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Ruston, Louisiana
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 6:00 p.m.
The Lincoln Parish School Board met in Regular Session on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Parish School Board, 410 South Farmerville Street, 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 (arrived after the meeting began), Mr. George Mack, Jr., and Mr. Joe Mitcham. No board member was absent. President Anders called the meeting to order. The invocation was given by Mr. Mitcham, and Ms. Henderson led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag. Mr. Anders welcomed board members, staff, members of the media, and special guests to the meeting. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Mr. Hunt, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the agenda as printed. Upon a motion by Ms. Best, seconded by Ms. Henderson, the Board unanimously voted to approve the minutes of the Regular Session held on January 8, 2013, as presented. Architect Mike Walpole said plans for the Ruston High School stadium renovation project should be completed within the next week or so. Charles Owens, Director of Auxiliary Services, had a two-part recommendation, that the Board grant permission for the advertisement of bids and permit the administration to approve and award the contract. Mr. Jones entered the meeting. In answer to a question regarding funding for the project, Mr. Murphy said the monies would come from the 1993 Ad Valorem Tax Fund. Upon a motion by Mr. Hunt, seconded by Mr. Mitcham, the Board unanimously voted to grant permission for the advertisement of bids for the renovation and construction at the Ruston High School stadium and for the district administration to approve and award the contract to the lowest qualified bidder provided the contract is within the established budget and meets all requirements subject to the state bid laws. Five more policy revisions had been proposed by Forethought Consulting: Sale of Surplus Equipment and Sales (DFM), Naming of Facilities (FDC), Class Size (IEC), Homeless Children and Youth (JBCBB), and Administration of Medication (JGCD). Mary Null, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Programs, asked members to study the revisions with formal action to be taken at the February 20, 2013, meeting.
The school calendar for 13-14 was the next item on the agenda. Ms. Null reported very little flexibility because the state mandated testing as well as the way holidays and days of the week fell in the coming year. She asked the Board to adopt the proposed calendar. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Ms. Best, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the proposed calendar for the 13-14 school year as follows:
Lincoln Parish 2013 - 2014 School Calendar
Staff Development Days August 12-14, 2013
All Staff Faculty Meetings
August 15, 2013
First Day of School - Students (1/2 Day) August 16, 2013
Labor Day September 2, 2013
Columbus Day October 14, 2013
Thanksgiving November 25-29, 2013
Christmas/New Year Dec. 23, 2013-Jan. 3, 2014
End of First Semester January 10, 2014
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 20, 2014
Staff Development Day
January 21, 2014
Presidents' Day February 17, 2014
Spring Break March 24-28, 2014
Easter Break April 18 & 21, 2014
Last Day of School - Students (Full Day) May 21, 2014
Staff Development Day May 22, 2014
Instructional Staff Workday (1/2 Day) May 23, 2014
Independent Auditor, Margie Williamson, presented an audit report for the year ending June 30, 2013. She called attention to two reports, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and the Single Audit Report. Ms. Williamson briefly went over the results of the audit and said the LPSB received an unqualified audit opinion which means that the Board's financial condition, position, and operations are fairly presented in the financial statements. The federal program her firm tested was the Child Nutrition program. No findings were noted in the Single Audit Report, but it did contain a management letter with suggestions for improving the work order process. She closed by saying, “It's a very good report.” Ms. Williamson said her firm appreciates the help of the Business Department. An update on the state's Truancy Assessment and Service Center (TASC) program was provided by Andy Shealy, Assistant District Attorney, and Patsy Bullock, Manager. Mr. Shealy announced that Lincoln Parish received the highest grade in the state. They ended the 11-12 year with 87% of the children served by TASC receiving fewer unexcused absences for the remainder of the school year. The early intervention, rapid response program works with the most at-risk students. Ms. Bullock said they have expanded the program to cover more than just absences. They also work with changing negative behavior, improving grades, and other issues. She was very pleased to note that 95% of the elementary students they worked with last year passed to the next grade. This was very good news! Through the end of January 2013, they have received 226 referrals from the elementary schools and 119 from the junior high and high schools for a total of 345 referrals. Ms. Bullock and Mr. Shealy praised the school personnel who are diligent about reporting absences and relaying information to their staff. They introduced Rickey Burton and Becky Price Williams who are also working with the program. Rep. Jim Fannin and Senator John Alario were instrumental in keeping the truancy program funded for the current year; however, funding may be in jeopardy next year Mr. Shealy warned. Instructional coach, Kim Shackelford, shared what students are going to need to know and how integrated English, literacy and mathematics lessons are teaching skills students use as they move from grade to grade. Teachers are incorporating different media to help meet higher academic standards, especially in high-stakes common core subjects. In Lincoln Parish, the Common Core Curriculum and PARCC assessments will be fully implemented beginning next school year. She showed examples from 4th, 7th and high school math tests.
In her Personnel Report, Ms. Null verbalized:
1. Resignation of the following:
Charles Smith, discipline coordinator at Howard School, effective January 22, 2013;
Chris Bush, coach/teacher at Ruston High, effective May 24, 2013; and
Elizabeth Yenser, English teacher at Ruston High, effective January 14, 2013.
2. Point of Reference/ Transfer of Janet Burse from Ruston High to special education at Youth Rescue Center, effective February 4, 2013.
3. Resignation of Andrea Montgomery, school food service manager at Simsboro High, effective January 31, 2013.
4. Employment of Lisa Carter as school food service manager at Simsboro effective February 1, 2013, replacing Andrea Montgomery who resigned.
According to George Murphy, Business Manager, sales taxes collected for the period ending January 31, 2013, were $1,321,426 which was a 6.79% increase over the same month last year and a 1.67% increase year-to-date. Recoveries through audits were $2,966. Year-to-date those were down 29%. Collections in the '67 and '79 fund were $600,649, and $720,777 was generated in the '93 and '00 fund. In the health plan update, Mr. Murphy was pleased to share good news. He had November and December 2012 figures and communicated that December was the best month he could remember having. By the end of the month, the fund was up $1.7 million year-to-date. He believes changing the provider to Blue Cross Blue Shield was the main reason for the good year. They are really good at negotiating fees with providers. This provides the funding beginning in 2013 of the $500 wellness benefit for the members of the plan; hopefully it will make possible the detection of major health problems in the early stages. In light of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting, Superintendent Danny Bell and Charles Owens reported on changes that had been made after meetings with local enforcement and emergency management officials. Classrooms all have solid-core doors that open only from the inside or with a key. Schools allow entry only through the main door, near the offices, and cameras record the entry and all hallways with monitors at the principal's and receptionist's desks. It was also mentioned that each school already had a crisis plan with steps to follow for various dangerous situations. In his construction update, Charles Owens said the Ruston High School projects are on schedule. He showed pictures of the New Tech and ag shop additions and announced that the ag shop should be completed in mid-March. President Anders indicated that 2013 committee assignments were included in packets. He asked members to contact Becky Gemelli if they couldn't serve where they were assigned.
In a Report of the Superintendent, Mr. Bell said:
1. At the same time as this meeting, a Chamber Gala was going on at the Civic Center where two business participants, the Bridge Community Church and Devon Energy, were being recognized. He appreciates what they and other businesses are doing for the schools.
2. Ruston USA magazines had been delivered and were placed in portfolios. They contained good ads by the Chamber and Lincoln ACHIEVE. He appreciates the coverage.
3. The next Regular Session of the Board, which should have a short agenda, has been scheduled on February 20, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. at Ruston Elementary School.
Following brief comments by Mr. Anders and a motion by Ms. Best, the meeting adjourned at 7:34 p.m.
Danny L. Bell, Secretary
Otha L. Anders, President
1td: February 24, 2013

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