The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, 2004, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. The meeting date was rescheduled from May 27 to accommodate the annual high school graduation ceremonies. President Tony Rose presided.
Morris L. Holmes, Interim Superintendent
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Mr. Rose called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. Six members of the Board were present at roll call; Dr. Daugherty arrived at 6:55 p.m. In addition, ex officio representatives Susan Bonominio, teacher at Williams Magnet Elementary School, and Keenan Williams, student at Hall High School, were also present.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Rose welcomed the audience and asked Dr. Holmes to proceed with the presentation of recognitions and citations.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dr. Holmes announced that Yang Dai had been selected as a Presidential Scholar, one of 141 selected this year nationwide. She will be recognized with the other selected students June 19 – 22 in Washington. DC. Yang could not be present, but the citation presentation included recognition of many achievements; Yang earned perfect scores on the ACE and the SAT, and has chosen to graduate early to attend Princeton in the fall of 2004.
Students at Cloverdale Magnet Middle School were recognized for successful participation in the Economics Fair at Henderson State University. Their teacher, Amy Walker, was present and introduced the winning students, Theo Pippins, Aisha McDonald, and Mahogany McClure.
Amanda Verma, a junior at Central High School, was recognized for her participation in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Baltimore, MD. Amanda won first place in the medicine and health category, for research done at UAMS under the direction of Dr. Thomas Kelly. Amanda received a $16,000 scholarship and a trip to London in June to participate in the International Youth Science Forum.
Kristian Henderson was selected to receive a $25,000 scholarship in the annual Discover Card Tribute Award Scholarship Program. The scholarship is provided in coordination with the American Association of School Administrators, and Kristian, a junior at Central High School, was selected as one of nine national winners. She will attend the awards ceremony in Riverwoods, Illinois this summer.
Kris Zumwalt, a seventh grade student at Cloverdale Magnet Middle School, won first place in the Sybil Nash Abrams Memorial Student Poetry Contest. The award included a cash award and an invitation to attend the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas Spring Workshop in Springdale this summer.
Members of the Geyer Springs Neighborhood Association attended the meeting in recognition of the newly formed BFI Children of Promise Scholarship Foundation. Donna Hall, principal of Geyer Springs Elementary School, Willie Hinton, Ward 2 Alderman, and Dale Stevener, General Manager of BFI were present. Joan Adcock, member-at-large of the City of Little Rock Board of Directors, read the poem Children of Promise, written by Joa Stafford-Humphrey.
The Children of Promise fund will provide scholarships for Geyer Springs students who maintain good grades and citizenship throughout their middle and high school years. Their achievements will be tracked, and the scholarship funds will be made available when they enter post-secondary educational programs.
Terese Klaus, a sixth grade social studies and science teacher at Henderson Magnet Middle School, was recently named the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year by the Bowman Road Sam’s Club store. Ms. Klaus is a first year teacher, and was nominated by her principal, Marvin Burton.
Jo Evelyn Elston, Director of Pupil Services, introduced members of her staff and student representatives of participating Peer Helpers groups. As a community service project, students raised $5,520, which was donated to The Arkansas Rice Depot. Students from Carver Magnet Elementary School raised over $1,000.00 and students from Booker Magnet Elementary School raised over $900.00. School Counselors Tracy Thompson, Vivian Johnson and Tammy Ringler were present as well.
The District’s Director of Human Resources, Beverly Williams, was recognized for her recent election to a three-year term on the Alumni Association Board of Hendrix College in Conway.
Bryan Day, Zone 3 representative to the Board, was recognized for becoming certified as an Honor Board Member by the Arkansas School Boards Association. The certification indicates completion of 15 hours of mandatory and voluntary school board member training.
Several employees were recognized on their recent retirement from the LRSD: Edith Blythe, Ollie Bradford, Mary Jane Cheatham, Larry Cobbs, Barbara Folsom, Sarah Williams, and Joyce Wyatt. Each of them received a plaque in appreciation for their many years of service to the District.
The final Superintendent’s citations were given to the ex officio representatives to the Board for the Month of May: Suzanne Bonaminio, teacher at Williams Magnet Elementary School, and Keenan Williams, student at Hall High School.
Prior to recognition of the partnerships, Debbie Milam announced the District’s total number of volunteer service hours, which was celebrated recently at the annual VIPS Night for the Stars. A total of 464,000 volunteer hours accumulated during the 2003-04 school year, valued at over half-million dollars.
Ms. Milam presented one new business and school partnership for the Board’s adoption:
Baseline Elementary School, represented by Charlotte Cornice, in partnership with McDonald’s on Geyer Springs & Baseline
Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the formation of the partnership; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Katherine Wright Knight announced a recent gift to the District’s Mahlon Martin Staff Development Library at the Instructional Resource Center; $2,200 worth of digital camera equipment will be available for teachers to use on loan.
Ms. Knight thanked Dr. Holmes for his service to the District over the past few months. She thanked the Board for having the foresight to bring him in as the interim superintendent, and she expressed hope that he would be considered as the next permanent superintendent. She stated that this had been a very good year with no major public crises, due in part to respect and admiration for Dr. Holmes’ leadership.
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Dr. Mitchell reported that she had attended the SECME Awards Program, coordinated by Jo Evelyn Elston and the Pupil Services staff. She commended the students on their work and remarked that their “amazing projects” were evidence of what can be achieved when students start early taking math, science and technology courses.
Dr. Mitchell also attended the Bob Sarver Memorial Banquet to recognize students who help each other and learn to “give back” to their peers.
Mr. Kurrus expressed pride and appreciation for a successful school year. He thanked parents, students, teachers, and all who were involved in making the educational experience a positive one for his children and all students in the LRSD.
Mr. Kurrus commented briefly on the commemoration of the May 17, 1954 ruling by Justice Earl Warren, known as the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. He had attended a community meeting where Attorney Chris Mercer spoke on the topic of “separate but unequal” and he stressed the importance of positive attitudes and “getting to know our neighbors.”
Mr. Day congratulated all the high school students who would be graduating the following week from LRSD high schools. He thanked his fellow Board members for the good experiences he has had over the past eight months.
Mr. Rose thanked the LRSD and all who have been involved in providing an excellent education to his daughter.
Ms. Strickland commented on the report provided in the Board’s agenda regarding the newly formed Student Assignment committee. She thanked the committee members for agreeing to serve, and asked that future meetings not be scheduled on Wednesday nights.
Mr. Babbs was not present, but had provided a written report for the Board’s agenda. The report included a brief summary regarding the first meeting of the Student Assignment Committee, notice and recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, and an update on the process of the District’s attempt to expand Pre-K programs.
Dr. Stewart briefed the Board on the process being utilized to prioritize the budget. Department managers had submitted their wish lists and the process of prioritizing would begin with a detailed review with the Superintendent and Cabinet members.
On the revenue projections, no revisions of the original estimated state aid had yet been provided, but notice of tax assessments indicate an increase in the average growth projections. The reappraisals are becoming effective gradually and will impact revenue incrementally as those taxes are collected.
Dr. Holmes made brief remarks regarding the budget process, and stated that he would be coordinating the meetings for discussion of projected revenue and establishing a reasonable fund balance. He wanted the public to be aware that the revenue dollars are limited, and that reduction in expenditures should be expected in order to maintain a reasonable balance and provide the salaries promised to employees.
Mr. Eaton reviewed the report provided by Mr. Goodman and printed in the Board’s agenda. Construction projects across the District are underway and many will be completed over the summer. Mr. Eaton also detailed several moves that will be accomplished over the summer, with students at Wakefield returning to their new building, and students from Mitchell moving to the Badgett School building while renovations are underway at their school.
Mr. Becker reviewed the report printed in the Board’s agenda. No additional information was requested.
Ms. Neal reported
briefly on the highlights of the report provided in the agenda. She noted that staff development technology
sessions held on
May 3 were well attended and that teachers were gaining technology experience and expertise at a fast pace.
Ms. Neal also noted that Henderson Health-Science Magnet Middle School is installing and implementing an EAST lab. Approximately half of the E-rate applications have been approved and appeals are in process for the half that were questioned or denied.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on April 22, and from a special meeting held on May 13, 2004, were presented for review and approval. There were no corrections noted and the minutes were approved as submitted.
B. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. The administration requested and recommended approval. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the changes; Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
C. Rehire of Current Staff Members
In addition to the routine personnel
matters, the administration recommended approval to rehire all current LRSD
employees with the exception of those who hold positions funded with grant
funds which end prior to June 30, 2005.
Mr. Kurrus made the motion to approve the administration’s recommendation; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
D. Contract Negotiations
Contracts negotiated with the LR
Classroom Teachers Association were presented for the Board’s review
and approval. The changes apply to the
2004-05 school year and affect previously negotiated agreements with transportation employees, including bus drivers, aides, and monitors, and with the District’s security officers. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to ratify the agreements reached by the negotiating teams for transportation and security employees. Mr. Day seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
A. Federal Grant: Smaller Learning Communities
Linda Austin reported that she had submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Education for a Smaller Learning Communities grant for Central and Fair High Schools. The grant would provide $749,928 to restructure the schools into smaller learning communities based on students’ career and academic interests. The proposal, when implemented, would improve overall academic achievement in reading and mathematics and would enhance teachers’ professional development opportunities and incorporate research-based strategies into the instructional day. It is expected that notification will be made by the end of September. Mr. Berkley moved to authorize the administration to maintain the submission. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
B. Federal Grant: Community Technology Center
Ms. Austin reported on a second Federal grant proposal for a Community Technology Center grant, in partnership with EAST, Inc. to expand the Central High School 9th grade technology center. The amount of the application was $500,000 with an equal in-kind match requirement. The proposal would expand access to technology and training for residents of the
Central High community, provide after school, Saturday and summer programs for students and the community, and enhance teachers’ technology-based strategies through increased professional development opportunities. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to authorize the submission; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
C. State Grant: 21st Century Community Learning Center
With the Board’s authorization, a proposal to fund a five-year 21st Century Community Learning Center grant will be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Education. The funds would provide a community learning center at Mabelvale Magnet Middle School which would provide after school, before school, Saturday and summer learning programs. The proposal requests a total of $540,000 over a five-year period. Mr. Berkley moved approval of the submission. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
D. State Grant: Enhancing Education Through Technology Grant
Lucy Neal presented a request for the Board to maintain a submission to the Arkansas Department of Education for an EEET (Enhancing Education Through Technology) Grant. The application was due on May 13, 2004.
The grant was submitted in partnership with the North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School Districts, and would provide a total of $300,000 to provide training for teachers in using the mobile Alphasmart technology labs at Cloverdale Middle School, Henderson Middle School, Mabelvale Magnet Middle School, and Southwest Middle School. The LRSD’s share of the grant would be $100,000 and no matching funds are required.
Ms. Strickland moved to approve the administration’s request to maintain the grant submission. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
E. State Grant: Arkansas Better Chance for School Success
The Early Childhood Department staff submitted a request for the Board’s review and approval of an application to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education for funding of programs for three and four year old children who reside in the LRSD. The ABCSS (Arkansas Better Chance for School Success) program provides early access to educational experiences to pre-school children who are “educationally deprived” as defined by Act 49 of 2004.
The proposal would provide up to $5.5 million from the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Education.
Dr. Stewart responded to questions regarding the District’s current funding of early childhood programs and how this money would be used to expand and enhance what the LRSD is already funding. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the request for application. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
F. Adoption of Health Textbooks
The Health textbook adoption committee provided their recommendations for the replacement of textbooks for the District’s health education courses. Health has traditionally been offered as an elective in grades 9 through 12, and as part of the physical education curriculum in 6th grade. Health will be added to the science curriculum at the 5th grade level in the 2004-05 school year. Age appropriate recommendations for textbook adoption were presented for the Board’s review and approval. Larry Berkley and Sue Strickland served as the Board’s representatives on the adoption committees. Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the selections of the committee; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
G. Adoption of Family & Consumer Science Textbooks / Industrial Technology Education Textbooks
Textbook recommendations for Family Consumer Science and Industrial Technology for grades 7 through 9 were presented for the Board’s review and approval. Carol Green, the Career and Technical Education Director, headed the review committee, and all Family and Consumer Science middle and high school teachers were given the opportunity to provide input and recommendations for the adoption. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the list of textbooks presented for review. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
A. Recommendations for Compliance with Act 1220 of 2003
Margo Bushmiaer, Coordinator of Health Services, presented a recommendation to bring the LRSD into compliance with Act 1220 of 2003. This legislation mandates a school nutrition and physical activity advisory committee that will include members of the Board, administrative staff, food service personnel, teachers, parents, students, health professionals and
community members. A roster of the members of the Physical Activity Advisory Committee was presented for the Board’s approval. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the recommended committee. Mr. Day seconded the motion, and it carried 7-0.
B. CARE Program Tuition Increase
Jo Evelyn Elston, Director of Pupil Services, presented a recommendation to increase the amount charged for the District’s before and after school CARE Program by $15.00 per month; from the current $110 per month to $125.00 per month. CARE is a self-supporting program, and the proposed increase would bring the revenue in line with expenses that will incur when CARE employees are given the raises approved by the Board for all LRSD personnel. Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the recommended increase. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
C. Student Handbook Revisions, 2004-05
Dr. Watson provided recommendations for the revision of the 2004-05 student handbook. At the request of the student representative to the Board, a review of Rule 26 will be conducted, which designates the sanctions for possession of a cell phone or pager. The Board had discussed this request at the agenda meeting, and Dr. Watson agreed to review the suggestion with discipline / handbook committee members and building principals. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the handbook revisions as printed in the Board’s agenda. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried 7-0.
Dr. Watson will return at the June agenda meeting with the results of the review for the Board’s information and a possible revision or amendment.
A. Donations of Property
Board was asked to approve the acceptance of recent donations to schools and
Departments within the District. The
donations are listed in the following chart.
Student ex officio, Keenan Williams, read the items listed
in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Mitchell
made a motion to accept the donated items;
Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Central High School
$500.00 cash to the CHS Jazz Band
$100.00 cash to the CHS LaCrosse Club
$750.00 cash to the CHS Jazz Concert Benefit
Regions Financial Corp.
Joe & Sage Arnold
Donnie Pointer / Coca-Cola
Geyer Springs Elementary
$100.00 cash to the Early Childhood Department
Jeffrey M. Graham, Attorney
Pulaski Heights Elementary
$1,200 cash for trophies and books for most improved readers
Entergy Engineering Dept.
Pulaski Heights Middle School
$2,000.00 cash to the PHMS Mathcounts team for travel expenses to National Competition in Washington, DC
Winthrop and Lisenne Rockefeller
Three printers, one fax machine and assorted computer cables and wires, valued at $200.00
B. Financial Report
The monthly financial summary reports were provided to the Board as part of the printed agenda. Mr. Milhollen was present to review the reports and respond to questions.
IX. CLOSING REMARKS
The Superintendent asked Dr. Lacey to review the upcoming high school graduation dates and middle school commencement ceremony schedule.
X. STUDENT DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS
Dr. Watson presented summary information for two students being recommended for expulsion from the District.
The first student was a 10th grade student at Hall High school. It was reported that he was in possession of a loaded gun on the school campus. The student stated that he found the gun on the school grounds; witnesses stated that had shown the gun to students during the lunch period on the previous day. One of the witnesses took a police officer to the student’s home, and the weapon was located there.
The administration recommended a one-year expulsion as required by Arkansas Law. If the courts do not assign the student to a detention facility, it is recommended that he be placed at the Juvenile Justice Center Step One program.
Mr. Berkley moved to approve the recommendation for one-year expulsion and placement at the JJC for the student. Mr. Kurrus seconded the motion and it carried 4-2, with Dr. Daugherty and Ms. Strickland voting against the motion.
Board members asked Dr. Watson to note in the record that if the student was not placed in a detention facility on the weapons charge, he had a right to a Board appeal hearing
The second student was a 9th grade student assigned to the Alternative Learning Center. The student and three other students were on the football field at McClellan High School after school on February 18, 2004. Witnesses stated that this student pulled a gun and fired into the air, then ran into the community behind the school. A young man who was standing near Geyer Springs Road was hit by a bullet at the same time the shots were fired on the football field.
The student did not have an administrative disciplinary hearing because he was detained by the Juvenile Courts and has been assigned to the Juvenile Justice Center awaiting his court appearance on separate and unrelated charges.
The administration recommended a one-year expulsion as required by Arkansas law. If the courts release the student from the JJC before the calendar year expires, the LRSD will reassign him to that program.
Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the administration’s recommendation. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
APPROVED: _ 06-24-04 __ Originals Signed by:
Tony Rose, President
R. Micheal Daugherty, Secretary