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Ruston, Louisiana
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 6:00 p.m.
The Lincoln Parish School Board met in Regular Session on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the Lincoln Parish School Board office, 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 (left after the meeting began), Mr. Trott Hunt, and Mr. Eddie Jones. Mr. George Mack and Mr. Joe Mitcham were absent. President Otha Anders called the meeting to order, and Mr. Barmore gave the invocation. Ms. Harrison led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Mr. Anders welcomed visitors to the meeting. Upon a motion by Ms. Best, seconded by Mr. Hunt, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the agenda as printed. Upon a motion by Mr. Dowling, seconded by Ms. Henderson, the Board unanimously voted to approve the minutes of the Special Session held on August 29, 2011, and the Regular Session held on September 6, 2011. Following a month of study, Mary Null, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Programs, asked the Board to approve one policy revision and one policy addition. Upon a motion by Mr. Dowling, seconded by Ms. Abrahm, the Board unanimously voted to approve the revision of the Annual Operating Budget (DC) policy and the addition of a Sports Injury Management and Concussions (IDFAB) policy. In accordance with state law, board members are to receive a minimum of six hours of continuing education annually beginning in January 2011. Superintendent Danny Bell was proud to call attention to copies of certificates confirming that every board member had met or exceeded the minimum six hour requirement. Hours earned were as follows:
Debbie Abrahm - 11.5 hours
Otha Anders - 8.5 hours
Michael Barmore - 8.5 hours
Lisa Best - 8.5 hours
Curtis Dowling - 6 hours
Danny Hancock - 11.5 hours
Mattie Harrison - 8.5 hours
Lynda Henderson - 8.5 hours
Trott Hunt - 8.5 hours Eddie Jones - 8.5 hours
George Mack - 9.5 hours
Joe Mitcham - 8.5 hours
The board voted to hire an insurance consultant, David Charpentier with Brown and Brown, back in January 2011Business Manager George Murphy communicated. Since that time, Mr. Charpentier worked with the four candidates who were interested and capable of providing administrative and network services for Lincoln Parish, BlueCross BlueShield, Covenant, Gilsbar and United HealthCare Company. A committee met, heard proposals from the four companies, and narrowed the candidates to two, United HealthCare and BlueCross BlueShield. The committee voted to allow the central office staff to perform further analysis and make a recommendation to Mr. Bell. The central office administration met with the top two companies and recommended that BlueCross BlueShield be selected, and Mr. Bell concurred. Mary Null shared how the committee of stakeholders was assembled. She also noted that they unanimously named the top two choices, and that the central office further narrowed it to BlueCross BlueShield. She expressed thanks for the valuable service provided by Mr. Charpentier as insurance is very complicated. Ms. Null introduced representatives from Blue Cross BlueShield who were in attendance, Tami DeMar, Account Manager, and Larry Blackmon, Multi-Regional Director. David Charpentier summarized the process which began for him in the summer when he constructed an RFP that resulted in the night's recommendation. He did explain that the LPSB's insurance plan is a self-funded plan which means that the selection of a claims administrator is a totally separate thing from the design of the benefits or the amount of contributions that the employees have to pay; those things are decided by the School Board. The recommendation was only for the selection of an administrator to process the claims according to benefits the Board selects. Mr. Charpentier felt very comfortable with the process and the results. He feels like the best choice was made for the Board's consideration. Tami DeMar thanked the Board for allowing her to speak, but also for the opportunity to partner with Lincoln Parish. Although BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana is based in Baton Rouge, they are a licensee of a worldwide network and are not a regional carrier. Their network will bring an average of 50% savings, and employees can go to providers that are in-network in other states and realize front-end savings. She is thrilled for the Board to be considering her company as she feels like it is a win - win situation for all concerned. If approved she plans to ease the transition to a new company by scheduling meetings in all of the schools and at the central office as well as with interested retirees. She is home-based in Monroe and looks forward to being able to work and partner with the employees of the Lincoln Parish School Board for a long time. Mr. Murphy noted that if claims were the same as last year's, the system would realize about a million dollars savings. Depending on this year's claims, savings could be less, but they could also be more. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Mr. Hunt, the Board unanimously voted to change the administrative and network services to BlueCross BlueShield effective January 1, 2012. Five policies were recommended for revision and one policy was recommended for addition to the policy manual. Ms. Null suggested that members study the revised Executive Sessions (BCBK), School Board Ethics (BH), Employment of Retired Personnel (GBDA), Interscholastic Athletics (IDFA) and Compulsory School Attendance Ages (JBA) policies and the new Kindergarten (IDCC) policy until the next meeting of the board. The State Department of Insurance has issued guidelines relating to Uninsured Motorist coverage. George Murphy said each school system is required to include in the board minutes a consent item authorizing the Superintendent to sign the Uninsured Motorist form. He asked for adoption of a Resolution authorizing the Superintendent to do the same. Upon a motion by Ms. Henderson, seconded by Ms. Abrahm, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the following:
Authorizing the superintendent to sign the required Louisiana Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist form reflecting the selection of or rejection of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
The Board served as a Committee of the Whole, and the following Personnel Committee agenda items were considered after being presented by Mary Null:
1. Retirement of Rustene Carr, interpreter at Cypress Springs, effective January 17, 2012.
2. Resignation of the following:
Michelle Marsh, counselor at Cypress Springs, effective November 19, 2011; and
Dorothy Parks, special education teacher at Glen View, effective October 31, 2011.
3. Leave without pay for the following:
Amy Crittenden, itinerant music teacher, effective March 5, 2011, through May 25, 2012; and Monica Olsen, speech/English teacher at Ruston High, effective October 29, 2011, through December 20, 2011.
4. Employment of Kelly Hodge, special education teacher at Glen View, effective October 31, 2011, replacing Dorothy Parks who resigned.
5. Retirement of Steve Rhone, bus driver in the Ruston district, effective September 19, 2011.
6. Employment of the following effective September 26, 2011:
Sammy Bozeman, bus driver in the Ruston district, replacing Louise Hudson who retired; and Dennis Mason, bus driver in the Ruston district, replacing Marchale Canty who resigned.
7. Retirement of Sherry Hudson, school food service technician at Simsboro High, effective September 8, 2011.
Upon a motion by Mr. Hancock, seconded by Ms. Harrison, the Board unanimously voted to accept the personnel recommendations.
A brief report on New Tech @ Ruston (NT@R) was presented by Cathi Boniol, NT@R Director. She summarized activities and honors bestowed on the program and educators including being selected as one of three subjects for a documentary, Education in America. She showed a quick video made by a student shadowing the film team. Tomorrow the Louisiana Public Broadcasting crew will visit the campus to film for a segment on how schools are addressing the drop out issue. A brief period of questions and comments ensued.
This is the first year that the state will be switching over to letter grades for the state's public schools instead of the star rating system currently used. Accountability Coordinator, Donna Doss, explained that the grades would be issued and released at a press conference on Wednesday. The change was implemented because the state legislators felt that the star system was too difficult to understand. In December 2010, BESE set the standards for the schools to earn letter grades based on their baseline School Performance Scores. She distributed charts showing the number range for each letter grade for 10-11 and 11-12. For 10-11:
120.0 - 200.0 A
105.0 - 119.9 B
90.0 - 104.9 C
65.0 - 89.9 D
0 - 64.9 F
For 11-12 school year, the standards will be raised slightly; the scores for an A, B, and C grade will stay the same, but a D will require a score of 75 - 89.9 and an F will be all scores 74.9 and below. It will be a challenge to explain to constituents as the targets will keep moving. Based on her personal calculations using the state's date over the past six months, Ms. Doss projects that 3 schools in the Lincoln Parish public school system will receive a B, 7 will receive a C, and 2 will receive a D. She doesn't expect any A's or F's. Those will combine, in her opinion, to make Lincoln Parish a C district. Because of the letter grades, the complexity of it, and the fact that so many people are working so hard, she asked three principals to share how they were trying to meet the critical goals established by the State Department. Sharing for the high school level was Mike Milstead, Principal of Ruston High School; middle school was Tim Nutt, Principal of Ruston Junior High; and elementary level was Shavonne Price, Principal of Ruston Elementary. Ms. Henderson left the meeting. Mr. Murphy reported that sales tax collections for the month of September 2011 were $1,013,415 which was a .23% increase compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date those collections were up 1.30% which was a little lower than he had projected, which was 5%. Recoveries through audits were $35,685 which was up 73.09% compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date that fund was up over 94%. In the 67 and 79 fund, $460,643 was collected, and $552,771 was collected in the 93 and 00 fund. Financial statements for August 2011, the second month of the fiscal year, were distributed by George Murphy. He called attention to the ending fund balances and noted that the General Fund was up over $3.6 million year-to-date, and the five mill maintenance fund as well as the ad valorem tax funds were all showing deficits until collections are received in December and January. The sales tax funds were showing 1.3% increases instead of the projected 5%. He will monitor the balances, but they are about what was expected at this time of year. A Power Point construction update was narrated by Charles Owens with slides showing the Ruston High field house and Choudrant High School. He said construction of the New Tech @ Ruston addition will follow the construction of a new ag shop at Ruston High, which should begin after the first of the new year. Assistant District Attorney, Andy Shealy, was present to deliver a brief summary of the current procedural status of the Board's desegregation case for Attorney Pam Dill. He reminded the board that their attorneys have facilitated ongoing cooperative discussions between the district administrators and both Grambling State and Louisiana Tech administration and laboratory school personnel. Each party is to file a response by October 17, 2011, regarding the laboratory schools' issues raised by the Department of Justice. The Court has ordered counsel for all parties to file status reports regarding the laboratory school issues by December 15, 2011. Once those status reports are filed, the Court is expected to either render decisions or issue further directives as to the individual issues. Whether this will be done with or without a hearing will be at the Court's discretion. He reiterated that there is no deadline for the Court to render a decision on either issue
In a Report of the Superintendent, Mr. Bell said:
1. Willie Washington couldn't be in attendance because of health issues, but he and staff members recently attended a Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce function where he was presented with their educator's award. He said it was quite a well-deserved honor.
2. The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at 12:30 at Simsboro High School. Trott Hunt, Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee, will convene a meeting of the committee immediately following the board meeting. They will look at a capital outlay plan.
3. Gary Stockton with the 4-H program was in attendance and introduced by Danny Bell. He shared brief programming information.
After a couple of comments from a board member and upon a motion by Ms. Best, the meeting adjourned at 7:28 p.m.
Danny Bell, Secretary Otha Anders, President
1td: October 24, 2011

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