April 24, 2003


The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2003, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.  Vice President Tony Rose presided.




Tony Rose

Larry Berkley

Micheal Daugherty

Baker Kurrus

Katherine Mitchell

Sue Strickland




Judy Magness




            T. Kenneth James, Superintendent of Schools

            Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes





Mr. Rose called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.  Six members of the Board were present at roll call; Ms. Magness was absent.  Michelle Hayden, teacher ex officio representative from Meadowcliff Elementary School, and Jason Casey, student representative from Parkview Magnet High School, were also present.





Mr. Rose welcomed the audience and introduced the Rockefeller Show Choir, directed by Sandra Young.  Ms. Mangan, principal of Rockefeller Elementary School was also present.  The students performed several songs, including choreographed hand movements and sign language. 




A.                Superintendent’s Citations


Dr. James introduced the LRSD students who were named either National Merit Finalists or National Achievement Finalists for 2003.  Not all of the students were present due to senior class activities at the various high schools, but their certificates of recognition will be sent to them.  National Merit Finalists from Central High School were:  Kyla Achard, Adva Biton, Fredrick Brantley, Kevin Burns, David Gutierrez, Catherine Keisler, Daniel Liu, Mark Mazumder, Joseph McDonnell, Stephanie Nielson, Nadia Patel, Rachel Rouby, Brennan Taylor, and Benjamin Wells.  From Parkview Magnet High School, students were Alison Boland, Jessica Lovelace-Chandler, and Lorinda Peoples.  National Achievement Finalists were Lorinda Peoples from Parkview Magnet High School, and Everette Callaway from
J. A. Fair Magnet High School. 


The Superintendent announced the students from Metropolitan Career and Technical Center who competed and received Medals at the Skills USA / VICA statewide competition in Hot Springs on April 15 - 16.  The students were called to the front and displayed the medals they were awarded.  Metro students won 37 medals, ten of them gold. 






Melissa Cox, Commercial Baking


Anna Bell, Culinary Arts


Takenua Williams, Cosmetology/Hair Care


Andrea Sanders, Commercial Baking


Vatrice Manning, Cosmetology


Viola Harris, Cosmetology/Hair Care


Katrina Brown, Cosmetology/Hair Care


LaToya Jacko, Cosmetology/Hair Care


Brittney Thomas, Cosmetology/Nail Care


Cynthia Brown, Cosmetology/Hair Care


Nathan Roberts, Technical Drafting


Tania Kelley, Cosmetology/Nail Care


Rolanda Foreman, Cosmetology/Nail Care


Jessie Ivey, Truck Diesel Technology


Tucker Swearingen, Truck Diesel Technology


Chelsa McClendon, Cosmetology/Nail Care


Justen Wilson, Farm Diesel Technology


Jeremy Baker, Truck Diesel Technnology


Jeff Merkt, Technical Drafting


Joshua Oldham, Nathan Roberts, Tony Bales, Brad Grundy and Ephraim McNair, Quiz Bowl


Mitchell Alexander, Farm Diesel Technology


Terrance Davis, Truck Diesel Technology



Kristen Speer, Victoria Holland and Josh Denius. TV News Anchor Team


Brandy Howard, Farm Diesel Technology



Vanessa Black, Cole Cawthron, Kasey Corbin, Savannah Ebbs, Victoria Holland and Kristen Speer, Opening & Closing Ceremonies


Superintendent’s Citations (continued)


In addition, Cole Cawthron won a gold medal for extemporaneous speaking, and Jordan Brown received special recognition from Arkansas and National Courtesy CORPS.  Katrina Brown will represent Arkansas at the National Skills Competition.  Dr. James introduced Mike Peterson and thanked him for continuing to do an exceptional job in preparing our students for state and national vocational and technical training competitions.


Dr. James introduced Dave Elswick from KARN Radio, who presented each of the LRSD high school principals with a framed portrait of George Washington.  Mr. Elswick raised the money through on-air donations and sponsorships and he promised to return to the Board when he had raised enough to provide a portrait for every LRSD school building.


The superintendent congratulated the Pulaski Heights Middle School MathCounts team.  Students Sho Maymia, Miles McCullough, Albert Speed, and Corina Oprescu were joined by their coach Trela Cook.  The PHMS team took the state championship title and each team member placed in the top ten competitors. 


The Central High School chess team recently earned the title of State Champions for the 3A – 5A Chess Association of Arkansas.  Dr. James congratulated the team for their achievement and introduced members of the team:  Victor Harris, Joe Liu, Shep Russell and Johnson Wong.  Other team members were David Gutierrez, Daniel Krupitsky, Elizabeth Richardson and Shannon Rodgers.  The team is coached by Joe Gray and Chuck West.


Dr. James recognized Rene Carson, Lead Teacher for middle level science.  Ms. Carson was elected to a three-year term as Middle Level Director of the National Science Teachers Association. 


The final citations were presented to the ex-officio Board representatives for the month of April, Michelle Hayden, teacher at Meadowcliff Elementary School, and Jason Casey, senior student at Parkview Magnet High School. 


B.                Partners in Education


Debbie Milam reminded the Board and the audience that this year’s Evening for the Stars was scheduled for April 29th at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds.  In addition, she expressed appreciation to the Chamber of Commerce and members of the Little Rock business community for supporting the Arkansas Scholars program. 


Certificates in recognition of new business / school partnerships were presented to schools and businesses listed below.  Mr. Berkley made a motion to accept the new partnerships, Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.


The new partnerships were: 


Accelerated Learning Center – represented by Carol Green, in partnership with the Baseline & I-30 branch of Twin City Bank – represented by Bob Burch, Tom Steves and Marilyn Harrington


Fulbright Elementary School – represented by Diane Smith, in partnership with the Highway 10 Branch of Twin City Bank – represented by Bob Burch, Laurice Taylor and Arnicee Stigars


Henderson Middle School – represented by Marvin Burton, in partnership with the Chenal & Bowman Road Branch of Twin City Bank – represented by Bob Burch, and Beth Lindsey


Mabelvale Elementary School – represented by Tab Phillips & Janice Moore, in partnership with the Baseline & I-30 Branch of Twin City Bank – represented by Bob Burch, Beth Lindsey and Elizabeth Holderfield


McDermott Elementary School – represented by Virginia Ashley & Melanie Greenwald, in partnership with the Rodney Parham Branch of Twin City Bank – represented by Bob Burch and Marsha Davis


Woodruff Elementary School – represented by Janice Wilson, Shirley Davis & Jovita Lacy, in partnership with the Riverdale Branch of Twin City Bank – represented by Bob Burch and Julie Wagner


Watson Elementary School – represented by Javanna Woo, in partnership with Waste Management of Arkansas – represented by Wayne Rathbun



*The Board agreed by consensus to reorder the agenda to allow the student representative from Parkview, Jason Casey, to read the list of donations to the District.  The Board approved the donations at this point in the agenda.  The list of donated items and the motion to approve will appear in these minutes at their normal agenda sequence.  The student left the meeting immediately following the reading of the donations to attend a senior function at Central.


C.            Remarks from Citizens


Ellen Peterson and her son, Chris Peterson each addressed the Board regarding complaints against the administration at Otter Creek Elementary School.  Ms. Peterson read a prepared statement, copies of which were provided for the Board.  An investigation into an incident involving Mr. Peterson’s stepdaughter is underway by the District’s safety & security office.  The Little Rock Police Department has also investigated. 


Bill Torrey addressed the board regarding a transportation issue for his student who attends Mabelvale Middle School.  This student is assigned to J.A. Fair High School next year; Mr. Torrey stated that he has requested a reassignment to Central High School.  He is concerned with the District’s policy of not providing transportation for transfer students.  He stated that other students in his neighborhood attend Central, and that there is sufficient room for his child to ride an existing bus. 


D.            Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association


Frank Martin thanked the Board members for their gracious acceptance of his decision to retire as the CTA’s Executive Director.  He also congratulated Dr. James and wished him well on his selection as the next Superintendent of Schools in Lexington, Kentucky.  He commended Dr. James for making his decision in light of a perception of “animosity” that would have arisen as a result of his receiving a large pay increase in a year when teachers and other workers were going to be given little or no raise.  He stated that it was “unbecoming of the Board to make such an offer,” and he reminded the Board that Superintendents come and go, but the stabilizing factor in this District is the teacher and support staff - - the work force who stay on through the adversities.  


            E.            Joshua Intervenors


No report.





A.            Remarks from Board Members


Ms. Strickland reported that she had been volunteering to read to students in the four-year-old program at Otter Creek Elementary School, and that she was having a great time doing it.  She stated that the students are fun and energetic. 


Mr. Kurrus thanked Frank Martin for his years of services to the LRSD and for always having the best interest of the students at heart.  He announced that Dunbar Middle School PTA had won recognition as the outstanding unit at the statewide PTA convention, and the Little Rock PTA Council had won honors as the best council in the state. 


Mr. Kurrus continued by commenting on the difficulty of the position of Superintendent of Schools.  He stated that a candidate for the position must be committed to work hard and must express a desire for longevity.  He recognized teachers and support staff as the key to a stable organization, but stated that the Board is committed to finding a leader who will stay here for a period of years. 


Dr. Mitchell also thanked Mr. Martin for his years of dedicated service, and wished him well in his retirement.   She thanked Dr. James for his service and for placing us on the path to continued success. 


In addition, Dr. Mitchell announced that two of our elementary schools are tied for championships in the Boys & Girls Club basketball league:  Mitchell and Rightsell Elementary Schools. 


Dr. Daugherty thanked Mr. Martin for “tolerating” our Board over the years.  He also spoke to the issue of losing Dr. James as our Superintendent.  He noted that it has been good to have the two years of stability that Dr. James provided, and that we must focus on the good experiences instead of dwelling on the bad.  He thanked Dr. James for his foresight and for his willingness to make hard choices, and he wished him well in his efforts to better his professional career. 


Mr. Rose commented that he wished to assure the CTA, the public and the business community that the Superintendent of Schools would continue to answer to the LRSD Board and not be beholden to the business community. 


B.                Report:   L. R. Public Education Foundation / Initial Distribution of Grants


John Riggs, President of the Foundation Board, wished a fond farewell to Frank Martin and thanked him for his help when Mr. Riggs served on the LRSD Board. 


He then introduced Lisa Black who serves as the Director of Programs and Development for the Foundation.  He thanked the Board and Dr. James for their support, for the initial vision to form the foundation, and for their faith in the volunteers who are serving on the Board.


Mr. Riggs explained that the intent of the PEF grants is to enrich and improve the educational experience of all children in the LRSD.  He presented a brief report on the first round of grants to Little Rock classroom teachers and announced that almost $100,000 had been granted to teachers for various special projects and classroom improvements.  A “prize patrol” traveling on three school buses, arrived at the various schools and made their entrance with balloons and large mock checks.  The teachers were surprised and the students were excited about the presentations. 


C.                Desegregation Update


Mr. Babbs was present but did not make a report. 


D.                Budget Update


Dr. Stewart was present but did not make a report.  Dr. James announced that a special legislative session was proposed to begin on May 5, and that no additional budget projections would be made until additional financial information is provided by the State.


E.                Construction Report: Proposed Bond Projects


Mr. Eaton reviewed the written report provided by Mr. Goodman and printed in the Board’s agenda.  He called special attention to the timelines and the projects listed to begin during the summer months.  The Wakefield rebuilding project is in the planning and bidding stage now, and it is hoped the school will open for the 2004-05 school year. 


Dr. Mitchell requested information on the process used to identify and complete on-going maintenance projects.  Specifically, she would like to know when work will begin on severe problems with roofs and bathrooms at Mitchell and Rightsell Elementary Schools.  She is concerned with health and safety issues at those 2 schools.


F.                 Internal Auditors Report


Mr. Becker’s report was printed in the Board’s agenda.  He was present and offered additional detail on anything in the report at the Board’s convenience. 


G.                Technology Update


Ms. Neal was present and reviewed the summary printed in the Board’s agenda.  In addition, she reported that the District’s copiers would be equipped with network cards, so that they can be used as printers, which will allow cheaper copying than using laser printers for large documents. 


H.                Report on Little Rock Youth


Dr. James provided a brief statistical summary report prepared by New Futures for Little Rock Youth.  The report compared the city’s youth populations from the 1990 census to the year 2000 census.  Reports were broken out by age, socio-economic status, residential factors, household makeup, and other factors.  The report was printed in the Board’s agenda.


The Board took a brief recess, and reconvened at 7:35 p.m.





A.                Minutes


Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on March 20, and from special meetings held on April 10 and April 17, 2003, were presented for review and approval.    Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


B.                Personnel Changes


Routine personnel changes were printed in the agenda.  Mr. Berkley moved to approve the changes as presented; Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.




A.                 Arkansas History Textbook Adoption


Marie McNeal presented the Arkansas History textbook adoption recommendations for the Board’s review and approval.  The selection committee agreed that An Arkansas History for Young People correlated well to Arkansas History Guidelines and the District’s Social Studies curriculum.  Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the textbook as submitted by Ms. McNeal.  Ms. Strickland seconded the motion, and it carried 6-0.


B.                 Career & Technical Education Textbook Adoption


Carol Green presented the recommendations from the Career and Technical Education Textbook Committee.  The list of 2003-2009 cycle textbooks was provided for the Board’s review and approval.  Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the recommendations, Mr. Berkley seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.



A.                Charter School Program Evaluation, 2001-02


Linda Watson and Dr. Larry McNeal presented the final evaluation on the Charter School Program.  Dr. McNeal was the evaluating consultant and Dr. Watson assisted in the completion of the report.   The Board was provided copies of the evaluation, and was asked to approve the report for submission to federal court.  Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the report as submitted.  Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.




A.                Donations of Property


The Board was asked to approve acceptance of recent donations to the District.   Jason Casey, student representative from Parkview Magnet High School, read the listed donations.  Dr. Mitchell made a motion to accept the donated items; Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.  The donations are listed in the following chart:








Geyer Springs Elementary School


$500.00 literacy grant to be used for student incentives to continue promotion of the Accelerated Reader Program


Wal-Mart / Baseline Store


M. L. King, Jr. Magnet Elementary


$1,000.00 cash to Julia Lloyd’s pre-K class to be used to purchase educational materials and classroom supplies


Genevieve Y. Jackson


Mabelvale Magnet Middle School


$1,500.00 grant to the Accelerated  Reader Program to be used to purchase books for students and to fund the AR incentive parties held each 9-week period.


Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Outreach Committee


McClellan Magnet High School


$1,000.00 cash for the baseball team


$250.00 cash to send a student to Arkansas Boys State


Sharon Prested


Cloverdale-Mabelvale American Legion


Little Rock School District



A pallet of library books valued at approximately $1,000.00


Five portraits of George Washington to be hung in the high schools, framed in cherry mahogany, valued at $250.00 each, for a total value of $1,250.00


Cynthia Brown, Sales Consultant for Scholastic


Dave Elswick, Radio Station KARN



B.            Financial Report


Mr. Milhollen reviewed the financial reports printed in the Board’s agenda.     Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the reports as presented.    Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.


B.                Request for Easement – Wilson Elementary School

The City of Little Rock requested a five foot right-of-way easement north of Wilson Elementary School to allow for eventual street improvements and construction of sidewalks.  The Board was asked to grant approval of this agreement.  Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the easement and Mr. Berkley seconded the motion.  It carried unanimously.


C.                Request for Easement – John Barrow Road and Henderson Middle School

The District was asked to grant a 15 foot-right-of-way easement along the east side of John Barrow Road adjacent to Henderson Middle School.  Entergy requested the easement to allow relocation of electrical lines in order to accommodate the City of Little Rock’s widening of Barrow Road.  The administration recommended the granting of the easement, assessing no negative impact on the operation of the school.  Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the request for easement.  Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.





A.            Varsity / Junior Varsity Athletic Program


Coach Johnny Johnson presented a recommendation to move to a varsity / junior varsity athletic program in the LRSD.  The change is supported by the varsity coaches and secondary principals, and would increase the student participation in athletic activities.  The AAA has approved of the change if approved by the LRSD Board.  Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the proposed change to varsity / junior varsity programming.  Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.



X.                 CLOSING REMARKS


A.     Superintendent’s Report


Dr. James thanked Debbie Milam and Marian Lacey for coordinating the recent Arkansas Scholars luncheon.  He announced that the Governor and representatives from business and education would be on the Dunbar Middle School campus to publicly announce the kick-off of the Arkansas Scholars program.


Dr. James congratulated the students and staff from Dunbar for having a great year.  He announced that the Dunbar Odyssey of the Mind team would advance to the world finalists’ competition in Iowa this summer.  He commended John Bacon and the administrators at Dunbar for a job well done.




Mr. Berkley moved to convene an executive session for the purpose of conducting an employee hearing.  Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. 


The hearing convened at 8:00 p.m.  Beverly Williams presented evidence on behalf of the District for the recommended termination of an employee.  Her supervisor was also present.


Ms. Williams briefly explained the differences between a recommendation for termination, and the alternative “non-renewal.”  Non-renewal would allow the teacher to remain in the classroom for the remainder of the school year, and termination would allow immediate removal from the classroom, and replacement with a qualified teacher. 


The employee was in her first year as a teacher at an elementary school.  She previously taught at the Charter School at Badgett and in the North Little Rock School District.  The administration’s recommendation for termination was based on unsatisfactory performance in the areas of planning and preparation, classroom environment, and instruction.  Her supervisor presented all due process documentation and copies of evaluation instruments dated from September 2002 through April 2003. 


In addition, her supervisor testified that she had offered the assistance of Judy Meier and Kris Huffman, mentor teachers and curriculum specialists for the employee to allow her to utilize their expertise to improve in her classroom instructional performance.  Ms. Meier and Ms. Huffman were available to testify, but were not called to do so due to the limited time set aside for the hearing.


Ms. Williams reviewed the numerous documents provided for the Board’s review and highlighted those that substantiated the administration’s reasons for recommending termination.  It was noted that her supervisor had never before recommended a teacher for termination in her 16 years as principal of the school.  The areas of greatest concern were noted as:  the employee’s failure to avail herself of instructional assistance; failure to keep proper and accurate student records; and inaccuracies from interim report to report cards. 


The employee began her testimony by reading a prepared statement.  She stated that she had been in education for twenty-six years, and that it was her belief that her civil and professional rights were violated by this action.  She provided a copy of a notebook containing copies of student work and grading documents for the Board’s review.  The employee further testified that her students were reading at the appropriate grade level and that they had read “over 800 books” during one nine-week period.


The employee enumerated several medical problems that led to excessive absenteeism, and stated that she had been under a lot of stress due to the recent illness of her daughter.  She told the Board that her husband was present as a witness to her health problems.  Mr. Rose stated, and the Board agreed by consensus, that they accepted her word and did not require testimony to the fact that she had suffered medical problems.


In addition, the employee stated that problems with her computer at school were the reason that she was unable to keep accurate grade reports.  She felt that she had been reprimanded unfairly, and that the PN agreement had been violated. 


In closing remarks, Ms. Williams noted the number of documents provided for the Board’s review, and stated that due process had been followed. 


The Superintendent asked the Board to uphold the recommendation for termination.  The Board adjourned for deliberations at 9:40 p.m.  They returned at 9:50 p.m. and reported that no action had been taken in closed session. 


Mr. Berkley made a motion to uphold the Superintendent’s recommendation for termination.  Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried 5-0-1, with
Dr. Mitchell abstaining from the vote. 


XII.             ADJOURNMENT


There was to be an executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel issues, but due to the late hour, there was no longer a quorum present. 
Mr. Kurrus moved to adjourn at 9:55 p.m.  Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.






APPROVED:  _    05-22-03       __                                Originals Signed by:  

                        Judy Magness, President

Larry Berkley, Secretary