The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 26, 2004, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Tony Rose presided.
Morris L. Holmes, Interim Superintendent
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Mr. Rose called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. Five members of the Board were present at roll call; Mr. Kurrus arrived at 5:40 p.m., and Mr. Day was absent. In addition, student representative Derrick Rainey from Parkview Magnet High School, and teacher representative Carolyn Clements, from Washington Elementary School, were also present.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Rose welcomed the audience and asked Dr. Holmes to proceed with the presentation of recognitions and citations.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
The Superintendent presented certificates of appreciation to the ex officio representatives to the Board for the month of February; Carolyn Clements, teacher from Washington Magnet Elementary School, and Derrick Rainey, student from Parkview Magnet High School.
B. Partners In Education
Debbie Milam introduced Kaye Rainey, who announced the upcoming Parent Institute and invited Board members to participate in the day-long parent involvement activities. The Institute will be held at Parkview Magnet High School on Saturday, March 6, 2004, starting at 9:00 a.m.
Ms. Milam presented a new business and school partnership for the Board’s adoption:
City Bank –
no representative in attendance;
certificate was previously presented, in partnership with
Bale Elementary School – represented by Cathoria Johnson
Mr. Berkley moved to approve the formation of the partnership; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
C. Public Education Foundation of Little Rock
John A. Riggs, President of the Public Education Foundation of Little Rock, addressed the Board in his annual report of the operations of the Foundation. As part of the report, the goals of the Foundation were listed as:
1. To implement “Value Added”
2. To improve and enhance teacher quality; and
3. To provide innovative idea grants to LRSD teachers.
During the 2003 school year, $100,000 was provided to LRSD teachers who applied for grants to enhance quality classroom instruction and to implement strategies to increase student performance. These funds were presented in a “sweepstakes” with teachers being caught totally by surprise on the day when the prize money was distributed.
A copy of the financial balance sheet was presented for the Board’s review, indicating total assets in the amount of $263.591.33.
D. Remarks from Citizens
Mim Hundley addressed the Board regarding the elimination of some Pre-AP classes, and concerns regarding students who need the Pre AP opportunity to become ready for future AP classes. She noted specifically students who aren’t mature enough to succeed in an AP class, but who benefit from the more rigorous Pre-AP classes, over the courses labeled “regular.” Ms. Hundley noted that Pre-AP world history, U.S. History, and English IV were of particular concern to her and she asked the Board to reconsider their decision to allow the curriculum revisions that eliminated these courses.
Otis Kirkland discussed recent decisions about renovations and repairs that are needed at Mitchell Academy. He expressed disappointment in the lack of maintenance that has been provided at Mitchell over the years, and wondered why it took so long for the District’s administration to realize that there were health and safety hazards present in the building. He also expressed his opinion that the student assignment plans are designed to have a negative effect on the enrollment at Mitchell and that Mitchell would ultimately be closed because of the efforts to reduce the enrollment. He asked the Board to keep Mitchell open and to show compassion and concern for the welfare of the students and families in the Mitchell neighborhood.
James Floyd echoed some of the same comments made by Mr. Kirkland and noted that Mitchell is an institutional anchor in the community. He asked the Board to consider the impact that will be made on the community once the Clinton Library and the Heifer Project headquarters are completed. He noted the importance of the Wright Avenue corridor, and stated that many young families are now taking advantage of the opportunity to buy and renovate some of the older homes in the Wright Avenue and Mitchell School communities.
Terrance Bolden advised the board that he lived on Battery Street, about four blocks from Mitchell Academy. He feels that the Board has backed away from promises made during the millage election and stated that there were trust issues that should be considered. He feels that schools in his area have been neglected over the years, and that funds for routine maintenance are not fairly and equitably distributed across the schools in the LRSD. He stated that “promises have been made, and promises must be kept.”
Dr. George Blevins is the Vice-President of the Wright Avenue Neighborhood Association. He stated that Dr. Les Carnine, former superintendent of schools, had encouraged members of the Wright Avenue area to continue to work to keep Mitchell open. He stated that he felt then that “forces were at work” to force the closure of Mitchell.
Dr. Blevins, like the previous speakers, stated that the matter of “public trust” is the issue of most concern, and he asked the Board to fulfill the promises made to the community. He asked the Board to make the commitment; to allocate the funds to repair the school, and to provide for proper upkeep and maintenance into the future.
Grainger Ledbetter, Executive Director of the L. R. Classroom Teachers Association, was present at the meeting. He greeted the Board, and offered assistance to the administration in the “spirit of working together.” In light of the uncertainties surrounding funding through NCLB legislation and other possible revenue sources, he asked the Board to consider holding open forums across the District for teachers to provide input on new approaches to meeting the needs of the students. He asked that the administration gain the insight of those who spend their days in the classroom when deciding which new programs and remedial strategies are selected. He stated that the teachers want to be able to balance the use of their skills with the requirements of the new programs so that they can individualize the instructional approach in their classrooms.
In addition, Mr. Ledbetter stated that career teachers were interested in developing partnerships with new or inexperienced teachers to implement professional development through experience and demonstration of effective classroom management skills. He reported an “amazing number” of complaints received during his first four months on the job regarding the lack of assistance from building administration when disciplinary actions are required. He stated that teachers are reporting kids “out of control” and that more emphasis seems to be placed on the due process rights of the students instead of support for the teachers who are being challenged to provide an educational environment that is conducive to learning.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Dr. Mitchell thanked Mr. Ledbetter for his comments and stated that she was very pleased that the CTA was interested in developing a partnership to aid in the training of new teachers. She stated interest in having the Superintendent and administration begin immediately to work with the CTA leadership to develop the necessary programs.
Dr. Mitchell also noted the “embarrassingly low” number of parents who participate in the District’s parent involvement workshops. She encouraged parents to become more involved in the programs that are developed and designed to assist them in their child’s educational experiences.
Ms. Strickland also thanked Mr. Ledbetter for his comments. She reported that she had attended the open house at Metropolitan Career and Technical Center and was pleased with the manicure she received from one of the cosmetology students. She thanked Mr. Peterson for inviting her to observe at Metro.
Mr. Kurrus thanked Mr. Ledbetter for his comments and stated the importance of realizing that “we are all in this together.”
Mr. Rose mentioned a radio broadcast that aired earlier in the week regarding the percentage of children in Arkansas who suffer from hunger. The free and reduced lunch programs through the federal government impact the lives of Arkansas’ public school children. He asked the audience to think about hunger issues, and to support the Arkansas Food Bank, the Rice Depot, and other programs which provide food for those who do not have as much as they need every day.
Dr. Daugherty discussed his concerns regarding the stress of day to day living that affect the well being of teachers and other District employees. He encouraged the administration to look at ways to implement stress reduction strategies for employees and to investigate ways to encourage employees to take advantage of programs that are offered.
Mr. Babbs reported that the Student Registration Office was on target for the mailing of approximately 25,000 letters notifying students and parents of their school assignments and choice options. They will be mailed on March 5. He noted that school choice applications are being accepted and processed and that letters notifying them of their status will be sent as soon as the availability of seats is known. He noted that he is on standby, waiting for the Board to determine the make-up of the committee that will work to develop student assignment plans for the 2005-06 school year and beyond.
Dr. Stewart reminded the Board of his discussion at the February agenda meeting, whereby he noted an error in the calculation of state funding in the amount of $7.7 million. As he surmised at the time of the agenda meeting, that money should have been calculated into the projections for the North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School Districts, and the error has now been corrected.
He reported that preliminary estimates, based on last year’s enrollment levels would provide approximately $25 million, but reminded the Board that the bottom line changes each time one of the factors used to calculate state aid is revised or adjusted. He noted that the recent legislature had provided formulas that were intended to provide more resources to the schools and districts with lower socio-economic factors which should result in the LRSD receiving additional funding for schools with 90% or greater free/reduced lunch status.
Mr. Goodman reported that he had been visiting schools where construction and renovation projects were recently completed to assess some of the buildings where there are problems. He said that he was working with the contractors building-by-building to get the problems corrected. He reported that Dr. Holmes had visited the Mann building, and that he was pleased with the overall project, but noted that there were still a few areas where corrections and adjustments needed to be made.
Mr. Becker was present and noted that his report was printed in the agenda.
No additional information was provided.
Ms. Neal was asked by the Board to present a brief technology demonstration. She invited Barbara Kennedy and Teresa Knapp from Dodd Elementary School to bring some of their students and show the Board how technology has been incorporated and integrated into the daily classroom curriculum. Students Autumn Brown and Tara Gordon displayed some of the projects completed by the students and presented their perspective of learning through computers.
The Board took a brief recess at 7:05 p.m. and returned at 7:15 p.m.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on January 22, 2004, and from a special meeting held on February 12, 2004, were presented for review and approval. There were no corrections noted and the minutes were approved.
B. Extension of PN Agreement
On January 27, 2004, the Classroom Teachers Association and the LRSD reached an agreement to extend the current contracts for all classifications of employees through March 7, 2004, so that the negotiations process can continue. Mr. Ledbetter signed for the union, and Beverly Williams, Human Resources Director, signed for the District. The Board was asked to endorse the agreement. Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the agreement; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
C. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Holmes recommended approval. Mr. Berkley made the motion to approve personnel items as presented and Ms. Strickland seconded the motion. Dr. Mitchell had a question regarding one of the individuals listed as a certified new-hire and offered an amended motion to approve all of the items listed in the recommendation with the exception of certified appointments. Dr. Daugherty seconded the amended motion and it carried unanimously. The original motion as amended, was approved unanimously. The certified employee recommendations will be reviewed and presented for approval at the next meeting.
Naming of Facilities: Mann Magnet Middle School
The faculty, staff, parents and students of Mann Magnet middle School submitted a request to name the school auditorium in honor of Mr. James L. Matthis. Mr. Matthis was a thirty-six year employee of the LRSD, beginning his career as a vocational coordinator at Mann High School. At the time of his retirement, he was an assistant principal at Mann Magnet Middle School.
The recommendation to name the auditorium in Mr. Matthis’ honor was prepared according to Board policy FF: Naming of Facilities and was presented to the Board by Mr. Jim Fullerton, Mann principal. Mrs. Estelle Matthis was present and expressed her appreciation to the Board for acting in such a timely and considerate manner. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the recommendation as presented by the faculty, staff and students of Mann Magnet Middle School. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Resolution to 4G: Attendance Rubric
Sadie Mitchell and Lloyd Sain presented a proposal to resolve the issue of Domain 4, Item 4G: Attendance and Punctuality of the new Professional Teachers’ Appraisal System. The administration and the Classroom Teachers’ Association have reviewed the recommendations and provided the Board with a compromise developed through on-going discussions. After a brief discussion, it was noted that no action, or a “no” vote on the compromise agreement would be an endorsement of the rubric as the Board previously approved it in the summer of 2003.
Ms. Strickland moved to approve the recommended revisions to the PTAS attendance and punctuality rubric, and Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion. Mr. Rose requested a roll call vote: Dr. Daugherty, Dr. Mitchell and Ms. Strickland voted to approve the motion; Mr. Rose, Mr. Berkley, and Mr. Kurrus voted no. The vote was a tie, and the motion failed.
C. School Improvement Report: An Overview of the Schools and School Improvement Progress, Grants, and Initiatives
Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Sain provided a written summary report at the request of the Board. Ms. Mitchell reviewed the report briefly, and offered to respond to any questions the Board might have regarding the report or the status of schools on school improvement.
VII. BUSINESS SERVICES
A. Information: Land Sale – Forest Heights Middle School
Mangan Properties made an offer to purchase land immediately west of Forest Heights Middle School for the sum of $200,000. This property had been declared as surplus in March of 1983, and was appraised in the amount of $188,000 in December of 2003.
Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the sale of surplus property; Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
B. Lease Agreement: Miles Memorial Church
The Miles Memorial CME Church requested use of the parking lot at the Procurement Office at 1800 East Sixth Street. Their use of the lot would be during LRSD non-work hours, and would allow sufficient parking for the church on Sunday and after hours while their parking lot is under construction. The lease is for one-year, at one dollar per month, March 2004 through February 2005. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the lease agreement, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
C. Resolution: Refinance / Consolidation of Outstanding Debt
Mr. Paradis presented a request for the Board to authorize the refinance and consolidation of the District’s outstanding lease-purchase and post-dated warrant debt. Approval of the resolution would result in a saving of approximately $52,000. Mr. Berkley moved to approve the resolution; Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
D. Construction Budget Revision / Mitchell and Rightsell Elementary Schools
Dr. Holmes recommended the Board’s approval of a request to increase the budgeted amounts for construction and renovation at Mitchell and Rightsell Elementary Schools. Based on estimates of the needed repairs, an additional $1.54 million is needed for Mitchell, and $1.78 million is needed for Rightsell. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the Superintendent’s request, and Mr. Berkley seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
E. 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. Derrick Rainey, student ex-officio representative, read the items listed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to accept the donated items; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Bale Elementary School
VCR / DVD player and nine Magna Doodle Deluxe Boards to the special education self-contained classroom
Brian Minchew, parent of Bale Student
Central high School
$300.00 Cash to the women’s basketball team
$500.00 Cash to the women’s basketball team
Rush Harding, III
J. A. Fair Magnet High School
Four sections of 6’ concrete pipe, valued at $200.00 for outdoor classroom
Delivery Services, valued at $150.00 for delivery of pipe for use in outdoor classroom
200 tons of rock fines, valued at $500.00 for outdoor classroom
Woody Rigdon of Hanson Pipe & Products, Inc.
Gary Gaul / DUIT Construction Company
Haskell Dickinson / Granite Mountain Quarries
M. L. King Magnet Elementary School
Hewlett-Packard copier, valued at $130 for Health Services Dept.
$1,500 cash for student incentives and classroom materials for Pre-K and Kindergarten curriculum
M. L. King PTA
Mr. & Mrs. Duane Jackson and Ms. Genevieve Jackson
Metropolitan Career and Tech Center
Paints, primers, sealers, and other materials to the Paint & Body Shop valued at $21,675.30
Perry Gravitt / Hackman Paint & Supply Company
Pulaski Heights Middle School
$10,000 cash: $4,000 for the library, $1,000 for middle level English and science books, foreign language materials and special education department. $500.00 each for Math Counts and Quiz Bowl
Winthrop & Lisenne Rockefeller
Woodruff Elementary School
School supplies and uniforms valued at $350.00
Dassault Falcon Jet Corp.
LRSD Athletic Department
124 metal gym lockers valued at $11,560.00, installed at Forest Heights Middle School, and 14 large mirrors, valued at $3,500 to be placed in the weight room at Quigley Stadium
Mahlon Martin Professional Library
Educational books valued at $3,500.00
The monthly financial summary reports were provided to the Board as part of the printed agenda. Mr. Milhollen was present to review the reports and respond to questions.
VIII. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. Holmes announced the annual Clementine Mathis Rouse scholarship banquet, and notified the Board that a table would be provided for Board members who would like to attend. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
The Board took a brief recess prior to convening for an employee hearing. They returned at 9:25 p.m.
An employee requested a Board hearing as a result of a salary grievance. He requested that the hearing be open to the public, and was represented by Attorney Robert Scull. Attorney Khyaam Eddings represented the District.
The employee had previously requested a review of the duties and responsibilities of his position; it was his belief that he should be paid comparable to a high school principal in his role. Mrs. Williams, Director of Human Resources, had reviewed the employee’s background, his salary history, and his position and had denied the request for a salary adjustment. At the Superintendent’s request, Sandy Becker audited the employee’s salary history and Mr. Becker was present at the hearing to review those findings with the Board. Ms. Williams reviewed personnel file documents, and Carol Green responded to questions regarding the duties and responsibilities of the employee.
The Board recessed at 10:45 and returned at 11:00 p.m. Ms. Strickland made a motion to uphold the administration’s recommendation to deny the employee’s request for a salary adjustment. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion, and it carried 5-0-1, with Dr. Mitchell abstaining from the vote.
There being no further business before the Board, Mr. Berkley moved to adjourn at 11:00 p.m. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: _ 03-25-04 __ Originals Signed by:
Tony Rose, President
R. Micheal Daugherty, Secretary