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LINCOLN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

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LINCOLN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD
Ruston, Louisiana
REGULAR SESSION
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 6:00 p.m.
The Lincoln Parish School Board met in Regular Session on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commons Area of Ruston Junior High School 481 Tarbutton Road, Ruston, Louisiana. Members present were Ms. Debbie Abrahm, Mr. Otha Anders, Mr. Michael Barmore, Ms. Lisa Best, Mr. Curtis Dowling, Mr. Danny Hancock, Ms. Mattie Harrison, Ms. Lynda Henderson, Mr. Trott Hunt, Mr. Eddie Jones, Mr. George Mack, Jr., and Mr. Joe Mitcham.
No board member was absent. President Otha Anders called the meeting to order, and the invocation was given by Mr. Mitcham. Ms. Best led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Mr. Anders welcomed board members, staff, and the many visitors to the meeting. Upon a motion by Ms. Best, seconded by Mr. Hancock, the Board unanimously voted by roll call to adopt the agenda as amended deleting the item of Unfinished Business: Bids for Ruston High ag shop and New Tech. Upon a motion by Mr. Hancock, seconded by Mr. Barmore, the Board unanimously voted to approve the minutes of the Regular Session held on April 10, 2012, as distributed. Cathi Cox-Boniol, Director of New Tech @ Ruston, was honored to present the Regional High School Teacher of the Year, Kyle Falting. She provided background information on the Freshman Academy math teacher from Ruston High School and presented him with a plaque in recognition of his selection. Mr. Falting said he was honored to represent Lincoln Parish and the exceptional teachers he works with daily. Another instructor from Ruston High, Emily Howell, was back in front of the Board for more recognition. Ms. Boniol announced that she had recently been chosen as the National Laying the Foundation English Teacher of the Year. Ms. Boniol told a little about the program and Ms. Howell's selection. Ms. Howell thanks the Board and the administration for spending money for quality training for the teachers. Otha Anders congratulated Mr. Falting and Ms. Howell for their desire to excel and allowing the students in Lincoln Parish to reap the benefits. Because of the next agenda item, discussion and action on elementary school attendance zones, Mr. Anders issued a charge regarding ending the desegregation law suit and being declared unitary. He said the modifications must be acceptable by the federal government and courts, hopefully embraced by the citizens of the parish, and should be viewed as an opportunity. Mr. Anders turned the floor over to Superintendent Danny Bell to proceed. The change Mr. Anders mentioned would involve pairing Cypress Springs Elementary with Glen View Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary with Ruston Elementary in an attempt to achieve racial balance in the four elementary schools in Ruston. Mr. Bell reminded those present that two plans to implement the same were under consideration which had both been cleared by the Justice Department. They were: Plan A which would keep the existing attendance zones, but pushed the limits on capacity in the buildings; and, Plan B which modified district lines to draft more contiguous attendance zones better suited to capacity. In addition, it was the administration's recommendation that two of the schools in the pair house grades kindergarten - 2nd, and the other schools would have 3rd - 5th grades. He communicated that a Power Point presentation had been prepared that would hopefully answer questions and help parents and other interested parties feel better about the change to be implemented in the fall 2012. During the presentation narrated by Mary Null, Director of Personnel, Instruction and Special Programs, and him, he introduced the four elementary school principals, Patrice Hilton at Hillcrest, Shavonne Price at Ruston Elementary, Lisa Mangum at Glen View, and Doris Lewis at Cypress Springs. He asked other faculty and staff from the schools to please stand. On the subject of grade configuration within the schools, the administration suggested having the younger children go to Glen View and Hillcrest for kindergarten through 2nd grade while 3rd through 5th graders would attend Cypress Springs and Ruston Elementary. This would allow for a natural progression the next year to I. A. Lewis, the sixth grade center, and would be more convenient logistically. Superintendent Bell concluded with the statement that he initially favored Plan B in order to have contiguous attendance zones and because of building capacities, but had changed his mind and was more in favor of Plan A. Mr. Bell returned the floor to President Anders. Mr. Anders asked those in attendance if there were those who wished to share regarding the subject. Approximately nine people came to the microphone and voiced their questions, comments, and opinions. Mr. Hunt had also changed his mind regarding the favorability of Plan B after weighing the parents' concerns, knowing it offered the least amount of adjustment for the students, and because it was critical for the PTC's to remain virtually intact which Plan B would be detrimental. He offered the motion to approve:
1) Plan A for the elementary attendance zones in Ruston; and,
2) K - 2nd grade configuration at Glen View Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary and 3rd - 5th grade at Cypress Springs Elementary and Ruston Elementary.
Mr. Jones seconded the motion which passed by a unanimous roll call vote of the Board. In order to comply with changes directed by the Department of Justice pertaining to student assignment, Ms. Null felt it was necessary to review the district transfer guidelines/form. A copy of the same had been placed in board members' packets. She asked for approval of the proposed Student Transfer Form which was drafted with advice and wording from the Board's attorney. Upon a motion by Mr. Jones, seconded by Mr. Mitcham, the Board unanimously voted to approve the revised transfer guidelines/form to become effective immediately and to permit staff to request a policy revision for file JBCD by Forethought Consulting which reflects the changes. On April 21, 2012, a majority of the voters approved renewal of millages for the Consolidated School District No. 1 Special Operating and Maintenance and the Ruston Special Operating and Maintenance communicated George Murphy, Business Manager. The total votes for Consolidated School District No. 1 including absentee ballots was: 3,405 FOR and 1,445 AGAINST, passing by a majority of 1,960 or 70.2%. The total votes for Ruston School District No. 1 including absentee ballots was: 2,413 FOR and 886 AGAINST, passing by a majority of 1,527 or 73.1%. In order to comply with the La Election Code, the Board must adopt a resolution canvassing the results of the election. Upon a motion by Mr. Hancock, seconded by Mr. Dowling, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the following:
RESOLUTION
Providing for canvassing the returns and declaring the result of the special election held in Consolidated School District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana, on Saturday, April 21, 2012, to authorize the renewal of a special tax therein. Upon a motion by Ms. Best, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the following:
RESOLUTION
Providing for canvassing the returns and declaring the result of the special election held in Ruston School District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana, on Saturday, April 21, 2012, to authorize the renewal of a special tax therein. Making her routine, yearly request for permission to distribute letters of continued employment on the last day of school was Mary Null. Upon a motion by Mr. Mitcham, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Board unanimously voted to grant permission to distribute letters of continued employment for the 12-13 school year. The Board served as a Committee of the Whole, and the following Personnel Committee agenda items were considered after being presented by Mary Null, Director of Instruction, Personnel, and Special Programs:
1. Retirement of the following effective May 26, 2012, unless otherwise noted:
Liz Hood, teacher at Hillcrest Elementary; Marcia Colvin, special education teacher at Howard School; Kathy Guice, educational diagnostician at pupil appraisal, effective January 11, 2013; Mary Celia Hanchey, music at Hillcrest Elementary and Ruston Elementary; Sarah Frost, teacher at Ruston Elementary; and Margarita Cazenave, Spanish at Ruston High.
2. Resignation of the following effective May 26, 2012:
Heather Smith, special education teacher at Cypress Springs; Anthony Dunlop, teacher at Glen View Elementary; Mayme Boyett, teacher at Hico Elementary; Patricia Beard, teacher at Hillcrest Elementary; Alicia Powell, teacher at Hillcrest Elementary; Shandra Winbush, speech therapist at Ruston Elementary; Merideth Boyd, English teacher at Ruston High; Lindsey Bolton, English teacher t Ruston High; and Adam Powell, math teacher at Ruston Junior High.
3. Points of Reference/Transfers of the following:
Stacy Findley from Ruston High to assistant principal at Dubach High, effective July 1, 2012, replacing Miriam Payne who was transferring; and Miriam Payne from Dubach High to administrative assistant at Ruston Junior High, effective July 30, 2012, replacing Rickey Burton who retired.
4. Leave without pay request effective August 13, 2012, and through May 24, 2013, for Simsboro science teacher, Chris Campbell.
5. Retirement of Larry Waldron, central office maintenance, effective July 24, 2012.
6. Retirement of Song Franklin, school food service technician at Ruston Elementary, effective May 25, 2012.
Upon a motion by Ms. Henderson, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Board unanimously voted to accept the personnel recommendations as presented. The Building and Grounds (B&G) and Finance Committees met together just prior to the board meeting to reconsider bids received for the Ruston High School ag shop and New Tech and funding for the project. Chairman of the B&G Committee, Trott Hunt, shared their recommendation in the form of a motion which was to accept Don M. Barron Contractor, Inc. as the low bidder with items changed from the original bid that dropped their bid from $4,054,000 to $3,789,400 and transfer $994,000 from the 2000 Ad Valorem Tax Funds to provide funding for the RHS projects mentioned above and equitable funding for projects in Simsboro, Dubach, and Choudrant districts. Mr. Dowling seconded the motion, which passed by a unanimous vote of the Board to:
1. Accept the bid with the adjustments and approve Don M. Barron Contractor, Inc. as the lowest bidder for the Ruston High School New Tech and ag building construction project at $3,789,400; and
2. Adopt a motion to transfer $994,000 from the 2000 Ad Valorem Tax Funds to provide funding for the Ruston High School New Tech and ag buildings and to provide equitable funding for projects for the Simsboro, Dubach and Choudrant districts. Beginning in January 2012 all drivers' education programs in the State of Louisiana came under the administration of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The qualifications for the teachers, course content and entire program changed drastically according to James Payton, Transportation Coordinator. Due to the time constraints and significant conflicts with their regular job responsibilities, current drivers' education teachers are unable to do what is necessary to fulfill the new requirements by the deadline of June 2012. In addition, the vehicles the Board owns will soon need to be replaced; and the cost to maintain the program is another concern. After careful analysis by the administration, the decision was made to discontinue the entire drivers' education program by the Lincoln Parish School System. No doubt, he concluded, there will be private providers quickly appearing to meet the demands of the community. Sales taxes collected for the period ending April 30, 2012, totaled $1,300,161, George Murphy, Business Manager, reported. This was a .42% decrease from the same month last year. Year-to-date the collections were up 1.62%. Recoveries through audits for the month were $101,296 which was up 139% for the month and .256% year-to-date. For the month, $590,983 was collected in the '67 and '79 fund, and $709,178 was collected in the '93 and '00 fund. Moving on to the financial statement for March 2012, Mr. Murphy noted that the Total Fund Balance was down $750,000 from the previous month. Most funds were at the level projected for the time of year except for sales taxes. He still anticipates a deficit at the end of the year. George Murphy called attention to the first reports since the health insurance third party administrator was changed in January. For the first month which ended January 31, 2012, the health insurance fund was down $168,839. By February 29, 2012, the fund was up $436,833. It was down $198,339 for the month of March which leaves the fund in the black $69,654 for the first three months of the year. He cautioned that it was still a transition from one system to another; therefore, he will continue to watch carefully and will report back to the Board. In a Report of the Superintendent, Mr. Bell said:
1. He appreciates the Board for all of the work they have done moving forward and decisions made earlier in the meeting regarding desegregation and attorneys Bob Hammonds and Andy Shealy for helping to find the way.
2. He thanked the Morning Paper for discovering online the fact that Dubach High School has been recognized by U. S. News and World Report relative to being one of the top high schools in the nation. After comments from a couple of members, upon a motion by Ms. Best, the meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Danny L. Bell, Secretary
Otha L. Anders, President
1td: May 25, 2012

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