PROCEEDINGS OF THE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD OF THE PARISH OF BEAUREGARD, STATE OF LOUISIANA, TAKEN AT A SPECIAL MEETING HELD THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2019.


           The Parish School Board of Beauregard Parish met in Special Session on Thursday, February 7, 2019, beginning at 1:30 o'clock (1:30) pm, in the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office, at 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, LA, pursuant to the following written notice given to each and every member thereof and duly posted in the manner required by law:


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a SPECIAL MEETING of the Beauregard Parish School Board of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, has been ordered and called and will be held on Thursday, February 7, 2019, beginning at 1:30 o'clock (1:30) pm, in the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office Board Room, at 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, LA.

 

Prayer/Pledge


            *1.      To discuss items related to bond issue. 


Board members present were President David Vidrine, Vice-President Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, Kathy Bruner, Garrett Greene, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor, Martha Jackson, Casey Jones, and Nikki Weldon.


           Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.


           The invocation and pledge were led by Pastor Murray Piper.


           A motion to adopt the agenda as presented was offered by Cassie Henry, and seconded by Darrin Manuel. Upon voting, board members adopted the agenda as presented.


           Mr. Vidrine opened the meeting by explaining the public comment period and the board heard from several members of the community. Following the public comment period, Mr. Vidrine reviewed the timeline for the bond discussion. Last year, when the board inquired about the potential for going out for a bond election, they were told that only a million or so would be available, based on the property values at the time. When appraisals came in higher than expected, the board was advised that up to $29 million could be sought in a bond election without raising the millage rate beyond the current 17.8 mills, since the properties would be generating additional revenue, as long as the election were held on the May 4 election date. On this note, Mr. Vidrine advised the board and community members that state law only allows elections to be held at certain times of the year. If the board declined to seek a continuation of the millage in May, then it would have no need to collect the extra revenue being generated by the recently re-valued properties and would be required by law to roll the millage rate back for the 2019 tax year to a level which covers only its current debt obligations, meaning that if it were to seek another bond election after that time, it would only be able to seek bonds of around $11 million. Board members were advised that to seek an amount approaching the $29 million after the millage rate was rolled back by law, they would have to convince voters to approve a new higher millage rate to accommodate repayment of the bonds. For the benefit of the new board members, Mr. Vidrine reminded them that the board had approved moving forward with the prospect of the $29 million, realizing that time was short, but agreeing that it was important to take full advantage of the opportunity. It was observed that the board could still vote not to proceed.


           There was additional dialogue with members of the audience asking questions about the board’s intent with respect to the G.W. Carver campus, to emphasize the need to preserve the campus for its historical value. Board members continued to acknowledge these concerns, while asserting that the campus would be repurposed in some way, and not abandoned.


           Mr. Vidrine summarized the two issues before the board: 1) Do we continue to proceed with the election to seek permission to sell bonds for $29 million for capital improvement?, and 2) Does the plan include a new DeRidder school? In choosing not to proceed, the millage would roll back by law in July, and no voting would take place. In discussion board members were reminded that once the millage is rolled back, they would have to consider asking the voters to approve an increase in the millage rate to sell bonds. Some board members expressed concern about the speed with which events were unfolding, wondering if even more than $29 million might be available in the future, pending voter approval of a new millage rate increase, if the board chose not to proceed at this time.


           In discussing a possible new DeRidder school, the realignment of grades was discussed at length. If a new school is constructed to house first through third grades, on land near Pine Wood, it would leave K. R. Hanchey with grades pre-K through Kindergarten, which might allow for the expansion of the preschool and pre-K classes. This configuration would be the most advantageous from an educational standpoint, according to Mr. Cooley. The G. W. Carver campus could be used for CTTIE programs or possibly offered to BeauCARE Head Start. The discussion continued with board members grappling with the increased number of students at the Pine Wood site, and how to provide meals and gym space for the combined populations of those grades, while acknowledging the changes to follow in traffic flow for cars and buses.


           Board members debated the merits of proceeding with the current $29 million, with no property tax increase for anyone, against the advantages of letting the tax rate “roll back” by law, then ask voters for a tax increase later to sell bonds equivalent to what is available now and possibly more. Concern was expressed that once the millage rates are rolled back, it will be much more difficult to convince voters to increase their taxes. In addition, it was unclear when additional opportunities to sell bonds would arise, if the board continues to proceed with the current bond proposal. Board members discussed the different scenarios for how the $29 million might be allocated.


           It was suggested that Mr. Schlueter might be able to answer some of the questions being discussed, such as, if the current proposition were pulled from consideration, and the “roll-back” allowed to occur, how much of a tax increase would the board have to ask the voters to approve in order to sell bonds in an amount comparable to the last bond issue ($40 million?) Also, if the $29 million is approved, when could the board go out for more? Could the board ask for a higher millage rate at the May 4 election to allow for the sale of more than $29 million in bonds? Board members were asked to have any questions for Mr. Schlueter submitted no later than noon on February 8, 2019, and he would have answers prepared by his staff for the committee meetings on Monday.

 

           Board members requested a project list that was condensed into only those projects that would be completed using funds generated by the sale of bonds, excluding those projects that will be addressed using maintenance funds. Mr. Ramsey advised them that he would see that a list was provided.


           There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

 




                                                                                  


 

President                                                                    Secretary

 

 

The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, February 14, 2019, at 6:00 pm in the Central Office Board Room. David Vidrine, Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, Kathy Bruner, Garrett Greene, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor, Martha Jackson, Casey Jones, Nikki Weldon, and Student Representative Courtney Smith were present.  

 

Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.

 

The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Stephanne Spikes.

 

David Vidrine stated that board members had been sent an agenda and, after confirming that all board members had received it, said he would entertain a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Upon motion of Wesley Taylor, seconded by Cassie Henry, board members voted in favor of adopting the agenda as presented.

 

Next, board members were asked to consider adopting the minutes of the January 10, 2019, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. Wesley Taylor offered a motion to adopt the minutes of the January 10, 2019, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal, which was seconded by Darrin Manuel. Martha Jackson offered a motion to amend the minutes to reflect that–in the paragraph listing the administrative contracts that would be renewed–Wesley Taylor's name had been incorrectly inserted as principal of South Beauregard Upper Elementary, instead of Wesley Henry. The motion to amend was seconded by Ray Bowman. Upon voting, the motion to amend was approved, and following this, the amended minutes were approved, as well. The amendment to the January 10, 2019, regular meeting minutes will appear in the February 14, 2019, regular meeting minutes.

 

Before beginning the Superintendent's Report, Mr. Cooley asked Student Representative Courtney Smith to deliver her report on student activities in Beauregard Parish. Ms. Smith stated that several conferences and conventions had taken place or were coming up very soon. ACT Prep activities are underway, and sports teams are entering post-season playoffs.

Next, Colonel Jarrett A. Thomas announced that country music group Lady Antebellum would be the headlining act for "Freedom Fest." This free-to-the-public celebration is held annually near Independence Day and this year is scheduled for June 22. There will be a fireworks show at the conclusion and food vendors will be available at the event.

Mr. Cooley recognized Mike Reese, with Fort Polk Progress, who was present to deliver a $12,900 donation to the Beauregard Parish School Board to be used to enhance classroom technology. Mr. Reese stated that for parents with military ties, no issue is more important than quality education for their students. This amount would be sufficient to outfit an entire classroom with Chromebooks and one of the new high-tech whiteboards.

Mr. Cooley advised board members that Monday, February 18, 2019, would be a non-student staff development day. On, February 19, 2019, the Discipline Policy Review Committee will meet at 1:00 pm, at the Title I/Media Center. On February 20, 2019, the first-ever parish welding competition will be held at Singer High School, and it is planned for this to become an annual event.

Board members learned that the following contracts will be renewed using the standard two-year administrative contract: Teresa Parmley, Principal, K. R. Hanchey Elementary; Scott Cornes, Assistant Principal, Merryville High School; Rebecca Hollie, Assistant Principal, South Beauregard Upper Elementary; Anthea Fontenot, Assistant Principal, South Beauregard Elementary; Ashley McBride, Assistant Principal, DeRidder Junior High School; Andrew Duplechin, Assistant Principal, DeRidder Junior High School; and Sallie Ford, Assistant Principal, K. R. Hanchey Elementary.

In concluding the Superintendent's Report, Mr. Cooley advised board members that a copy of the Excellence in Education annual report, covering the 2017-2018 school year, was placed in their folders. Mr. Cooley thanked Kari Ifland for preparing the report.

 

Following the Superintendent's Report, board members heard two recommendations from the Finance Committee. The following motions were approved without additional discussion:

a.Motion to accept the audit reports for FYE 18.

b.Motion to seek information from the architectural firms of Champeaux/Evans/Hotard Architects, and Moss Architects, Inc., regarding preliminary cost estimates for bond projects.

 

Next, board members heard one recommendation from the Policy Committee. The motion to approve revision of policy File:GBRIB, Sick Leave, with final adoption in March, 2019, was approved without further discussion.

 

The final item on the agenda was for board members to discuss bond projects. After hearing from members of the community, in response to several comments that it was important to establish a process for selecting and prioritizing a project list, Mr. Cooley was asked to describe the process that led to the formation of the project list for the last bond issue in 2008. Mr. Cooley described the school-based steering committees which developed project lists for the parishwide steering committee, which in turn developed a list of projects that would be completed in "phases," based on how many votes each project received during the prioritization process with the parish steering committee. This "phased" list was presented to the board for approval and a flyer was developed for distribution to voters in the parish, listing the projects which were expected to be completed. Mr. Vidrine advised board members that the entire process of developing the bond projects list took the better part of a year and included many public meetings. Because the timeline for this bond issue is much shorter, the full board will have to make the decisions on which projects are to be completed based on the recommendations from the principals and administration. Mr. Vidrine stated that for this bond issue, the first step would be to obtain some preliminary projections to decide whether to build a new school in the DeRidder area. If the cost of a new school in the DeRidder area was projected to be too high, then the board could choose not to build a new school and would distribute the bond funds among the other projects on the list. Mr. Ramsey stated that he was able to meet with one of the architects and spoke to the other by phone. Board members were advised that the Pine Wood Elementary site has a drop in elevation from the back of the gym to Texas Street of about 20 feet. If new construction were placed on the north and west section of that property, it would reduce the amount of elevation that would have to be addressed. In addition, Mr. Ramsey shared that $15 million was a very rough estimate on what a new school would cost, using an amount of $180-$200 per square foot. A new kitchen and cafeteria at Merryville High School was projected to cost between $4-5 million, a new weight room at East Beauregard High School was anticipated to run in the $700-800,000 range, at Singer High School a multi-purpose room or library could be built for an estimated cost of $500-700,000, and the cooling tower at DeRidder High School might be replaced for around $300,000. Fourteen classrooms could be added South Beauregard Elementary for around $3.5 million. In response to a question about restroom renovations needed at several locations, Mr. Ramsey advised board members that ad valorem revenue was higher than expected and would have to be addressed in a budget revision, but it was his intention to use some of those funds to complete restroom improvements.

 

Following additional discussion about the prioritization of the projects and which projects might be completed without the services of an architects, board members decided to meet again for a special board meeting at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.  

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

 

Secretary President

 

PROCEEDINGS OF THE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD OF THE PARISH OF BEAUREGARD, STATE OF LOUISIANA, TAKEN AT A SPECIAL MEETING HELD TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2019.

 

The Parish School Board of Beauregard Parish met in Special Session on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, beginning at 6:00 o'clock (6:00) pm, in the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office, at 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, LA, pursuant to the following written notice given to each and every member thereof and duly posted in the manner required by law:

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a SPECIAL MEETING of the Beauregard Parish School Board of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, has been ordered and called and will be held on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, beginning at 6:00 o'clock (6:00) pm, in the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office Board Room, at 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, LA.

 

Prayer/Pledge

 

 *1. To discuss items related to bond issue.

 

Board members present were President David Vidrine, Vice-President Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, Kathy Bruner, Garrett Greene, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor, Martha Jackson, Casey Jones, and Nikki Weldon.

 

Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.

 

The invocation and pledge were led by Ray Bowman.

 

Mr. Vidrine began by reminding board members that the discussion on the bond projects had reached a point where some cost projections would be needed to proceed with developing a list. Mr. Ramsey stated that he had received information from an architect on a recent school proposal in Moss Bluff, which ended up not passing, but he felt confident that the cost estimate could be used to extrapolate the approximate cost of a new grade 1-3 school in DeRidder. Mr. Ramsey felt that the new school could be completed for around $15 million. In addition, board members learned that one architect had committed to a 6% fee, but the other architect had not gotten back in touch. Board members were advised that some projects might not require an architect, such as bleacher renovations. The projects at Merryville High School, a kitchen/dining area and improvements to the administrative offices and the student drop-off/pick-up area, were projected to be about $3.5-4 million. The East Beauregard High School weight room/field house was estimated to cost around $700,000-$800,000, and Mr. Ramsey stated that he felt a little more preliminary information was needed, before he would feel comfortable with that figure. A library at Singer High School might be built for an amount in the neighborhood of $500,000-750,000, if it did not include restrooms. The two running tracks discussed (East Beauregard High School and South Beauregard High School) could both be serviced for approximately $500,000. Mr. Ramsey felt that the cooling tower at DeRidder High School could be replaced for around $300,000, and he shared two different designs that could be used. Eight additional classrooms proposed for South Beauregard Elementary might be completed for $2.5 million. DeRidder Junior High School could use a larger band classroom, maybe for $500,000 - $700,000, and eliminating the boiler system at DJHS might be accomplished for a bit more than $300,000, with the 7th and 8th grade wings having a dropped ceiling installed, at that time. Pinewood Elementary needs some electrical upgrades, including air conditioning units in the classrooms, and this might be accomplished for around $250,000. Moving on to South Beauregard Upper Elementary and South Beauregard High School, board members heard that air conditioning units need to be replaced in the part of the school that was constructed in 1971 at an estimated cost of $300,000. Also at SBUE/SBHS: bleacher upgrades are needed, but Mr. Ramsey advised board members that he was waiting for an estimate on those. There are some drainage issues at the SBHS athletic complex that can possibly be addressed without an architect , and an ag shop addition might be built for around $250,000. Board members were asked to consider whether to add additional parking at the Bus Barn and purchase buses with bond funds. Mr. Ramsey stated that he knew all of these projects could not be completed for the $29 million, but he felt it was important to get this list to board members for consideration and prioritization of the final project list. In response to a question about what would be done at Carver, should the board choose not to construct a new grade 1-3 school, Mr. Ramsey stated that he would have to revisit that campus to see where improvements could be made. In addition, he explained that restrooms at DeRidder Junior High School were not addressed, because he felt that the small increase in ad valorem revenue would be helpful toward completing some improvements in that area.

 

Board members took a short break, after which they began to discuss "what to do first." Mr. Vidrine began this discussion by asking if there were any objection to a new grade 1-3 school in DeRidder. Several board members expressed concerns that if the new school cost only the $15 million anticipated, that would not leave enough to complete all of the projects that had been requested, and what would happen if there were cost overruns? Some board members felt that the $29 million would be sufficient to complete many of the projects, in addition to the new school being proposed. In addition, it was pointed out that the board needed to begin thinking about replacing some of these older schools, since some of them will be approaching 65 years old, at the next bond issue. Board members discussed the preservation of the building at G. W. Carver Elementary, for future use. Following this topic, Mr. Vidrine polled board members to find out their thoughts on a new elementary school housing grades 1-3, at an estimated cost of $15 million. The board weighed in favorably at 7-3 (Bruner, Bowman, and Weldon) on this issue. The next item for which board members were asked to express an opinion was the cafeteria/dining area and administrative office improvements at Merryville High School and all board members expressed support for this project. Following this, concern was expressed about the order in which the projects would be presented for polling purposes, which led to a discussion of whether there was a more equitable way to rank or prioritize the projects. The result of this conversation led each board member to list the projects which they felt were most important, then having each board member review and compare their list with the lists of the other nine members. Projects were added as needed, so that the end result was all board members having the same preliminary list for consideration. At this point, board members were asked to rank the list of 24 projects using a scale from 1 to 24, where 24 would be the most points possible for the most important project, and projects deemed not as important would receive fewer points. Board members agreed that these should be tabulated by a central office employee and the results emailed to board members for discussion at the next special board meeting.

 

Board members set the date and time of the next special board meeting at Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at 4:00 pm.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

 

        

President Secretary