The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, 2003, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Judy Magness presided.
Donald M. Stewart, Interim Superintendent
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Ms. Magness called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. and stipulated a quorum without roll call. All members of the Board were present. Hope Douglas, teacher ex officio representative from Pulaski Heights Elementary School, and Justin Gatlin, student representative from Hall High School, were also present.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Ms. Magness welcomed the audience and asked Dr. Daugherty to assist with the presentation of partnership certificates.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Ex officio representatives to the Board, Hope Douglas, teacher at Pulaski Heights Elementary School, and Justin Gatlin, student at Hall High School, were presented with certificates in appreciation of their service for the month of July.
B. Partners in Education
Debbie Milam was present to recognize new school / community partnerships.
Woodruff Elementary School, represented by Janice Wilson & Shirley Davis in partnership with Perfecting New Life Community Development Corporation, represented by Marchell Seawood and Perfecting New Life Church, represented by Rev. Kevin Allen
Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the partnerships. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried 7-0.
C. Remarks from Citizens
D. Joshua Intervenors
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Babbs reported that “check-in” registration for students would be held in the schools on August 5 & 6. Information is posted on the District’s website, and staff in the student registration office is prepared to provide additional assistance as needed.
In addition, Mr. Babbs reported that compliance updates and staff training are being provided at the principals’ institute. The compliance committee is preparing a report to be presented to the Board at the October board meeting.
Dr. Stewart reported briefly that the state had not released any additional funding information, and it is likely that nothing will be released until the fall special legislative session. He stated his goal of having a tentative budget for the Board’s review by the August regular meeting.
Mr. Goodman reviewed the report printed in the Board’s agenda and reported that bids had been taken on projects that will begin late summer and early fall. Several projects have begun during the summer months and some will not be complete by the time school starts. The buildings will be ready for students on the first day of school, although some projects will not be complete. Some classes will be held in portable buildings when classroom space is an issue.
Mr. Eaton reported on questions and concerns about environmental health and safety issues at Mitchell and Rightsell Elementary Schools. His report was printed as part of the Board’s agenda. Mr. Eaton noted that these projects were part of the bond issue and were scheduled in the priority lists that had been prepared several years ago.
Dr. Mitchell and Ms. Strickland each made remarks regarding the deplorable condition of these old school buildings and they each stated major concerns regarding health issues for faculty and students. They asked the administration to consider the “priority list” and the processes needed to change or modify the priorities so that these buildings are repaired immediately, before children and employees return to work. The Board members asked administrators to proceed immediately with a health, safety and environmental evaluation to determine if it is safe for students and staff to be present in these buildings. If these schools do not provide a healthy environment, the administration was directed to decide how to proceed, with a report to the board as soon as possible.
Mr. Kurrus asked to see a repair and maintenance history for Mitchell and Rightsell to see what has been done in the past, why repairs have been delayed, and how these buildings were allowed to fall into such disrepair.
Sandy Becker was present, and his report was part of the Board’s agenda.
The Board agreed by consensus to reorder the agenda to consider action on the Proposal for Naming the Choral Music Department at Central High School. Action was taken at this point in the agenda, but will be reported under Section VIII. School Services, Item A.
Lucy Neal’s monthly update was printed in the Board’s agenda. She responded to questions regarding installation of new classroom computers and reported that teacher training had been on going over the summer months. In addition, she reviewed preliminary plans to pilot an on-line grade book in at least one high school this school year.
Beverly Williams reviewed the summary report provided to the Board as part of the agenda packet. The current interview procedures were implemented in the spring of 2003 to insure that the LRSD was able to recruit the best candidates for teaching positions, and increase the applicant pool.
The steps in the process were explained in detail, and Ms. Williams responded to several questions from the Board. She explained that the interview teams consisted of principals from the appropriate school level, curriculum and subject level administrators, and other administrative staff when appropriate.
Dr. Mitchell requested additional information and a copy of the scoring rubric that is being used to evaluate the applicants. Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Daugherty expressed concerns regarding the appearance of this being a discriminatory process and Dr. Daugherty stated his opinion that the interview for building level staff should be left up to the individual building principal.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on June 26, and from a special meeting held on July 2, 2003, were presented for review and approval. Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Personnel Changes
Personnel changes were provided for the Board’s review and approval. Mr. Rose moved to approve the items as submitted. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried 6-0-1, with Dr. Daugherty abstaining.
Dr. Stewart introduced Barbara Barnes as the newly appointed Director of the Division of Exceptional Children. Her appointment was included in the total personnel agenda item; therefore no additional Board action was required.
Linda Austin was present to review a request for approval of a submission to the U. S. Department of Education for Advanced Placement Incentives for low-income students to participate in AP courses and testing. The grant will provide funding of incentives for students to achieve and excel in AP courses. Hall and McClellan High Schools, as well as Cloverdale, Henderson, Mabelvale and Southwest Middle Schools were selected to participate, based on highest poverty level indicators. The three-year request for funding is in the amount of $1,989,216. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the submission; Mr. Rose seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
The original LRSD Strategic Plan was adopted in 1996, and updated in 1998. In January 2003, a 30-member team composed of parents, teachers, students, community leaders, and District staff met over a three-day period to review the current plan and recommend revisions. Out of that session, updated common beliefs, mission statement, parameters and objectives were developed and prepared for presentation to the Board for adoption.
Linda Austin responded to questions from the Board and several members of the Strategic Planning Committee presented portions of the recommended plan for the Board’s information. Present were: Barbara Kennedy, Ann Marshall, Diane Vibhaker, Al Hampton, Kathy Wells, and Diane Curry.
Dr. Daugherty made a motion to adopt the updated 2003-2008 Vision for the Future, LRSD Strategic Plan. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
At the recommendation of the District’s legal counsel, a resolution for submission to the Office of Civil Rights was prepared and presented for the Board’s review and adoption. The intent of the resolution is to assure the OCR of the District’s commitment to improving educational opportunities for students attending Cloverdale and Mabelvale Middle Schools, and Fair and McClellan High Schools. The resolution will assure the OCR that the District’s attainment of unitary status will in no way jeopardize the original intent of the Magnet School Assistance Grant. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the resolution as submitted. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
Dennis Glasgow, Interim Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, presented the districtwide summary results of the 2002-2003 Stanford Achievement Tests for grades 5, 7 and 10. The reports reveal that students in grades five and seven improved on all subtests, while students in grade ten stayed at approximately the same levels.
Mr. Berkley left the meeting at 7:30 p.m.
The City of Little Rock requested a 20-foot dedication deed for the installation and maintenance of public utilities on the southeast corner of 32nd & Bryant Streets near Southwest Middle School. There would be no negative impact on operations of the school, and the administration recommended approval of the request. Mr. Rose moved to approve the requested dedication deed. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
B. Financial Reports
Routine monthly financial reports were provided for the Board’s review and approval. Mr. Milhollen presented the report and responded to questions. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the reports as submitted. Mr. Rose seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
C. Donations of Property
There were no donations of property for approval in July.
Ms. Sadie Mitchell and Dr. Marian Lacey presented a proposal that was submitted by Nancy Rousseau, principal of Central High School. Kate Goodson and Tempest Williams, members of the LRCH Concert Choir and members of the Madrigals, made the initial proposal to name the choral music department at Central High School for Mr. Robert L. Brack. As required by District policy FF: Naming of Facilities, the proposal was submitted, and a letter of acceptance was solicited from Mr. Brack. The students were present and read from their recommendation, in part, “The Robert L. Brack Choral Music Department would be both a monument to him and a motivation to all future singers to live up to the reputation that Mr. Brack left behind in his twenty-seven years of service to the school.”
Mr. Brack accepted the honor and stated that he was “overwhelmed by a sense of pride and . . . gratitude that my students and principal . . . desire to have the Choral Music Department officially named in my honor.”
Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the naming of the music department for Mr. Brack. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
IX. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. Stewart reminded the Board that the annual Partners In Education breakfast meeting would be held on August 1, 2003 at the North Little Rock East Campus.
Dr. Mitchell called for an executive session at 8:07 p.m. for the purpose of discussing personnel issues and Mr. Rose seconded the motion. The Board returned at 8:50 p.m. and reported no action was taken.
There being no further business. Mr. Rose moved
to adjourn at 8:50 p.m.
Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: _ 08-28-03 __ Originals Signed by:
Judy Magness, President
Larry Berkley, Secretary