June 26, 2003


The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, 2003, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.  President Judy Magness presided.




Judy Magness

Tony Rose

Micheal Daugherty

Baker Kurrus





Larry Berkley

Katherine Mitchell

Sue Strickland




            Donald M. Stewart, Interim Superintendent

            Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes





Ms. Magness called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.  Three members of the Board were present; Mr. Kurrus arrived at 5:45 p.m. and roll call was taken at that time to establish a quorum.  Sandra Courtois, teacher ex officio representative from Otter Creek Elementary School, and Kaylon Bradford, student representative from J. A. Fair High School, were also present.





Ms. Magness welcomed the audience and asked Dr. Daugherty to assist with the citations and presentations.






A.                Superintendent’s Citations


Forty-one district employees are retiring effective June 30, and they were recognized with a plaque in honor of their many years of service.  The employees represent all facets of the District’s operations, from classroom teacher, to child nutrition workers to nurses and security officers.  The employees are:  


Barbara Ball – 29 years, Melinda Beggs – 36 years, Linda Bell – 20 years, Robert Brack – 34 years, Dennis Brant – 35 years, Frank Brumfield – 12 years, Claire Burch – 25 years, Mary Butts – 31 years, Susan Chapman – 24 years, Jennie Cole – 29 years, Ann Norman Crow – 29 years, Laura Flanigan – 16 years, Mary Golston – 36 years, James Grant – 36 years, Hazel Hicks – 53 years, Georgia Hoffman – 36 years, Barbara Hope – 31 years, Ann Hurd – 39 years, Emogene James – 39 years, Geneva James – 20 years, Geraldine Johnson – 40 years, Mildred Lee, 25 years, Denna Lehnhoff – 34 years, June Matheny – 32 years, Melvia Mathis – 13 years, Nancy Matlock – 23 years, Nancy Mitchell – 31 years, Jamie Lou Neal – 27 years, Zora Nooner – 12 years, Jimmie Pickard – 13 years, Helen Rollins – 13 years, Myrna Rundell – 38 years, Elaine Self – 19 years, Beth Shanks – 22 years, Anna Sutton – 16 years, Lizzie Taylor – 4 years, Sandra Thompson – 33 years,  Colleen Walls – 39 years, Ardelia Williams – 28 years, Patricia Wofford – 13 years. Myrthene Wroten – 27 years. 


These employees represent over 1,000 years of combined service and several members of the Board expressed appreciation to them for their dedicated service to our students. 


Ex officio representatives to the Board, Sandra Courtois, teacher at Otter Creek Elementary School, and Kaylon Bradford, student at J. A. Fair High School, were also presented with certificates in appreciation of their service for the month of June. 


B.                Partners in Education


Debbie Milam was present to recognize one new school / community partnership. 


Mitchell Academy, represented by Darian Smith & Wanda Varady in partnership with Rivercity Gymnastics, represented by Ola Russenburger


Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the partnership.  Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried 4-0.


C.                Remarks from Citizens




D.            Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association


No report.


            D.            Joshua Intervenors


No report.





A.            Remarks from Board Members


Mr. Kurrus again thanked the retirees for their service and attributed the success of the LRSD to the many employees who work hard to do their job.  He expressed hope for the next generation of employees who will fill the positions these individuals leave. 


B.                Desegregation Update


Mr. Babbs was present, but did not have a report or comments. 


C.                Budget Update


Dr. Stewart briefly reported that there was no new or current information to report other than the recent announcement that up to $300,000 was to be restored into this year’s budget by the State.  He reported that we should know something more definite by the July Board meeting.


D.                Construction Report: Proposed Bond Projects


Mr. Goodman reported that he had met with contractors on the Hall High School project and that it was nearing completion.  Rain has delayed progress at Hall, as well as at other major construction sites.  His summary report was printed in the Board’s agenda.  Ms. Magness questioned the placement of large rocks at Hall and asked Mr. Goodman and Mr. Eaton to look at alternatives.  Members of the community around the school have phoned to express their concern about the safety and aesthetics of the rocks. 


E.                Internal Auditors Report


Mr. Becker was present, and his report was part of the Board’s agenda.


F.                 Technology Update


Ms. Neal reported that installation of 600 computers at school sites would take place over the summer.  One new EAST lab is being installed at Dunbar Magnet Middle School.  Tech staff is continuing to provide training and service as requested by employees and it is expected that the pace will gear up as the opening of school gets closer.





A.                Minutes


Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on May 22, and from special meetings held on May 21, May 30, June 9, and June 12, 2003, were presented for review and approval.    Mr. Kurrus made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


B.                Personnel Changes


Personnel changes were provided for the Board’s review and approval.  In addition to the items printed in the agenda, a slip-sheet was provided for approval of a new hire in the position of Assistant Athletic Director. 


Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the slip-sheeted item, approving the hiring of Annette Scogin as Assistant Athletic Director.  Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


On all other items, Mr. Rose moved to approve the items as submitted.  Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried 3-0-1, with Dr. Daugherty abstaining.


C.                Board Meeting Dates, 2003-04


The proposed schedule of meeting dates for the 2003-2004 school year was presented for review and approval.  Mr. Rose moved to approve the dates as submitted; Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.







A.                 Anti-Bullying Policy


A policy providing a definition of bullying, consequences for bullying behavior, and programs to promote conflict resolution skills is required under the terms of Arkansas Act 681 of 2003.  The policy was approved on first reading at the agenda meeting on June 12, and was presented for second reading approval at this time.  Dr. Watson was in attendance to respond to questions from the Board.  Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the policy on second reading.  Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.





A.                Refinancing of May 2000 Bond Issue


Stephens, Inc., the District’s financial advisor recommended refinancing the existing May 2000 bond issue to save approximately $372,000 over the life of the bond, or approximately $22,000 per year.  Dr. Daugherty moved to authorize the District’s administration to move forward with refinancing the bond issue.  Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


B.            Proposed Budget for Annual School Election


The Board is required by Arkansas law (Ark. Code Ann. § 6-13-622) to approve a proposed budget for the 2004-2005 school year not less than sixty days before the annual school election in September.  A resolution was presented for the Board’s consideration and approval.  Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the budget as submitted, and Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion.  It carried 4 - 0.


C.            Request for Easement:  Henderson Middle School


The administration requested approval to grant an easement at Henderson Middle School to CenterPoint Energy / Arkla Gas Company for construction and relocation of gas lines.  This request is in conjunction with several others at this site to allow widening of Barrow Road and installation of a traffic signal at this location.  Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the requested easement.  Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


D.                Donations of Property


The Board was asked to approve acceptance of recent donations to the District.   Kaylon Bradford, student representative from J. A. Fair High School, read the listed donations.    Dr. Daugherty made a motion to accept the donated items;
Mr. Rose seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.  The donations are listed in the following chart:








Cloverdale Magnet Middle School


Art Kit, valued at $50.00 for Law Day Program


$50.00 cash for the Law Day Program


Bernice Whitfield



Bank of Little Rock


Dodd Elementary School


Two projection screens valued at $150.00


Charles Tanner


Fair Park Elementary School


$1,000 cash for achievement awards and technology enhancement


Wal-Mart Foundation


Fulbright Elementary School


Cash donations totaling $8,565.00 to be used on new Compass Learning software


Various donors


Geyer Springs Elementary School


$1,000 cash in honor of Theresa Lane, Teacher of the Year.  Funds will be used to purchase materials, books and student incentives


Baseline Wal-Mart Store


Jefferson Elementary School


$200 cash to the SECME club to help with trip to Space Camp


$400 cash to the SECME club to help with trip to Space Camp


$200 cash to the SECME club to help with trip to Space Camp


Top soil and materials, valued at $500 for landscaping improvements to the front of the building


Plants, valued at approximately $150.00 for landscaping improvements to the front of the building


Landscaping services and plants, valued at approximately $500.00 for landscaping improvements to the front of the building


KATV-Channel 7



Dick Bona of Kraftco Hardware



Janet Jones Company



Jefferson PTA




Mrs. Matt Barker





Mr. Danny Deislinger



Wilson Elementary School


Packard-Bell Pentium PC, valued at approximately $300.00


Lance and Carolyn Livingston






Woodruff Elementary School


$600 cash to assist in purchasing tee-shirts for students to commemorate celebration of exceeding the record of “445 Days without a Fight”


$1,000 cash in recognition of Mr. Michael Norbert, Woodruff Teacher of the Year


Over 1,000 books, valued at $3,000 for classroom libraries


Bedding plants valued at approximately $35.00 for use by students enrolled in the spring intersession “Gardening by the Yard” class


Lander’s Auto Group of Benton and Little Rock




Sam’s Club of Little Rock




Sara Clements with the Ouachita Girl Scout Council


Home Depot of Little Rock




Little Rock School District


Six singlewide classroom portable buildings, valued at approximately $500 each for a total value of $3,000.


Missouri Equipment Leasing, Inc.



B.            Financial Report


Dr. Stewart reviewed the financial reports printed in the Board’s agenda through May 31, 2003.  He explained that no financial activity for the month of June was reflected due to end-of-year close out considerations.  Dr. Daugherty moved to approve the budget as submitted.  Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.



IX.               CLOSING REMARKS


Dr. Stewart made brief closing remarks and stated that two employee hearings were scheduled to begin immediately following the business meeting.  The board took a 10-minute recess.


X.                 EMPLOYEE HEARINGS


An employee was represented by Attorney John Walker and requested her hearing be held in open session.  The employee requested the hearing to appeal the Superintendent’s recommendation that her “incentive school stipend” in the amount of $2,200.00 annually be discontinued.  This recommendation was made as a part of budget reduction strategies, and due to the consideration that “incentive schools” no longer exist under that terminology, and that the staffs of those schools are no longer entitled to the extra incentive pay.


Mr. Walker asked the Board to reinstate the incentive school stipend for the principal and asserted that the level of responsibility and terms of the agreement for the original incentive schools was not voided when approval of court submissions granted unitary status to the District.  He contended that double funding is to continue in those schools, including extra incentive pay for the principals and some other school administrators.


Mr. Heller was present as the District’s representative and stated that the Board was not under any court-ordered obligation to continue to pay administrative stipends and that they were charged with determining whether to uphold the recommendations for reducing operational costs.


The Board recessed briefly to deliberate and returned at 8:00 p.m.  Mr. Kurrus made a motion on the finding of facts listed as items 1 and 2, stated in the Superintendent’s letter of April 15, 2003 are true.  Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 3-0-1, with Dr. Daugherty abstaining.


Mr. Rose made a motion to accept the Superintendent’s recommendation that the employment contract for the employee not be renewed under the same terms for the 2003-04 school year.  Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it
carried 3-0-1, with Dr. Daugherty abstaining.


Another employee was represented by Attorney Joseph Espo, from Baltimore, MD.  They requested the hearing be open to the public. 


The employee had been a classroom teacher at a middle school for several years.  She lost her vision due to a medical condition, and is not expected to regain her sight.  Beverly Williams, Director of Human Resources, met with the employee and concluded that her blindness would render her unable to perform the essential functions of a classroom teacher.  Ms. Williams specified in her letter to the employee that she would be “unable to monitor student behavior and engage them in instruction,” and that “visual monitoring . . . is essential to ensure the safety and well being of all students.”


The District was represented by Attorney Chris Heller, who called Barbara Barnes, special education supervisor, and Frances Jones, assistant superintendent for elementary education, to support the Superintendent’s recommendation for termination.  Each of them agreed with the administration’s recommendation based on their belief that the employee would be unable to perform the essential duties of a classroom teacher.  They each stated their opinion that visual supervision is essential to managing the behavioral and educational environment in the classroom.  They expressed belief that “continuous and immediate feedback and visual monitoring of students is essential to ensure the safety and well being of all students.”


Mr. Espo questioned the employee about her medical condition and about her belief that she could function successfully as a classroom teacher.  He provided the Board members with a booklet of publications written by blind classroom teachers, articles from various periodicals documenting the successful performance of visually impaired instructors, and several court-related decrees from lawsuits filed by blind or otherwise handicapped classroom teachers.  There were documents detailing the support system that is required for visually impaired teachers, including large-print or Braille textbooks, computers and software, and the provision of a certified classroom aide to assist with the monitoring of the classroom environment, all considered to be “reasonable accommodations.” 


The Board went into recess at 9:23 due to lack of quorum when Dr. Daugherty was required to leave the meeting for personal reasons.  He promised to return so that the Board could resume the hearing.  The Board reconvened at 9:40 p.m.


After a brief deliberation, the Board returned to the hearing room at 10:00 p.m.  Mr. Rose made a motion to reject the administration’s finding of fact and reject the Superintendent’s recommendation to terminate the employee’s contract.  Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.



XI.               ADJOURNMENT


There being no further business. Mr. Rose moved to adjourn at 10:05 p.m. 
Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.







APPROVED:  _    07-24-03       __                                Originals Signed by:  

                        Judy Magness, President

Larry Berkley, Secretary