LINCOLN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD
LINCOLN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 6:00 p.m. The Lincoln Parish School Board met in Regular Session on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, 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, Mr. George Mack, 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 thanked the Lincoln Parish Career Academy’s Family and Consumer Science class for the refreshments they prepared. He welcomed board members, staff, members of the media, and special guests to the meeting. Upon a motion by Mr. Jones, seconded by Ms. Henderson, the Board unanimously voted by roll call to adopt the agenda with an addendum adding an Executive Committee Report. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Ms. Harrison, the Board unanimously voted to approve the minutes of the Regular Session held on January 4, 2011, as presented. Independent Auditor, Margie Williamson, presented an audit report for the year ending June 30, 2010. 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. One finding was included in the Single Audit Report regarding federal fund figures reported to the government not matching the general ledger entries. Considering the much higher number of programs they tested because of stimulus money, Ms. Williamson said it was a very good report. She appreciates the Business Department staff, and stated that they are very professional. Andy Shealy, Assistant District Attorney, wanted to begin discussions about redistricting that will most like occur when 2011 census figures are released. He said if redistricting must occur, there will be a very short window during which it can occur because Louisiana is required to have those districts cleared by the Department of Justice before the 2011 election time. Mr. Shealy suggested that Richard Durrett, former Administrator of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury who was highly involved in the redistricting process ten years ago, be hired to help with reapportionment. Any cost for his service could be split between the Board and the Police Jury. Because of the unique situation with two universities, using Mr. Durrett and having the two bodies work together to host open meetings for the residents were his suggestions. State Representative Rick Gallot was also in attendance. He said it was also important to have the difficult discussions about race and other factors concerning the district now. It would be hard to have those conversations after the Justice Department sends back the plan because we haven’t. He offered his assistance and the assistance of his staff. Mr. Shealy briefed the Board on the District Attorney’s T.A.S.C. (Truancy Assessment and Service Center) program which attempts to address truancy in the school system. With help from the sheriff’s office, judges’ office and the Board, truancy in the last quarter of 2010 dropped to 3.23% compared to 4.98% in the last quarter of 2009. They have had 138 referrals of grades kindergarten through 5th and 149 referrals of 6th through 12th graders. Ruston High School Principal Mike Milstead and New Tech @ Ruston (NT@R) Coordinator Catherine Letendre reported that the school had applied for and will likely receive “model” designation in the national New Tech network. Officials from the State Department said NT@R ranks a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. Absences and referrals are down. Four 9th graders verbalizing what the program has meant to them were Jonathan Craig, Sabrina Hullaby, Anna Wyatt, and Jamarian Harris. Their global studies classes are putting a ‘Walking Tour of Greece and Its History’ project together that will be presented on February 14.
According to George Murphy, Business Manager, sales taxes collected for the period ending January 31, 2011, were $1,222.747 which was a 3.32% increase over the same month last year and a 5.64% increase year-to-date. Although sales taxes are up for the year, he communicated that they are still down compared with collections from two or three years ago. Taxes recovered by audits were $34,803 which was up 58.91%. Year-to-date that fund was up 1.817%. Collections in the ‘67 and ‘79 fund was $555,794, and $666,952 was generated in the ‘93 and ‘00 fund. Mr. Murphy noted that the December 2010 financial update was included in packets. He called attention to a new column adding Choudrant School District’s maintenance and operation millage. They will begin to pay their own utility bills as the other districts do; this will help the 93 ad valorem tax fund. In January a check for $12 million was received which will be spread across the ad valorem tax funds and will give those funds positive balances. The general fund was up a little over $1 million year-to-date. The 5 mill maintenance was one of the ad valorem tax funds showing a deficit. The child nutrition fund was up. The sales tax funds were showing deficits; he imagines they will for the year, as was budgeted. Moving on to the health care fund, Mr. Murphy noted that the fund was up $121,547 for the month of November 2010 and $383,881 year-to-date. Through eleven months, a little over $9 million in revenue was generated. At the end of next month, he believes over $10 million in revenue will have been collected and a little over $9 million expended. A little later in the meeting Mr. Murphy is going to ask for some help looking at the health plan. It is a big program, and he wants to make sure it stays in the black. Yesterday Mr. Murphy received word from the State that $1,304,581 the school system was to receive under the federal Education Jobs Fund will not be awarded. Although the legislators disagreed, the governor and Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget decided to allocate the money to higher education. That loss of revenue will amplify the budget deficit for the current year to $4.4 million. The Board served as a Committee of the Whole, and the following Personnel Committee agenda item was considered after being recommended by Mary Null, Director of Instruction, Personnel and Special Programs, and James Payton, Transportation Coordinator:
1. Point of Reference/ Transfer of Michelle Rosenberger, effective January 18, 2011, from Hillcrest Elementary to special education at Choudrant High replacing Mollie Allen who retired;
2. Resignation of Linda Ward, art teacher at Ruston Junior High, effective January 17, 2011;
3. Resignation of Darren Ambrose as bus driver in the Ruston area effective January 3, 2011; and Employment of the following effective January 24, 2011: Ron Flurry, bus driver in the Ruston area, replacing Al Shaw who resigned; and Scott Hearne, bus driver in the Ruston area, replacing L. O. Adams who retired.
Upon a motion by Ms. Best, seconded by Mr. Dowling, the Board unanimously voted to approve the personnel recommendations. The Executive Committee met at 5:30 p.m. to consider the superintendent’s contract, according to Chairman Joe Mitcham. They unanimously recommended that the superintendent’s contract be renewed for four years beginning July 1, 2011, and he be given an annual salary increase of $10,000. Upon a motion by Mr. Jones, seconded by Ms. Harrison, the Board unanimously voted to renew Superintendent Danny Bell’s contract for four years beginning July 1, 2011, and to increase his annual salary by $10,000. Mr. Anders thanked Board members for volunteering to serve on various committees and indicated that committee assignments for 2011 were included in packets. Three bids were received following an advertisement for the purchase of two 2012 conventional buses and one 2012 special needs bus. They were from Kent Mitchell Bus Sales, Scott Truck & Tractor, and Ross Bus Sales. After careful analysis, James Payton suggested accepting the bids from Kent Mitchell Bus Sales as the lowest which fully met specifications. Upon a motion by Mr. Hunt, seconded by Mr. Mack, the Board unanimously voted to accept the bid of $73,227.00 each for the purchase of two 2012 conventional schools buses and the bid of $89,674.00 for the purchase of one 2012 special needs bus from Kent Mitchell Bus Sales. The Lincoln Parish School Board has had a self-insured program for health care for over twenty years. During that time, the same third party administrator has been working with the program, reported George Murphy. In order to ensure that the employees and retirees are provided the best coverage within the parameters of the budget, he requested that the Board authorize the superintendent to hire an insurance consultant. The consultant would be responsible for bidding out the health care administration and insurance provider to obtain the most beneficial coverage. An analysis of the bids would be made by the consultant and a recommendation provided to the Board in November. The current contract is effective through December 31, 2011. Following a few questions, upon a motion by Mr. Hunt, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Board unanimously voted to grant permission for the superintendent to seek proposals to hire an insurance consultant for the health care plan and return to the Board for approval. Superintendent Bell had been made aware that the owners of an 80 by 90 foot lot in Simsboro were interested in selling for $3,500. Believing that to be a wise investment, he requested permission to buy the property. Upon a motion by Mr. Dowling, seconded by Ms. Henderson, the Board unanimously voted to approve the purchase of the lot at 177 Rose in Simsboro on the condition that the appraisal of the property was not less than the sales price of $3,500.In a Report of the Superintendent, Mr. Bell said:
1. Progress was going extremely well on the Choudrant Elementary project. Choudrant High School progress was quite impressive for the short amount of time it has been underway. He wanted the Board to be aware of some discussion on the renovations originally proposed to the agriculture building. It may be that the best option will be to take a credit and tear down the existing ag facility. It is probably not worth wasting the money on. Greg Wallace, architect on the Choudrant project, was in attendance and discussed the possibilities regarding the building and some roofing issues that may come back to the Board as change orders; and
2. Everyone was invited to attend a ribbon cutting at Ruston High’s New Tech at 11:30 a.m. on February 16, 2011. Following brief comments and a motion by Ms. Best, the meeting adjourned at 8:29 p.m.
Danny L. Bell, Secretary
Otha L. Anders, President
1td: March 11, 2011