The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, February 8, 2018, 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 Maili Bartz 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 Marlin Ramsey.
David Vidrine asked if all board members had received an agenda and stated that he would accept a motion to amend the agenda, removing item #3: To recognize the Beauregard Parish Students of the Year. Mr. Vidrine explained that one of the intended honorees had a scheduling conflict, so the presentation would be rescheduled to the March board meeting. Upon motion of Wesley Taylor, seconded by Darrin Manuel, board members voted to amend the agenda, removing item #3. Next, upon motion of Ray Bowman, seconded by Cassie Henry, board members voted to adopt the agenda as amended.
Next, board members considered adopting the minutes of the January 11, 2018, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. Darrin Manuel offered a motion to adopt the minutes of the January 11, 2018, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal, which was seconded by Timothy Hudson, and approved upon voting.
Superintendent Cooley began the Superintendent’s Report by asking Maili Bartz to share information regarding student activities throughout Beauregard Parish. She summarized activities in athletics, club conventions/conferences, and band, requesting that everyone keep the East Beauregard community in their thoughts and prayers.
Mr. Cooley continued his report by advising the board of all recent losses, including the mother of Shirley Jackson (Central Office custodian), in addition to Kathy Bruner’s mother and the East Beauregard High School student. Mr. Cooley asked board members to remember these families in their thoughts and prayers.
Next, Mr. Cooley reminded board members that Louisiana law requires each board member to receive 6 hours of training annually. In addition, board members heard a report of the training hours earned by each board member during 2017, which must be reported in the official minutes each year, per Louisiana law. The training totals earned for 2017 were as follows:
Ray Bowman: 9.00 hours Martha Jackson: 9.00 hours
Kathy Bruner: 7.00 hours Darrin Manuel: 24.75 hours
Don Gray: 8.00 hours L. D. Spears: 8.00 hours
Cassie Henry: 10.00 hours Wesley Taylor: 8.00 hours
Timothy Hudson: 8.00 hours David Vidrine: 26.50 hours
Mr. Cooley noted that the board earned a cumulative total of 118.25 hours for the calendar year 2017. Board members were advised that the travel forms they will need during the 2018 Louisiana School Boards Association convention this month were in their folders.
Board members were informed of two observances: 1) February 5-9 is being observed as National School Counselor Week, and 2) February 17-24 will be observed as National FFA Week. Mr. Cooley expressed his deep appreciation for both of these groups for what they do for the students in our schools.
Mr. Cooley reminded the board that the Director of Transportation had been an “acting” position for the past 6 months, and stated that Cord Ensminger would continue in that position permanently. The contract dates for Mr. Ensminger will run from 2/7/2018 through 2/6/2020.
The Discipline Policy Review Committee will meet at 1:00 pm, on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at the Title I/Media Center, according to Mr. Cooley. Mr. Cooley noted that Eddie Joslin and Cord Ensminger would coordinate this meeting.
Board members learned that to address time which needed to be made up due to the instructional minutes lost in bad weather class cancellations, all schools were making small adjustments in their daily schedules. Mr. Cooley stated that some schools would take a few minutes from recess, while others might adjust the time between classes, but all schools would add five minutes to the end of their daily schedule. Dismissal and parent pick-up time at all schools will be five minutes later, beginning on Monday of this week.
According to Mr. Cooley, the current contracts being renewed include Pam March, Principal at Carver Elementary; PJ Crowe, Assistant Principal at Carver Elementary; and Donnie Love, Principal at Merryville High School. Board members were advised that these contracts will be renewed using the standard, two-year administrative contract previously approved by the board.
Following the Superintendent’s Report, board members were asked to consider revisions to the Plan for Personnel Evaluation. James Herrington began by advising board members that the information related to this item had been placed in the back of their folders at the Monday, February 5 committee meetings. Mr. Herrington reminded the board that the state had established a model which relied on a professional practice score (observation) for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation, and the other 50% is based on student growth. The first change approved by BESE impacts only the student growth component for teachers of ELA, Math, and Social Studies, in grades 4-8, according to Mr. Herrington. According to Mr. Herrington, BESE adopted changes that assign a teacher’s Value-Added Model (VAM) score (based on student performance on standardized tests) a value of 35% for the student growth component of the evaluation, with the remaining 15% of the student growth component tied to the Student Learning Target (SLT) that all teachers in the parish are required to write. Teachers of subjects where no standardized test is given will continue to have the entire student growth score measured by the attainment of the SLTs. In response to board member questions, Mr. Herrington stated that under the original plan, a failing score on either side (professional practice/student growth), meant that the entire evaluation received a 1-Ineffective (failing) score. With these changes, it is expected that fewer teachers would receive an “Ineffective” rating, since a lower proportion of the total student growth score would be based on how well the students performed on standardized tests. The second change approved by BESE is connected to the first, according to Mr. Herrington. Previously, when student performance on state tests contributed the full 50% of the student growth side of the evaluation, principals had the latitude to adjust the student growth score +1 or -1. Now that the VAM score will constitute just 35% of a teacher’s student growth rating, with the other 15% coming from attainment of SLTs, BESE has removed the option for a principal to adjust the student growth score in the final evaluation score computation. Darrin Manuel offered a motion to adopt the revisions in the Personnel Evaluation Plan. The motion to adopt the revisions was seconded by Ray Bowman, and upon voting, the board approved adoption of the revisions in the Personnel Evaluation Plan.
The next agenda item was to receive the audited annual financial report and agreed-upon procedures reports. The board’s auditor, J. Aaron Cooper, CPA, first asked board members whether everyone had received their copies. Mr. Cooper drew board members’ attention to the letter in the front of the booklet, where he stated that the audit represented an “unqualified” opinion, which meant there were no significant mitigating circumstances which would have led him to express a “qualified” opinion, or one for which irregularities had to be taken into consideration. Mr. Cooper reviewed the assets and liabilities of the major fund balance sheets: general fund, sales tax, ad valorem, school food service, capital projects, debt service, governmental funds. Next, board members received a report on the budget to actual expenditures and the amount of variance for each item, with most of the reports being positive. School food service showed a negative variance, as federal funding fell short of expectations. Moving on to the audit findings, Mr. Cooper shared that the first finding involved an incident of duplicate payments being made. This was likely due to a staff change with the incoming accounts payable clerk paying an invoice that had already been paid by the outgoing accounts payable clerk. The error had been discovered and corrected prior to being identified in the audit. The second finding was in the sales tax fund, and concerned the board policy requiring that $300,000 be maintained in reserve. Circumstances caused the reserve to show a slight deficit, according to Mr. Cooper. He noted that a plan for addressing this had already been developed and Ms. Casanovas noted that it would be included in the March budget revision. The third finding concerned required documentation of personnel percent of effort being spent on federal programs. Mr. Cooper stated that only the portion of the employee’s salary for which they were working on the federal program (such as, IDEA/Food Services/Title I) can be charged to those funds, and that the documentation was not being submitted in a timely manner, due to misunderstandings over when these forms should be submitted. Mr. Cooley noted that this has been addressed.
Next, Mr. Cooper stated that he was required to look at performance measures and board members were told that there were no issues to report, other than a very small variance in the amount of salary reported by the state versus the amount calculated during the audit. Mr. Cooper advised board members that there would likely be some changes to this part of the audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, since it represents a duplication of effort for some items, for example, test scores. Since the state receives these directly from the testing agency, it should not be necessary for the auditor to verify the test scores.
Moving on to the “Agreed Upon Procedures,” Mr. Cooper noted that the board did very well in the area of best practices: policies, purchasing, bank reconciliation, and cash collections, noting that this was true even at the schools. Disbursements, travel reimbursements, contracts, payroll and personnel, ethics, debt service...all showed no issues. In addressing a question from a board member, Mr. Cooper noted that the board was in compliance with the established practices, such as how contracts were handled or documenting when financial reports were presented in the official minutes. There were no additional questions for Mr. Cooper.
The next item was to hear recommendations from the Policy Committee. Wesley Taylor offered a motion to address all four recommendations in one action, or in globo. The motion to consider the items together was seconded by Don Gray and approved. Next, upon voting the following recommendations from the Policy Committee were approved in globo:
a. Motion to approve revision of policy File:DJE, Purchasing, with final adoption in March 2018.
b. Motion to approve revision of policy File:EE, Food Service Management, with final adoption in March 2018.
c. Motion to approve new policy File:IDDH, English-Learner Program, with final adoption in March 2018.
d. Motion to approve the Beauregard Parish Pupil Progression Plan, after modifying the range for the Summa Cum Laude designation to read “4.0 GPA or greater,” and the range for the Magna Cum Laude designation to read “3.750 to 3.999 GPA.”
The final item was for board members to receive committee assignments for 2018. Mr. Vidrine stated that all committee members would retain their assignments for 2018, as follows:
Finance Committee: All members, Vice-President is Chairperson
Building and Grounds Committee: Wesley Taylor - Chairperson, Darrin Manuel, Kathy Bruner, Don Gray, Timothy Hudson, Alternate - David Vidrine
Policy Committee: Cassie Henry - Chairperson, Ray Bowman, Martha Jackson, Darrin Manuel, L. D. Spears, Alternate - David Vidrine
Calendar Committee: Darrin Manuel and Martha Jackson
Discipline Policy Review Committee: Cassie Henry
Advisory Committee: All members, President is Chairperson
There being no further business, upon motion of Cassie Henry, seconded by Wesley Taylor, the meeting was adjourned.