The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, August 10, 2017, at 6:00 pm in the Central Office Board Room. David Vidrine, Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, L. D. Spears, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor, Martha Jackson, Timothy Hudson, Don Gray, and Student Representative Tabitha Deer were present. Kathy Bruner was absent.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by P. J. Crowe.
David Vidrine asked all board members to look over the agenda, and asked whether there was any discussion on the agenda. Hearing none, upon motion of Wesley Taylor, seconded by Darrin Manuel, board members voted to adopt the agenda as presented.
Next, board members considered adopting the minutes of the July 13, 2017, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. Hearing no discussion, David Vidrine stated that he would accept a motion to adopt the minutes of the July 13, 2017, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. Upon motion of Ray Bowman, seconded by Timothy Hudson, board members voted in favor of adopting the minutes of the July 13, 2017, regular meeting, as published in the official journal, by a margin of 6-0, with Cassie Henry, Martha Jackson, and Wesley Taylor stating that they wished to abstain.
Superintendent Timothy Cooley began the Superintendent’s Report by advising board members that Tammy Crain had been selected to fill the Instructional Supervisor position, with effective dates of August 1, 2017, through July 31, 2019. Mr. Cooley noted that she had already assumed responsibility for implementation of the new science curriculum. Board members learned that Joey Bartz had been chosen to fill the South Beauregard High School Principal opening, left by Ms. Crain’s transfer, with effective dates of August 1, 2017, through July 31, 2019. In addition, Mr. Cooley announced that Megan Martin would fill the position of Assistant Principal, with the effective dates of August 10, 2017, through August 9, 2019. Mr. Cooley remarked that–as mentioned during the budget meeting–he would still like to consider naming a Director of Curriculum, which he emphasized would not be a new position, but would increase the duties of a current staff person.
Next, Mr. Cooley directed board members’ attention to a hand-out that was in their folders, concerning the LEAP360 assessment. Louisiana has developed a comprehensive assessment system which will allow teachers to diagnose weaknesses in skill comprehension and provide them with a way to address these weaknesses with targeted instruction, according to Mr. Cooley. Board members learned that plans are being made for implementation in a way that would be best for teachers.
Board members learned that recently released ACT scores indicated that Beauregard Parish scores had fallen 3/10 of a point. Mr. Cooley explained the difficulty in interpreting the results, noting that a decrease of only two students who scored 18 or above on the ACT had resulted in a full half-point drop for one school. This was in spite of the fact that–at the same school–among those students who scored 21 or above, the numbers increased from 74 last year to 76, this time increasing by two students.
Mr. Cooley advised board members that the four-day schools had already begun, and that the five-day students would begin on August 15. In addition, board members were informed that on Friday, August 11, all Beauregard Parish school employees would attend an inservice at DeRidder High School. The theme for “The Big Event” will be “Together we give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly.” Mr. John Perricone will be the guest speaker, after which, breakout sessions will take place. Mr. Cooley thanked everyone who was involved in planning this event, noting that it had been close to 20 years since a parish-wide opening day event had been conducted.
Mr. Cooley referred to a hand-out in board members’ folders, describing the last Trailblazer workshop to be sponsored by LSBA. Board members were encouraged to contact Pam Archer, for help making reservations to attend, if they still needed hours to complete the mandatory six-hours of training for 2017.
The next agenda item was to consider adoption of the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire for audit purposes. Lesia Casanovas addressed board members, informing them that having selected an auditor for FYE 2017, the first order of business was to adopt the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire. Ms. Casanovas explained that the purpose of this document was to outline the actions expected of the auditor and provide him with information on the executive team, the name and address of all elected and/or appointed board members, the time period covered by the audit, and applicable laws and policies. Ms. Casanovas requested that board members review their specific information and let her know of any discrepancies, noting that all of the information was the same as last year. Upon motion of Ray Bowman, seconded by Don Gray, board members approved adoption of the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire for audit purposes.
Following action on the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire, James Herrington stated that he would like for the board to consider one change in the Plan for Personnel Evaluation. Board members were reminded that during the special budget meeting on May 23, a motion was approved to incorporate a provision in the Plan for Personnel Evaluation, allowing teachers who receive a highly effective evaluation score in Beauregard Parish for three consecutive years, to be observed only once in the following year. Mr. Herrington requested that board members approve making this part of the Plan for Personnel Evaluation. Upon motion of Darrin Manuel, seconded by Cassie Henry, board members approved the suggested change in the Plan for Personnel Evaluation.
The next agenda item asked board members to consider adding a professionalism component to the parish teacher evaluation plan. James Herrington advised board members that the job description for teachers already included criteria for professionalism, but that professionalism was not included in the state rubric for teacher evaluation. According to Mr. Herrington, administrators have repeatedly asked for a way to assess teachers on professionalism. If approved, the professionalism component would be added as a pilot program for a year, and would consist of these five areas:
1.) Complies with district policies and school rules and procedures.
2.) Dresses professionally according to district policy.
3.) Complies with teacher attendance policies.
4.) Maintains appropriate student records and communicates with families.
5.) Participates in the professional community to help serve students and the teaching profession.
Mr. Herrington stated that adding this component would serve to open a dialogue, and would provide a way to recognize those who do an outstanding job, as well as encourage improvement in some who may need it. Mr. Herrington advised board members that scoring rubrics would be developed in the professionalism areas to parallel the ratings system being used in the Compass evaluation: Highly Effective, Effective Proficient, Effective Emerging, and Needs Improvement. Mr. Herrington emphasized that it would be a pilot program for this year, with the eventual goal to make it part of the evaluation, noting that administrators were all in agreement in their support of adding a professionalism component. Mr. Herrington answered questions from board members, some of whom expressed concern that problems with punctuality and attendance would not be addressed in a timely manner. Other concerns were expressed that, using the fifth area as grounds for an unfavorable score, teachers would be penalized for not helping with extra-curricular activities, such as ball games and fundraisers. After discussion, Cassie Henry offered a motion to approve adding a professionalism component as a pilot for one year, using only items one through four (omitting the item concerning the professional community.) The motion was seconded by L. D. Spears. When a voice vote on the motion proved inconclusive, Mr. Vidrine requested a roll call vote. The motion was defeated in a 4-5 vote with Ray Bowman, L. D. Spears, Cassie Henry, and Don Gray voting in favor of the motion and Darrin Manuel, David Vidrine, Wesley Taylor, Martha Jackson, and Timothy Hudson voting against it. Darrin Manuel offered a motion to adopt the plan as presented–as a pilot program with all five areas included–which was seconded by Wesley Taylor. The second motion was not put to a vote, as Mr. Vidrine felt that it would be advisable to ask for a legal opinion to determine whether this would constitute voting on the same item twice in a calendar year, and be a violation of board policy.
Board members were asked to consider a single recommendation from the Finance Committee, a motion to award bid for diesel fuel to Lott Oil Company for $0.07/gallon mark-up over rack price, with the option to renew for two additional years for a three-year award total. Hearing no additional discussion, Mr. Vidrine called for a vote on the motion, which was approved unanimously.
The recommendation from the Building and Grounds Committee was a motion to proceed with requesting a schematic design for strength/endurance (weight) training room, not to exceed 4000 sq. ft., and to include restrooms for inside and outside access. Don Gray stated that after talking with Mr. Spears and Mr. Ramsey, he would like to offer a substitute motion to move the building from the currently proposed site back to the east side of the field house, to ask for a schematic drawing not to exceed 3500 sq. ft., to have handicapped restrooms accessible only from the inside. Ray Bowman seconded the motion, after which there was some discussion about whether this would be in conflict with board policy regarding the number of times an item could be brought up for a vote in a calendar year. It was pointed out that the project itself had never been rejected, but adding a specific dollar amount as an addendum to the architect’s Request for Proposals was later rejected. Following this discussion, Mr. Vidrine polled board members to determine whether or not they wished to proceed with the substitute motion, after which board members voted in favor of allowing a substitute motion. Upon voting on the substitute motion, board members approved moving the building from the currently proposed site back to the east side of the field house, asking for a schematic drawing not to exceed 3500 sq. ft., and to include handicapped restrooms accessible only from the inside, by a margin of 8-1 (Vidrine.)
The final agenda item was to consider approval of the Assistant Superintendent’s contract. Upon motion of Mr. Bowman, seconded by Don Gray, board members voted to approve the Assistant Superintendent’s contract.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.