The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, 2005, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Larry Berkley presided.
Roy G. Brooks, Superintendent of Schools
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Mr. Berkley called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. All members of the Board were present at roll call. Ex officio teacher representative Jeff Smith from Mabelvale Middle School and student representative Allyson Wilson from Parkview Magnet High School were also present.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
President Berkley welcomed the audience and introduced student performers from Williams Magnet School, directed by music teacher Barbara Strickland. After a brief performance, Dr. Brooks was asked to proceed with the citations and presentations.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Students from Pulaski Heights Middle School and their teacher, Trela Cook, were recognized for winning the state Math Counts Championship for the third year in a row. Ms. Cook was present, as were members of the team: Timothy Mellor, Jackson Berry, Yi Wu, and Charles Watts. It was also noted that Ms. Cook had recently been selected as the Outstanding Middle School Math Teacher for the State of Arkansas.
Members of the Public Education Foundation of Little Rock were present along with the new Board President, Jan Hundley. Lisa Black, Executive Director of the Foundation, announced that the recent Academic Signing Day, sponsored by the Foundation and the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce was a huge success. In addition, the Foundation recently presented Innovative Idea Grants to twenty one LRSD teachers. The grants totaled $58,447 and will be used to supplement classroom instruction. Patsy Lewis, a special education teacher at Mabelvale Middle School, described how she had utilized a $2,000 foundation grant to provide an outdoor environmental learning experience called “Petals & Feathers,” for her classroom of CBI students.
Humberto Zarate and Larry Clemons, representatives from Siemens International, were in attendance to present an award to Nancy Rousseau, principal of Central High School. Siemens International, The College Board, and USA Today named Central High School one of the top AP science and technology programs in the country. Central High School was selected for this recognition for their growth in the number of students taking AP classes and AP exams. Only twelve schools nationwide were selected for this honor.
Kate Lyford and Rachel Harpool, students at Central High School, were recently notified that they were selected as state level winners in the Discover Card Tribute Award Scholarship Program. They will each receive $2,500 and will compete in the national finals for one of nine $25,000 scholarships.
Four Central High School students represented the LRSD in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona. Amanda Compadre placed third in the botany category, Matthew Baldwin, Xuan Yi and Ray Huang placed third in the Space Science category. Certificates of appreciation were presented to their teachers, Melissa Donham and Annice Steadman, for preparing the students and for traveling with them to Phoenix for the competition.
The Superintendent presented a citation and expressed appreciation to employees of Little Rock Wastewater Utility for their support and assistance with the Central High School Science Fair. John Jarrett was present to receive the award on behalf of LRWW employees. This company donated stadium blankets, stuffed tigers, and plastic covering for the gymnasium floor. In addition, six of the LRWW staff members served as judges in the 2005 competition.
Nurse Stevie Cherepski, school nurse at M. L. King Elementary School, was introduced and presented with a citation in recognition of her being named the Arkansas School Nurse of the Year.
Monica Ball, teacher at J. A. Fair Magnet High School, was introduced and invited to address the Board regarding a project that the Environmental Science students had undertaken at Fair High School. Under Ms. Ball’s leadership, the students had developed an outdoor learning area, including landscaping projects, and had enlisted community volunteers to assist them in developing and supporting the projects.
Dr. Anne Blackwell, chemistry teacher at McClellan Magnet High School, and Vicki Logan, biology teacher at Parkview Magnet High School, were named Teachers of the Year by Wal-Mart stores on Baseline and Bowman Road. They each received a $50.00 gift card and $1,000 cash to spend on classroom materials.
Certificates of appreciation were presented to the ex officio representatives for the month of May, Jeff Smith, teacher at Mabelvale Magnet Middle School, and Allyson Wilson, student from Parkview Magnet High School.
Dale Charles, President of the Little Rock Chapter of the NAACP, addressed the board regarding concerns that the administration of the LRSD was being resegregated. He presented a letter to the Superintendent and to individual members of the Board.
Carlette Henderson and Dr. Walter Nunn addressed the Board on behalf of the City’s Racial & Cultural Diversity Commission. They provided a brief PowerPoint presentation which was filmed by students to encourage more student involvement in unity and diversity initiatives in the city.
Mary Ann Hansen and her son Stephen Hansen made brief remarks to the Board. Stephen will graduate this year, and he wanted the opportunity to address the board and thank LRSD teachers and principals for allowing him an opportunity to succeed in school. He plans to go to UAPB and study music and drama.
Katherine Wright Knight acknowledged the recent death of Betty Floyd, an employee of the LRSD for 15 years. She recognized Mary Ann Hansen and Faye Parker, officers in the CTA.
Ms. Knight expressed grave concerns regarding the paraprofessionals who received non-renewal notices. Under the provisions of NCLB, paraprofessionals or teacher’s aides are required to have an Associates Degree, 60 college hours, or pass the Praxis exam in order to remain employed in the classroom as an instructional aide. She asked the Board to determine if there was any way that these employees could be assisted or allowed to continue to work until they could pass the test. Ms. Knight closed by thanking Beverly Williams and Mark Milhollen for assisting the CTA in resolving a problem with salaries that existed in the Child Nutrition Department.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Ms. Strickland thanked the teachers and others who work in the schools; she wished them a happy and restful summer vacation.
Mr. Rose reflected on the comments made by Ms. Knight and suggested that there should be a way to assist the paraprofessionals in paying for the re-takes of the Praxis exam. He further stated that he was not in favor of making any cuts to the district’s arts program.
Mr. Kurrus thanked Ms. Knight for her comments and stated that NCLB rules regarding the paraprofessionals really “didn’t make any sense.” In addition, he responded to Mr. Charles’ comments regarding diversity by noting that he was more concerned about the District having more one-race schools and becoming a one-race district than he was about the color of the school’s administrator.
In addition, Mr. Kurrus thanked the teachers from Mabelvale and Fair who presented information on the environmental science programs, and all the teachers in the district for the work they do for all the LRSD students. He wished the students, parents, teachers and administrators a happy safe summer break.
Dr. Mitchell reported that she had attended several end-of-the-year school programs. She mentioned the Metropolitan ACC awards assembly and the advisory council meeting of the Metropolitan partners. She thanked the staff at the ACC and credited them with decreasing the dropout rate of the LRSD.
Dr. Mitchell reported that she had also attended the kindergarten graduation program at Rightsell Elementary School and the Taste-Test at M. L. King Elementary School. She closed by acknowledging all the retirees listed in the agenda and thanked them for their dedication and devotion to the LRSD.
Mr. Berkley thanked the staff members who were involved in the Teacher of the Year Banquet. He also thanked the Public Education Foundation and Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the Academic Signing Day.
Chris Heller was present to provide a brief overview of the District’s pending legal issues. He reminded the Board that he, Dr. Brooks, and Karen DeJarnette had attended the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing in St. Louis on April 12. A decision from the Court is expected within two months, and Mr. Heller noted that it was important to the LRSD for the decision to be soon in order for the District to avoid having to repay some of the state desegregation loan. We have submitted quarterly reports to the Court as directed by Judge Wilson’s final Order pending the appeal and are complying with all directives specified by the Order.
Mr. Heller also noted that the LRSD had filed an objection to the budget of the Office of Desegregation Monitoring. ODM has had a reduced amount of monitoring and oversight responsibility for the LRSD, and it seemed unfair to continue to pay the largest amount of the expense to run the monitoring office. North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School Districts share in the cost of operating the ODM and are still involved in pending desegregation issues over and above the remaining one area, Program Evaluation, where the LRSD is being monitored.
The PCSSD has challenged the NLRSD on the number of magnet school transfers allowed. Mr. Heller noted that the LRSD has taken the position that the current method of allocating seats for these two districts is working and that we would object to any change in the process.
In the Lakeview case, Mr. Heller reported he felt certain that a Special Master would be appointed to review the case and suggested that the LRSD would want to be involved if the case goes back before the Supreme Court.
Mr. Heller reported that other cases currently pending involve individual students or employees and should not be discussed in a public meeting. Board members were invited to contact Mr. Heller if additional information is needed on any of these cases.
Dr. Daugherty provided a summary of the results of a survey administered to members of the Mitchell community. It was noted that the majority of the community respondents would like for the building to continue to be used as an educational facility serving adults and children. There was not a specific recommendation presented by the committee, but Dr. Daugherty suggested the development of a timeline for moving ahead to be established by the Board. Mr. Milhollen reported that the administration would prepare a RFP for release in order to gain a sense of interest from the community on future use of the building.
Mr. Berkley noted that the survey results were clear in that the community wanted the building to be utilized as a public facility. However, there was no clear program or outside entity identified by the survey to put the building to use. Mr. Rose suggested that the city of Little Rock be included in future discussions for use of the building and that a partnership be developed between organizations that have funds available for public uses. The funds that were set aside for improvements to the Mitchell building are being held until future use is determined.
SUSPENSION OF THE RULES:
Mr. Rose moved to suspend the rules to reorder the agenda to allow the reading of the donations at this point in the meeting. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. The student read the donations and action was taken at this point in the agenda. The list of donations and the recorded vote will be included later in these minutes.
Dr. Watson reported that Pulaski County government officials had assisted in completion of a grant application for a Tri-district Conversion Charter School. In addition, the county government had secured a facility on Geyer Springs Road in Southwest Little Rock.
Dr. Watson further reported that the complete application would be ready for Board review and approval by the June agenda meeting and would be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Education for review prior to their next board meeting. A public hearing date had not yet been scheduled.
The Board took a brief recess and returned at 7:45 p.m. to complete the agenda. Mr. Day did not return.
Mr. Goodman reported that seven bids had been received on the Rightsell project. He reported that some funding from the QZAB application was allocated to Rightsell, but that additional funds would need to be allocated to complete the project. He indicated that a recommendation would be forthcoming from the administration.
Mr. Milhollen reported that budget
packets had been sent to the schools and that building principals were in the
process of allocating funds using their 2005-06 per-pupil projections. He further reported that departmental
budgets were being “retooled” as a result of the reorganization, and that it
would be several weeks before the state released budget figures for
Mr. Rose asked that the CARE Program budget be included in the district’s budget document for clarification. Mr. Milhollen reported that the funds are kept separate because it is considered an “enterprise fund” with all revenue coming from tuition. We are required to demonstrate on audit that we are not subsidizing the program with District funds.
Mr. Becker’s monthly update was printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Mitchell had questions regarding the report on stipends paid to district employees, and she asked for additional information.
The monthly technology report was printed in the Board’s agenda. No other information was requested or provided.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on April 28 and from a special meeting held on May 12, 2005, were presented for review and approval. Mr. Day moved to approve the minutes as presented. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Revision to Student Calendar, 2005-06
The administration proposed an adjustment to the 2005-06 student calendar to allow two additional staff development days prior to the opening of school. The adjustment does not affect student attendance days, spring break or winter vacation. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the change in calendar dates, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Student Handbook Revisions
Dr. Watson submitted proposed revisions to the 2005-06 Student Handbook. The recommended changes were submitted by the Districtwide Handbook Committee and have been reviewed by the administration prior to submission for Board approval. Mr. Day moved to approve the revisions as submitted. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
B. Homeless Education Continuation Grant Application
The District is required by federal law to provide academic support and assistance to homeless students who enroll in our schools. The federal McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Grant has provided funding, and supplemental funding is provided through Titles I, IV and V to ensure the District is in compliance with Federal mandates.
The grant application requesting $41,000 was provided for the Board’s review and approval. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the submission; Mr. Rose seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
A. Measuring the Vision
The LRSD Planning, Research and Evaluation Department provided a timeline and an evaluation plan for measuring the District’s vision of becoming the highest achieving urban school district in the nation. The plan specifies other school districts against which to measure LRSD achievement, and a list of tasks that will be completed by the end of September 2005. The Board was not asked to take official action. The report was provided for information only, and no official action was required.
Mr. Rose suggested that approval be given for Items A through D with one motion. Ms. Strickland offered the motion and Dr. Daugherty seconded. No vote was taken and an amendment to the motion was offered to consider Item A separately, as no vote on that issue was required.
Mrs. Strickland made a motion to approve Items B through D with a blanket motion; Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Grant Application: U.S. Department of Education – Professional Development for Arts Educators
The administration recommended Board approval for the submission of a grant application that would provide $1,050,000 over a three year period for professional development for Arts Educators. The grant was made available through the United States Department of Education and would implement high-quality professional development in elementary music and visual arts in high-poverty schools in the District.
C. Grant Application: U. S. Department of Education – Teaching American History Grant Program
The U. S. Department of Education released a Request for Proposals for a Teaching American History Grant program. The grant would provide $1,000,000 over the course of three years and would partner all teachers of American History with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of History, National History Day, and the Clinton Presidential Library. The intent of the grant is to improve instruction and raise student achievement.
D. Grant Application: U. S. Department of Education – Smaller Learning Communities Program
The U. S. Department of Education offered a request for proposals for a Smaller Learning Communities grant, intended to raise academic performance of all high school students and to encourage students to take more rigorous courses, especially in math and science. The grant would provide $1,600,000 over a five-year period and would partner the District with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the High Schools That Work (HSTW) Initiative. If awarded, the grant would fund programs at Hall and Parkview.
A. Credit Recovery Program for Secondary Schools
Information was provided for the Board’s consideration to provide credit recovery summer school for six weeks to remediate students who failed one or more courses during the regular school year.
In accordance with Arkansas Statute, districts must provide the program free of charge to students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The administration recommended approval of the credit recovery summer school program at a cost estimated to be approximately $289,000 for staff salaries and $9,180 for transportation of middle school students. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the recommendation for summer school; Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried 6-0.
A. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. In addition, appointments were announced for several positions:
- Director of Professional Development – Dr. Lloyd Sain
- Director of Career and Alternative Education – Ms. Carol Green
- Director of Maintenance and Operations – Mr. Wayne Adams
- Director of Finance and Accounting – Ms. Jean Ring
- Coordinator of Grants – Ms. Linda Austin
- Coordinator of Early Childhood Education Center – Ms. Judy Milam
Mr. Rose moved to approve the personnel actions as presented. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Purchase of School Buses
The District established a ten-year cycle to keep the special needs fleet updated. Eight buses are needed for the 2005-06 school year, however the administration requested permission to purchase seven buses financed over a seven year period with an annual payment of approximately $52,300.
In addition, the administration requested permission to join a consortium composed of twenty entities in order to secure a hybrid school bus. Advanced Energy of North Carolina would head the effort to design, produce and deploy a hybrid electric school bus. The District would provide $60,000 in advance, and would be required to secure an additional $140,000 in grants.
Mr. Rose made a motion to purchase the six conventional school buses with lifts, and two hybrid electric school buses by seeking outside funding to provide funding for the second bus. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion. By roll call vote, the motion failed 3-3, with Dr. Mitchell, Mr. Kurrus and Mr. Berkley voting “no.”
Mr. Rose then moved to approve the administration’s recommendation to purchase six school buses with lifts, and to join the consortium to purchase one hybrid electric school bus. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Consulting Agreement
The administration presented a recommendation to amend the current consulting agreement with Dr. Dennis Smith and Mr. Bob Klempen to include services through Phase II and III of the reorganization. Mr. Rose made a motion to table action on the agreement. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
C. Donations of Property
The agenda was reordered to allow action on this item earlier in the agenda. 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. The student ex officio, Allyson Wilson, read the items listed in the Board’s agenda. Ms. Strickland made a motion to accept the donated items, Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Central High School
$100.00 cash to the Art Department
Ten Dell Latitude CPI-400 GT Laptop Computers; five Dell Precision 610 PC’s; 17 Compaq Deskpro PCs; 18 Gateway 3400 PCs and 27 Gateway 4200 PCs. Total estimated value of this donation of computer equipment equaled $18,750.00
USDA Rural Development
Geyer Springs Elementary
$200 cash to be used for student incentives
Mr. Dale Stevener / BFI Waste Services of Little Rock
$15,000 cash to finance “Project Fit” for students. Funds will be used to purchase fitness equipment and for staff development.
$20,415.00 for purchase and
installation of playground equipment;
$609.00 for refrigerator for teacher’s lounge;
$450.00 for Museum – Lively Science;
$270 for ETC Program; $55.00 for Health room supplies and $25.00 for food baskets
Williams Magnet School PTA
Ninth Grade Literacy Program – gifts to five LRSD High School students
Five personal computers and printers as rewards and incentives to five ninth grade students who have improved their reading skills and met other criteria. Total value of the donation is $4,750.
D. Financial Report
The monthly financial
summary reports were provided to the Board as part of the printed agenda. Mr. Milhollen reported briefly and
responded to questions from the Board regarding funds for the Mitchell
Elementary, Forest Heights Middle and Rightsell Elementary School
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m. on a motion by Mr. Rose, and seconded by Dr. Daugherty.
APPROVED: 06-23-05 Originals Signed by:
Larry Berkley, President
Katherine P. Mitchell, Secretary