April 25, 2002
The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2002, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Baker Kurrus presided.
T. Kenneth James, Superintendent of Schools
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
President Baker Kurrus called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Five members of the Board were present at roll call; Dr Daugherty and Ms. Strickland were absent. Kathy Daneshmandi, teacher at Cloverdale Elementary School, and Diane Drilling, student at Hall High School served as ex-officio representatives to the Board for the month of April.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Kurrus made brief opening remarks
and welcoming comments. He introduced
the Booker Arts Magnet School string ensemble directed by
Mr. Joe Cripps.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dr. James introduced the District’s seventeen National Merit and National Achievement Scholarship winners. Each of the students present was presented with a plaque in recognition of their achievement.
National Merit Finalists:
Central High School: Elizabeth Arnold, Melissa Bandy, Jay Bauman, Edward Fleming, Chris Fox-Lent, James Harrell, Toby Huang, Charles Lyford, Solvig Pittenger, Alex Schmidt, Gary Slater, James Szenher, Maxwell Teitle-Paule, Tracy Tran
Parkview Magnet High School: Anita Budhraja
National Achievement Finalists:
Central High School: Frederick McKindra and Justin Mercer
The second recognition certificates were presented to Mabelvale Magnet Middle School student, Archie Lester, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, represented by Renee Burks. Archie was diagnosed with cancer, has been undergoing chemotherapy, and had been out of school since August. The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted his wish to visit Hawaii to see Pearl Harbor. Students and faculty members from Mabelvale have joined together to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation and have collected over $600.00 to date. Archie was able to return to school two weeks ago, and his cancer is in remission.
Dr. James announced that three LRSD schools were selected to receive mini-grants from the Arkansas Space Consortium at UALR. The schools are Washington Magnet School, Mabelvale Magnet Middle School and Forest Heights Middle School. Representatives from these three schools were present to receive their awards from Camille Johnson, K-12 coordinator of the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.
The Superintendent introduced Michael Peterson, principal of Metropolitan Career and Technical Center. Mr. Peterson, in turn, introduced staff members who presented recognition to Metro students who participated in the Statewide VICA competitions. Seventeen of the 23 students will participate in the national competition for their achievement in various vocational areas.
Ex officio representatives to the Board were presented with certificates of appreciation for their service during the month of April; Kathy Daneshmandi, teacher at Cloverdale Elementary School, and Diane Drilling, Hall High School student.
Prior to the partnership recognition, Debbie Milam announced that the District’s volunteer service hours for the year were in excess of $6 million. A mock check was on display here as well as at the annual VIPS celebration, An Evening for the Stars.
In addition, Ms. Milam announced a parent involvement planning meeting to be held on Tuesday, April 30 at 6:00 p.m., Parkview Magnet auditorium. Interested parents were invited to attend.
Ms. Milam presented certificates in recognition of new business / school partnerships as noted below. Ms. Magness made a motion to accept the new partnerships, Mr. Rose seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
The new partnerships were:
Dunbar Magnet Middle School, represented by Karen Greenlee in partnership with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, represented by Kelly Whitehorn
Cloverdale Magnet Middle School, represented by Angela Munns, William Broadnax and Najmah Muhammad in partnership with TSF, Inc., represented by Tom Frazier and Julie Craig
Jane Harkey, principal of Chicot Elementary School, introduced members of the Chicot Family Literacy Program. These Chicot parents and other community members made a brief presentation on the ESL program and achievements and other efforts to reach the Hispanic families in the Chicot area. They presented Board members with copies of a handbook that was developed as part of their English language and computer training.
D. Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association
Frank Martin and Clementine Kelley were present. Mr. Martin addressed the Board, stating that he was hesitant to bring up a matter that would normally be handled in private through the grievance process. He stated information specific to personnel matters involving two District coaches.
These employee’s grievances had been heard and decided by an independent arbitrator, and Mr. Martin stated he felt that the District was violating the PN agreement by not following and accepting the arbitrator’s ruling. He asked the Board to ensure that the PN agreement be followed to the letter in matters relating to the assignment of these employees for the next school year.
E. Joshua Intervenors
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Ms. Magness congratulated the students at Parkview Magnet School for their outstanding performance in the drama department’s production of “Working.” She also expressed appreciation to the VIPS staff for their hard work in preparation for the annual Evening for the Stars.
Mr. Berkley noted appreciation for all of the VIPS and the hours they contribute to the District. He announced that the Little Rock Public Education Foundation is now incorporated, and he challenged fellow board members to make their donations to the fund. He noted that former board member, Senator John Riggs, had made the first significant donation of $25,000 to the foundation fund.
Mr. Rose stated that he had been contacted by some of the developers who are attempting to “push through” implementation of TIF districts in Little Rock. He reminded fellow board members to listen with caution as they are approached with the idea that we could benefit from this endeavor. He also made remarks regarding the budget cuts being made by the State of Arkansas, and said that the majority of these fund reductions would fall on the backs of the poorest people in the State.
Dr. Mitchell noted that most of the members of the Board and the Superintendent had attended the National School Boards Association annual meeting in New Orleans. She stated that the workshops and staff development sessions made them better Board members, provided motivation for them to do a good job, and gave them an opportunity to bond with each other.
Mr. Kurrus thanked all of the District’s volunteers and noted that his wife had received an award at the Evening for the Stars. Commenting on Mr. Rose’s remarks earlier referring to the statewide budget cuts for education, Mr. Kurrus noted that the LRSD was “stepping up” and would give teachers their raises even though the state has reduced our allocations.
Mr. Babbs reported that there was no new information regarding the filing for release from federal court monitoring. He noted that the Joshua intervenors had filed a request for an extension to submit their objections to the release, but the Court has made no decision as yet.
Dr, Stewart reported that another round of budget reductions from the state had been announced, with the projected impact in excess of $600,000. He stated that we might have to tap into reserve funds to finish up this school year in order to balance the budget but, as noted earlier by Mr. Kurrus, salaries will not be impacted at this time. Dr. James stated that additional cuts might occur after June 1.
Mr. Eaton reported for Mr. Goodman. The bond projects status report was printed in the agenda.
The Internal Auditors’ Report was printed as part of the Board’s
Mr. Becker was present, but provided no additional information.
Ms. Neal was present and briefly reviewed the report printed in the Board’s agenda. Of significant note was that the wide area network would be complete next week. Eleven sites are up and running on the new phone system, and two will be completed each week until they are finished.
V. APPROVAL OF ROUTINE MATTERS
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on March 21, 2002, and from a special meeting held on April 11, 2002, were presented for review and approval. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
VI. INSTRUCTIONAL SERVICES DIVISION
Policy IHBEA, which provides for educational provisions for students who are identified as limited English proficient was modified as part of an overall review of these services. Newcomer Centers were originally operational in five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. It was found that services could be provided more effectively if the elementary school students were allowed to attend school in their attendance zone or neighborhood school. As a result, elementary assignment to the Newcomers Centers is being phased out, and secondary level ESL students are being provided the option of attending a school with a Newcomer Center or their attendance zone school. The administration’s proposal would result in a savings in transportation costs.
Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the revised policy IHBEA on first reading. Ms. Magness seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Secondary level social studies textbook review committees presented the
recommended textbooks for the 2002-03 school year. Ms. McNeal and
Dr. Lesley were present to review the recommendations and copies of the textbooks were provided for the Board’s review. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the recommendations. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 5-0.
The Board was asked to approve the submission of a grant proposal in the amount of $1,132,053 to the U. S. Department of Education Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research Grant Program. Receipt of these funds will provide for implementation of a rigorous evaluation of preschool curricula that provide information to support early childhood programs. The District will partner with the Waterford Early Reading Program and the Dialogic Reading Preschool program in order to implement the program at ten elementary schools in the LRSD. Local matching funds were not required. Ms. Magness moved to maintain the February submission of this grant. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Mary Paal, Director of the Safe Schools / Healthy Students project, provided an in-depth review of the second quarterly report and project status. A copy of the report had been previously provided for the Board’s review and it was noted that this is the second year of the three-year funding cycle.
VII. ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DIVISION
A. First Reading: Health Policies – JE, JLC, JLCA, JLCB, JLCC, JLCD and JLCE
A review and revision of the entire policy manual section on health-related issues was presented for the Board’s consideration. The administration recommended approval of these policies on first reading. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the policies as presented for first reading. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 5-0.
B. Request to Increase School Breakfast and Lunch Prices
The Administrative Services Division of Child Nutrition presented a proposal for increasing the price of school meals effective for the 2002-03 school year. The last increase was during the 1998-99 school year, at which time lunch prices were increased, but breakfast prices remained the same as the cost in 1982-83. The proposed increase is in the amount of $.25 per meal at breakfast and lunch. Ms. Magness made a motion to approve the request for a price increase for breakfast and lunch in the 2002-03 school year; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
C. Contract Revisions
Dr. Hurley presented revisions to the 2000-2003 contracts of security officers, paraprofessionals and custodians. These changes were implemented at the beginning of the contract terms and were presented for formal review and approval of the Board. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the amendments to the contracts for these employee groups. Ms. Magness seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
D. Personnel Changes
Personnel items were presented as a part of the Board’s agenda and the administration recommended Board approval. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the personnel changes as presented. Ms. Magness seconded the motion and it carried 5-0.
VIII. BUSINESS SERVICES DIVISION
A. Resolution Authorizing Lease of School Buses
The Board was asked to approve a resolution authorizing postdated warrants to finance the purchase of twelve used school buses. The payments will run from 2003 to 2009, at an interest rate of 4.5%. Payment will be in seven installments of $65,568.20, with closing costs of $5,020. A majority of the expense will be offset by savings in fuel and maintenance costs and the amounts received through the sale of old school buses. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the resolution; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Donations of Property
The Board was asked to approve acceptance of recent donations to the District. Mr. Berkley made a motion to accept the donations, Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. Mr. Berkley read the list of items as noted in the following chart:
Franklin Elementary School
Early Literacy materials valued at $1,500.
Cash in the amount of $1,038. for purchase of school uniforms
Union Pacific Railroad / Adopt-A-Child Project
Second Baptist Church
Forest Heights Middle School
Cash in the amount of $100. to the Athletic Department
Mr. & Mrs. Nolen C. Wilson
Jefferson Elementary School
Three (3) laptop computers, valued at approximately $900 each for use in first grade classrooms
Cash in the amount of $220. to the Book Fair for vouchers for needy students
An American Flag
University of Arkansas Systems Offices
University of Arkansas Systems Offices / Dr. Alan B. Sugg
UAMS Division of Mental Health
Mabelvale Middle School
Five dry erase boards and three chalkboards, estimated at $975.00
Two overhead projectors, two electric pencil sharpeners, an electric hole punch, Sony Handcam vision camcorder with tripod, and miscellaneous office supplies valued at $1,000
$2,000 cash to the Accelerated Reader Incentive Program to purchase higher-level books, to fund AR incentive parties, and to purchase rewards for top AR students
100 buddy passes, valued at $400 for the AR end-of-year party and ten free passes valued at $80.00
Reeves Fasteners and Industrial Supplies
Mabelvale Magnet Middle School PTSA
Trinity Episcopal Outreach Program
Metropolitan Career-Technical Center
Miscellaneous mixing materials and agitator lids, valued at $2,500 for auto body repair shop
Roper Auto Parts
Miscellaneous school supplies valued at approximately $100.00
$200 cash to be used to purchase books for the library
Miscellaneous school supplies and character education book covers, valued at over $500.
1,000 books collected and donated to the school library
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Theta Sigma Graduate Chapter
Jimmy Morris, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. , Pi Omicron Chapter
Morris Anderson / State Farm Insurance Company
Chenal Nelson, Student at Mt. St. Mary’s, member of St. Mark Baptist Church
Little Rock School District Desegregation Scholarship Fund
B. Financial Report
Milhollen was present to review the financial reports printed in the Board's
agenda. Mr. Berkley made a motion to
approve the reports as submitted.
Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
IX. SCHOOL SERVICES DIVISION
A. First Reading: Policy KBBA – Custodial and Non-custodial Parent Rights and Responsibilities
Policy KBBA, Custodial and Non-custodial Parent Rights and Responsibilities, was drafted to provide guidance to school personnel with regard to access to students and to school records by parents. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the policy on first reading. Mr. Rose seconded the motion, and it carried 5-0.
B. TAP Update
The Board heard a report from Ann Mangan and Sharon Brooks regarding implementation of the TAP Program in their schools. Rockefeller Elementary School will receive $507,450 and Stephens will receive $692,325 for the three-year implementation period. This initiative, funded by the Walton Family Foundation, stresses accountability and helps to provide higher teacher salaries as a means to improve student achievement. The principals have begun interviewing and selecting master and mentor teachers.
X. DISTRICT OPERATIONS
A. Easement: City of Little Rock / Pulaski Heights Elementary
B. Quitclaim Deed - Easement: City of Little Rock / Hall High School
Right of Way / Cloverdale Middle School
Mr. Eaton presented requests for easements and right of way requests by the City of Little Rock. The first request provides for an easement at Pulaski Heights Elementary School for the relocation of a sewer line. The second submission requests approval for a deed of approximately 30 feet of frontage property at Hall High School, where a sidewalk will be installed. The third request will authorize the transfer of less than one acre at Cloverdale Middle School to provide street improvements north of the school building.
Ms. Magness made a motion to approve the property transfer and easement requests by the City of Little Rock as requested by administration. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
XI. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. James briefly reminded Board members of the dates for the high school graduation ceremonies. Fair and Hall High graduations are on May 28, Central High graduation is on May 29, and Parkview and McClellan ceremonies will be on May 30. All of the commencement ceremonies are to be held at Alltel arena.
The Board recessed briefly at 8:21 p.m. to clear the Boardroom and prepare for an employee hearing.
XII. EMPLOYEE HEARING
An employee was recommended for termination. Dr. Hurley provided information for the Board’s review, and noted that although the employee requested the hearing, he was not present. The administration asked the Board to uphold the recommended termination.
Mr. Berkley made a motion to uphold the superintendent’s recommendation of termination based on the allegations submitted in the principal’s request for termination. Ms. Magness seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
There being no further business before the Board, Ms. Magness moved to adjourn at 8:43 p.m. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: 05-23-02 Original documents signed by:
H. Baker Kurrus, President
Tony Rose, Secretary