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Ruston, Louisiana
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 6:00 p.m.
The Lincoln Parish School Board met in Regular Session on Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 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, Mr. Trott Hunt, Mr. Eddie Jones, Mr. George Mack, Jr., and Mr. Joe Mitcham. No board member was absent. President Anders called the meeting to order, and Mr. Hunt gave the invocation. Ms. Henderson led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Mr. Anders welcomed those in attendance. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Mr. Hunt, the Board unanimously voted by roll call to adopt the agenda with an addendum adding one item of New Business: To consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution providing for the issuance of General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 2012, of Ruston School District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana; and providing for other matters in connection therewith. Upon a motion by Ms. Henderson, seconded by Ms. Abrahm, the Board unanimously voted to approve the minutes of the Regular Session held on August 7, 2012, as printed. More policy changes following the adoption of Act 1 by the Louisiana Legislature were received from Forethought Consulting according to Mary Null, Director of Instruction, Curriculum and Special Programs. Several of them had definite impacts and included major changes for employees. She presented the following policies for a thorough month of study before a vote will be taken at the October 2, 2012, meeting: Revisions to: ABB - Powers and Responsibilities, BD - School Board Policy, CD - Line and Staff Relations, GAMC - Investigations, GBI - Evaluation of Personnel, GBJ - Promotion, GBK - Employee Discipline, GBM - Personnel Transfer, GBO - Resignation, GBRB - Employee Attendance, GBRHA - Sabbatical Leave, GBRIB - Sick Leave, and GBRJ - Substitute Personnel; Addition of: GBB - Personnel Positions and GBRIBB- Sick Leave Bank; and Deletion of: GBKA - Suspension. Last month the board asked Foley & Judell, bond attorneys, to see if the Board should look into refinancing some 2004 bonds in order to save the taxpayers some money. Bids were received from two firms last week, Regions Bank and Community Trust Bank. He asked Mr. Haynes to explain what happened. Trevor Haynes, bond attorney, said refinancing $9.845 million in general obligation bonds with up to 5% interest rate will save approximately $794,087 over the remaining life of the issue, about twelve years. Community Bank Trust will buy the new issue at 2.11% interest. Upon a motion by Mr. Hancock, seconded by Mr. Dowling, the Board unanimously voted by roll call to adopt the resolution providing for the issuance of nine million eight hundred forty-five thousand dollars ($9,845,000) of General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 2012, of Ruston School District No. 1 of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana; prescribing the form, fixing the details and providing for the rights of the owners thereof; providing for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds and the application of the proceeds thereof to the refunding of certain bonds of said School District; and providing for other matters in connection therewith. Mr. Murphy said David Charpentier had been working with the Board's health insurance plan since before he was employed. He was instrumental in the recent change to Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) in January. Mr. Murphy asked him to share his analysis of the plan as a result of the change. Using a Power Point presentation, Mr. Charpentier said with 98% paid in their broad network and the awesome discounts negotiated by BCBS, an average of 65% was saved on almost $12,000,000 in claims paid by them since January 2012. Had the Board not changed administrators and using the prior vendor's discounts, he estimated $6,000,000 would have been paid on the nearly $12,000,000 in claims instead of the nearly $2,300,000 paid. The gross savings was $3.7 million; however, the fixed costs with BCBS were higher. A net savings of $3.4 million was still realized on those claims. In addition, members saved almost $164,000 on their portion of the bills for a total net savings from January through July 2012 of $3.5 million. He felt it was important to note that utilization plays a big part, so he couldn't say the same savings would have been realized last year (as claims were different) or that they will be in the future. He did note that health care costs continue to increase, and those savings will not continue indefinitely. Mr. Murphy presented charts for March through July, 2012, on the health insurance fund. He indicated he was restating March and April because as the conversion was made from Covenant to BCBS, the Net Change - Estim Claims IBNR (Incurred But Not Reported) line changed based on additional data which has been received. Mr. Murphy went over the report for the seven months ending July 31, 2012. The health insurance fund was up $184,002 for the month, and year-to-date the balance was up $1,218,198. He said what Mr. Charpentier was saying is showing up in the numbers and in the cash going in and out of the account. As the year progresses, a recommendation will be forthcoming regarding increasing premiums for the employees. Some wellness initiatives are being considered to be more preventative and less reactive; that should save the Board money and the employees some future difficulties. Testing Coordinator, Donna Doss, was very proud that 71 of 77 4th graders who were eligible attended the state-mandated summer school, and 34 of those, or 48%, passed the LEAP test with an Approaching Basic, Basic or better achievement level. That was a 2% increase compared to last year. She was pleased to note that 89% made some type of gain. In 8th grade, 75 tested out of 85 eligible students attended, and 25 of those or 33% passed with an Approaching Basic or Basic score. She reported that an additional 32 were promoted at the discretion of the principal and with the approval of the superintendent using the waiver system. The remaining 18 of the 8th graders were retained. The state requires a 40% pass rate goal, and she calculated a 40.4% pass rate in Lincoln Parish. With only 15 days of summer remediation, she was very pleased with the results achieved by the 18 teachers. Core Curriculum State Standards was the next report on the agenda. Sherry Boyd and Kim Shackelford, Instructional Coaches, provided background information on the program and its implementation in Lincoln Parish. The standards were developed by the National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State Superintendents' Officers for the purpose of having a national set of standards in grades K-12 in English, language arts, and math. They are going to be able to tell what students should know and be able to do in order to be college and career ready. They have been adopted in 46 states, so comparisons across the states will be possible, and children will be able to compete with students across the world. Ms. Boyd called attention to a timeline in the Power Point presentation showing the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Lincoln Parish beginning with kindergarten and first grade in 2012-13 and ending with all grades being fully implemented in 2014-15. Ms. Shackelford told board members what it's going to mean during those two years as the school system transitions to the curriculum and how it will impact the teachers and students. It was the ladies' opinions that as the students move from grade to grade and master the skills and standards on each level, they will truly be prepared for the work force and/or college. This year's start of school was a bit more challenging, but a team effort between the Central Office and the schools had it opening somewhat calmly. Ms. Null distributed enrollment numbers from August 31, 2005, through the current year. August 31, 2012, found the system with 6,349 kindergarten through twelfth graders which was a drop of about 141 from the previous year. This was in spite of a 166 decrease at the four elementary schools in Ruston. Ms. Null was very pleased to report that the racial balance predicted by the demographer several months ago was achieved following the Board's pairing of the four elementary schools because of the Justice Department's mandates. Ms. Null continued with a personnel report. She voiced the following:
1. Retirement of Alisa Thomas Antley, math teacher at Ruston Junior High, effective August 9, 2012.
2. Resignation of the following:
Gwen Flanagan, lab proctor/paraprofessional at Glen View, with an August 16, 2012, de facto resignation; Evelyn Cooper, pre-k teacher at LP Early Childhood Center, effective August 15, 2012;
Marsha Davis, paraprofessional at Ruston Elementary, effective August 16, 2012; Lisa Harris, teacher at Ruston Elementary, effective August 8, 2012; and Vanessa Wilson, English teacher at Ruston High, effective August 1, 2012.
3. Points of Reference/ Transfer of the following:
Angela McKaskle from Choudrant Elementary to teacher at Ruston Elementary, effective August 23, 2012, because of student numbers; and Heather Roussell, from Hillcrest to teacher at Ruston Elementary, effective August 27, 2012, because of student numbers.
4. Employment of the following effective August 13, 2012, unless otherwise noted:
Joel Antley, special education at Choudrant High, replacing Carolyn Rockett who retired; Anna Alexander, teacher at Cypress Springs, replacing Polly Durrett who transferred;
Emily Kozar, pre-k at LP Early Childhood Center, replacing Evelyn Cooper who resigned; Kayla Sims, pre-k at LP Early Childhood Center, because a section was added; Kathy Faucheux, Spanish at Ruston High, replacing Margarita Cazenave who retired; Katie Corbell, ELA at Ruston High, replacing Danny Roberts who resigned; Jathan Maricelli, social studies at Ruston Junior High, replacing Rachel Simmons who resigned; Jordan Blachier, elementary - 4th at Simsboro, because of class size reduction; and Haley Speer, elementary - 1st at Simsboro, effective August 28, 2012, because of student numbers.
5. Resignation of Geraldean Liner, bus driver in the Ruston area, effective August 16, 2012.
6. Employment of Trenna Howell as bus driver in the Ruston area, effective August 17, 2012, replacing Geraldean Liner who resigned.
7. Employment of the following food service personnel effective August 1, 2012:
Cassandra Franklin, manager at Alma J. Brown, replacing Patrina Robinson who transferred; Vickie Green, manager at Cypress Springs, replacing Donna Holloway who retired; and Belinda Otwell, manager at Ruston Elementary, replacing Barbara Fowler who retired. Sales tax collections for August 2012 were down 8.04% over the same month last year with a total of $948,484 being collected, according to Mr. Murphy. Year-to-date sales tax figures were up 5.96%. Jerry Moore, Administrator of the Sales Tax Commission, said construction was down across the parish as well as oil and gas extractions. Recoveries through audits were $29,563 which was down 26% year-to-date. In the 67 and 79 sales tax fund, $431,129 was collected, and $517,354 was collected in the 93 and 00 fund. Mr. Murphy included June and July 2012 financial statements in packets, and he said he'd summarize the July report. The total fund balance was $35,859,123. The General Fund was up $1.9 million. The 5 mill maintenance fund and all of the ad valorem funds were showing deficits; that will continue until property tax money is received in December. He had reported on the sales tax funds during the Finance Committee meeting just prior to the start of the meeting. In his construction update, Charles Owens showed slides of the work being done on the Ruston High ag shop and New Tech. They are also working on a retaining wall behind the New Tech building, and he is very pleased with the progress. Mr. Owens noted that the temporary buildings that had been moved in were hooked up with firm alarms and intercoms. Meetings were held with the architect on the Choudrant High project before Hurricane Isaac. Due to the hurricane, the parking lot work was postponed from last week and will be completed this coming weekend. The Finance Committee met at 5:45 p.m. just prior to the Board meeting according to the Chairman, Lynda Henderson. She announced that the Committee unanimously voted to recommend to the full Board the adoption of the proposed 2012-13 budget. Business Manager, George Murphy, called attention to Exhibit A which showed a deficit for the upcoming year of $1,230,954. The estimated fund balance as of June 30, 2013, was $32,628.556. He believes the school system is still in good financial condition considering everything that is going on. He recommended the approval by the entire board of the proposed budget. Otha Anders announced that it was time for a public hearing on the budget. Following one comment, the time for a public hearing closed. Upon a motion by Ms. Henderson, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the 2012-13 proposed budget as presented and grant permission for the administration to amend the budget as needed throughout the year and bring a final revised budget to the board for approval at year end. In a Report of the Superintendent, Mr. Bell said that:
1. ACT results were recently received, and Lincoln Parish is again above the state with an average of 20.7. Again, Ruston High School leads the pack of Lincoln Parish high schools with its average of 21.6 which is above the national average of 21.1. He expressed his pride in those results. After a comment from one board member, upon a motion by Ms. Best, the meeting adjourned at 7:31 p.m.
Danny L. Bell, Secretary
Otha L. Anders, President
1td: September 20, 2012

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