The Beauregard Parish School Board met in regular session Thursday, September 13, 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, Martha Jackson, Timothy Hudson, Don Gray and Student Representative Maili Bartz were present.
Timothy J. Cooley, Superintendent, was present and acted as secretary.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Alanna Bradford.
After confirming that all board members had received a copy of the agenda, David Vidrine 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 August 9, 2018, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal. Ray Bowman offered a motion to adopt the minutes as published in the official journal, which was seconded by Cassie Henry. Upon voting, board members adopted the minutes of the August 9, 2018, regular meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, as published in the official journal.
Before beginning the Superintendent’s Report, Superintendent Cooley asked Student Representative Maili Bartz to share her report on the first weeks of school. Ms. Bartz explained that students were settling in with new schedules and routines. According to Ms. Bartz, plans were already being developed for student activities and service projects, such as the holiday food and toy drives.
Next, Mr. Cooley recognized Colonel Jarrett A. Thomas, Fort Polk Garrison Commander, who delivered an update on happenings at the base. Colonel Thomas shared details of the revamping of the golf course at Fort Polk and welcomed board members to visit. In addition, board members were invited to a “Welcome Home” event for Vietnam Veterans, which will take place on at 10:00 am on November 8, 2018 at Fort Polk.
Board members were advised that they would have an invitation in their folders for the 25th anniversary celebration of the “Partners in Education” Program. Mr. Cooley stated that the event would take place at 5:30 pm, on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at the Wooten Theater.
Mr. Cooley announced that Shawn Baggett will serve as principal of Merryville High School, and Cassady Hickingbottom will serve as assistant principal at DeRidder High School. The contract for Shawn Demeritt, Assistant Principal, Singer High School, will be renewed with the effective dates of February 22, 2019, through February 21, 2021.
Next, board members heard from Margie Hieronymus, who presented LEAP 2025 results for Beauregard Parish. Ms. Hieronymus noted that Beauregard Parish met or exceeded the performance of the state as a whole for English/Language Arts and Math, in almost every grade. In addition, two of the parish schools were named Outstanding Schools, based on top growth criteria established by the Louisiana Department of Education: East Beauregard Elementary and Pine Wood Elementary. Board members heard a summary of results in other areas and received a preview of changes which are likely to be implemented in the future.
Mr. Cooley shared information regarding the student count since the beginning of this school year, noting that some locations are showing an increase, but others seem to be trending toward a decrease. Board members heard about the method used to project the enrollment numbers, which includes looking at the numbers of students who will move out of one school and into another (for example, from 5th grade at Pinewood Elementary into the 6th grade at DeRidder Junior High School.) According to Mr. Cooley, most of the schools in DeRidder are showing a decrease, while out-of-town South Beauregard Elementary is showing an increase in enrollment numbers of 28 students. Parishwide, the number of enrolled students is down by about 19 students, and this is being monitored, leading up to the official October 1 student count.
Board members were informed that another bus driver training would take place October 16-19, 2018, from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. The class is free, and according to Mr. Cooley, the need is great for substitute drivers. During a recent Administrators’ Meeting, Mr. Ensminger said that any principal who could get two people signed up, through the class, and then actually drive, would be treated to a meal. In closing, Mr. Cooley asked board members to encourage anyone who is interested to call Mr. Ensminger for additional information, noting that substitute drivers could very easily become permanent drivers.
The next item on the agenda was to recognize the Beauregard Parish Principals of the Year. Marlin Ramsey explained that the Principal of the Year program was hosted each year by the Louisiana Department of Education to honor exceptional school administrators who are committed to student success, demonstrate innovative leadership, and support teachers’ efforts to ensure student progress. Principals who are selected at the parish level, are considered for the state semi-finalist competition. Donnie Love, Beauregard Parish High School Principal of the Year and former principal at Merryville High School was selected as a state semi-finalist, but was unable to be in attendance. Beauregard Parish Middle School Principal of the Year is David Wentzel. Mr. Ramsey shared some highlights from Mr. Wentzel’s career, and noted that this was his 27th year as an educator.
Next, board members heard from Kari Ifland regarding the Beauregard Parish Teachers of the Year. Ms. Ifland explained the purpose of the program, which is sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Education to recognize the outstanding educators who strive to ensure student success, demonstrate excellence in their field , collaborate with peers, and show leadership inside and outside the classroom environment. Ms. Ifland recognized the Beauregard Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year, Lisa Benoit, of South Beauregard Upper Elementary, and asked Principal Wesley Henry to share a few words about her selection. Next, the Beauregard Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Galloway, was introduced by DeRidder Junior High School Principal, David Wentzel, who spoke about her accomplishments. The Beauregard Parish High School Teacher of the Year was Josh Beard, introduced by Assistant Principal Jason Thibodeaux, who described the qualities that made him an exceptional teacher and noted that Mr. Beard was also selected as a state semi-finalist.
Following these recognitions, Mr.Vidrine stated that the next item was to consider approval of Budget Revision #2 for FYE 18, and reminded board members that it had been presented during the regular meeting in August, to allow time for board members to bring any concerns to Ms. Casanovas. Wesley Taylor offered a motion to approve Budget Revision #2 for FYE 18, which was seconded by Cassie Henry. There being no additional discussion, upon voting, board members voted to approve Budget Revision #2 for FYE 18.
The next item was to receive a report from the BPSB School Safety Committee. Mr. Ramsey stated that the committee had met to discuss many items which had a bearing on safety in our schools, including active shooter training. Mr. Ramsey explained that the purpose of the committee would be to review emergency codes and procedures and to recommend changes, if they would enhance classroom safety and campus security. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, at DeRidder Junior High School. Mr. Ramsey noted that the Louisiana State Police had visited each of the parish campuses, and they would be invited to share their observations and recommendations at the September 26 meeting. In response to questioning, Mr. Ramsey assured board members that safety and fire drills had already been conducted across the parish and advised them that 2 additional sets of “buzz-in” security doors had been installed, bringing the total to four.
Next, board members heard 2 recommendations from the Building and Grounds Committee: 1) A motion to proceed with repairs to the BeauCARE Head Start building, using grant award funds not to exceed $70,000, and 2) A motion to issue a Request for Proposals regarding the South Beauregard High School chiller software and controls. Each motion was approved by board members upon voting, without additional discussion.
The next agenda item was a single recommendation from the Policy Committee, a motion to approve new policy File:JGCF, Behavioral Health Services for Students, with final adoption in October, 2018 after completion of the waiting period. Upon voting the motion was approved.
Next, the board was asked to consider final adoption of policy File:JCAB, Interrogations and Searches, after completion of the waiting period. Board members were reminded that this policy had been sent back to the Policy Committee after review by the board’s legal counsel, and was now being recommended for final adoption, following the waiting period. After additional brief discussion, board members voted in favor of granting final adoption to policy File:JCAB, Interrogations and Searches, after completion of the waiting period.
Board members next were asked to consider final adoption of policy File:JCDB, Student Dress Code, after completion of the waiting period. There being no additional discussion on the provisions of this policy, board members voted to approve final adoption of File:JCDB, Student Dress Code, after completion of the waiting period.
The final agenda item was to consider participation in the PACE program for financial software training. Lesia Casanovas explained to board members that Tyler Technologies (creator of Munis Financial Solutions) has a 3-year continuing education training program, which provides an opportunity for Tyler Technologies to assess how the software is meeting the needs of its clientele. This will provide an opportunity for staff users to receive training in the latest features and enhancements directly from the company. Ms. Casanovas advised board members that participation would cost $5,775 + travel expenses. The training would cover such issues as the consumption gap caused by the departure of trained employees and hiring of new employees, changes in functionality created by legislative changes, and upgrades in technology and software. In response to a question, Ms. Casanovas noted that the last on-site software training had been provided in 2007. Upon motion of Darrin Manuel, seconded by Wesley Taylor, board members voted to participate in the PACE program for financial software training, at a cost of $5,775 + travel.
There being no further business, upon motion of Wesley Taylor, seconded by Cassie Henry, the meeting was adjourned.