MINUTES

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

337 Napoleon Street

New Roads, LA 70760

 

REGULAR MEETING

Thursday, January 22, 2009

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board met in a regular session on Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 337 Napoleon Street, New Roads, LA.  Mr. James Cline, President, called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.    

 

Board members present were Messrs. Chad Aguillard, Frank R. Aguillard, Jr., Brandon Bergeron, James M. Cline, Kevin Hotard, Thomas A. Nelson, Joseph M. Thibaut, Sr., and Mrs. Debbie Collins.

 

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Sheriff Beauregard "Bud" Torres, was requested to the lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America.

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The invocation was offered by Mr. Larry Bossier, Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Morganza, Louisiana.

 

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Discussion/Action Regarding Truancy Issues and Concerns.  Sheriff Torres approached the podium and indicated that he was requested to appear at the School Board meeting.

 

Mr. Torres stated that he had met with Superintendent Rawls and discussed that off duty officers would be able to assist law enforcement to gain compliance for habitual truancy offenders.  He also stated that in addition to adding two School Resource Officers, the Dare Program was reintroduced in all schools in the parish.  Mr. Torres mentioned that some of his previous plans had to be curtailed as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav.  Superintendent Rawls stated that he had attended the first DARE graduation program that was held at Valverda Elementary; a good program that is recognized nationally!  Sheriff Torres mentioned that he is working with the Robert Rose Organization to try to begin a Pre-K to 4th grade DARE Program.

 

Marty Maley, Assistant D.A., applauded Sheriff Torres for his aggressive early drug education intervention strategies.  Mr. Maley stated that he and District Attorney Ricky Ward are committed to "fixing" the drug problem and are also on board with regard to early intervention.  He referred to a truancy program that was designed by Phil Haney and sanctioned about a year ago. Mr. Maley stated that Bonnie Francois and Deandria Gremillion work with the program in Pointe Coupee.  Based upon a recommendation, they meet with the parent and child to develop a practical plan that is tailored for the child.  He mentioned that West Baton Rouge has experienced much success with the program and anticipates that in the future it will be in implemented at every elementary school in that parish.  Ms. LaShonda Victorian, Child Welfare and Attendance Supervisor, mentioned the time-frame issue with regard to pending cases and referred to one case that will not be heard until March.  Mr. Maley stated that funding is an issue and the fact there are only four judges in the 18th Judicial District.  He mentioned that a night court may be implemented in the future to expedite the process, and that evidently the pilot program is working because 93% of students seen last year have improved and 97% during the first semester of this year.

 

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Update Regarding Pointe Coupee Central.  Mrs. Annie Morrison, Communications'Director of RSD Charter Schools with Advance Baton Rouge, e-mailed an update report that was provided to members of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board for the January 22, 2009 meeting.  The report provided information regarding student population, demographics, faculty and staff, teacher demographics, attendance, suspension/expulsion data, etc.  Mrs. Morrison introduced Mr. Harry Wright and Mrs. Betty Antoine, Administrative Staff at Pointe Coupee Central, and stated that Mr. Wright would be presenting information regarding the school.  After Mr. Wright reviewed statistics about Pointe Coupee Central, he stated that Advance Baton Rouge's goal is to move the school forward academically and to give it back to the local school system.

 

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                                                                  Consent Agenda

 

The following items are considered to be routine and will be enacted with one motion.  There will be no separate discussion of items unless a member of the School Board so requests, in which event the item will be  removed from the consent agenda and considered as an item on the regular  agenda for a separate vote preceding the last item on the regular agenda.  Mr. Cline read the consent agenda items. 

 

Minutes Approved.  On a motion by Mr. Kevin Hotard, seconded by Mrs. Debbie Collins, the Board voted unanimously to approve the following consent agenda items: approval of the minutes from the regular meeting of Thursday, December 18, 2008, and the minutes of the Executive Committee meeting of January 15, 2009.

 

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Presentation of the 2007-2008 Pointe Coupee Parish School Board Financial Audit Report from Postlethwaite and Netterville. The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board engaged the services of Postlethwaite & Netterville (P & N), a Professional Accounting Corporation, to perform the annual financial audit for the year ending June 30, 2008.  Mr. Freddy Smith, a partner of P & N, provided copies of the audit report to all School Board members, Superintendent Rawls, the Chief Financial Officer (Mr. Josh Langlois), as well as copies for media personnel. Mr. Smith reviewed financial highlights regarding the 2007-2008 audit, and answered inquiries fielded from School Board members. He mentioned that internal controls for processing transactions were in compliance with state and federal regulations and that the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board received an unqualified audit (the highest level of audit compliance) again.  Mr. Smith commended Chief Financial Officer Joshua Langlois, the school system's financial department, and Superintendent Rawls for their hard work.

 

On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the Board voted to accept the 2007-2008 audit report as presented by Freddy Smith of Postlewaithe and Netterville, a Professional Accounting Corporation. Unanimously carried.

 

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Personnel Actions.  Ms. Cindy O'Meara, Personnel Director, presented personnel actions that had been prepared by her department.

 

Mr. Kevin Hotard made a motion to accept the personnel actions as presented, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron.  Unanimously carried.

 

Retirement:

Barry Henry, Maintenance Employee, Warehouse, effective 02.17.09

 

Resignations:

 

Antonio Garcia, non-certified teacher, Livonia High School, effective 01.05.09;

Christopher McNamara, non-certified teacher, Livonia High School, effective 01.06.09

 

Extended Sick Leave:

                                                                             

Roberta Averill, certified teacher, Rougon Elementary School, 12.19.08;

Elouise Cline, paraprofessional, Rougon Elementary School, effective 01.06.09-03.16.09;

Dawn David, certified teacher, Livonia High School, effective 01.09.09-01.19.09;

Fara Hargoder, certified teacher, Rougon Elementary School, effective 12.18.08-01.19.09;

Karen Harrell, certified teacher, Livonia High School, effective 12.18.08;

Julie Langlois, certified teacher, Rougon Elementary School, effective 01.21.09-02.06.09; and

Diana Sylvest, certified teacher, Pupil Appraisal, effective 12.02.08 (2 hrs.), 12.16.08 (3 hrs.), 12.17.08-2.19.08

 

New Hires:

 

Misty Childers, certified teacher, Valverda Elementary School, effective 01.05.09;

Jill Durbin, certified teacher, Livonia High School, effective 01.05.09;

Brittany Hinyard, non-certified teacher, Livonia High School, effective 01.09.09; and

Tammy Miller, practitioner teacher, Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary School, effective 01.09.09.

 

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Committee Meeting Report.  Mr. Kevin Hotard, Finance Committee Chairperson, reported that the committee met at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 22, 2009 (one hour before the regular meeting) to basically review transportation costs and other  monthly financial information.

 

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Discussion/Action Regarding Monthly Financial Information.  Board members were provided with information relative to the bank statement dates of 12/01/08-12/31/08, the outstanding check report of 1/14/09, an Accounting Statement of Revenue and Expenditures ending 12/31/08, parish sales tax collection information, and the 2008-2009 MFP student membership information as of 1/22/09. 

 

On a motion by Mr. Kevin Hotard, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, the Board unanimously approved the monthly financial information as presented.

 

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Discussion/Action Regarding the Former School Board Office Building.  Superintendent Rawls stated that Mr. Brandon Bergeron had requested that he include an agenda item to discuss the former School Board Office Building located at 1662 Morganza Highway on the proposed January meeting agenda. Questions regarding insurance claims, fair market value, potential sale, and liability issues pertaining to said property were briefly discussed at the Executive Committee meeting and it was decided that this item would be discussed at the Finance Committee meeting scheduled one hour prior to the regular School Board meeting.

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard made a motion to accept the Finance Committee's recommendation to table the agenda item regarding the former School Board Office Building located at 1662 Morganza Highway.  The motion was seconded by Debbie Collins.  Unanimously carried.

 

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Amendment of the 2008-2009 School-Year Calendar.  The 2008-2009 school year calendar was adopted by the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board last spring.  Ms. LaShonda Victorian, Child Welfare and Attendance Supervisor, reported that a change in test dates has been issued by the Louisiana State Department of Education.  The request for an amendment of the 2008-2009 calendar is to make certain that testing materials will be available for distribution at the time of the in-service, as it has been determined that the parish half day for Statewide Assessment in-services needs to be Wednesday, March 25, 2009, rather than Wednesday, March 4, 2009, as previously adopted.

 

On a motion by Mr. Kevin Hotard, seconded by Mrs. Debbie Collins, the Board voted unanimously to amend the 2008-2009 calendar to reflect March 25, 2009 as the Statewide Assessment In-Service day.

 

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Adoption of the 2009-2010 School-Year Calendar.  Ms. LaShonda Victorian prepared a draft copy of the 2009-2010 school year calendar reflecting half days, holidays, etc., as well as the twelve-month employee holiday calendar that will be effective on July 1, 2009.  Superintendent Rawls and Administrators (Principals, Supervisors, Directors) reviewed and discussed the proposed 2009-2010 calendar at the January 13, 2009 monthly Administrators' meeting.  It should be noted that according to the State Department of Education's current testing schedule, 2010 spring tests will be administered the week after Easter next year.  Therefore, rather than the usual six-day Easter Holiday break,  the proposed calendar reflects a split break (the Friday before Easter and a five-day break two weeks after testing ends).

 

Ms. Victorian also stated that there is a possibility that state testing dates will be changed again; if this occurs, the Board will be requested to amend the 2009-2010 calendar at a subsequent meeting.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion to adopt the proposed 2009-2010 school year calendar as presented.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard.

 

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Consider Proposed Addendum to the Substitute Pay Schedule.  Superintendent Rawls stated that he had prepared a proposed addendum to the substitute pay schedule in an effort to attract teachers to the system.  The following transpired at the Executive Committee meeting on January 15, 2009: Dr. Rawls mentioned that in some instances teachers possess teaching degrees, but are uncertified to teach in Louisiana.  Dr. Rawls further stated that it costs a lot of money to relocate and on several occasions prospective teachers have decided not to teach in Pointe Coupee because of the current low rate of substitute pay that they will receive.  Therefore, his recommendation is to amend the long-term and short-term substitute salary schedule to include authorization for the Superintendent, or his designee, to acquire new hires from the existing vacancies by utilizing the existing teachers salary schedule as a base pay guide.  His proposed policy addendum reflects that action may be applied to hiring new teaching personnel as they work toward certification credentials.  Superintendent Rawls stated that this policy is for salary only and will in no way effect benefits; any employee that would be hired under these terms would be required to sign a disclaimer indicating acceptance of these conditions as well as provide proof of certification attempts as required by the Administration.  Additionally, any supplemental pay for duties such as, marching band, cheerleading, or any other club sponsorship, may be added in addition to salary per each category of additional service schedules; all other long/short-term hires will remain under the existing policies.  A discussion followed.  Questions were entertained regarding certification time limits, the area of educational certification that the potential substitute teacher may currently have, will the policy be applied to local teachers who are currently working in the system as substitutes, but do not have their certification, Teach for America teachers, etc. Dr. Rawls stated that the Board charged him with the responsibility of recruiting good teachers and he was trying to respond to their direction by implementing this policy.  Superintendent Rawls stated that he is of the opinion that the proposed addendum changes to the current substitute pay scale will level the playing field, as Pointe Coupee is competing with surrounding parishes that reflect higher teacher salary schedules.

 

Mr. Kevin Hotard, Chairperson of the Finance Committee, stated that this item was addressed at the Finance Committee meeting and it was a unanimous recommendation by the Committee to leave the substitute policy in place without amendments.  Mr. Hotard stated that they looked at the pros and cons and considered the people that had not been treated the same and furthermore does not feel this would help in recruiting efforts.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson stated that he understands the Finance Committee's recommendation, and appreciates Dr. Rawls' report, but questioned the number of times that the system lost certified teachers because of substitute pay.  Dr. Rawls was requested to respond. 

 

Superintendent Rawls stated that his objective was to try to get certified teachers and thus the proposed amendment to the substitute policy.   He mentioned that there are approximately 8-10 teachers that are currently working on their certification.

 

Mr. Bergeron stated that he feels that a change is needed, but more clarity is needed as he is not in favor of giving uncertified teachers the increase.

 

It was explained that the State Department of Education will issue a Temporary Assignment to Teach (TAT) Certificate, if the requirement of the Praxis-I Standard is met, thus providing a substitute the opportunity to move from the substitute salary schedule to the teacher's salary schedule.

 

Mr. Nelson offered the suggestion to include language that would require a one year commitment to the system after certification is completed.

 

Mr. Chad Aguillard made a motion to adopt Dr. Rawls' proposed addendum to the substitute pay schedule to include that the applicant agrees to commit to a one year contract.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Thomas Nelson.  A roll call vote resulted in the following:

 

YEAS:  Chad Aguillard, James M. Cline, Thomas Nelson, and Joseph Major Thibaut, Sr.

 

NAYS:  Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, Debbie Collins, and Kevin Hotard

 

The motion to amend the existing substitute pay scale failed by a 4-4 vote.

 

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Remarks from the Superintendent.  Superintendent Rawls requested that Board members review the information in their update folders.  He mentioned that qualifying dates for School Board District F will begin on  Wednesday, February 10, 2009 and will end on Friday, February 13, 2009; a time frame of only three days.

 

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Expression of Sympathy.  On a motion by the entire Board and seconded by the entire Board expressions of sympathy were offered to the family of:

 

Mr. Melvin Kador, Sr., father of Ms. Molly Jones, school clerk at Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary School.

 

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Adjournment.  On a motion by Mr. Chad Aguillard, seconded by Mr. Thomas Nelson,  the meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

                                                                         

James M. Cline, President

                                                                         

Daniel R. Rawls, Ph.D., Superintendent

Secretary-Treasurer