The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2005, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Robert M. Daugherty presided.
Robert M. Daugherty
Roy G. Brooks, Superintendent of Schools
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Dr. Daugherty called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Six members of the Board were present at roll call; Mr. Berkley was absent. In addition, Cathy Koehler, ex officio teacher representative from Baseline Elementary School and Allyson Wilson, student representative from Parkview Magnet School were also present.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Dr. Daugherty welcomed the audience and asked Dr. Brooks to proceed with the citations.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Prior to the board meeting, a reception was held in the administration building lobby to honor and recognize students who had been named National Merit Semifinalists, National Merit Commended Students, National Achievement Semifinalists, and National Achievement Commended Students.
National Merit Semifinalists: Spencer Berry, Richard Block, Jennifer Cooper, Don Ding, Zackary Eubanks, June Fang, Stephen Feinberg, Amanda Heinbockel, Rafi Kazi, Galimat Khaidakova, Emily Mellor, David Polett, Laura Soderberg, Melissa Thoma, Andrew Winters, and Faye Zhao.
National Merit Commended Students: Shannen Adcock, Hannah Bailin, Eric Beall, Stephanie Drangle, Sudhanv Govindarajan, Matthew Gutierrez, John Kincaid, Alisyn Reid, Caitlin Stevens
National Achievement Semifinalists: Marion Humphrey, Tamika Thompson
National Achievement Commended Student: Allen Thomas
Dr. Brooks introduced Connie Green, the newly appointed assistant principal at Mabelvale Magnet Middle School.
The ex officio representatives to the Board for the month of October, Cathy Koehler and Allyson Wilson, were given certificates of appreciation for their service.
Debbie Milam was present to introduce one new school and business partnership within the Partners in Education Program. Ms. Strickland moved to accept the new partnership; Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. The new partnership was:
Otter Creek Elementary School, represented by Jill Brooks and Wanda Varady, in partnership with Meyer Stagecoach Florist, represented by Diane Permenter
Attorney Chris Heller was present to briefly review pending legal cases. He provided a written report of the routine issues dealing with personnel matters.
In addition, Mr. Heller discussed the Lake View case which is pending before the Arkansas Supreme Court. It is expected that oral arguments in this case will be heard on November 17. He reported that the final outcome will have a significant impact on the State funding for public schools.
Mr. Heller reminded the Board that Judge Wilson had scheduled a hearing on Monday, November 7, and had requested all board members be present. The judge accused the LRSD and Mr. Heller of delaying submission of evaluation reports in an effort to stall or delay fulfilling the Judge’s order. Mr. Heller assured the Board that the LRSD had done everything they were ordered to do and that there was no effort to impede compliance with the Court’s directives.
Mr. Rose made a motion to reorder the agenda and allow the Donations of Property at this point in the agenda. Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. The student read the donations and the vote was taken at this point in the meeting, but will be reported later in these minutes.
Charlene Jay, a nutrition manager with the District’s Child Nutrition Department, read a prepared statement asking for the Board to intervene in the efforts of child nutrition employees to be paid a salary comparable to other employees of the LRSD. She provided a timeline dating back to July 2004 indicating that these employees had requested a salary study, presented a petition signed by child nutrition employees, and secured representation from the Classroom Teachers Association to improve working conditions and salaries for cafeteria workers.
Mary Ann Hansen commended the Board for addressing and correcting language in the Board’s policies regarding discrimination related to gender. She asked the Board to go a step further and adopt preventive policy language regarding “gender identity” issues.
Katherine Wright Knight thanked Dr. Brooks for intervening in the efforts of the Child Nutrition workers to resolve their concerns regarding pay and working conditions.
Ms. Knight noted that her office had fielded many calls regarding the Benchmark test scores. She asked for open and honest discussion among teachers and administrators when addressing the accountability issues in the schools identified as under NCLB “school improvement. “
In addition, Ms. Knight reported that teachers involved in the National Board Certification process were awaiting the arrival of their scores. Twenty nine of the thirty-three candidates followed through the entire process to submit their documentation for review; the results are expected mid-November. She asked the Board to continue to support the process and to provide support for the teachers who may not be successful on their first attempt.
In closing, Mrs. Knight announced that she had been elected to serve as the Chair of the Professional Licensure Program for the State of Arkansas.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Cathy Koehler thanked Board members for giving her the opportunity to serve as ex officio on the Board. She expressed support for the National Board Certification process and reported that she had been working with the candidates to assist them in the preparation of their portfolios and other documents.
Mr. Rose thanked Ms. Jay for her comments supporting a living wage for cafeteria employees. He expressed support for all district employees who are on the lowest pay scales and urged the administration to find the funds to equalize the salaries of child nutrition workers. He also thanked Ms. Hansen for her support and comments.
Regarding Ms. Knight’s comments, Mr. Rose also shared his concern for the students in our district who are not the highest or lowest achieving students but are those who are “caught in the middle and receiving a mediocre education.” He stated support for the National Board Program and encouragement for those teachers who are continuing to strive to succeed and achieve this level of certification.
Closing, Mr. Rose reported that board members had met with the superintendent and consultants who are working to make the strategic plan the guiding document of the district. The administration is working with the board to develop action plans, guiding principals and strategies that will lead the district to fully implement the intent of the strategic plan.
Ms. Strickland echoed Mr. Rose’s remarks regarding the “kids in the middle” who may not be receiving the best quality education. She encouraged the district’s leaders, teachers, principals and the board to “put our heads together” to find a way to help the students who are struggling. She congratulated Connie Green on her appointment as assistant principal at Mabelvale Middle School.
Mr. Kurrus discussed the complications involved in the current controversy over test scores. He noted that the state is trying to level the rate of growth between grade levels by changing the levels of proficiency used to measure achievement. “Test scores should be considered nothing more or less than a snapshot of the moment; all students won’t learn and some will always score better than others.”
Mr. Kurrus expressed pride in the LRSD for maintaining a positive fund balance while other public entities are having financial difficulties. He noted the recent news reports regarding budget problems in the city of Little Rock, Pulaski County, and the Pulaski County Special School District. He thanked the superintendent and district administrators who made difficult recommendations to allow the district to remain on stable financial footing and gave due credit to the Board for having the foresight to make the difficult decisions along the way.
Dr. Mitchell commended Katherine Wright Knight on her appointment as chairman of the state’s licensing agency. She also shared concern regarding student achievement and performance on the recent exams, however she noted that test scores don’t always adequately measure and reflect student progress. She commended parents who take the time to work with their children and who monitor their classroom performance and she encouraged more parents to become involved in the education of their children.
Dr. Mitchell reminded the audience about the ViPS Reading Day and she encouraged listeners to participate by reading to students on November 15.
Dr. Daugherty discussed the Fulbright Teacher Exchange conference which was recently held in Little Rock. He reported that Superintendent Brooks had served as keynote speaker on the Sunday afternoon of the conference and that the conference participants had been given an opportunity to shadow teachers in the LRSD for a day. He noted the irony in that there were no teachers from Arkansas participating in the program although J. William Fulbright had been a Senator from our state. He encouraged teachers to investigate the possibility of becoming involved in this prestigious program.
Dr. Daugherty closed by thanking the Board for allowing him the opportunity to serve as the Board’s president.
Joe Mittiga provided a brief summary and overview of the district’s annual report to the community. This report is required by Arkansas law to be published in a statewide newspaper by November 15 of each year. Our report will be distributed with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Arkansas Business.
Dr. Olivine Roberts responded to questions from the Board regarding curriculum standards and the alignment of our curriculum with state frameworks. She also fielded questions regarding professional development provided for teaching staff and noted that school-based administrators select the specific training needed to meet the needs of their teachers.
Dr. Watson was present but there was no formal report and no questions from the Board. The October 1 enrollment comparison was printed as part of the board’s agenda.
No report. Mr. Milhollen was present, but there were no questions or comments.
The monthly Construction Report was printed in the Board’s agenda.
Mr. Becker’s monthly report was printed in the agenda.
The monthly technology update was printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Mitchell asked that a review be conducted to ensure that schools have the computers they need to implement their instructional programs. Mr. Hattabaugh reported that a fixed asset inventory will be conducted in order to provide a more thorough and accurate report.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on September 22, and from special meetings held on September 14 and October 13 were presented for review and approval. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the minutes as presented. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
The board recessed briefly and returned at 7:10 p.m.
A. AD – Mission Statement
In a periodic review of the Board’s current policies and regulations, Mr. Rose identified a contradiction between the board’s approved mission statement, Policy AD, and the mission statement contained in the District’s strategic plan. He asked for the Board to reaffirm the version contained in the policy manual and encouraged the administration to use the Board’s mission statement in future publications of the strategic plan. No formal vote was required, but the Board agreed by consensus that the preferred mission statement was the board approved policy AD.
B. First Reading: Policy AC – Nondiscrimination, Policy ACD – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Religion, and Policy ACH – Anti-Harassment
Revisions to policies AC, ACD, and ACH were presented to the Board for first reading approval. Mr. Rose recommended the revisions in order to bring the board’s policies current and up to date. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the changes on first reading. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
C. Second Reading: Policy GBK – Staff Concerns, Complaints and Grievances, with Regulations
Policy GBK provides a clearly defined process for district employees who require resolution of complaints and/ or grievances. The revisions bring the district into compliance with Act 1357 of 2003. The board approved GBK on first reading at the September meeting and it was presented for second reading at this time. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve GBK on second reading. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
DKC-R: Regulations for Implementing Policy DKC
Out of Area Travel, Travel Expense Authorization / Reimbursement / Travel Limits
Regulations for the implementation of Policy DKC were brought to the Board for review and comment. As a formality, these revisions were presented for the Board consideration. No formal action was required by the board and none was taken.
A. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel items were printed in the Board’s agenda. The recommendations included the appointment of Connie Green as the assistant principal of Mabelvale Middle School. Mr. Rose moved to approve the personnel actions as presented. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Property Easement – J. A. Fair
The administration presented a recommendation for the board to approve a request for an easement in order to move the sewer pumping system from the property at J. A. Fair High School to property owned by Kenwood Estates, immediately south of the school. The action would provide better service to the school and district. Mr. Kurrus made a motion to approve the application for an easement, Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Property Easement – Gibbs Elementary School
The administration presented a request from Entergy for an easement on the property of Gibbs Elementary School in order to move a transformer onto the school grounds to better meet the needs of the expanded school. Ms. Strickland made a motion to approve the easement. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried 4-2 with Mr. Day and Mr. Rose casting the “no” votes.
C. Donations of Property
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. Mr. Rose made a motion to accept the donated items, Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
$1,000 to be used for student incentives
UALR Children International
$100 cash to the Troubadours / Debate Club
$3,000 cash to purchase a laminator for the Ninth Grade Academy Lab
$400 cash to the Troubadours / Debate Club
$100 cash to the Troubadours / Debate Club
Cheryl Miller / RCF Corporation
Dr. Randal Hundley
$250 worth of school supplies
39er’s class of St. James United Methodist Church
J. A. Fair High
$288.77 for paint and labor for painting baseball dugouts
Otter Creek Assembly of God Church
Forest Heights Middle School
Chairs, valued at $825 for the conference room
Musical instruments valued at $1,200
Arkansas Capitol Corporation
Douglas Braswell of Easy Cash Pawn Shop
Forest Park Elementary
$48,926.88 for various projects and programs
Forest Park PTA
$966.43 cash to purchase a Dell computer
$200.00 cash for Reading Buddies volunteer expenses
Printer, valued at $157 for the health room
Safety signs and rubber mats valued at $1,661.58
Sam Storthz III
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Rains,
Federal Highway Administration and Valerie and Jay McDaniel
D. Financial Report
Mr. Milhollen presented the monthly review of the financial reports which were printed in the board’s agenda. Mr. Day moved to approve the financial reports submission. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion, and it carried 5-1 with Mr. Rose abstaining.
IX. CLOSING REMARKS
An employee hearing which had been scheduled for this meeting was cancelled.
Dr. Mitchell encouraged principals and teachers to communicate with the administration when additional resources were needed in the classrooms.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m. on a motion by Mr. Rose and seconded by Ms. Strickland.
APPROVED: 11-17-05 Originals Signed by:
R. Micheal Daugherty, President
Bryan Day, Secretary