School supporter and parent, provided a brief history of Coach Cox’s tenure at
Central, including his win-loss record of 250-93-8. Coach Cox has been head football coach at Central since
Mr. Kurrus made a motion to approve the request to name the football field at Quigley Stadium in honor of Coach Cox; Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Grant Application: Minority Initiative – Tobacco Prevention Program
Jo Evelyn Elston submitted a request for the Board to authorize submission of a grant application that would provide up to $100,000 for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The funding is provided by the Arkansas Department of Health. Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the submission, Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried 5-1, with Mr. Kurrus casting the no vote.
B. First Reading: Revision of Policy JE – Student Enrollment, Attendance and Transfers
Several District policies were submitted for revision to bring them into compliance with state statutes. Policy JE, Student Enrollment, Attendance and Transfers was revised and submitted for the Board’s review and first reading approval. Mr. Day moved to approve the revision on first reading. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
Revision to Policy IKF – General Education Graduation Requirements
First Reading: Revision to Policy IAA – Professional Development Review of Regulation IAA-R
Review of Regulation ID-R – Student Schedules
Board Policies IKF, General Education Graduation Requirements, and IAA, Professional Development were submitted for review and revision. These revisions were required in order to ensure compliance with Arkansas laws and Arkansas Department of Education Standards for Accreditation.
In addition, regulations IAA-R and ID-R were revised and provided for the Board’s review and comment.
Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the revised policies on first reading. Mr. Rose seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Daugherty returned at 7:25 p.m.
A. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. Mr. Day moved to approve the personnel actions as presented. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Resolution Authorizing Execution of a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) Agreement
Mark Milhollen introduced Cary Smith, account representative from Stephens, Inc. A proposal to apply for QZAB funding was presented for the Board’s review and approval. These funds would provide approximately $5.8 million for HVAC projects across the District. Previous QZAB funds granted to the LRSD, were used to install energy efficient lighting in all schools and administrative offices. The deadline to apply for these funds is March 11. Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the resolution to apply for QZAB funding. Mrs. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried 4-2-1, with Mr. Day and Mr. Kurrus voting no, and Dr. Daugherty abstaining.
B. Employee Request to Conduct Business with the District
Under Arkansas law, full open disclosure is required for an employee to conduct business with the school district where he or she is employed. Jennie Cooper, owner of Soccer Plus, works at Central High School as the soccer coach. A request to provide bids on soccer supplies, uniforms and equipment was provided for the board’s consideration. Ms. Cooper had earlier addressed the Board, requesting their consideration and approval.
Dr. Daugherty moved to approve the request to allow Ms. Cooper to conduct business with the LRSD. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion. Mr. Day requested an amendment to the motion to include a stipulation that would ensure that the vendor adhere to all District policies. Mr. Kurrus seconded the amended motion. The motion carried 6-1, with Ms. Strickland casting the no vote.
Mr. Day left the meeting at 7:50 p.m.
C. 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. Kristian Henderson, student ex officio, read the items listed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Daugherty made a motion to accept the donated items; Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Bale Elementary School
$100 cash for kindergarten class
$9,020 cash to be distributed to various projects: school uniforms, winter coats, hats & gloves, health room equipment, materials to build outside classroom, Arkansas Rice Depot Backpack Program, t-shirts for students, and registration fees for students to participate in the LR Marathon
UALR – Children International
Central High School
$3,000 cash to special education department
Microwave oven to the basketball concession stand
Winthrop & Lisenne Rockefeller
Paula Aultz and Kevin & Cathy Crass
Cloverdale Magnet Middle School
Gift cards valued at $220, trophies valued at $95, and supplies for spelling bee awards $25.00
Bank of America
$700 cash for school uniforms and teacher / student incentives
$400 cash for school uniforms and teacher / student incentives
$300 cash for staff t-shirts for Race for the Cure
$100 cash for materials and supplies for the spaghetti dinner & talent show
$250.00 cash for school uniforms
$50 cash for materials and supplies for the spaghetti dinner & talent show
100 Black Men
LR Black Police Officers’ Association
Dr. & Mrs. Cortez McFarland
Family of Charlie Carrigton
Washer / dryer, valued at $250 to assist in providing clean uniforms for students
Jimmerson Family Health Care
LRSD Smoke Free Homes Campaign
$1,000 cash to purchase incentives to be distributed to elementary and middle school classes with the highest number of “Smoke Free Homes” pledges
LRSD Homeless Education Program
$102.93 cash for emergency services for homeless families
$75 cash for holiday assistance for homeless students
Grace Presbyterian Church
LRSD Association of Educational Office Professionals
D. Financial Report
The monthly financial summary reports were provided to the Board as part of the printed agenda. Mr. Milhollen was present to review the reports and respond to questions. The reports were accepted by consensus.
XI. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. Brooks announced the dates in March for Benchmark and other achievement tests.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m. on a motion by Dr. Daugherty, seconded by Mr. Rose.
APPROVED: 03-24-05 Originals Signed by:
Larry Berkley, President
Katherine P. Mitchell, Secretary