Comment

            The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, June 13, 2019, at 6:00 pm in the Central Office Board Room. David Vidrine, Kathy Bruner, Garrett Greene, Cassie Henry, Martha Jackson, Casey Jones, Nikki Weldon, and Student Representative Courtney Smith were present. Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, and Wesley Taylor were absent.  


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

 

           The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Pam March.


           David Vidrine stated that adoption of the agenda would be the first matter to be addressed. Upon motion of Casey Jones, seconded by Cassie Henry, board members voted to approve the agenda as presented.


           Upon motion of Garrett Greene, seconded by Casey Jones, board members voted to adopt the minutes of the May 9, 2019, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. Kathy Bruner and Martha Jackson stated that they wished to abstain.


           Before beginning the Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Cooley recognized the student representative to the school board, Courtney Smith. Ms. Smith noted that, although students were not in school during summer, students were participating in camps and clinics such as band camps, student council camps, the Louisiana Association of Student Councils (LASC) workshop in Natchitoches and various cheer clinics around the parish.

           Mr. Cooley advised board members that Colonel Ryan Roseberry is replacing Colonel Jarrett A. Thomas as the Garrison Commander at Fort Polk, but was unable to be present due to the Change of Command ceremonies. He looks forward to attending future board meetings.

           The Teacher Leader Summit will take place June 26-28, 2019, according to Mr. Cooley. Teachers, counselors, administrators, and some central office staff will be attending. Teachers who attend will be called upon to redeliver the material that was shared during the Teacher Leader Summit.

            Mr. Cooley shared that he had attended a gala event at the state capitol. At this brunch, Chad Schulz learned that he had been chosen as a state Principal of the Year finalist and would advance to the last round of competition. The Louisiana Principal of the Year will be announced at an event on the evening of July 19, 2019.

           In other matters, board members learned that Larry Hollie had been selected as an Instructional Supervisor, with the effective contract dates of July 1, 2019, through July 30, 2021, and Jimmy Maricle will have a renewed contract as Instructional Supervisor from December 1, 2019, through November 30, 2021.

           Mr. Cooley called board members’ attention to the new banner outside. Although the parish graduation rate dropped a point to 93.5%, Mr. Cooley noted that this is still an impressive graduation rate.

           Eddie Joslin was asked to share the 2018-2019 attendance and discipline reports. In attendance, Mr. Joslin noted that nine schools had improved their daily attendance rate, while four schools saw a slight drop. In addition, four schools–East Beauregard Elementary, Carver Elementary, Pine Wood Elementary, and South Beauregard Upper Elementary–all kept their daily attendance rate above 95% for the entire school year. Singer High School and Pine Wood were also recognized as having achieved the greatest increase in daily attendance rate, a full percentage point for each. Parishwide, the daily attendance rate stands at 94.11%. In the area of discipline, Mr. Joslin explained that many areas were examined during the alternate placement hearings, including attendance, grades, and behavior. According to data on the spreadsheet, January was the month in which most hearings took place, with a total of 175 hearings being held for the school year. Mr. Joslin explained how the data was displayed by school and by grade level, by percentage of male and female. Board members learned that the infractions themselves are the greatest cause for concern, with a trend toward more major disrespect incidents, habitual violations, threats, drug infractions (most notably marijuana), fights, and weapons violations.

           In conclusion, Mr. Cooley noted that board members received a copy of the Beauregard Students Write in their folders, and thanked Ms. Ifland for her work to produce and bind the publication and the teachers who encouraged students to express themselves in writing.

 

           Next, Jimmy Lestage, Beauregard Parish District Attorney, spoke to board members regarding the activities of the Truancy Assessment and Service Center (TASC) program during the 2018-2019 school year. Mr. Lestage began by noting that the newest team member, Sherry Pfantz, had begun working with the program after retired superintendent, Myrna Cooley retired for the second time after having worked with the TASC program for 10 years. Mr. Lestage provided board members with a brochure and charts detailing the number of students served in the various age groups and the services provided to them. Mr. Lestage noted that it has been a highly successful early intervention plan designed to prevent students from entering the juvenile justice system, and ultimately the adult criminal justice system. In response to a question from a board member, Mr. Lestage stated that it was difficult to describe the typical intervention, listing the various conditions that impact a referral to the TASC progran, including economic hardship, incarceration of the parents, and other factors. Board members were thanked for the continued financial support of the program each year.


           The next agenda item was for board members to consider possible dates for a policy workshop to update board members as to current procedures and laws that may be applicable to their duties as board members. Mr. Vidrine advised board members that he had requested this item, since clarifying the role of board members seemed to be a need. Discussion could address such issues as when are executive sessions appropriate and what topics are allowable for discussion, when is it appropriate to respond to media inquiries if contacted, and are certain types of employment not permitted under the Code of Ethics? Mr. Lestage invited all board members to a governmental procedure and policy workshop for local police juries, city councils, school boards, etc., on September 19, which is being coordinated by his office. Guest presenters at the fall workshop will include representatives from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and possibly the Office of the Legislative Auditor. Mr. Lestage also stated that he would be willing to meet for a BPSB-only session, to discuss topics specific to school boards, most notably Title 17. Mr. Lestage requested that board members discuss dates and let him know what worked best for them, suggesting that they review the policy manual for potential discussion topics.


           Next, board members were asked to appoint the official journal for 2019-2020. Lesia Casanovas reviewed the legal requirements applicable to the official journal, noting that at the present time, only the Beauregard Daily News met these qualifications. It was recommended to appoint the Beauregard Daily News as the official journal of the Beauregard Parish School Board for 2019-2020. A motion to accept the recommendation appointing the BDN as the official journal of the Beauregard Parish School Board for 2019-2020, was offered by Garrett Greene, seconded by Casey Jones and approved upon voting.


           Following the action on the official journal, board members considered the lease agreement with Valley, Inc. for use of cafeteria facilities at the Title I/Media Center for senior meals from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020. Ms. Casanovas noted that the program is administered by the Beauregard Council on Aging. Upon motion of Kathy Bruner, seconded by Cassie Henry, board members voted to renew the lease agreement with Valley, Inc. for use of cafeteria facilities at the Title I/Media Center for senior meals at the rate of $80 per month, from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.


           Kim Hayes requested that board members consider approval of an addendum to the Pupil Progression Plan for 2019-2020. According to Ms. Hayes, there were few changes and that an addendum to the plan already in place should be sufficient to address these. In summarizing the changes, Ms. Hayes advised board members that the greatest number of changes were in the area of Foreign Exchange Students. Board members were advised that the first change was to increase the number of Foreign Exchange Students from five to seven parishwide, keeping the maximum number of two students at any single location. Applications would continue to be due by the April 15 deadline, preceding the school year for which they would like to attend, but a minimum age of 16 will be established. According to Ms. Hayes, another change in this area would allow for all of the applications to be submitted prior to rendering a decision. In addition, student applicants would have to demonstrate English proficiency to ensure success in their school work and comprehensive health information would have to be submitted as part of the application process. Other changes in the PPP include adding bullet points for clarity in the section which discusses the 5-point weighting scale, adding a list of the dual enrollment courses that will be allowed on a high school transcript and made changes to the promotional percentage criteria for 1st and 2nd grades from 67% to 75%. Upon motion of Kathy Bruner, seconded by Casey Jones, board members voted to approve the addendum to the Pupil Progression Plan for 2019-2020.


           Next, board members were asked to consider a change to the 4-day calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. Mr. Cooley explained that Friday, May 1, 2020 was the end of a testing week, but had inadvertently been listed as a no-school day. Friday, October 18, 2019, was listed as a school day and K-5 parent conference day, but also fell on the same day as the Merryville Centennial Celebration. The change being proposed would schedule the K-5 parent conferences on Thursday, October 17, leaving Friday, October 18, open as a no-school day, and would schedule Friday, May 1, as a school day for testing. The motion to make this change was offered by Garrett Greene, seconded by Casey Jones, approved upon voting.


           Next, board members were asked to consider renewing the contract for Server@Work from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, after the six-month trial period. Mr. Ramsey reviewed the previous board action contracting with Server@Work, noting that a needs assessment had been developed and that work had begun addressing items identified during the assessment phase, making reference to the Technology Review that had been provided during the Monday committee meetings. Garrett Greene offered a motion to renew the contract for Server@Work from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, after the six-month trial period. Concern was expressed that other service providers had not been contacted and invited to submit proposals, so it would be difficult to know whether the board was receiving the best value on these services for the price. In further discussion, it was suggested that the company had fulfilled their obligations and had earned the extended contract renewal, but it was acknowledged that in the future, it might be advisable to ask for proposals from other companies which offer these services, for comparison purposes. In response to a question about the monthly cost of the service, Mr. Ramsey verified that some of the vacant positions in the technology department had not been filled and would remain unfilled for the present time, which would help offset the monthly charge for Server@Work. In addition, Mr. Ramsey stated that although he was very pleased with their work, especially as it related to the testing issues that were addressed in the very beginning, he would not be against seeking RFPs from other companies. Upon voting, board members voted to renew the contract for Server@Work from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, after the six-month trial period by a margin of 6-1 (Vidrine.)


           The next agenda item was to consider approval of the Fiscal Agency Agreement for 2020. Lesia Casanovas noted that the board members should have a copy of the template, for which there were no changes from previous years, and reviewed the purpose of the agreement for the benefit of the new board members. In response to a question, Ms. Casanovas listed the six financial institutions: Pedestal, First National Bank of DeRidder, Sabine Bank, First Federal Savings Bank, Beauregard Federal Savings Bank, and Chase. Mr. Cooley addressed a question concerning the handling of pledged collateral by one of the banks that had resulted in an audit finding, by stating that they believed the problem had been corrected. Upon motion of Kathy Bruner, seconded by Cassie Henry, board members voted to approve the Fiscal Agency Agreement for 2020.


           Following the action on the Fiscal Agency Agreement, board members were asked to hear recommendations from the Finance Committee. Kathy Bruner offered a motion to consider items (a)-(f) of the Finance Committee recommendations in globo, or as a group. The motion to consider items items (a)-(f) in globo was seconded by Casey Jones and approved upon voting. Next, upon voting, board members approved the motions from the Finance Committee, items a-f. Item (g) was a motion to award the Request for Proposals (RFP) for Independent Audit Services for FYE 2019 to J. Aaron Cooper for the school district audit for $45,000, which was approved without additional discussion upon voting.


           The last item on the agenda was to consider Budget Revision #3 for FYE 2019. Ms. Casanovas stated that she had waited to present this budget revision, because if the $29 million had been added to the present budget without providing an accounting of how it would be spent, it would have resulted in a variance of 33%, which is greater than allowed to avoid receiving an audit finding. Ms. Casanovas reviewed where this money had been added to the budget, and explained some additional sources of revenue, such as the funds from the VW settlement, which had been applied to the purchase of buses, and some federal carryover funds, but also explained that while revenue increased, expenditures did not. Ms. Casanovas was pleased to note that this year was the first year in the last 3-4 years that we did not have to draw from the 5% contingency fund. There was some discussion about the timetable for approving the budget revision and Casey Jones offered a motion to receive the budget revision and consider its adoption at the special meeting to be held on June 19, 2019. The motion was seconded by Martha Jackson, and approved upon voting.


           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 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2019.

 

      The Parish School Board of Beauregard Parish met in Special Session on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, beginning at 11:30 o'clock (11:30) am, 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 Wednesday, June 19, 2019, beginning at 11:30 o'clock (11:30) am, in the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office Board Room, at 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, LA.

 

Prayer/Pledge

 

                    *1.       To consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution providing for the tabulation of the electronic bids received for the purchase of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana.

 

      *2.        To consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution accepting the best bid

                   received for the purchase of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana.

 

      *3.        To consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution authorizing the incurring of debt and issuance of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana; and providing for other matters in connection therewith.

 

      *4.        To consider approval of Budget Revision #3 for FYE 2019.

 

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. Garrett Greene arrived just after the second item was addressed.

 

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

 

The invocation and pledge were led by Superintendent Cooley.

 

A motion to adopt the agenda as presented was offered by Casey Jones, seconded by Wesley Taylor and approved upon voting.

 

Mr. Vidrine began by stating that the first item of business was, "To consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution providing for the tabulation of the electronic bids received for the purchase of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana." Grant Schlueter, Foley-Judell Bond Attorney, and Stephanie Ferry, Municipal Advisor, were present, and Mr. Schlueter began by stating that he believed the board would be very pleased with the bids received for the purchase of the bonds. Board members were advised that adopting the resolution providing for the tabulation of the bids (which were received electronically) would allow them to be opened to be read into the minutes. Wesley Taylor offered a motion to adopt the resolution, which was seconded by Cassie Henry. In a roll-call vote, board members adopted the resolution providing for the tabulation of the electronic bids received for the purchase of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, in a roll-call vote, 9-0, as follows:

      For – David Vidrine, Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, Kathy Bruner, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor, Martha Jackson, Casey Jones, and Nikki Weldon.

      Against – There were no votes against. Mr. Greene was not present for this vote.

Following this vote, Mr. Schlueter advised that the board retained their bond rating of A+, and Standard & Poor observed that the board has a stable financial outlook, a strong fund balance, and a relatively low debt burden to the taxpayers of the parish. In addition, Mr. Schlueter stated that the board had qualified for bond insurance, which–while it costs nothing to the board–benefits the board by encouraging lower bids on the interest rate of the bonds. Stephanie Ferry addressed board members to announce the results of the bidding: R. W. Baird Company, Inc., 2.87%; Citigroup, 2.92%; and Fidelity Capital Markets, 3.12%. Board members inquired about the interest rates from bond sales in other parishes and were informed that although there were a few with lower rates, they were very close to the interest rate obtained by the Beauregard Parish School Board. In addition, Mr. Schlueter reminded the board that they would have to have a reasonable expectation that 85% of the funds could be spent in a 3-year period.

 

The second item on the agenda was to consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution accepting the best bid received for the purchase of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana. Darrin Manuel offered a motion to adopt a resolution accepting the best bid of R. W. Baird Company, Inc., at a 2.87% interest rate for the purchase of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, which was seconded by Cassie Henry, and approved 9-0 on a voice vote. Mr. Greene arrived after this vote was taken.

 

The next item on the agenda was, "To consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution authorizing the incurring of debt and issuance of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana; and providing for other matters in connection therewith. Mr. Schlueter advised board members that this resolution was a "clean-up" resolution, and would serve to incorporate and summarize all of the actions taken during the special meeting. Upon motion of Wesley Taylor, seconded by Nikki Weldon, board members approved a resolution authorizing the incurring of debt and issuance of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2019, of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana; and providing for other matters in connection therewith, by a margin of 10-0. Mr. Schlueter thanked board members, noting that their strong financial position was a primary reason that they were able to obtain such favorable rates.

 

The final item on the agenda was to consider approval of Budget Revision #3 for FYE 2019. Mr. Vidrine reminded board members that they had received the budget revision during the June 13, 2019, regular board meeting and had chosen to review it for a few days prior to approval. Casey Jones offered a motion to approve Budget Revision #3 for FYE 2019, which was seconded by Nikki Weldon, and approved 10-0, without additional discussion.

 

Following the last agenda item, Mr. Vidrine reminded board members that the board's legal counsel would like to have a workshop to cover the legalities of board meetings, executive sessions, conflicts of interest, and other matters unique to school boards. Options of several venues were discussed, as were the pros and cons of holding such a workshop onsite versus offsite. Board members agreed to request that Mr. Lestage present a school board-focused workshop on August 5, prior to the district attorney's governmental workshop on September 19. In addition, July 8 was decided upon as the date for a special meeting to receive 2019-2020 budget information. The July 8 special meeting will take place at 4:00 pm, prior to the regular committee meetings, which begin at 6:00 pm.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

 

                                                                                                  

Secretary                                                                                 President