The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, October 13, 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, Don Gray, L. D. Spears, Ray Bowman, Cassie Henry, and Student Representative Kailey Bailey. Kathy Bruner and Wesley Taylor were absent.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Alanna Bradford.
Mr. Vidrine began by asking whether any board members would like to discuss the agenda. Hearing no concerns, Mr. Vidrine accepted a motion offered by Charles Hudson, seconded by Cassie Henry, to adopt the agenda as presented, which was approved upon voting.
Next, board members considered adopting the minutes of the September 8, 2016, regular school board meeting, as published in the official journal. Upon motion of L. D. Spears, seconded by Don Gray, board members voted to adopt the minutes of the September 8, 2016, regular school board meeting as published in the official journal.
Superintendent Tim Cooley opened the Superintendent’s Report by announcing that the week of September 17-21, 2016, would be observed as National School Bus Safety Week. Mr. Cooley expressed appreciation for all of the school personnel who teach bus safety in the classrooms, the bus drivers who transport students safely to and from school each day, and the transportation department mechanics and staff who help keep buses safely in operation.
According to Mr. Cooley, official student count numbers are in, and down slightly – about 13 students – over the same time last year. Board members were advised that some locations posted an increase, while others showed a decline.
Next, board members learned that since no action was taken on the evaluation reward amounts for teachers or the employee sales tax supplement, these amounts remain intact in the budget. In addition, board members were reminded that although the LDOE had provided $44 million statewide for teacher incentive pay, outside the MFP in the past; this year the state chose not to do that, instead providing $20 million inside the MFP, with the amount coming to Beauregard Parish totaling $190,480. Of those funds, $108,536 were allocated by the LDOE for IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) high-cost services, with another $69,524 being allocated for SCA (Supplemental Course Allocations.) The remainder—$12,420—may be used to offset additional increases in costs for other items in the budget, such as the employer portion of the benefits for insurance, which are expected to increase another $571,577 in January.
Mr. Cooley advised board members that a recent survey had been received requesting information about school fees. Responses to this survey have been submitted and copies were provided in each board member’s folder.
According to Mr. Cooley, Early Childhood Performance Profiles, a new report that will assess the performance of early childhood programs statewide will be released in late October. In addition, the latest indication from the Louisiana Department of Education indicates that School Report Cards and District Performance Scores will be released in late November.
Board members were informed that if anyone needed to complete their mandated 6 hours of training for 2016, arrangements had been made with a neighboring parish to offer their LSBA-approved, locally provided, training hours to any Beauregard Parish board member who still needed hours for 2016. Board members interested in completing these hours should contact Mr. Cooley or Ms. Archer.
Following the Superintendent’s report, there was additional discussion over funds distributed outside of the MFP by the Louisiana Department of Education. Board members were reminded that, in the past, these funds had been designated for high cost special needs services and Supplemental Course Allocations, with the remainder to be used as teacher incentive pay. In response to a board member’s question about the student count, Mr. Cooley advised board members that they could estimate the loss of between $7,000 and $9,000 for each student lost over last year’s numbers.
Student Representative Kailey Bailey provided a brief summary of the recent parishwide Student Council meeting, summarizing the general meeting, as well as the break-out sessions designed to get students out of their “comfort zones” to interact with others.
Next, board members were asked to consider changes to the Pupil Progression Plan for 2016-2017. Kim Hayes began by describing the purpose of the Pupil Progression Plan, noting that it covered the period of time from initial school enrollment through high school graduation. Ms. Hayes shared the categories that are addressed in the PPP, such as grade-level promotion for K-8th grade, promotion for grades 9-12, grading scales, retention, remediation, and others. Board members were advised that each year the LDOE sends a template with areas that need to be addressed and local districts must go through mandated steps to developing the PPP, including parent meetings, before submitting the district plan to the LDOE. Ms. Hayes went through each of the areas for which changes were being requested, illustrating much of it with a slide presentation. Board members discussed the grading scales. In response to a board member’s question, Ms. Hayes stated that the grading scale for the parish would continue to be the state-mandated 7-point scale, with the exception of the Advanced Placement (AP), dual-enrollment, and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, which would operate under a 10-point grading scale. Board members heard the details of remediation procedures for non-proficient students, including how students were being offered homework help through a grant-funded homework site being sponsored by the LDOE: Homework Louisiana (www.homeworkla.org.) In addition, in order to address accelerated learning needs, information about the Beauregard Virtual Program was included in the PPP, as was information regarding the changes to the TOPS program. Board members asked questions and discussed the changes to the TOPS program for several minutes. Upon motion of Darrin Manuel, seconded by Charles Hudson, board members voted to approve the changes to the Pupil Progression Plan for 2016-2017.
The next item on the agenda was for board members to hear recommendations from the Finance Committee. The first recommendation–a motion to award bid to John D. Myers and Associates, Inc., for $1,274,400 for construction of a new band room on the South Beauregard campus–was approved without additional discussion. The second recommendation was a motion to approve restructuring the Maintenance III salary schedule, which was discussed briefly. During the discussion, Mr. Ramsey requested that if approved, the proposed restructuring become effective immediately. Of particular interest was the designation of “levels” from 1 to 20, and board members were reminded that “levels’ roughly translate to years experience. In response to questions about the impact of the restructuring on the current budget, Mr. Herrington explained that because there was a Maintenance I position which would remain unfilled in the department, the cost savings of was anticipated to be around $8,000. In addition, it was hoped that the enhanced salary schedule would attract more licensed craftsmen to apply for positions. Mr. Bowman offered a substitute motion to approve restructuring the Maintenance III salary schedule, with the effective date of October 13, 2016, which was seconded by Cassie Henry. Mr. Vidrine summarized the intent of the motion by noting that the action being considered was to fill a hard need and the cost of restructuring of the Maintenance III salary schedule would be offset by leaving a Maintenance I position unfilled. Upon voting, the substitute motion to approve restructuring the Maintenance III salary schedule, with the effective date of October 13, 2016, was approved.
Following the recommendations from the Finance Commitee, board members heard a single recommendation from the Policy Committee, a motion to approve new policy File:DIEA, Preservation of School Board Records Due to Legal Action, with final adoption in November, 2016. In discussion, board members were advised that current policy generally designates destruction of records in three ways: those that may be destroyed after 3 years, those that may be destroyed after 7 years, and those that may never be destroyed (transcripts, state test scores.) Mr. Herrington clarified that this policy would safeguard records that pertain to matters under legal litigation, regardless of whether the time had elapsed for them to be destroyed. Current policy does not make any specific provision for those records involved in legal proceedings to be preserved; currently, length of time is the only criteria for consideration in records destruction. Charles Hudson offered a motion to table action on File:DIEA, Preservation of School Board Records Due to Legal Action, pending opinion of the board’s legal counsel. Mr. Spears seconded the motion to table, which was approved upon voting.
Next, board members approved final adoption of the following two policies without additional discussion, after having completed the waiting period for each:
a. File:BH, School Board Ethics - Motion by Cassie Henry, seconded by Charles Hudson.
b. File:EBBG, Sanitation/Hazardous Substances - Motion by Ray Bowman, Seconded by Charles Hudson.
Before adjournment, Mr. Vidrine stated that LSBA had sent an email requesting completion of the survey on school fees, with a due date of October 14, and advised board members that a single survey was requested for the district, which Mr. Cooley and Ms. Casanovas completed and submitted with information gathered from each of the parish schools. A suggestion was made for the board to look at school fees together in the future, and possibly bring the policy pertaining to school fees before the Policy Committee for consideration, next month.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned by general consent.