The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 6:00 pm in the Central Office Board Room. David Vidrine, Darrin Manuel, Kathy Bruner, L. D. Spears, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor, Martha Jackson, Don Gray and Student Representative Maili Bartz were present. Ray Bowman and Timothy Hudson were absent.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Theresa Harlow.
David Vidrine began by stating that if all board members had reviewed the agenda, he would entertain a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. There being no discussion on the agenda, upon voting, the agenda was adopted.
Next, board members were asked if everyone had received the minutes of the April 12, 2018, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. L. D. Spears identified an error in the April minutes that incorrectly specified the amount of the raise included in the Superintendent’s contract as 1%. Board members learned that the correct amount should have been just under 4% or around $4,000. Kathy Bruner offered a motion to amend the minutes to express the correct amount of the Superintendent’s raise as $4,000, which was seconded by L. D. Spears. Upon voting, board members approved amending the minutes to include the dollar amount of the Superintendent’s raise. Next, upon motion of Cassie Henry, seconded by Darrin Manuel, board members voted to adopt the amended minutes.
The Superintendent’s report started with Maili Bartz sharing her Student Representative’s report. Ms. Bartz began by expressing relief that spring testing was winding down. Board members heard that Beauregard Parish had been well represented in post-season spring athletics: the DeRidder High School softball team had brought home the Class 4A state championship, the DeRidder High School baseball team had earned a place in the state semi-finals, and the Merryville High School baseball team had won the school’s first ever state championship. Ms. Bartz also shared that the annual Scholar’s Banquet had honored a record number of seniors, this year, and noted that all of the previous accomplishments were in spite of losing several days due to weather, and dealing with a system-wide, computer virus. According to Ms. Bartz, this resilience demonstrates the true quality of the educational programs in Beauregard Parish.
Next, Mr. Cooley asked Terrie Smith to provide an update on a Jump Start summer welding program grant. Ms. Smith explained that the funds for this program were provided by the Louisiana Department of Education, through Supplemental Course Allocation (SCA) funds which had not been expended by districts earlier in the year. These funds were collected and redistributed in the form of grants, for which districts submitted proposals. The Jump Start summer welding program will accommodate 16 students in an intensive 8-hour per day class, 4 days per week, lasting 4 weeks. If students successfully complete the summer session, they will receive a $600 stipend, and will test with an AWS-certified tester, after which they will receive the AWS Level 1 Advanced Certification, if successful. In response to an inquiry, Ms. Smith stated that the actual dollar amount of the grant was for $17,408 and noted that the classes would be held at Singer High School, which has 16 booths–enough to accommodate all 16 students.
Following Ms. Smith’s report, Kim Hayes spoke to board members regarding the upcoming Teacher Leader Summit and planned professional development activities. Ms. Hayes advised board members that approximately 50 professional employees (principals, assistant principals, teachers, counselors, central office staff, etc.) will be attending the Teacher Leader Summit in New Orleans at the end of May. According to Ms. Hayes, there will be 300 different sessions for teachers to attend and, in addition, two parish teachers will be trained as content leaders. These content leaders will assist with implementation of math and ELA curriculum, to ensure that it is presented consistently and effectively across all schools in the district. Some training will be conducted locally and involve district personnel and Louisiana Department of Education staff, and 12 teachers will attend the national Math and Science Summer Institute. Ms. Hayes described Advanced Placement professional development opportunities, noting that one teacher would be trained in AP Computer Science Principles. Board members learned that the parish-wide professional development would take place on August 10, and would involve both 4- and 5-day school faculty and staff.
Mr. Cooley spoke to board members about the recent choir festival held at DeRidder High School, noting that around 375 students participated. Mr. Cooley thanked Eddie Joslin, Fine Arts Supervisor, and the parish vocal music teachers for organizing the event.
Mr. Cooley shared an update on the 2011 Student Representative to the Board, Ryan Hitchens. According to Mr. Cooley, Mr. Hitchens went on to serve as a student representative to BESE, and this year will finish graduate studies at Harvard University, with a degree in Education Policy and Management.
Board members were advised that the board’s legal counsel had approved the Superintendent’s contract and that it would be effective June 13, 2018, through June 30, 2020.
In closing, Mr. Cooley announced that the Beauregard Parish graduation rate is 94.7%, up from 91.6% last year, which places it fourth among all districts in Louisiana, and well above the 78.1% state graduation rate. In the 12 years that this data has been collected by the state, Beauregard Parish has ranked in the top 10 districts every year. Mr. Cooley expressed appreciation for the work that has been done to earn this ranking.
Next, Board members honored the Beauregard Parish Outstanding School Support Employees of the year. Kari Ifland spoke to board members about this program, which is sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Education to honor exceptional, non-instructional school employees. Ms. Ifland noted that these employees maintain the school grounds to keep them clean and safe, answer the phones and represent the school to the public, take care of financial operations, transport our students, aid teachers in the classrooms, and feed our students nutritious meals. Nominees display leadership, provide service beyond what is expected, and exemplify professionalism. Together, according to Ms. Ifland, the three honorees bring a combined 42 years of service to our school system. Theresa Harlow, Principal, Pine Wood Elementary, presented Della Brand, Beauregard Parish Outstanding Elementary Support Employee; David Wentzel, Principal, DeRidder Junior High School, introduced April Walters, Beauregard Parish Outstanding Middle School Support Employee; and Joey Bartz, Principal, South Beauregard High School honored Barbara Lisotta, Beauregard Parish Outstanding High School Support Person. Each of the principals described the qualities that made their chosen support employee stand out, and each honoree received a plaque.
The next agenda item was to hear recommendations from the Finance Committee, two motions as listed below:
a. Motion to transfer remaining bond funds to Technology to assist with the implementation of Google Classroom. In response to a question, Mr. Vidrine reminded board members that the remaining technology money–a bit less than $340,000, which remained from the $40 million bond issue–was originally set aside for the construction of an activity room at Singer High School. During the May 7 committee meetings, a suggestion was made to use this money to help with the cost of deploying Google Classroom, and a motion was approved making this recommendation to the full board. Upon voting, the motion to transfer remaining bond funds to Technology to assist with the implementation of Google Classroom was approved in a 7-1 (Jackson) vote.
b. Motion to adopt Resolution 2018004–Industrial Tax Exemption. There being no additional discussion on this item, the motion to adopt Resolution 2018004–Industrial Tax Exemption was approved.
There being no additional business, the meeting was adjourned.