The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, 2004, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Tony Rose presided.
Roy G. Brooks, Superintendent of Schools
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
Five members of the Board were present at roll call; Dr. Mitchell
arrived at 5:40 p.m., and Ms. Strickland was absent.
Ex officio representatives for the month of July did not attend the meeting.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Rose opened the meeting by welcoming the audience and introducing Dr. Roy G. Brooks to his first official meeting as Superintendent of the Little Rock School District.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dr. Brooks introduced Sherrie Mays, Hall High School teacher, who was named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year by the Bowman Road store. Ms. Mays was nominated for this award by a group of students, and will now become eligible for the Statewide Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year program.
Neal Lea, a representative from Little Rock Monthly magazine, was introduced to make presentations from that publication’s May and July readers’ polls. Several LRSD schools were recognized for being “The Best of . . . “ including Pulaski Heights Elementary School, as the best public elementary school; Forest Heights Middle School, as the best public middle school; and Rockefeller Elementary School, as having the best public pre-school program. In addition, Central High School received recognition as the best public high school, and also as “The Best Place to Take Visitors.” Hall High School and Parkview Magnet High School were runners-up in the best high school category. The principals of these schools were present and received plaques to display in their buildings.
Retiring employees were recognized for their long years of service to the LRSD. It was noted that collectively, these retirees represented more than 1,000 years of service. The employees present included: Elizabeth Anglin, James Armstrong, Janice Botner, Nancy Brandt, Rose Cranford, Carolyn Croswell, Elizabeth Faulkner, Dan Fornero, Nancy Foster, Arnice Hartaway, Bernice Henderson, Irene Holcomb, Charlotte James, Patricia Jordan, Barbara Levin, Geraldine McCarther, Marolyn Ogden, Linda Pugh, and Sherry Sherwood,
B. Remarks from Citizens
No citizens were signed up to speak.
Katherine Wright-Knight welcomed Dr. Brooks to Little Rock and wished him a successful term as Superintendent of Schools. She stated the desire to continue to work to improve teacher quality and student achievement, and stated that she would like to continue to work collaboratively with the Board and the administration.
Ms. Wright-Knight thanked Dr. Brooks and Mr. Milhollen for expediting replacement checks for a number of employees whose checks were lost in the mail on July 15. Their members were grateful for the manner in which the problem was handled.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Berkley thanked Dr. Brooks for taking an afternoon to visit the zone 5 neighborhood, and the schools in that area. He also thanked Sandy Becker for his report and for the service he provides to the District.
Dr. Mitchell welcomed Dr. Brooks. She encouraged parents to make a commitment to be involved in the education of their children, and invited them to visit the schools and to work as partners with teachers and others in the classroom. In addition, Dr. Mitchell thanked Sadie Mitchell for filling in unofficially, and for taking a leadership role during the transition between superintendents.
Mr. Day welcomed Dr. Brooks, stating that he looked forward to working with him.
Mr. Rose thanked the administration staff for their hard work during the transition period, and stated that he was looking forward to school starting.
The Board invited Attorney Chris Heller to review his recommendation to appeal Judge Wilson’s decision of June 30, 2004, to the Eighth Circuit Court. The Board was provided with a detailed summary of significant points in the revised Desegregation and Education Plan, and Mr. Heller’s views on reasons for appealing the decision.
Mr. Babbs reported that 12 new four-year-old (pre-K) classes were being formed and notification of the space availability was being made. Principals are recruiting students for these seats and notification is running on the District’s cable channel. These 12 classes will serve 12 schools with a total of 400 new pre-K seats
Mr. Babbs reported that there is a demand for additional seats at Otter Creek, Fulbright, Terry and Jefferson, with those schools at or near capacity. School “check-in” registration will be August 5 and 6. Extended year schools will begin on August 9, and the other schools will start on August 19.
Mr. Babbs reported the dates for the community forums for information gathering by the Student Assignment Committee. Twenty-seven people attended the first session; the second forum is scheduled for July 29, and the final session on August 10. The committee has set a timeline to include a presentation to the Board in September.
Mr. Milhollen explained a situation whereby two full trays of mail (paychecks) from the LRSD were lost at the McCain postal facility. Two trays of checks were processed on the day they were taken to the post office; they were delivered on schedule. Two other trays went missing for several days and were not processed until July 19. The result was the business office having to process stop payments on approximately 80 paychecks and reissue those checks. This was an opportunity for Mr. Milhollen to remind employees that direct deposit is available and would prevent this type of inconvenience in the future.
Mr. Milhollen briefly reviewed the draft of budget projections that was presented on June 24, and summarized the areas of the budget where there were expected increases in state aid. He asked the Board to set a date for a budget worksession so that the final decisions could be made regarding the annual submission of the budget to the ADE.
Mr. Eaton was present and reviewed the summary of bond and construction projects that was printed in the Board’s agenda.
Mr. Becker was present and reviewed the brief summary report printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Mitchell suggested that the Board set a date and time to evaluate Mr. Becker.
Ms. Neal announced that e-rate funding in the amount of $1.1 million had been released to reimburse the District for costs associated with the 2002-03 telecommunications upgrades. In addition, the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Grant had been received, providing funding to train teachers in the use of technology in the classrooms. Ms. Neal reported that Information Services and Instructional Technology staffs had completed their move into the new Technology Center on the campus of Metropolitan Career and Technical Center.
Board members and the Superintendent were invited to attend a demonstration and presentation of projects at the UALR Cyber College on July 30, 8:30 a.m.
Sadie Mitchell briefly reviewed the written report printed in the Board’s agenda. School Services coordinates the routine activities of the School Opening/Closing Committee, which meets weekly to insure that schools are ready to open on August 19.
A. Action: Appeal to Eighth Circuit Court
The Board heard Attorney Heller present his argument for an appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court earlier in this agenda. Mr. Berkley made a motion to appeal the June 30 ruling from District Judge Wilson. Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Mr. Kurrus, Dr. Daugherty, Mr. Berkley and Mr. Rose commented on the decision to appeal. Each of them supported the appeal and agreed to allow legal counsel to do what is in the best interest of the District; in the meantime, however, they wanted to ensure that the Judge’s ruling be followed to the letter because it was “the right thing to do.” Mr. Kurrus reminded the board that they would remain committed to the Covenant for the Future.
Mr. Berkley left the meeting at 7:15 p.m.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on June 24, 2004 were presented for review and approval. There were no corrections noted and the minutes were approved as submitted.
C. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Brooks recommended the Board’s approval. Dr. Daugherty moved approval of the personnel changes, Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Purchase of School Buses
The administration presented a recommendation to purchase eight school buses for the 2004-05 school year. The special needs transportation fleet is on a ten-year cycle that keeps the fleet in efficient operation. The total cost of $480,000 would be financed over a seven-year period with an annual payment of approximately $83,000.
Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the purchase of the school buses, Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Memorandum of Understanding: Staffing Issues
Dr. Brooks asked the Board to review a consensus vote taken on June 24, 2004, and to reaffirm their decision to staff a total of 71.4 new positions. A detailed description of each of the positions was offered for the Board’s review and consideration.
After a full discussion of each of the positions, it was recommended that the Board approve 40.9 positions immediately, which represented the classroom teaching positions in elementary and secondary schools. The Superintendent proposed waiting for further review of need before staffing the 15.5 positions for the Alternative Learning Center programs. The 15 consulting teacher positions would be funded after all classroom teachers are in place.
Mr. Day made the motion to affirm the Superintendent’s recommendation; the motion died for a lack of second.
Dr. Mitchell made a motion to move forward with the hiring of the 15.5 positions at the ALC. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, but it failed, 2-3.
Mr. Day offered another motion: to approve the hiring of the 17 elementary classroom teachers as proposed. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion. It carried 3-1-1, with Mr. Kurrus voting “no” and Dr. Daugherty abstaining.
Mr. Day moved to approve the hiring of 23.9 secondary classroom teachers. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried 5-0.
There was no official vote, but the discussion revealed consensus that the consulting teachers would be placed after all classroom teachers were hired.
C. 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.
VII. CLOSING REMARKS
Superintendent Brooks presented the first draft of the Superintendent’s Entry Plan: The First 100 Days. After a brief review, Board members were asked to consider the proposed timeline and to provide feedback. Implementation of the Plan will guide the Superintendent’s work over the next few months and should provide a means of measuring immediate progress.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
APPROVED: _ 08-26-04 __ Originals Signed by:
Tony Rose, President
R. Micheal Daugherty, Secretary