PROCEEDINGS OF THE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD OF THE PARISH OF BEAUREGARD, STATE OF LOUISIANA, TAKEN AT A SPECIAL MEETING HELD WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2016
The Parish School Board of Beauregard Parish met in Special Session on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, at nine o’clock (9:00) am, at the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office, at 202 W. Third St., 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 July 6, 2016, beginning at six o'clock (9:00) am, in the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office Board Room, at 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, LA.
1. To receive 2016-2017 budget information
Board members present were President David Vidrine, Vice-President Charles Hudson, Martha Jackson, Wesley Taylor, Don Gray, L. D. Spears, Kathy Bruner, Cassie Henry and Student Representative Kailey Bailey. Ray Bowman and Darrin Manuel were absent.
The invocation and pledge were led by L. D. Spears.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
Mr. Cooley began by advising board members that budget development has been made difficult by the need to try to get projected numbers from the Beauregard Parish Tax Assessor, on which to base the Ad Valorem portion of the budget. In addition, board members heard that the legislature had cut approximately half of the $44 million distributed outside the MFP last year in an effort to close the state budget gap, and it was unclear what the state would expect 70 districts statewide to do with the amount of money that was left. Also, Beauregard Parish schools lost $89,068 to the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy and $68,673 to the Louisiana Connections Academy–both online schools. Board members learned that a child may never have been enrolled in a Beauregard Parish public school, but the online program received that child’s share of MFP funds, based on his/her place of residence. Names of these families are never made available, due to restrictions on the sharing of personally identifiable information according to Mr. Cooley. In closing, Mr. Cooley reminded board members of a deficit which existed at the close of the prior fiscal year.
Lesia Casanovas began by explaining how grant funding is influenced by state handling of allocation amounts, noting that budgets are submitted at reduced amounts until the state has received their allocation amounts from the federal government. This process affects the 8(g) Model Early Childhood and Education Excellence grants, JROTC funding (of which only a portion is paid by the Army), Food Service, and Title I funds. Ms. Casanovas noted that as grant funding is reduced, money from the General Fund is used to maintain the current level of services. In addition, when grant funded personnel take sabbatical or extended sick leave, benefits must be paid by the General Fund, as are all post-employment benefits. Board members were advised that more detailed grant information would be shared at the regular board meeting.
Next, Ms. Casanovas presented information on ad valorem funds. Ms. Casanovas stated that this fund was expected to receive approximately $6.9 million in revenue based on the 2015 tax rolls, but cautioned that the 2016 reassessments were not complete, and this figure could change. In addition, the millage for the parishwide debt service would not be levied at the regular meeting, but levied at a later date. Board members were reminded that these funds pay for instructional expenditures (including textbooks), maintenance and operations, technology, salaries and benefits, and site and building improvement. Since projected expenditures will total $7.2 million, it was suggested to develop the budget using fund balance for textbooks (as was done for the 2015-2016 school year), as a way to stay within the $6.9 million anticipated in revenue.
Moving on to the general fund board members learned that the current fiscal year is expected to close with a deficit of about $1.3 million. Ms. Casanovas stated that $36.5 million in revenue was anticipated for the general fund, and summarized expenditures which will impact the general fund balance, such as instruction ($23.8 million), student support services ($2.5 million), instructional staff support ($1.5 million), and school administration ($3 million). In addition, according to Ms. Casanovas, $3.4 million from general fund has been set aside for student transportation services, including the purchase of 6 buses, reminding board members that this was done last year, as well.
The discussion continued with board members hearing about construction funds (both bond and the amount set aside for district facility needs), bond funds for technology, and additional expenditures, such as textbooks, career development expenditures and the required workers compensation reserve. Ms. Casanovas explained what additional steps could be taken to resolve the deficit, noting that while additional revenue might come from an increase in student numbers with additional MFP funds, expenditures were almost certain to increase as well, as rumors of an increase in benefit costs through OGB in January of 2017 circulate. Board members heard how the deficit might be managed, including summer personnel changes (which might bring in a less experienced teacher in place of one who is retiring), changing the structure of the effectiveness reward payments and adjusting the percentages of the twice-yearly tax supplement checks. Mr. Cooley also advised board members that there were vacant positions, that might need to go unfilled for the cost savings that would be realized.
Board members discussed options and several scenarios for dealing with shrinking revenue streams and ever-increasing costs and expenditures and were advised that the budget would be formally presented at the Thursday, July 14, 2016, regular board meeting
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Minutes: July 14, 2016
The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, July 14, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. in the Central Office Board Room. The following board members were present: David Vidrine, Charles Hudson, Martha Jackson, Darrin Manuel, Wesley Taylor, Don Gray, L. D. Spears, Kathy Bruner, Ray Bowman, Cassie Henry, and Student Representative Alternate Lexie Sellers.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Eddie Joslin.
David Vidrine began by stating that he would entertain a motion to adopt the agenda, as presented. Upon hearing no discussion, Charles Hudson offered a motion to adopt the agenda, which was seconded by Kathy Bruner and adopted.
The first agenda item was to consider adopting the minutes of the June 9, 2016, regular school board meeting, as published in the official journal. Cassie Henry offered a motion to adopt the June 9, 2016, minutes, which was seconded by Kathy Bruner. Upon voting, the minutes of the June 9, 2016, regular school board meeting, as published in the official journal, were adopted.
The Superintendent’s Report began with a reminder for board members that the beginning of the new school year was rapidly approaching and the back-to-school administrators’ meeting would take place on July 27, 2016. Following the administrators’ meeting, according to Mr. Cooley, the school office personnel meeting would be held on July 28, 2016, after which new employee orientation would occur on August 1, 2016. Board members were advised that four-day schools would begin for students on August 3, while students at five-day schools would begin on August 10.
Board members were advised that last year Supplemental Course Allocation funds were provided by the state and used to help students with dual-enrollment classes at McNeese, SOWELA, and ABC Schools. Mr. Cooley noted that districts had not received word whether these funds were going to be available again this year, but that word was expected soon.
Mr. Cooley informed board members that ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) had replaced NCLB (No Child Left Behind), and that State Superintendent John White would be holding regional meetings across the state, introducing this new initiative, and gathering public input. The meeting in this area would be held on July 26, from 2:00-4:00 p.m., at the Lake Charles-Boston Academy.
Board members were told that summer office hours of 7:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. would end on Thursday, July 14, 2016, returning to 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 15, 2016.
Mr. Cooley advised board members that Margie Hieronymus had been selected to fill the position of Acting Director of Title I, with the effective dates of July 11, 2016, through July 10, 2018, or until the return of the regular employee. In addition, board members heard that Harry Hooker had been selected to fill the vacant principal’s position at DeRidder High School, with the effective dates of July 11, 2016, through July 10, 2018.
The next item was “to consider and take action with respect to a resolution concerning millages.” Lesia Casanovas read the resolution–which had been provided to board members in advance--in its entirety, noting that Beauregard Parish Tax Assessor Brent Rutherford was present to answer questions. Noting that this year was a mandated reassessment year, Mr. Rutherford stated that personal property values parishwide had lost about $2.8 million in assessed value and PCA (formerly Boise) was reporting approximately $16.6 million in assessed value. In addition, PCA disposed of $285 million in assets from the mill, replacing old equipment with new equipment which was then eligible for an industrial tax-exemption for a period of 10 years. Mr. Rutherford explained that the Assessor’s office was still waiting for figures from the Louisiana Public Service Commission, regarding the values of public utilities within Beauregard Parish, as well as commercial values from private businesses operating with the parish. Mr. Rutherford requested that anyone (such as elderly property owners) who may have special assessment considerations call his office to determine eligibility for special assessment rates. Board members approved the following resolution by a margin of 9-1 (Bowman):
BE IT RESOLVED, that the following millage(s) are hereby levied on the 2016 tax roll on all property subject to taxation by the Beauregard Parish School Board.
Constitution Tax 5.13 mills
Parishwide Maintaining & Operating 9.27 mills
Parishwide Maintaining & Operating 22.56 mills BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the proper administrative officials of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, be and they are hereby empowered, authorized, and directed to spread said taxes, as hereinabove set forth, upon the assessment roll of said Parish for the year 2016, and to make the collection of the taxes imposed for and on behalf of the taxing authority, according to law, and that the taxes herein levied shall become a permanent lien and privilege on all property subject to taxation as herein set forth, and collection thereof shall be enforceable in the manner provided by law.
The foregoing resolution was read in full, the roll was called on the adoption thereof, and the resolution was adopted.
Lesia Casanovas advised board members that the budget books were provided in their folders at the committee meetings, but that the budget was being formally presented during this meeting. Ms. Casanovas shared updated information about the current budget deficit, noting that the $2.77 million budget deficit included planned expenditures such as the $1.8 million in construction and the purchase of buses. In addition, Ms. Casanovas explained that the teacher effectiveness reward (at $500 across the board) had been added since the preliminary budget meeting and incorporated in the $2.77 million. Mr. Cooley explained that if the board
wished to restore the different levels of the effectiveness reward, they could still vote to do so and the change would be incorporated into the next budget revision. There was additional discussion regarding several other budget-related items, like unexpected expenditures, anticipated revenue, and certain other variables which may impact the budget during the school year. Ms. Casanovas stated that the budget would have to lay on the table for public inspection for 30 days, a summary would have to publish in the official journal, and a public hearing would be held prior to the budget being considered for adoption at the next board meeting.
Moving on, board members heard recommendations from the Finance Committee, the first of which was a motion to accept a proposal for the mandatory governmental audit for FYE 2016 from J. Aaron Cooper, CPA, LLC for $37,500, for school district auditing services. The motion was approved 8-2 in a roll call vote, with Martha Jackson, Darrin Manuel, Wesley Taylor, Don Gray, L. D. Spears, Kathy Bruner, Ray Bowman, and Cassie Henry voting in favor of awarding, and with Charles Hudson and David Vidrine voting against the motion to award the proposal to J. Aaron Cooper, CPA, LLC for $37,500, for school district auditing services.
The second recommendation from the Finance Committee was a motion to approve authorizing the liquidation of fixed assets. Upon there being no additional discussion, the item was put to a vote, and board members approved the motion to authorize the liquidation of fixed assets.
The next agenda item was to hear recommendations from the Building and Grounds Committee. This item, “To consider action on the tabled item concerning an auxiliary, multi-purpose room for the DeRidder High School Band.” Board members were reminded that the original motion, which was placed on the table during the June regular board meeting, was a motion to add construction of an auxiliary, multi-purpose room for DeRidder High School Band to the list of approved projects. Kathy Bruner offered a motion to take the “motion to add construction of an auxiliary, multi-purpose room for DeRidder High School Band to the list of approved projects” from the table for consideration, which was seconded by Wesley Taylor. When a voice vote was inconclusive, the board president requested a roll call vote. Upon voting, the motion to consider removing the tabled item from the table for discussion failed by a margin of 6-4, with Martha Jackson, Don Gray, Charles Hudson, David Vidrine, L. D. Spears, and Ray Bowman voting against taking the motion from the table, and Darrin Manuel, Wesley Taylor, Kathy Bruner, and Cassie Henry voting in favor of taking the motion from the table. The motion to add construction of an auxiliary, multi-purpose room for DeRidder High School Band to the list of approved projects remains on the table.
The next item for board member consideration was “To consider going into Executive Session, under R. S. 42:17 to interview applicants for Beauregard Parish Acting Assistant Superintendent of Schools.” A motion to go into Executive Session was made by Darrin Manuel and seconded by Don Gray, and the board voted to enter into the Executive Session, under R. S. 42:17 to interview applicants for Beauregard Parish Acting Assistant Superintendent of Schools. Following the Executive Session, Darrin Manuel offered a motion to come out of Executive Session and return to regular session, which was seconded by Cassie Henry, and approved upon voting. The board returned to regular session to address the final agenda item.
The final agenda item was to consider appointing an Acting Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Beauregard Parish. Mr. Cooley made a recommendation to appoint Marlin Ramsey as the Acting Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Beauregard Parish, with the effective date of Monday, July 18. Ray Bowman offered a motion to accept the superintendent’s recommendation to appoint Marlin Ramsey as the Acting Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Beauregard Parish, with the effective date of Monday, July 18. The motion was seconded by Charles Hudson, and approved unanimously upon voting.
There being no further business, upon motion of Kathy Bruner, seconded by Charles Hudson, the meeting was adjourned by general consent.