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Ruston, Louisiana
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 6:00 p.m.
The Lincoln Parish School Board met in Regular Session on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 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, and Mr. Joe Mitcham. Mr. George Mack 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 by roll call to adopt the agenda with the deletion of item # 6.7 Health plan update for December 2011. Upon a motion by Mr. Hancock, seconded by Ms. Abrahm, the Board unanimously voted to approve the minutes of the Regular Session held on January 3, 2012, as presented. 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. Professional sabbatical leave from August 13, 2012, through May 24, 3013, for Amy Pilgreen, ELA at I. A. Lewis;
2. Employment of Chris Gatlin, special education/P.E. at Ruston High, effective January 17, 2012, replacing William Major who resigned;
3. Retirement of Ronald Baker as bus driver in the Choudrant District, effective February 9, 2012; and
4. Resignation of Theresa Roane, school food service clerk/technician at Choudrant High, effective January 5, 2012.
Upon a motion by Mr. Jones, seconded by Ms. Best, the Board unanimously voted to approve the personnel recommendations. Independent Auditor, Margie Williamson, presented an audit report for the year ending June 30, 2011. 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 concerning internal controls in the maintenance department. The basic point of the finding was needing to have better documentation in general, a work order process which will be followed, and also better documentation when outside contractors are used. In addition, in some instances checks were being given to the maintenance department to pay contractors which should not be done. She recommended establishing a work order system and documenting justification for using outside vendors and noted a completed work order should accompany payment of the same. Finally, when an outside vendor is to be used, all efforts should be made to use a licensed contractor. The outside vendor should provide documentation that they have general liability insurance. The federal programs her firm tested were Title I, special education, Education Technology Grant, Edujobs, and Title II. No findings were noted in any of those programs. She closed by saying, “It's a very good report.” Ms. Williamson said they appreciate the help of those working with the federal programs and in the Business Department who are all very professional.
Ms. Null summarized what was being done to accomplish the district's goal of having every child literate/reading by the 3rd grade. Items being used included Reading A-Z, Dibels, unit tests and Being a Writer. Each year each public school is required by the State Department of Education to develop a School Improvement Plan. Accountability Coordinator, Donna Doss, said it is made up of several components which include an Action Plan that must contain the state's nine critical goals and must employ research-based strategies. These lengthy documents that are hard to compile must address the schools' weaknesses. As soon as individual students' scores are received, they are placed in a data-analysis template, weaknesses are determined, and a vision of what needs work and what research-based strategies are going to be used are identified. She distributed lists of the state's critical goals and research-based strategies. Ms. Doss asked two principals whose schools received letter grades of less than a “C” to share their action plans. Cypress Springs Elementary Principal, Doris Lewis, Coordinating Teacher, Brandi Watson, and Ruston Elementary Principal, Shavonne Price, shared impressive efforts, individualized strategies, and numerous programs being utilized to meet growth targets and improve performance scores. They are confident that they will be successful attacking any deficiencies. Superintendent Danny Bell and Otha Anders thanked the principals, their staff members, and all involved for working so diligently on behalf of the students. These are two of the five schools in Lincoln helping the state to pilot several reforms according to Mr. Bell. One of those reforms that will be implemented state-wide next year is the new teacher and leader evaluation program. It is an extensive plan to insure effective educators in every classroom and effective leaders as well. He placed in packets a number of the forms and tools to be utilized for evaluation of the teachers. Mr. Bell also noted that principals will be included in the revised evaluation plan. He emphasized that an inordinate amount of time will be spent on evaluations. Mr. Jones left the meeting. According to George Murphy, Business Manager, sales taxes collected for the period ending January 31, 2012, were $1,237,351 which was a 1.19% increase over the same month last year and a 1.03% increase year-to-date. There were no recoveries through audits. Year-to-date those were down 19%. Collections in the '67 and '79 fund were $562,433, and $674,918 was generated in the '93 and '00 fund. Mr. Murphy noted that the December 2011 financial update was included in packets. Ad valorem taxes were received from the sheriff. He called attention to the flush funds which showed revenues from a $13,000,000 property tax check. The general fund was up $1.3 million year-to-date. The sales tax funds are increasing but not reaching budgeted amounts. In lieu of a health plan update, Mr. Murphy noted that there have been some transition issues. He hopes to have his usual health plan report by the next meeting. For his construction update, Director of Auxiliary Services, Charles Owens, narrated pictures of the Ruston High School field house and Choudrant High School. He noted that the field house project is one or two weeks ahead of schedule. Following a month of study, Ms. Null asked the Board to approve six policy revisions. Upon a motion by Ms. Best, seconded by Mr. Mitcham, the Board unanimously voted to approve revisions to the following policies: Purchasing (DJE), Bids and Quotations (DJED), Dismissal of Employees (GBN), Employee Conduct (GBRA), Education of Students with Exceptionalities (IDDF), and Testing Program (II). Three bids were received following an advertisement for the purchase of three 2013 conventional buses. They were from Kent Mitchell Bus Sales, Scott Truck L.L.C., and Ross Bus Sales. After careful analysis, James Payton, Transportation Coordinator, suggested accepting the bid from Scott Truck L.L.C. as the lowest which fully met specifications. Mr. Jones re-entered the meeting. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Ms. Henderson, the Board unanimously voted to accept the bid of $74,250.00 each for the purchase of three 2013 conventional school buses from Scott Truck L.L.C. Bids for clearing a 12 acre tract of land in Simsboro were opened on January 10, 2012. Mr. Owens communicated that Murphy Bros. Trucking & Construction, L.L.C. of Arcadia, Louisiana, submitted the lowest bid meeting specifications at $18,500.00. He recommended acceptance of their bid. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Mr. Dowling, the Board unanimously voted to accept the bid of $18,500.00 from Murphy Bros. Trucking & Construction, L.L.C. for clearing the tract of land in Simsboro. Superintendent Bell presented a Resolution allowing the Lincoln Parish School Board in collaboration with the City of Ruston to apply for a $250,000 Safe Routes grant provided by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. If awarded, the grants would pay for sidewalks leading to Cypress Springs and I. A. Lewis which would provide the children with a safer means to walk or ride their bikes to school, thereby practicing a healthier lifestyle. There would be no need for matching funds from the school system. He asked for approval of the Resolution. Upon a motion by Mr. Hunt, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Board unanimously voted by roll call to approve the Resolution authorizing the superintendent to execute the application in conjunction and/or cooperation with the City of Ruston in an effort to secure state grant funds from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development's Safe Routes to School Program. As the new field house at Ruston High School is nearing completion, it is time to purchase washers and dryers. Mr. Owens asked for permission to advertise for bids to purchase three industrial washers and four industrial dryers. Upon a motion by Mr. Hunt, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Board unanimously voted to grant permission to advertise for bids to purchase three industrial washers and four industrial dryers for the Ruston High field house. Because members served on their 2011 committees so effectively, President Anders presented Committee Assignments for 2012 rather than asking preferences. If anyone has a problem with their assignment, they should contact him. In a Report of the Superintendent, Mr. Bell said:
1. He appreciated the board's attorney, Andy Shealy, for being present.
2. The Academic Awards Banquet is coming up quickly and will be held on Monday, February 13, at the Ruston Civic Center.
3. There's a second board meeting scheduled in February, on the 22nd at Choudrant Elementary. At 11:15 he'd like for members to drop by Choudrant High for a quick walking tour followed by a tour of Choudrant Elementary at approximately 11:40.
4. The LSBA Convention is scheduled for March 1 - 3, and everyone had responded regarding attendance.
5. Several persons from the LPSB had attended the Education Change Summit in Baton Rouge last week. They heard from the Governor, new State Superintendent of Education, and many key-note speakers from across the country relative to reform. Mr. Hunt was there representing the business community along with area legislators and the new BESE representative. They heard the Governor's outline and course of direction for public education in the state. As part of a Trailblazer district, Lincoln Parish is receptive to moving forward and making the district an outstanding district. Otha Anders thanked Mr. Bell and his staff for their very, very good State of the District presentation. He also expressed appreciation to those attending the Student Teacher Awards Gala at the Ruston Civic Center on January 31st and those coming out to meet the new State Superintendent of Education during his recent stop in Ruston. Following brief comments and a motion by Ms. Best, the meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.
Danny L. Bell, Secretary
Otha L. Anders, President
1td: February 24, 2012

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