MINUTES

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

SPECIAL MEETING

 

Monday, May 11, 2009

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board met in a special session on Monday, May 11, 2009, at the School Board Office, 337 Napoleon Street New Roads, Louisiana.  President James M. Cline called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

 

Board members present were Messrs. Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James M. Cline, Debbie Collins, Kevin Hotard, Anita LeJeune, and Thomas Nelson

 

Thomas A. Nelson led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

 

Mrs. Debbie Collins offered the invocation.

 

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Acceptance & Award of Bids for the Rougon Elementary School Pre-K Building.  David Mougeot, of Mougeot Architecture, provided a bid tabulation sheet from the bid opening of May 5, 2009 for the new pre-kindergarten classroom building for Rougon Elementary School.  Base bids were as follows: J. Reed Constructors $507,800; Joffrion Commercial Div. Gen. Contr. $417, 900, Tiger Electric & Contractors $441,076, and Craig H. Gosserand submitted an alternate bid of $4,700.00 in addition to his base bid of $439,980 for a total bid of $444,680.  Mr. Mougeot's made a recommendation to accept the lowest bid from Joffrion Commercial Div. Gen. Contractors for $417,900. A discussion ensued.  Superintendent Lucia alluded to the fact that bids received were approximately $90,000 higher than what had been originally anticipated; however, the short time frame of seventy-five days may have been a factor with regard to the possibility of overtime compensation, etc.  Mr. Lucia stated that there are several ways that the Board could possibly make up this difference (i.e., left over funds after the budget is reconciled, and the possibility of money from insurance claims).  Mr. Jofrrion, the low bidder, was present at the meeting.  Board member Frank Aguillard asked Mr. Joffrion about liquidation of damages should the project not be completed within the time frame.  Mr. Joffrion stated that he would be responsible.  Board member James Cline questioned Mr. Joffrion regarding his attempt to use local persons.  Mr. Joffrion stated that it is his intention to try to use local persons to work on the construction project, of which he named a few contacts that he had spoken with already. It was mentioned that the school system is still interested in the possibility of construction bond monies at an interest free rate.  It was announced that agenda item number five on the agenda (Consider acceptance of bids for the Rougon Elementary Pre-K Building) and agenda item number six on the agenda (Award bid for the Rougon Elementary Pre-K Building) would be combined into one motion, and Mr. Frank Aguillard stated that he was ready to offer the motion.

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard made a motion to accept the lowest bid from Joffrion Commercial Div. Gen Contractors, License No. 40957, for the base bid of $417.900 and the required 5% bond, for the new pre-kindergarten classroom building at Rougon Elementary School.  Mr. Thomas Nelson seconded the motion.  Unanimously carried.

 

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Agenda Item Change.  President Cline announced that he would like to change the order of the agenda with regard to addressing agenda item number nine relevant to provisional custody, prior to agenda items seven and eight.  All members of the Board concurred and the item was moved up on the agenda.

 

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Discussion/action Regarding Provisional Custody.  Superintendent Lucia stated that there are several different types of student transfer opportunities currently being utilized within the Pointe Coupee Parish Public School system (i.e., Majority to Minority; School Choice; Opt. Out from Pointe Coupee Central High School currently being operated by Advance Baton Rouge; as well as "provisional custody" of a child by a family member or friend.   President Cline mentioned that he is concerned that the proposed potential closure of North Iberville High School, located in the neighboring parish of Iberville, could lead to an influx of students trying to enroll into some of the already overcrowded schools in Pointe Coupee.  A discussion followed.  Ms. LaShonda Victorian provided information reflecting 121 students enrolled as provisional custodial students in the public school system in Pointe Coupee Parish as of April 30, 2009.  According to the policy, which is permitted by state law, a  provisional custodial student is supposed to spend three or four nights a week with the person designated as the provisional custodian.  Board member Thomas Nelson stated that there has never been an effective way to check to see if the student is spending this amount of time at the provisional custodian's residence.  Mr. Nelson further stated that it is rather difficult to enforce since the school system does not have the manpower to check the number of days that each custodial student spends at the designated provisional custodian's home.  Mr. Cline announced that he is in favor of grand fathering students that are currently enrolled as provisional custody students until their school term ends; this would not include their siblings in the future.  Mr. Nelson stated he has been opposed to provisional custody from the beginning as he felt that it was unfair, and in the past had tried to get rid of provisional custody.  Mr. Nelson mentioned that the school system does not have control over Majority to Minority, but provisional custody was allowed by the School Board, and that he is in favor of grand fathering those students that are currently enrolled, and supports an end to provisional custody.  It was also stated that persons do have the option to go through the court system to obtain provisional custodial rights for family members, etc.

 

On a motion by Mr. James Cline, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the Board voted unanimously to end provisional custody, grandfather those students that are currently enrolled as a provisional custodial student until they graduate, and not to include their siblings.

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Revision of the Original Head Start Budget.  A copy of the projected Pointe Coupee Parish Head Start Budget for the period of April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010 was provided to all members of the Board.  Mr. Lucia stated that the budget was reviewed and " tweaked" several times and monies were moved from the original budget that Board members saw to accommodate the construction phase. He mentioned that this particular budget reflects salaries for the time frame that employees will work within this first budget cycle  and that next year will be a full budget cycle for salaries of nine, ten and twelve month employees according to particular job descriptions. Our Head Start Consultant spoke with the Dallas office to make certain that salaries could be moved to the category for construction during this initial budget cycle, and was informed that the revision of the budget could be done providing that the school system completes the required application process.  It was stated that during subsequent years, money will not be needed for construction projects, and the salary category will ultimately reflect such.  Mr. Lucia also mentioned that the Educational Facilitator's position was taken out; however, this may have to be placed back into the budget at a later time. Mr. Lucia also stated that $115,000 was taken out of the transportation category and placed in the construction category, in hope that the head start students can ride the regular buses providing that there are proper restraints.  Board member Brandon Bergeron questioned if the pay scale used to calculate salaries reflected the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board's pay schedule.  Superintendent Lucia stated that the current Pointe Coupee Parish School Board's salary schedule (July 1, 2008) was used to project the salary schedule for the Head Start Program.  Mr. Lucia stated that after meeting with the Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Personnel, it was decided that  the salary schedule will include several years of experience to take into consideration that some persons that apply may have prior experience rather than using zero "O" years of experience as the base pay.  Principal Ted David was granted permission to be recognized.  Mr. David expressed his concern for three-year old children riding the same bus as other students.  He mentioned that in some instances, a three-year-old would have to wake up extremely early to ride the bus and his concern is that it will be a very long day for these young children.  Since a bus driver already receives operational pay, perhaps they would consider contracting with the system to make another route.  A discussion followed regarding the possibility of beginning school at a later time for the Head Start children, pick up times, the need for child restraints, etc.  It was announced that CDI Head Start had purchased approximately sixty harnesses for the children.  Mrs. Debbie Collins mentioned that it was her understanding that the Head Start Program in Pointe Coupee is being modeled after the program in West Baton Rouge, and questioned the collaboration with other parishes.  Mrs. Shaw confirmed that there has been collaboration with other parishes, and mentioned that the Head Start Program in West Baton Rouge parish contracts with First Student and they may provide separate buses with special car seats for the Head Start children. Mrs. Shaw also mentioned that to her knowledge, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana have six hour days for Head Start students.  Mrs. Shaw announced that one-hundred and fifty-three harnesses were included in the start-up budget.  The Board member Anita LeJeune expressed that she is not pleased that the Educational Facilitator Staff person was taken out of the budget, as she feels that this is a needed position for curriculum, etc.  Board member Nelson interjected that it is his impression that the Educational Consultant will be included in next year's budget after construction is completed.  Mrs. LeJeune was assured that the mandated educational curriculum duties will be performed by a qualified staff person/consultant that is already employed with the system.  Mrs. Shaw stated that the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board is the Board of Directors of the Head Start Program.  The Board and the Policy Council are required to approve budget revisions, Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, Attendance Policies and Procedures (ERSEA), job descriptions, hires, etc.  Mrs. Shaw stated that surveys were being conducted to ascertain the number of students that are interested in the Head Start Program, but the Round-Up survey was stopped in order to conduct "real" applications.  Mrs. Shaw also stated that this information cannot be inputted until eligibility requirements are voted upon at the regular meeting.  Mr. Chad Aguillard questioned the eligibility/guideline requirements.  Mrs. Shaw reported that the Board's policy must fit into the Head Start guidelines to make sure that we are in accordance with Head Start Law 2007.  Mrs. Lejuene asked if the Board was planning to start the Head Start Program for the upcoming school year. She was informed that the target date for Head Start is September 8, 2009; parents of kindergarten and pre-k students are to report on August 6, 2009, to schedule testing for their children.  Eighty-eight (88) days of construction is the time-frame for Head Start Building construction. A revised design/bid/construction schedule from Mougeot Architecture was given to each Board member for their review.   Mr. Kevin Hotard stated that the 1.5 difference consists of approximately a $300,000 problem.  President Cline suggested that Mr. Kevin Hotard, Finance Committee Chairperson, and Brandon Bergeron, Grounds & Committee Chairperson, plan a meeting to discuss particulars.  Mr. Frank Aguillard remarked that excellent questions were asked by School Board members.  He reminded everyone that in-kind spending was discussed at a previous meeting, therefore he cautioned Board members to be very, very, careful not to overspend.  In an effort to find money to build permanent buildings, money was "shifted" from transportation; however, Mr. Lucia stated that Principal David had made valid points about transportation concerns.  He mentioned that a problem could possibly develop if money for transportation is not added back into this budget.  The deadline to send the approved revised budget to Dallas is Thursday, May 14, 2009, therefore, the need for immediate action is time sensitive. Mr. Kevin Hotard made a motion to restore the pupil transportation costs to the proposed revised Head Start Budget.  Mr. Thomas Nelson seconded the motion.  Unanimously carried.

 

On a motion by Mr. Frank Aguillard, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the Board voted to adopt the proposed revised Head Start budget with the inclusion of the restored pupil transportation costs. Unanimously carried.                

 

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Approval of the Application for a new Head Start Grant for COLA and Quality Improvement Funds.  Board members were provided correspondence from the Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, regarding the opportunity for Head Start grantees to apply for additional funding for COLA and QI.  A table was included that identified the school system's allocations, project periods, application requirements, grant awards, etc.

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard made a motion to approve the application for a new Head Start Grant for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and quality improvement (QI).  Mr. Thomas Nelson seconded the motion.  Unanimously carried.

 

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Approval of Head Start Clerk Position.  Board members were provided with a proposed job description and salary schedule for the position of Head Start Clerk.  President Cline questioned the need for this position, as the Early Childhood department does not have a clerk.  Mr. Cline mentioned that he is of the opinion that other employees in the system could handle the workload required for this position. A discussion followed.  Mr. Cline was told that this clerk would be responsible for data entry for all schools, bookkeeping, etc.  Mr. Chad Aguillard stated that the last thing that the school system would want to do is to disadvantage the three-year-old program at its inception, as it is his belief that a thought process was used whenever the budget was developed to include this particular position.

 

A discussion ensued regarding grant package positions as opposed to Board approved positions.  Mr. Cline requested that the board consider revising the proposed Head Start Clerk's position to include LA-4 clerk responsibilities.  Mrs. Shaw announced that additional LA-4 duties added to the proposed Head Start job description would require a portion of the clerk's salary to be paid with general funds.  Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, to establish, approve, and advertise the Head Start clerk position that will include LA-4 clerk responsibilities.

 

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Adoption of a Resolution Regarding Proposed Retirement Bills of the 2009 Regular Legislative Session.  On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, the following resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Board:

 

                                                                    RESOLUTION

 

WHEREAS, The Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) and the Louisiana  School Employees' Retirement System (LSERS) were created for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to citizens of Louisiana employed in public education, and

 

WHEREAS, The governance provided by the boards of trustees of these retirement systems has continually met the boards' constitutional and legal obligations to the membership, and

 

WHEREAS, There is an attempt in the legislature to consolidate the boards of trustees of TRSL and LSERS with the boards of the other two state retirement systems and to create a new Consolidated Retirement Board, and

 

WHEREAS, Retirement system membership representation on the newly created board would be in the minority of board membership, and

 

WHEREAS, There is an additional attempt in the legislature to limit freedom of the existing boards or the newly created Consolidated Retirement Board by requiring certain procedures to be followed on the purchases and sales of certain equities, and

WHEREAS, The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board opposes any attempt by the legislature to consolidate the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana and the Louisiana School Employees' Retirement System of Louisiana with any other public employee retirement system, and

 

WHEREAS, The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board also opposes any attempt by the legislature to remove independence of the boards and staff to best administer and to best allocate the investments of the trusts, and

 

WHEREAS, The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board feels obligated to do everything in its power to protect the benefits provided to its employees;

 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board officially opposes House Bill No. 230 and House Bill No. 357 of the 2009 Regular Legislative Session, and

 

RESOLVED, That this resolution be transmitted to members of the Pointe Coupee Parish legislative delegation, and

 

RESOLVED, That this resolution become a part of the official record of actions taken by the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board at a special meeting held on Monday, May 11, 2009.

 

Board President                                Date        

Superintendent                                  Date

 

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Adjournment.  On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the meeting adjourned at 7:38 p.m.

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

                                                            

James M. Cline, President                     

                                                            

Michael J. Lucia, Interim Superintendent