The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 23, 2003, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. Vice President Tony Rose presided.
Morris L. Holmes, Interim Superintendent
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Prior to the call to order, Sue Strickland Board member from Zone 7 was sworn into office. Carolyn Staley, Circuit and County Clerk, administered the oath of office.
Mr. Rose called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Five members of the Board were present at roll call. Mr. Day arrived at 5:40 p.m., and Mr. Berkley was absent.
Lou Ethel Nauden, teacher ex officio representative from Romine Elementary School, and Brian Hall, student representative from Central High School were also present.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Rose welcomed the audience, and introduced Scott Morgan, principal of Western Hills Elementary School. Mr. Morgan greeted the Board members and announced that Western Hills had recently received grant funding from VH1 / Save the Music Foundation. He introduced Cindy Buehler, music teacher and director of the Western Hills Choir. The choir performed and engaged the Board and audience in a sing along.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Prior to the Board meeting, a reception was held for twenty-four students who were named 2004 National Merit Semifinalists and six students who were selected as 2004 National Achievement Semifinalists. Students who were still present for the Board meeting were invited to the podium to be recognized.
Dr. Holmes introduced Kristy Kidd, who was recently named a recipient of the Milken National Educator Award. The Milken Award is given to 100 outstanding teachers across the country, and nominations are made at the state level. Ms. Kidd will receive $25,000 and an all expenses paid trip to Washington DC for the National Education conference in May 2004.
Four LRSD students were selected to receive the National Council of Teachers of English Writing Award. This award goes to high school seniors who are judged to be the best student writers in the nation. This year, 600 awards were given in the United States; four of those were given to LRSD students. Certificates of recognition were given to the students, Miriam Shaikh, from Parkview Magnet High School; and Patricia Bailin, Elizabeth Harrell and Anna Musun-Miller, from Central High School. The students’ English teachers were also recognized, Alison Hargis from Central High School, and Susan Taylor from Parkview Magnet High School.
Aaron Campbell was recognized by the Superintendent for his selection as one of 400 semifinalists nationwide in the 2003 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge. Aaron’s project was chosen from among nearly 2,000 entries from across the country.
Grant Ballard, Central High School senior, was one of two Arkansas students to attend Boys Nation this summer in Washington D.C. In addition, Grant was recognized by Audubon Arkansas for his efforts at conservation, receiving the Blue Heron Award.
The Board ex officio representatives for the month of October were, Lou Ethel Nauden, teacher at Romine Elementary School, and Brian Hall, student at Central High School. They received certificates of appreciation in recognition of their service.
B. Partners in Education
Debbie Milam reminded the Board and the audience that the VIPS Reading Day is coming up in a few weeks, and made available cards for volunteer readers to sign up.
She then announced the new partnerships and introduced representatives from the schools and businesses, as listed below. Ms. Strickland made a motion to accept the new partnerships, Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Chicot Elementary School, represented by Doug Harrison & Jane Harkey, in partnership with UAMS College of Nursing, represented by Dr. Cheryl Schmidt
Dunbar Magnet Middle School,
represented by John Bacon, in
Fellowship Bible Church, represented by Chuck Morse
Fulbright Elementary School, represented by Rita White & Bernadette Turner, in partnership with Arvest Bank, represented by Cathy Harville
All LRSD Middle and High Schools, in partnership with Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids (PARK), represented by Curtis Key & Tamra Patterson
Woodruff Elementary School, represented by John Callahan & Janice Wilson, in partnership with Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts, represented by Ginny McMurray & Ann Chotard
C. Remarks from Citizens
Tyler Fuller, Central High School student, addressed the Board regarding a proposal he prepared and presented for consideration. He asked the Board and administration to consider allowing second semester final exam exemption for seniors who have taken Advanced Placement courses and AP exams. The proposal included other criteria, including a minimum grade point average for third and fourth nine-week grading periods, compliance with absence and tardy policies, and allowing students who do elect to take the semester exam to have it included in the final grade if it would raise that grade.
He stated that the incentives would result in more students taking AP courses and exams, and that the schools would benefit by receiving more state funding for students who score well on these AP exams.
Nancy Rousseau, Central High School principal, was asked to provide comments and endorsement to the proposal presented by Mr. Fuller. She stated that it also had the support of both the Gifted / Talented Department of the LRSD, the Central High School PTA, and the AP teachers at the schools.
Diane Curry addressed the Board regarding quality education for all the children in the LRSD. She touched briefly on several topics including the Public Education Foundation support for value-added assessment, the new student assignment plan, programming in area schools similar to successful in magnet school programs, and more dance and fine arts opportunities for students. Ms. Curry stated that her daughter attends Hall High School, and she would like for more analysis and duplication of successful programs in our schools.
Katherine Knight expressed disappointment that the PTAS proposal was not on the agenda for the Board’s consideration. She asked for time to allow the parties involved to compromise on the PTAS evaluation and attendance component.
E. Joshua Intervenors
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Ms. Strickland thanked the voters from Zone 7 for sending her back to office for three more years. She thanked the CTA for their support, Fifty for the Future for their contributions, and the Arkansas Times for their endorsement of her candidacy. She also expressed appreciation to her fellow Board members for their support and encouragement.
Dr. Daugherty expressed support and appreciation for the presentation by Central student Tyler Fuller earlier in this meeting. He stated that the incentives offered through the proposal would encourage students academically and would motivate them to learn more and study harder.
Mr. Kurrus reported that he had been attending athletic events across the District and gave credit to Parkview for their competitive spirit and hard work, and to Central and J. A. Fair for their winning season.
Regarding PTAS, Mr. Kurrus stated that the Board was committed to working with the administration to come up with a workable compromise that will satisfy everyone involved. The main objective must be to articulate the importance of teachers being in the classroom for their students.
Continuing, Mr. Kurrus reminded the Board that the Arkansas Department of Education would be meeting on November 10 to consider the charter school application of the LISA Academy. He stated that the LISA Academy proposal was geared to “skim the cream” from Little Rock area schools, and that high achieving students would most likely come from our schools. He will be speaking to the state education department committee at the hearing and asked for supporters to attend.
No report at this time. Additional information will be gathered through the public forums prior to the Board receiving information.
Dr. Stewart was present, but no new information was available for presentation to the Board.
Mr. Goodman reviewed the summary report printed in the Board’s agenda. He noted that the Parkview construction project had been bid and awarded. Classroom additions at Brady Elementary School have begun, and Hall High School projects are complete.
Sandy Becker was present and his report was part of the Board’s agenda.
John Ruffins presented the Technology update and reviewed the summary report printed in the Board’s agenda. He highlighted the on-line registration for professional development that is now available to teachers and noted that on-line classes will begin December 1, through Enhancing Education Through Technology Grant funding.
SUSPENSION OF THE RULES
Mr. Kurrus made a motion to suspend the rules to consider an item not previously placed on the agenda. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Daugherty asked for a discussion on Section 4 G of the PTAS instrument, the attendance section. He asked the administration to consider another attempt at revising the PTAS through a compromise agreement with the CTA.
Mr. Rose agreed that there was room for negotiation and Dr. Mitchell noted that an evaluation tool would be developed for all employees using similar professional standards as the PTAS for teachers.
Ms. Strickland suggested that the administration review the attendance reports and develop a way to review absenteeism by building level reporting. If the causes or “root” of the absenteeism problem is addressed and confronted, the evaluation instrument may become more flexible.
Mr. Kurrus noted that a lot of things factor into an objective evaluation system and that we should be looking for more ways to reward teachers with good attendance and provide incentives for those teachers who are in their classrooms. He called for cooperation and collaboration on this and all other issues that come between the administration and the union.
Ms. Nauden, teacher ex officio, asked that the parties move forward and not let the issue continue to drag on without resolution.
Dr. Mitchell asked Sadie Mitchell and members of the evaluation team to report. Ms. Mitchell stated that the PTAS was developed as a tool to help teachers improve instruction in the classroom. She reminded the Board that administrators had met with CTA representatives before school started this year to work out a compromise on the attendance section of the evaluation tool. The Board did not approve the compromise and directed administration to go back to the original document. She reported that the union had filed a grievance, and Chris Heller would be meeting with Grainger Ledbetter and District administrators to continue dialogue and work through some of the issues that are still unresolved. A compromise agreement will be presented to the Board for review.
Katherine Knight addressed the Board and stated that the attendance component of the PTAS is a contractual issue that should be resolved by following the PN agreement. The union has agreed not to press the grievance issue until differences can be discussed and worked through.
The Board took a brief recess and returned at 7:22 p.m.
A. Election of Officers
Mr. Rose opened the floor for nominations for the position of secretary of the Board. Mr. Kurrus nominated Micheal Daugherty. Ms. Strickland moved that the nominations cease, and Mr. Day seconded. Dr. Daugherty was elected unanimously to the position of Secretary.
For the position of Vice President, Dr. Daugherty nominated Larry Berkley. Mr. Kurrus moved that the nominations cease, and Ms. Strickland seconded. Mr. Berkley was elected unanimously to the position of Vice President.
For the position of President, Ms. Strickland nominated Tony Rose. Mr. Kurrus moved that the nominations cease, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion. Mr. Rose was elected unanimously to the position of President.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the
Board of Directors held on
September 24, and from a special meeting held on October 9, 2003, were presented for review and approval. Dr. Daugherty made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
C. Resolution Supporting City of Little Rock Bond Election
A resolution in support of the November 4, 2003 city-wide bond election was presented for the Board’s review and adoption. A copy of that resolution will be attached to these minutes. Dr. Daugherty moved to approve the resolution as presented. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
D. Personnel Changes
The routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Holmes recommended Board approval. Mr. Kurrus made the motion to approve, Dr. Daugherty seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
E. Annual Report, 2002-03
The District is required, by Arkansas Department of Education Rules Governing Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools, to publish an annual report prior to November 15 of each school year. The report is to be published in the newspaper, and distributed to the public in general. Its’ intent is to raise public awareness of the District’s activities and performance, as well as to comply with the ADE directives.
A summary of the report was provided for the Board’s review and approval, including academic performance summaries, student discipline, program and grant information and achievement / honors. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the report as submitted. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
A. Emergency Response Crisis Management Grant
The District was selected to receive funding under the Emergency Response Plans for School Safety Initiative Program from the U. S. Department of Education. Margo Bushmiaer, coordinator of Health Services for the District, and Bobby Jones, Director of Safety and Security, worked with several partners to develop the grant application. Those partners are: City of Little Rock Fire and Police Department, MEMS, Arkansas Department of Health, and Centers for Youth and Families.
The $250,000 will be used to develop an updated comprehensive crisis management plan that will address safety concerns of students and staff. The Board was asked to approve the grant and Board members were invited to attend the kick-off meeting on Wednesday, November 12, 2003.
Ms. Strickland made a motion to approve the grant submission. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
B. First Reading: Revisions to Policy ACBB, JC, JCA
Board policies ACBB – Equitable Student Assignment, JC – School Attendance Zones, and JCA – Student Assignment / School Choice were placed on the agenda for first reading approval. Dr. Holmes asked the Board to table action on this item until further community forums are held and additional input is received. The Board agreed by consensus to table action and will expect first reading to be on the agenda for action at a special session at the agenda meeting on November 6, 2003.
VII. SCHOOL SERVICES
A. Revisions to the District’s Drug Testing Program
Beverly Williams, Director of Human Resources, presented the recommended revisions to the District’s drug testing procedures. The guidelines were presented to the Board and printed in the agenda for review. All employees of the District are covered by these procedures, except those who work in the transportation department. For those employees, the District complies with Department of Transportation requirements. Dr. Daugherty moved to approve the recommended revisions to the procedures. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
VIII. BUSINESS SERVICES
Act 671 of 2003, amended Arkansas Code 6-13-618, requires signatures of the Superintendent and one Board member, president or vice president, on all checks issued by the District. Policy DGA formalizes compliance with this state legislation. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve, Mr. Day seconded. The motion carried 6-0.
The Board was provided with a packet of information regarding the issuance of refunded bonds in the amount of $6,385,000. Approval will reduce the District’s debt by $356,000 over the life of the bonds. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the resolution as submitted. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
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. Student ex officio, Brian Hall, read the donations listed. Ms. Strickland made a motion to accept the donated items. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Central High School
$400 cash to the Central High School Debate Team
$1,000 cash to the Central High School FBLA/Business Department
Dr. Randal Hundley
Mr. Robert Fain, President, RCF Corp.
Forest Heights Middle School
$2,500 cash to be applied toward the purchase of a school marquee’
Forest Heights PTA
Forest Park Elementary School
Frances Jane Cranford
Charles & Nancy Vines
Jefferson Elementary School
Decorative butterflies valued at $110 for Accelerated Reader Program theme
Lyda & Tom Samuels, Et Cetera
School supplies, valued at $150 to be distributed to students
$100 cash to purchase food items for field trip
School supplies, valued at $500 to be distributed to students
Probation and Parole Officers Association
Jimmy Morris, Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, Inc.
St. Paul United Methodist Church
Pulaski Heights Elementary School
Services of an art teacher, art supplies and materials, valued at $20,601 for the 2003-04 school year
Pulaski Heights PTA
Rightsell Elementary School
School supplies, valued at $500 to be distributed to students
United Parcel Service (UPS)
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. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the reports as submitted, and Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion. It carried 6-0.
IX. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. Holmes reported on his participation in the White Ribbon Rally at the Arkansas State Capitol. The rally is an annual event to call attention to the prevention of Youth Gun Violence. The names of Arkansas young people who were killed over the past three years by use of a handgun were called. The District’s participation in the rally calls attention to conflict resolution and mediation programs coordinated through the Pupil Services Department. Reginald Merritt is the District’s coordinator.
In addition, Dr. Holmes reported that Dr. Stewart is attending the state legislative meetings at the capitol from now until the calling of the special legislative session. He has assumed this as a responsibility to let our legislators know that we are watching out for our best interests, as well as the interest of school districts and educational programs across the state.
Over the past two days, staff members from all District high schools and several middle schools have attended SREB (Southern Region Education Board) training sessions. The meetings provide training for our staff in aligning the curriculum to best meet the needs of the students at the individual school level. Dr. Holmes thanked Linda Austin for coordinating the sessions, and he remarked that the SREB staff provides some of the best training in the country. The participating school teams are the school leaders and they will be prepared to go back into their buildings to train the teachers to be leaders in teaching and learning.
There being no further business, Dr. Daugherty
moved to adjourn at 8:05 p.m.
Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: _ 11-20-03 __ Originals Signed by:
Tony Rose, President
R. Micheal Daugherty, Secretary