The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 28, 2003, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Judy Magness presided.
Morris L. Holmes, 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. Katina Ray, teacher ex officio representative from Rightsell Elementary School, was also present. The student representative from McClellan High School did not attend.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Ms. Magness welcomed the audience and asked Mr. Rose to assist with the presentation of partnership certificates.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dr. Holmes recognized several staff members who are retiring after many years of service to the LRSD. Even though not all of them were present, their names were called and their years of service were announced. Those present were: Sarah Gadberry, Betty Glenn, Eura Gordon, and Judith Pickering.
Employees not present included: Rosalyn Bailey, Frances Barre, William Brown, Susie Carr, William Cloud, Cleda Crowder, Martha Douglas, Barbara Hope, Janice Marcrum, Shellie Neal, Nan Renaud, and Charlene Pierce.
The Board ex officio representative, Katina Ray, teacher at Rightsell Academy, was presented with a citation in recognition of her service for the month of August.
Jo Evelyn Elston, Director of Pupil Services, introduced State Senator John Lewellen and Mr. Ed Barham, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Programs. They were at the meeting to make an announcement regarding the anti-tobacco program grant funds. This Tobacco Settlement provided for distribution of $1.6 billion dollars in Arkansas. Senator Lewellen explained the “chart plan” which provided an explanation and breakdown of the distribution of funds. The funding received by the LRSD through a community grant in the amount of $88,361.00 will be used in the LRSD to provide tobacco prevention strategies targeted to students in grades 4 through 6.
Andrea Sanders, a graduate of the LRSD, is currently working as a pastry chef at the Peabody Hotel. She was present to receive recognition and a citation for achievement at the Metropolitan Career – Technical Center. Also, it was announced that Andrea received the Silver Medal in commercial baking at the Skills USA competition in Kansas City, Missouri this summer. Her award includes a four-year scholarship to the Johnson & Wells Culinary Arts College in Florida, where she begins her studies in January.
By consensus, the Board agreed to reorder the agenda to allow a presentation by Dr. Angela Sewall and Dr. Mary Goode of UALR. Their report was made at this point in the agenda, but will be reported under VI. (A) Instructional Services Division.
B. Partners in Education
No partnerships for adoption at this meeting.
C. Remarks from Citizens
A. G. Krippendorf addressed the Board regarding class-splits at Dodd Elementary School. He stated that it was unfair to the teachers and to students to have 4th & 5th graders in the same classroom. The classes are too large, and teachers cannot effectively provide instruction across the grade levels. He asked the Board to consider reevaluating the use of split classes. Mr. Krippendorf also provided the Board with a case of bottled “Bulldog” water that the Dodd PTA sells as a fundraiser.
Becky Dickson and her daughter Amy addressed the Board regarding Hall High School and problems she has experienced with master class scheduling over the past few years. She stated that the problem has not improved and she faulted the administration for failing to address the issues and improve conditions. Ms. Dickson also noted concerns regarding the number of qualified teachers, availability of textbooks, and overcrowded conditions during lunch periods. She stated that she has remained active to insure her children have received the assistance they needed to succeed, but her concerns are also for those students at Hall who do not have someone to speak up for them.
Mary Ann Hansen addressed the Board representing the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association. She stated that CTA representatives had been meeting recently with LRSD administrators, and that they had come to an agreement on the new teacher appraisal system, PTAS. She stated they were looking forward to presenting PTAS to their general membership and moving forward to a new year.
D. Joshua Intervenors
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Rose noted that this is the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington and that the country continues to mourn the loss of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He touched on the teachings of Dr. King, the power of the civil rights movement, and the principles of non-violence. He stated that the Little Rock School District has adopted an on-going commitment to serve all of the children.
Mr. Kurrus made welcoming remarks to Dr. Holmes. He also noted that he had visited several schools during the opening of school and was pleased that everyone seemed to be working hard to make sure this was a good school opening.
Mr. Berkley addressed the current initiative for new test administrations and the push for quality information from the testing programs. He thanked the principals and teachers for their efforts to get schools open and ready for the first day of school.
Dr. Mitchell welcomed Dr. Holmes to his first official Board meeting and expressed confidence in his qualifications and experience. She stated that she was extremely pleased that he agreed to serve as the interim superintendent. She encouraged teachers and parents to become working partners in the school environment in the best interest of their children. She invited parents to go to the schools, meet the teachers, and stay involved in school activities.
Ms. Magness congratulated District employees for a great school opening, stating that she recognized that it took a lot of hard work to have a smooth opening this year. She noted that several sites are heavily involved in construction and it took extra efforts to get those school buildings ready for students. Ms. Magness extended appreciation to the District’s Partners in Education; a breakfast meeting was held recently to honor them for spending their time and their resources in our schools.
Ms. Magness also noted that the groundbreaking ceremony at Wakefield Elementary School would be held on Saturday, and that the community was very excited that their school was to be re-built over the course of the next year.
Mr. Babbs reported on current activities in the Student Registration Office. He provided a summary of school enrollment data and noted that the report is preliminary; as actual student counts are reported by the schools, the report will be updated. The official count comes the first part of October.
Mr. Babbs also reported that School Choice plans, as required by NCLB legislation, are being developed and Leadership Teams at the building levels are developing strategies to implement federal mandates. He noted that these recommendations will be provided to the Board for review as early as October.
Mr. Goodman was present to review the printed report provided in the Board’s agenda. The report reflected projects that had begun over the summer months, those which had been completed, and those that will be on-going over the next year.
Mr. Eaton provided an update on Mitchell and Rightsell Elementary Schools as requested by the Board. Several Board members had expressed concern regarding environmental safety aspects of those old buildings and follow-up inspections were made at the Board’s request. A written report was printed in the Board’s agenda and a recommendation for further action was provided.
Dr. Holmes thanked Mr. Eaton for taking him to visit all the construction sites across the District, and noted that he was pleased at the progress that has been made.
In addition, the Superintendent reported that he had met with the staff of Mitchell Academy. He expressed appreciation to Principal Darian Smith for his commitment to keeping the lines of communication open between the administration, the faculty, Mitchell parents and the community. Dr. Holmes announced that he would be making a recommendation to close Mitchell and move those students into another facility as soon as possible. He stated that the conditions of the building were a health issue that required an immediate and unilateral decision. Additional information will be communicated through the school and a meeting will be held to make sure parents are informed in a timely manner.
Sandy Becker was present, and his report was part of the Board’s agenda.
Lucy Neal reviewed the report printed in the Board’s agenda. She noted the receipt of a grant in the amount of $506,553 through a tri-district partnership that will provide technology training for teachers. This grant will also provide new computer labs at Woodruff and Dodd Elementary Schools.
John Ruffin, Director of Information Services, was present to provide an update to the Board on the serious computer network problems that have been experienced districtwide over a three-week period. During that time, the District’s e-mail system and the statewide network have been down. Part of the problem was caused by a virus that shut down most of the state’s internet access.
The Board agreed by consensus to reorder the agenda and asked for the report on the School-based Dental Health Clinic to be housed at the new Wakefield Elementary School. The report took place at this point in the agenda, but will be reported under section VII. Administrative Services, B.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on July 24, and from special meetings held on July 29, and August 14, 2003, were presented for review and approval. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Personnel Changes
Personnel changes were printed in the agenda for the Board’s review and approval. Beverly Williams, Director of Human Resources, noted that the administration had also included a proposal to revise the salary schedule for substitute teachers and an agreement with the L.R. Classroom Teachers Association to extend the present agreements until December 1, 2003.
The Board agreed by consensus to take separate votes on the items presented.
Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the proposal for the revised substitute teacher salary schedule for 2003-04 as presented. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
On the routine personnel submission,
Dr. Daugherty moved to approve.
Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Regarding the agreement stipulating an extension of the negotiated contracts between the District and the L. R. Classroom Teachers Association, the Board chose to vote each paragraph of the agreement separately. Approval of the agreement extends the date to begin contract negotiations to December 1, 2003.
Mr. Rose moved to approve the first paragraph as presented. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
On the second paragraph: Mr. Rose made a motion to approve, Mr. Berkley seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. A copy of the agreement is attached to these minutes.
C. Revision of Board Policy BDB, Prevention of Nepotism
The Board requested a revision to its policy on nepotism at the August agenda meeting. The administration presented the proposed revision for review and approval on first reading. Mr. Rose read the policy and moved for first reading approval. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Angela Sewall and Dr. Mary Goode from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Cyber College and the College of Teacher Education were present to review a collaborative grant proposal to the National Science Foundation. The funding would provide a virtual classroom teacher training component and opportunities for students to experience virtual interactive instruction. UALR and the LRSD are partners in the application for funding.
The Superintendent had met previously with the representatives of UALR and named Dennis Glasgow, Interim Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction as the District’s lead contact in the efforts to secure the NSF funding. Dr. Holmes recommended approval of the submission. Dr. Daugherty moved to support the grant application, Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Linda Austin prepared a grant proposal for submission to the Arkansas Department of Education for the 2003-2004 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. The grants are supported through federal No Child Left Behind initiatives and would provide funding for community learning centers which provide educational and recreational activities outside the regular school day. The centers are to provide services in high poverty areas to students who would benefit from academic enrichment in addition to the regular academic program.
Two proposals were submitted from the LRSD; Woodruff Elementary School and McClellan High School. Collaborative community partnerships were established in support of these grant applications. At Woodruff, partners include Wildwood Park, Twin City Bank, Capitol View Stifts Station Neighborhood Association and State Farm Insurance.
McClellan’s partners include the UALR College of Information Science and Systems Engineering, Centers for Youth and Families, Professional Counseling Associates, ITT Technical Institute, and Southwest Regional Medical Center.
Each proposal requested funding over a five year period; Woodruff in the amount of $538,067 and McClellan in the amount of $533,668. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the submission of the grant applications. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Dennis Glasgow provided an overview of the results of the end of course testing in Algebra I, Geometry, and Literacy. He introduced Marcelline Carr and Vanessa Cleaver, math and science specialists.
Overall improvement was evident in Algebra I, Geometry and Literacy, and the trends were identified by school and by subgroup. Each area was highlighted by a Powerpoint slide presentation. A written report and copies of the slide presentation were provided for the Board’s review.
Each school will receive assistance in disaggregating their test results in order to provide a more specific level of individual student needs assessment.
Morlin McCoy, Director of Child Nutrition, presented a resolution for the Board’s review and adoption. In a recent legislative session of the American School Food Service Association on reauthorization, it was unanimously decided to ask Congress to eliminate the “reduced price” status in school meals programs and provide free meals to all children with family incomes below 185% of poverty. One strategy of the ASFSA was to ask school boards across the country to adopt a resolution in support of this change in the reauthorization bill. The administration recommended approval.
Mr. Kurrus made a motion to adopt the resolution presented by Ms. McCoy. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. A copy of the resolution will be attached to these minutes.
B. School-Based Dental Hub / Clinic
Margo Bushmiaer, coordinator of Health Services for the LRSD, presented a proposal for implementation of the “Future Smiles: School-Based Dental Hub/ Clinic.” The Dental Health Action Team is a collaborative effort between UAMS, Delta Dental Plan of Arkansas, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Department of Education, Cooperative Extension Service, UALR, LRSD, Arkansas State Dental Association and St. Vincent Health System. The proposal will provide an in-school dental health clinic which will provide services to students who attend Bale, Chicot, Franklin, Stephens, Wakefield and Wilson Elementary Schools.
Dr. Lynn Mouden has worked with the Dental Health Action Team for the past three years and was present to review the proposal to expand these services. In addition, Cheryl Chapman and Shara Stewart from UALR Share America, and John Nazarro from the Pulaski County United Way were in attendance. They requested Board approval to implement the program in the fall of 2004.
Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the implementation of the School Based Dental Clinic. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
Johnny Johnson, Director of Athletics, presented a recommendation to increase the price of adult tickets to LRSD athletic events for the 2003-04 school year. The increase is $1.00 over last year’s price, with no increase in student ticket prices. Middle school events are $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for students; high school events are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for students.
In addition, a family “Super Pass” will be available for $150.00, which would allow an entire family of five to attend all District athletic events. An adult Super Pass would cost $85.00, and a student Super Pass would be $50.00.
The Board was asked to approve the increase in gate admission and availability of the Super Passes as outlined in the submission. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the recommended proposal. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
IX. BUSINESS SERVICES
Dr. Don Stewart presented a request from Stephens, Inc. to submit a bid on the upcoming refunding bond sale. The request comes as a result of the Arkansas Securities Department regulations controlling bond issue bidding. The administration recommended approval of the request. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the proposal as submitted; Mr. Rose seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
Dr. Stewart provided a background report on the administrations request for Board approval to excess District property located at University Avenue and Evergreen Streets. This property was previously listed as excess in March of 1983, along with two other parcels of property that were sold in 1983 and 1995. Since that time, the District has held the remaining property as undeveloped land. The administration has received inquiries regarding the availability of the land, and is asking the Board for assurances that would approve the appraisal and acceptance of offers. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the request as submitted. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
The City of Little Rock requested the District’s approval of a right-of-way dedication deed for footage south of Evergreen Drive, adjacent to Williams Magnet School. The right-of-way will allow the City to widen Evergreen, install sidewalks, and install public utilities. Approval would have no negative impact on the operation of the school.
In addition, a similar request was made for a strip of land along the south side of Westminster Drive, adjacent to the Wakefield Elementary School property. Wakefield Elementary is currently under construction, and dedication of the requested property would in no way affect school operations. The City will install a sewer main extension and connect to the Little Rock Wastewater Utility main lines.
Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve both requests for Right of Way Dedication. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Policy DGD was implemented by the Board in February 2003. During the phase-in of use of the VISA pro-card, the administration realized that the District could benefit monetarily where the purchase amount exceeded the previously established $1,000 limit. The Procurement Department asked for the Board’s approval to allow flexibility in the use of the card for purchases over $1,000 upon written approval of the District’s Chief Financial Officer. First reading approval was granted in the August 14, 2003 special meeting of the Board. Dr. Stewart asked for the Board to approve the policy on second reading. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve on second reading. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
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. Mr. Rose read the donations listed, and made a motion to accept the donated items. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Booker Arts Magnet School
GE Microwave Oven, valued at $75.00 for use in the teachers lounge
Jeff and Cheryl Carson
Metropolitan Career and Technical Center
1994 Nissan Sentra XE, valued at $9,000 for use in the Auto Technology Program
2000 Saturn LS2, valued at $14,919.26 for use in the Auto Technology Program
General Motors Corporation
Dr. Stewart requested the Board’s approval of the 2003-2004 operating budget. The budget document had been presented to the Board under separate cover and will be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Education upon approval. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the budget as submitted; Mr. Rose seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
The routine monthly financial reports were provided to the Board as part of the printed agenda. Mr. Milhollen was present to review the reports and respond to questions. Mr. Berkley moved to approve the reports as submitted, and Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion. It carried 6-0.
Mr. Rose made a motion to go into an executive session for the purpose of conducting a student reinstatement hearing. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Linda Watson presented a petition for reinstatement of a student. The student was a seventh grade student in the North Little Rock School District in April of 2003. The NLRSD Board expelled him for calling in a bomb threat. He was eligible to be reinstated to the NLRSD, but his parents had moved into the LRSD and requested assignment to a regular classroom in the LRSD.
According to Arkansas Statute and the LRSD Discipline Policy, a bomb threat warrants a calendar year expulsion. However, due to the student’s age, had he been enrolled in the LRSD, he would have been referred for assignment to the Alternative Learning Center. The administration recommended reinstatement, with assignment to the ALC. The Board was notified that the student’s father had objected to that assignment and had requested the hearing to ask for assignment to a regular classroom setting. The Board was asked to make a decision on the student’s reinstatement, with the administration’s recommendation of placement at the ALC.
The Board held a brief discussion, and returned with a motion to accept the administration’s recommendation for reinstatement and placement at the ALC. The student’s return is conditional and will include a period of probation before he is allowed to return to a regular classroom setting. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried 5-0-1, with Mr. Rose abstaining.
There being no further business, Mr. Berkley
moved to adjourn at 8:58 p.m.
Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: _ 09-25-03 __ Originals Signed by:
Tony Rose, Vice President
Larry Berkley, Secretary