The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, November 8, 2018, at 6:00 pm in the Central Office Board Room. David Vidrine, Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, Kathy Bruner, L. D. Spears, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor, and Martha Jackson were present. Timothy Hudson, Don Gray,
and Student Representative Maili Bartz were absent.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Matt Sherer.
David Vidrine asked whether all board members had received a copy of the agenda and stated he would entertain a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Upon motion of Ray Bowman, seconded by Wesley Taylor, board members voted in favor of adopting the agenda as presented.
The first item on the agenda was to consider adopting the minutes of the October 11, 2018, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. Cassie Henry offered a motion to adopt the minutes as published in the official journal, which was seconded by Darrin Manuel. There being no discussion, board members voted to adopt the minutes of the October 11, 2018, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal.
Before beginning the Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Cooley asked Colonel Jarrett A. Thomas, Garrison Commander, Fort Polk, to speak on current happenings at the base. Colonel Thomas shared that he often has the opportunity to speak to parents regarding the schools their children attend and noted that the consensus across the board seemed to be that parents were very pleased by the educational opportunities being offered to their children. He commended Beauregard Parish schools for providing a top-notch education, describing how parents make the important decision about where to send their children to school. In addition, Colonel Thomas expressed how well the Vietnam Veterans’ Welcome Home event had gone. He reminded board members that as a nation, we didn’t do a very good job welcoming those soldiers back, and that this had been our opportunity to make it right.
The Superintendent’s Report began with Mr. Cooley noting that November 12-16, 2018, was being observed as American Education Week. “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility,” is the theme for the week, according to Mr. Cooley.
Next, Mr. Cooley shared that School and District Performance Scores had been released by the Louisiana Department of Education and asked Margie Hieronymus to present information regarding the scores and how they were calculated. Ms. Hieronymus began by noting that the LDOE “School Finder” website (http://www.louisianaschools.com), would have more detailed information than would be presented during the meeting. Moving on to the scores themselves, Ms. Hieronymus described the way the scores would be displayed: 2017-18 scores using the current (new) formula, the 2017-18 scores under the previous (old) formula, and the 2016-17 scores under the old formula for comparison with the 2017-18 results, noting that under the new formula, scores appear significantly lower, but in using the old formula for comparison, actually showed little change. In addition, for the first time, the state has released data for the agencies which make up the Early Childhood Network, and Ms. Hieronymus stated that the Pre-K programs and child care centers in our area had performed very well. Ms. Hieronymus shared that the district had maintained a letter grade of “B,” and that no school in the district had scored below a “C,” noting that 2 schools had received a letter grade of “A;” and in addition, the graduation rate/strength of diploma for all high schools and the district as a whole is within the range for an “A.” DeRidder High School had earned the designation of being an “Equity Honoree,” indicating that they had performed better than 90% of schools in the state. Mr. Cooley concluded his report by noting how difficult it had been to interpret the enormous amount of data that had been generated, and commended all of the schools for their effort. Board members asked several questions regarding how scores are calculated for different schools and grade configurations: elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and combination schools (those that encompass two or more levels) and discussed this for several minutes.
The next agenda item was to hear a recommendation from the Finance Committee, a motion to submit application for LA4 Early Childhood grant funds. In response to a question, board members were reminded that, if the grant award was received, it would allow for additional Pre-K classes to be added. Upon voting, board members approved the motion to submit application for LA4 Early Childhood grant funds.
The final recommendation was a motion from the Policy Committee to approve new policy, File:EBBB, School and Student Safety, with final adoption in December, 2018. Mr. Herrington reminded board members that the policy addressed threats and threat assessment. Upon voting board members approved new policy, File:EBBB, School and Student Safety, with final adoption in December, 2018, without additional discussion.
There being no further business, upon motion of Kathy Bruner, the meeting was adjourned by general consent.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD OF THE PARISH OF BEAUREGARD, STATE OF LOUISIANA, TAKEN AT A SPECIAL MEETING HELD THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2018.
The Parish School Board of Beauregard Parish met in Special Session on Thursday, November 29, 2018, 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 Thursday, November 29, 2018, beginning at 6 o'clock (6:00) pm, in the Beauregard Parish School Board Central Office Annex, Lab B, at 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, LA.
*1. To consider transfer of committed stabilization reserve funds to stabilize excess distribution of sales tax funds.
*2. To consider bus purchases for FYE 2019 from the ad valorem reserve fund.
*3.To consider and take action with respect to announcing that the Parish School Board of
the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, plans to consider adopting a resolution ordering and calling an election to authorize the incurring of debt and issuance of bonds therein to be held within Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, at its meeting on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Parish School Board Office, 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, Louisiana.
Board members present were President David Vidrine, Vice-President Darrin Manuel, Ray Bowman, Kathy Bruner, L. D. Spears, Cassie Henry, Martha Jackson, Timothy Hudson, and Don Gray. Wesley Taylor was absent.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
The invocation and pledge were led by Cord Ensminger.
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.
The first agenda item asked board members to consider transfer of committed stabilization reserve funds to stabilize excess distribution of sales tax funds. David Vidrine shared his reason for requesting that this item be placed on the agenda, noting that the tax overpayment credit was reducing the sales tax collections by around $35,800 per month. Mr. Vidrine asked the board to consider mitigating the impact of the offsets from the budget stabilization reserve funds, in light of the fact that the sales tax supplements would be issued in December. Ms. Casanovas reviewed the original full amount of overpayment, how much had been repaid through the end of the last fiscal year, and noted that $107,480 had been repaid through these offset credits since the beginning of the fiscal year in July 2018, leaving a balance owing of $250,786. In response to a question, Ms. Casanovas stated that the debt should be paid out in about seven months, in May 2019. Darrin Manuel offered a motion to transfer the money to cover the remaining amount due for the Boise/PCA tax overpayment offset on a monthly basis from the 5% contingency fund, including the first few months of the FYE 19, for which the credits had already been claimed. The motion was seconded by Ray Bowman and approved upon voting.
The next item was for board members to consider bus purchases for FYE 2019 from the ad valorem reserve fund. Mr. Vidrine stated that he had looked at the budget and wanted to look at possibly minimizing the impact of purchasing the six buses on the general fund, and suggested that the board consider purchasing these buses from the ad valorem reserve fund. Mr. Ensminger advised the board that the purchase price for one special education bus (with air conditioning and a wheelchair lift) and five standard 77-passenger buses would be $493,000. Mr. Cooley stated that the DEQ/Volkswagon settlement should reduce that amount by 25%. Mr. Cooley also informed board members that a provider had already been secured who could cut the frames of the old buses and put a hole in the engine block, so the retired buses could never be used again, per the terms of the settlement. Upon motion of Kathy Bruner, seconded by Timothy Hudson, board members voted to purchase six buses from the FYE 19 ad valorem reserve fund.
Next, board members were asked to consider and take action with respect to announcing that the Parish School Board of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, plans to consider adopting a resolution ordering and calling an election to authorize the incurring of debt and issuance of bonds therein to be held within Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, at its meeting on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Parish School Board Office, 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, Louisiana. Grant Schlueter, bond counsel with Foley and Judell, and Stephanie Perry with Raymond James Financial Services were present. Mr. Schlueter stated that he wanted to clarify that this item was to allow the Beauregard Parish School Board to keep its legal options for calling a special election open, by reading an announcement into the minutes that the board intends to consider calling for a bond election in the January meeting. According to Mr. Schlueter, this is not a binding resolution, but will satisfy the new state requirement that the board make an advance announcement publicly, if the board intends to consider calling for a bond election. Mr. Schlueter stated that because of an increase in property valuation the school board could be eligible for up to $29 million, without an increase in the current property tax rate of 17.8 mils, if the bond proposal were passed by the voters on May 4. In addition, Mr. Schlueter explained that if the board chose not to seek a bond election in May, it would be necessary to "roll back" the millage rate when the board levies the property taxes for the year 2019. If the board chose to seek a bond election in the fall elections, which would occur after the millage rates were adopted for 2019, it would only be able to seek around $11 million, without raising the effective rate of taxation. Board members were reminded that bond proceeds could only be used for capital improvement projects, not operations and maintenance. In response to a question about the tax rate rolling forward or backward as it relates to property values, Mr. Schlueter explained that Beauregard experienced a 12% jump in property valuation and when property values rise, less taxes are required to meet debt repayment obligations, and the board is obligated to lower the effective tax rate. Board members discussed the timing of calling an election, noting that 5 months was not very long to prepare, but also observing that the financial consequence of delaying action would be significant. Responding to an inquiry about the urgency of taking action immediately, Mr. Schlueter stated that a new state law required that an announcement be read into the minutes stating the board's intention to consider a resolution, no more than 60 days, nor less than 20 days before any such action. Board members were assured that simply reading the announcement would allow the board to consider the matter of a bond election at the January meeting, but should the board choose not to make the announcement, the May 4 bond election would be off the table. According to Mr. Schlueter, the legal requirements were: 1) read the announcement into the minutes, 2) publish the announcement in the legal journal one time, and 3) notify the local legislative delegation. Mr. Vidrine stated that if there were no objections, Mr. Cooley would read the announcement. Mr. Cooley read the following announcement:
Notice is hereby given that at its meeting to be held on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Parish School Board Office, 202 W. Third Street, DeRidder, Louisiana, the Parish School Board of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana, plans to consider adopting a resolution ordering and calling an election to be held within Parishwide School District of the Parish of Beauregard, State of Louisiana to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds.
Mr. Schlueter advised the board that by the reading of the announcement, they had preserved their option to discuss a bond election at the January 10, 2019, meeting, regardless of whether they decided to proceed at that time.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.