The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 23, 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
ADMINISTRATION OF THE OATH OF OFFICE:
Prior to the call to order, Circuit and County Clerk Carolyn Staley administered the oath of office to re-elected board members Baker Kurrus and Micheal Daugherty. Copies of their sworn oaths are a part of the minutes of this meeting.
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Mr. Rose called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. All members of the Board were present at roll call. In addition, ex officio representatives for the month of September were also present: Janie McRae, teacher at J. A. Fair High School, and Brian Dailey, J. A. Fair High School student.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Rose welcomed the audience and thanked Mrs. Staley for administering the oaths. He introduced Dr. Brooks for presentation of the citations.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
The Superintendent announced that the District had recently received notice that nineteen LRSD students had been named National Merit Semifinalists. These students and their parents will be honored at a reception in the near future.
Dr. Brooks introduced Reginald Merritt, Drug & Violence Prevention Coordinator in the Pupil Services Office, who is this year’s United Way Campaign Coordinator for the District. Mr. Merritt introduced Virgil Miller and Leonard Smith who both serve as campaign coordinators for the United Way of Pulaski County. Mr. Merritt encouraged employees to make contributions by payroll deduction, and he issued a challenge to increase donations by 15% over last year.
Dr. Brooks introduced Dr. Karen DeJarnette, who was recommended for the position of Director of Planning, Research and Evaluation. In addition, Darryl Powell was recommended as Assistant Principal at Dunbar Magnet Middle School, and Renee Bennett, as Assistant Principal at Pulaski Heights Middle School.
Ex-officio representatives to the Board were awarded a Superintendent’s Citation: Janie McRae, teacher from J. A. Fair High School, and Brian Dailey, student from J. A. Fair High School.
Debbie Milam presented three new partnerships for the Board’s adoption:
Otter Creek Elementary School, represented by Jill Brooks , in partnership with Cingular Wireless, represented by Carola Clayton
Otter Creek Elementary School, represented by Jill Brooks , in partnership with Metropolitan National Bank, represented by Virgil Miller and Phillip Partain
Partners in Education (continued):
McClellan High School, represented by Michelle Brown and Nancy Leslie, in partnership with Metropolitan National Bank, represented by Virgil Miller and Phillip Partain
Mr. Berkley made a motion to accept the partnerships, Dr, Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried 7-0.
Terrence Bolden, representing the Concerned Citizens United, addressed the Board as a member of the Wright Avenue Neighborhood Association, the Mitchell Campus Leadership team, and the Mitchell PTA. He read a statement regarding plans to close neighborhood schools, issues of public trust, and the public perception of the Board making decisions without input from the community. He stated that the Board would be held responsible for keeping their promises to the community, and he asked for the Board to listen to a citizens’ advisory board before making final decisions.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Dr. Mitchell thanked Mary Paal for the final evaluation report of the Safe Schools / Healthy Students grant. In addition, Dr. Mitchell encouraged parents to participate in the Parent Institute that will be held on Saturday, September 25. She asked listeners to do their best, keep heart and stay positive in order to do the best to meet the needs of all our students.
Ms. Strickland thanked Beverly Williams for the inservice training for the Back to the Classroom Program. She noted that this initiative would be a good way for all of us to stay in touch with the kids and with the schools. She encouraged others to volunteer to participate.
Dr. Daugherty thanked the voters for re-electing him to serve as representative of Zone 2 on the Board. He congratulated Mr. Kurrus on his reelection to the Zone 4 position.
Mr. Kurrus congratulated Dr. Daugherty and thanked the voters for electing him to serve another term as representative for Zone 4.
In addition, Mr. Kurrus congratulated the Central High School football team on their win against Cabot. He expressed appreciation for the spirit of the team members and coaches, for being “gracious in victory,” and stated that he was proud of the players, parents, students, and others who support our athletic teams.
Mr. Rose noted that this would be his last meeting serving as president of the board. He thanked his fellow board members for supporting him during his year as president. He reviewed high points and accomplishments during his term for which he was proud: the substantial raise given to all employees through the contract negotiations, the completion of construction projects at Mann and Wakefield, and the successful search for a new superintendent.
Mr. Babbs reported briefly on the ten day enrollment counts that were provided for the Board’s review. In addition, he provided an update on the NCLB transfer process: 4,300 students attending schools identified in the second year of school improvement would receive letters providing transfer options; parents would have 7 – 10 days to respond and request a transfer. The requests will be reviewed and granted based on space availability and the transfers would take effect at the beginning of the 2nd nine-week period.
Mr. Babbs introduced Jodie Carreiro, chairman of the Student Assignment Committee.
Mr. Berkley made a motion to reorder the agenda to allow action on the Student Assignment Committee report of recommendations. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Section IX. Administrative Services: A. Student Assignment Committee Report was moved forward for action at this point in the agenda.
Mr. Carreiro presented the recommendations of the Student Assignment Committee, which had previously been presented in full detail at the September agenda meeting. The report was also printed in the Board’s agenda.
Mr. Carreiro noted that thirteen citizens had served on the committee to develop the recommendations presented for the Board’s consideration. Three community forums were held and comments were gathered and reviewed for inclusion in the report. The committee recommended continuing with the current student assignment policies and practices, and recommended conducting an annual review of the effectiveness of the student assignment plan.
Board members thanked the committee members for their work and assistance in making the assignment process a community effort. Mr. Berkley noted that the student assignment office is the first line of contact for our customers, and gaining the community’s perspective on how we do business will help us do a better job and make it easier for parents to understand and navigate the system.
Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the recommendations of the student assignment committee. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Brooks introduced Dr. Dennis Smith and Mr. Bob Klempen, leaders of the District’s organizational audit team. They presented a PowerPoint slide show that reviewed and identified their intent to review the LRSD’s areas of strength and areas that call for improvement. The audit will focus on improving student achievement and will be based upon effective school practices. The results will provide a basis on which to analyze and streamline district operations using the six elements of effective schools. The effective schools framework includes: a defined organizational structure, standardized protocols and procedures, governance and management, results-based strategic planning, performance and accountability systems, and issue resolution / decision-making.
Dr. Smith and Mr. Klempen will return to Little Rock periodically throughout the review process and will meet individually with board members and administrators in an effort to gather a full and complete perspective. Their report will provide recommendations to focus the Board and administration on more effective use of resources, increased accountability, enhanced community perception, improved morale and increased student achievement.
Mr. Goodman reviewed the progress of on-going construction projects, noting specifically the installation of bookcases and shelving in the libraries at Pulaski Heights and Dunbar. Window installation is being completed at Southwest Middle School.
Dr. Mitchell asked Mr. Goodman about the progress of renovations at Mitchell School. He stated that he could not provide a definitive answer because the project is at the phase where bids will have to be secured in order to continue the work. It was noted that funds allocated to date were not sufficient to bring the school up to current operating standards and decisions had to be made that were outside his realm of authority.
The Board discussed options for completing the proposed construction at Mitchell. A report recently provided by the Superintendent on schools with low-enrollment asked for the board to reinforce their previous decision to expend resources on a school, such as Mitchell, where few children were enrolled.
Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Daugherty stated their discomfort with breaking promises to the Mitchell community. Ms. Strickland, Mr. Kurrus and Mr. Berkley thanked the Superintendent for providing additional information for review. The Superintendent promised additional information and a recommendation from a financial perspective from the administration.
Mr. Becker was present and reviewed the brief summary report printed in the Board’s agenda. No additional information was requested.
Ms. Neal and Mr. Ruffins were present. Ms. Neal complimented students from the Mann Magnet School EAST lab who had done an outstanding job researching and presenting an on-line project on the Japanese Internment Camps at Rohwer, Arkansas. These students received national recognition for their work.
Mr. Ruffins reported on the recent difficulties with the district’s e-mail service. Staff is working with technicians from Dell Computer systems to make sure the problem doesn’t reoccur.
A. Election of Officers
Mr. Rose opened the floor for nominations for the office of President of the Board. Ms. Strickland nominated Mr. Berkley, and Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion. There being no other nominations, Mr. Rose declared Mr. Berkley elected president by acclamation. Mr. Rose passed the gavel.
Mr. Berkley opened the floor for nominations for the office of Vice President of the Board. Mr. Rose nominated Mr. Kurrus. Mr. Kurrus declined the nomination, and offered a nomination of Dr. Daugherty for the office. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion. There being no other nominations, Mr. Berkley declared Dr. Daugherty elected vice president by acclamation.
Mr. Berkley requested nominations for the office of Secretary of the Board. Mr. Rose nominated Dr. Mitchell, and Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion. There being no other nominations, Mr. Berkley declared Dr. Mitchell elected secretary by acclamation.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on August 26, 2004 were presented for review and approval. Mr. Kurrus moved approval, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and the minutes were approved as submitted.
A. LRSD – LRCTA Partnership Agreement: National Board Certification Program
The District and the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association collaborated on an agreement to enhance the quality of classroom teachers by providing financial assistance to teachers who seek certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Mr. Glasgow reported that the District had pledged up to $94,300 to provide funding for two teachers at each of the twenty-eight schools designated as being on “School Improvement,” year one, two or three. The CTA agreed to pay the remaining $34,500 and assist teachers in securing other funding through the ADE, the NEA or other grant sources. The full partnership agreement was printed in the Board’s agenda. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the partnership agreement as presented. Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Distance Learning Equipment Grant
Lucy Neal presented a proposal for submission of a grant to the Arkansas Department of Education for Distance Learning equipment. The grant will provide an opportunity to expand the use of distance learning for students. The award would provide $45,000 for equipment to be installed at McClellan Magnet High School. Mr. Rose moved to approve the submission to the ADE. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Report on the Principals’ Evaluation Handbook for School Administrators
Sadie Mitchell provided a report on the Principals’ evaluation instrument and handbook. This evaluation handbook and instrument for evaluation of building administrators was developed using the same research, standards and indicators as those previously approved by the Board for evaluation of teaching staff. Board members had the opportunity to review the draft document and suggested additions including the expectation for school facilities to be “clean and attractive,” and an expectation that principals would participate in recruitment of students.
There was discussion regarding principals being evaluation on the cleanliness of their buildings. There has been continuing discussion regarding oversight of the custodial staff and the problems encountered by principals who do not have cooperative custodians and grounds maintenance workers. Dr. Brooks agreed that this was an area of concern and that efforts would be made to ensure that principals have the authority to direct their custodial staff.
Dr. Daugherty moved to approve the Principals’ Evaluation Handbook, Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried 6-0-1, with Dr. Mitchell abstaining from the vote.
SUSPENSION OF THE RULES:
Mr. Rose moved to suspend the rules to consider an item for action that was not proposed for inclusion at the agenda session. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. First Reading: Policy JIH – Student Searches
Sadie Mitchell and Attorney Chris
Heller addressed the Board regarding proposed policy JIH, Student Searches. Mr.
Heller attended the board’s agenda meeting on September 9, and recommended
board action to approve a policy and regulations authorizing student searches
and ensuring that those searches are conducted in a constitutionally lawful and
Dr. Daugherty moved to approve policy JIH on first reading, Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. In addition, a slip sheet was included that asked the Board’s approval for two evaluation specialists in the Planning, Research and Evaluation office. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the personnel changes as presented. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Student Assignment Committee – Plan Recommendation
Action on the recommendations of the student assignment committee was reported earlier in these minutes.
A. Board Disbursing Officers
The Board is required by Arkansas Statute, Act 671 of 2003, and Arkansas Code § 6-13-618 to designate one board member to serve as disbursing officer and one to serve as alternate disbursing officer. The administration recommended naming the president and vice president, respectively. A resolution to this effect was presented for review and approval. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the administration’s recommendation. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Agreement for Contracted Services
The Board previously agreed to move forward with the Superintendent’s Entry Plan, and the recommendation therein for an audit of the District’s organizational structure. An agreement for contracted services was printed in the Board’s agenda authorizing the Superintendent to enter into a contract for the services of Mr. Robert Klempen and Dr. Dennis Smith. Dr. Daugherty moved to authorize the Superintendent to enter into the agreement for contracted services and Mr. Rose seconded. The motion carried 6-0-1, with Dr. Mitchell abstaining.
C. Donations of Property
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.
Brian Dailey, student ex officio, read the items listed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Daugherty made a motion to accept the
Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Central High School
$200 cash to be applied to the completion of the reflecting pool
Michael J. Porter
Cloverdale Middle School
Framed abstract painting, valued at approximately $500 to enhance the Parent Resource Center
Crystal lamp, valued at approximately $50, to enhance the Parent Resource Center
Services, valued at approximately $200 for designing school stage
Mr. Earnest L. Duckery,
Forest Heights Middle School
$750 cash to the athletic department to sponsor five students to the U of A football camp
Convenience Stores Plus, Inc. dba Big Ben Truck Stop
Forest Park Elementary
Total of $38,686.44 for the following: staff appreciation awards, principal’s discretionary fund, art instruction and materials, computer maintenance, grounds expense, Space Camp, Spanish instruction and materials, student recognition / Accelerated Reader Program, Parent Involvement / Field Day, Fifth grade graduation, Student Recruitment
Forest Park PTA
Metropolitan Career Center
2004 GMC / Chevrolet Off-Road pickup truck, valued at $15,951 for instructional use in Auto Tech Program
General Motors Corporation
Parkview Arts / Science Magnet School
$500 cash for use in furnishing the new field house
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. Ms. Strickland moved to accept the reports as submitted and Mr. Day seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
XI. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. Brooks reminded the Board and audience of the Parent Institute on Saturday, September 25. Also, the first community forum is scheduled for Tuesday, September 28 at the Southwest Little Rock Community Center.
The Board went into recess at 8:45 p.m. and reconvened at 9:00 p.m. for a closed employee hearing.
XII. EMPLOYEE HEARING
An employee requested a board hearing to resolve a long-running salary dispute. Attorney Mark Burnette represented the employee. Chris Heller and Khyyam Eddings represented the district.
The employee testified to his work history, stating that he was placed in the position of computer specialist at a school in 1996. He asked the Board to consider that there were three different job classifications for which he was qualified, and he asked for consideration for placement at the “technology specialist” level in order to bring his salary into a range comparable to what he was making at his school. The position he had held was reclassified to a certified position, and his position was reduced to a 9.25 instructional aide.
The principal of the school supported her decision to reclassify this position based on the computer science theme at the school and the need to have a certified teacher in that position to attract students to the specialty theme.
The employee did not oppose his current placement at another school, and in fact stated that he wanted to stay at the school. He merely wanted his salary to be fair, reasonable and comparable to what he had been earning at his previous school.
Beverly Williams, Director of Human Resources, offered a salary adjustment on the lab attendant’s salary schedule from the current placement at step 17 to step 20 to partially compensate the employee for the reduction in his pay. Along with that, the employee was offered a supplement to his salary if he would accept a morning duty period.
The Board recessed for deliberations and returned at 10:20 p.m. Mr. Kurrus made a motion to uphold the recommendation of the administration to adjust the employee’s salary from step 17 to step 20 on the instructional aide / para-professional salary schedule. Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 10:22 p.m.
APPROVED: _ 10-28-04 __ Originals Signed by:
Larry Berkley, President
Katherine P. Mitchell, Secretary