August 14, 2003


The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held a special session immediately following the regular agenda meeting, on Thursday, August 14, 2003, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.  President Judy Magness presided. 




Judy Magness

Tony Rose

Larry Berkley

Mike Daugherty

Baker Kurrus

Katherine Mitchell








            Morris Holmes, Interim Superintendent     

            Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes



I.          CALL TO ORDER


President Judy Magness called the special meeting to order at 5:45 p.m. immediately following the scheduled agenda meeting.  A quorum was stipulated without roll call.  All members of the Board were present.  


In addition, Katina Ray, teacher ex officio representative from Rightsell Elementary School, was also present.  The student representative, Antonio Jones from McClellan High School, did not attend.





The agenda for the special meeting contained the following action items:


A.     First Reading - - Revision to Policy DGD, VISA Pro-Card

B.     Polling Sites for Annual School Election

C.    Mileage Reimbursement Rate for Employees

D.    System Engineer Position

E.     Board Vacancy

F.     Contract Approval

G.    Employee Hearings



III.        ACTION:


Prior to consideration of the agenda items, Mr. Rose moved to suspend the rules to review and consider action on an item not previously listed.  Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion to suspend the rules, and it carried 5-1, with Ms. Magness casting the “no” vote.


Mr. Rose made a motion to revise board policy BCB, by eliminating the entire first paragraph and the first word of the second paragraph, and inserting the definition of “related” from the first paragraph into the second paragraph of the existing policy.  Mr. Rose read the policy as proposed.  Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion.


After a lengthy discussion, Dr. Mitchell called for the question, and Mr. Rose seconded.  The vote to call the question failed 4-2.


Dr. Daugherty requested a written copy of the proposed policy prior to consideration of action, and Ms. Magness asked that the Board follow it’s usual process to revise a policy by placing it on the agenda for first reading at the regular board meeting on August 28.


The motion to consider the proposed revision on first reading failed 3-3.  The Board members agreed by consensus to include the revision of policy BCB for first reading on the action agenda at the regular August board meeting.


A.     First Reading - - Revision to Policy DGD, VISA Pro-Card


Policy DGD, VISA Purchasing Card was approved by the board in February 2003.  Administrators proposed a revision to the policy to include purchases over $1,000 upon the recommendation of the Procurement Department and written approval of the Chief Financial Officer.   The Board was asked to approve the proposed revision on first reading, with second reading to be on the agenda on August 28.


Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the proposed revision with a correction, removing language “in certain circumstances” from the policy as presented.  Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.


B.    Polling Sites for Annual School Election


The Pulaski County Election Commission requested permission to reduce the number of polling sites in the school district election zones having no contested race.  Voters in zones 3, and 7 have more than one candidate to consider; therefore all polling locations would remain open.  The zone 6 candidate is running unopposed; therefore only five voting locations within that zone would be open.  Implementation of the plan proposed by the Election Commission would save the District approximately $12,000.


Mr. Berkley moved to approve the recommendation to implement the reduced number of polling sites in zone 3.  Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


C.    Mileage Reimbursement Rate for Employees


Dr. Stewart presented a recommendation to increase the reimbursement of mileage to thirty-one (31) cents per mile effective September 1, 2003.  This recommendation is based on the negotiated agreement between the LRSD and the Classroom Teachers Association, which allows that teachers be reimbursed at the rate allowed by the Arkansas Department of Education.  Other employees of the District are paid at the same rate as teachers, based on Board policy DKC-R. 


Mr. Kurrus made a motion to approve the increase in mileage to 31˘ per mile effective September 1, 2003.  Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.


D.    System Engineer Position


The Board approved an extension to the EDS contract for professional services to assist with continued implementation of the Technology Plan at the May 22, 2003 board meeting.  The District determined that they could hire the System Engineer who worked for EDS, and renegotiate the contract with EDS to lower the contractual fee from $252,000 to $145,548.  The action will result in an overall savings in the amount of $30,000.  Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the administration’s recommendation; Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


E.     Board Vacancy


Ms. Magness explained that Ms. Strickland’s resignation from the Board was effective August 6, 2003.  She had consulted with an attorney at the Arkansas School Boards Association, and was advised that since the annual school board election is scheduled in September, there was no need to go through the process of selecting an interim board member from zone 7.  Only one regular board meeting is scheduled between now and the September board meeting, when the newly elected board members will be sworn in.  No action was taken.


F.     Contract Approval


The contract for Dr. Morris Holmes, Interim Superintendent of Schools, was presented for the Board’s review and approval.  Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the contract as presented.  Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. 


The Board took a brief recess at 6:20 p.m. and called for an executive session to conduct a closed employee hearing.


G.    Employee Hearings


Beverly Williams provided the Board with a summary of the recommendation to terminate an employee.  Mr. Frank Martin, Executive Director of the Classroom Teachers Association, represented the employee. 


The administration called a witness to provide details of the circumstances surrounding a threat of bodily harm by the employee.  The witness stated that the employee not only threatened him personally, but also stated that he would harm the witness’ family.   Other witnesses testified that the employee was behaving in an erratic and threatening manner on the day of the incident.  As a result of this behavior, a custodial supervisor, referred the employee for drug screening.  The drug screen was negative.


The employee was a custodian at an elementary school for nearly 3 years.  He testified that he and the witness had a verbal confrontation, but that he did not threaten to do harm to the witness or his family.  He stated his belief that the witness was “on his case” for being late and taking more than an hour for lunch.  He admitted that he was agitated at the witness, but that he did not intend to harm the witness or his family. 


Mr. Martin asked the Board to consider reinstating the employee with sanctions short of termination.  He stated his belief that the administration had failed to prove and establish a true threat of bodily harm, and suggested that a period of suspension or probation would be more acceptable. 


The Board recessed at 7:40 p.m. for deliberations.  They returned at 8:05 p.m.


Mr. Berkley moved not to uphold the recommended termination and offered as an alternate sanction, to suspend the employee for ten working days without pay.  The administration was directed to reassign the employee to another work site, and place him on a six-month probation.  Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried 5-1, with Ms. Magness casting the “no” vote.





There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at
8:10 p.m. on a motion by Mr. Kurrus, seconded by Mr. Rose. 







APPROVED:  _    08-28-03       __                         Originals Signed by:  

                        Judy Magness, President

Larry Berkley, Secretary