MINUTES

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

337 Napoleon Street

New Roads, LA 70760

 

REGULAR MEETING

Thursday, March 24, 2011

 

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board met in a regular session on Thursday, March 24, 2011, at 337 Napoleon Street, New Roads, LA.  Mr. Chad Aguillard, President, called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.    

 

Board members present when the roll was called were: Chad Aguillard, Frank R. Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, Anita LeJeune, and Thomas A. Nelson.

 

Mr. Brandon Bergeron led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

 

Reverend Carl D. Terrance offered the invocation.

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Discussion/Action regarding Contracted Transportation Services effective July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2016. Presentations were heard from two transportation vendors (Durham School Services and First Student) at the Executive Committee meeting held on March 17, 2011.  Superintendent D'Amico stated that after thorough consideration and negotiations with the vendors, she recommends that we continue our relationship with First Student, Inc. and extend our contract with the company for five years. She offered the following reasons for her decision: Although many factors were equal, negotiations resulted in reduced or matching cost between vendors, with First Student, Inc. coming out on top. First Student, Inc. currently has the contract with Advanced Baton Rouge to provide transportation for Pointe Coupee Central High School and plans to continue this contract.  Therefore, we benefit from the lower cost of having additional buses on contract in the district. First Student will provide two additional buses that the Board's owner/operators will have access to use in covering their route when their bus breaks down; Durham could not provide this service. When the school system had to reduce the number of bus routes by five to assist with our financial issues, the First Student Management Team was very cooperative.  They seemed to understand our economic challenges; this will result in an annual savings of approximately $213,000.00, before accounting for the reduction in fuel costs.  The quality of technology that will be implemented on their bus fleet seems superior (GPS, FOCUS and ZONAR).  The company is familiar with the parish demographics.

 

Mr. James Cline arrived at 5:45 p.m.

 

Board member Brandon Bergeron requested that Mr. Tony Vidrine answer a few questions.  Mr. Bergeron questioned why numbers were not broken down at last week's meeting as the other company provided "hard" numbers.  Superintendent D'Amico stated that Durham was given incorrect information regarding the number of bus routes (34) and they had to change their numbers.  Mr. Vidrine stated that he had no clear definition of what to provide; therefore, the proposal he presented reflected a straight across the Board 5% reduction.  He further stated that it was not intentional.  Mr. Bergeron mentioned that to this day he does not know the amount of money that First Student charges per day.  Mr. Bergeron was informed that it was $237.72, and a Head Start route $238.41 He mentioned that as a business owner, he provides all of the information when he submits a bid.  Superintendent D'Amico stated that she does not know where the 34 buses in the Durham quote came from.  Mr. Donald Fuselier, Director of Transportation and Support Services, and Mrs. Debra Jarreau, Transportation Clerk, were requested to speak with Mr. Greg Walters from Durham.   Mrs. D'Amico stated that this was not a bid packet, but rather a proposal.  Mr. Bergeron stated that he would like the people to have confidence and does not want to compromise a quote.  Board member Anita LeJeune requested clarification regarding First Student providing a bus if one of the school system driver's bus breaks down.  They will provide a bus for a short term use.  It was explained that at one time, the system leased buses.  If a bus is needed on a long term basis, First Student can negotiate with the driver for this service.  Board member Anita LeJeune also questioned the way the routes are set up with regard to positioning buses close to where the route begins. It was explained that bus routes will begin as close to the driver's first stop as possible and the new GPS technology will allow First Student to determine where the bus is at all times.  Buses will be staged to reduce wait time. 

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, to adopt the Superintendent's recommendation to contract with First Student, Inc. for transportation services effective July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2016.  Unanimously carried.

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                                                                                         Consent Agenda

 

The following items are considered to be routine and are enacted with one motion.

 

Mr. Kevin Hotard made a motion, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, to approve the following consent agenda items.  Unanimously carried.

 

 

                                                                                  End of Consent Agenda

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Head Start Supervisor's Report.  Mrs. Karen Holmes-Shaw provided School Board members with the March 2011 Supervisor's Monthly Head Start Report and asked them if there were any questions.   She stated that she had just received the dates of federal monitoring; the program will be monitored May 2-6, 2011.  Mrs. Shaw mentioned that she plans to meet with School Board team members (Mr. Chad Aguillard, Mr. Frank Aguillard and Mrs. Anita LeJeune) prior to program monitoring.

 

On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi, the Head Start Supervisor=s Report was approved as presented.  Unanimously carried.

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Personnel Actions.  Ms. Lisa Huffaker, Supervisor of Personnel, presented personnel actions prepared by her department for consideration of School Board approval.  President Chad Aguillard opened the floor to Board members for discussion.  The only change from the list provided at the Executive Committee meeting was denoted by an asterisk. There was a short discussion regarding extended sick leave prior to requesting retirement; advertisement for a vacant paraprofessional Head Start position at Valverda; and consideration of the Appointment of Master/Mentor Teachers at Upper Pointe Coupee that are tied to the Teacher Incentive Fund Grant (TIF); Title I braiding and current allowable expenses regarding grants (i.e., more instructional programs rather than the purchase of copy machines, etc.).  Superintendent D'Amico stated that although Re-Authorization has not taken place yet, there are and will be restricted specific focuses that school systems must adjust to.

 

Mr. James Cline made a motion to accept the Personnel Actions as presented, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard.  Unanimously carried.

 

Retirement:
 

Marcella Fields, bus driver, Rosenwald Elementary, effective 01.05.2011;

 

Resignation:
 

Dana Barbay, Head Start Paraprofessional, Valverda Elementary, effective 02.24.2011;

 

Extended Sick Leave:
 

Rose Boulanger, Paraprofessional, Rosenwald Elementary, effective 02.11.11 (.29%), 02.21.11-02.25.11; and 03.18.11

Patricia Christopher, school food service technician, Valverda Elementary, effective 02.28.11, 03.16.11, and 03.23.11

*Shalanda Judge, Social Skills Strategist, Valverda Elementary, effective 03.17.11, 03.21,11;

Creasy Martin, Paraprofessional, Livonia High, effective 02.16.11 - 02.18.11, 02.23.11-02.24.11;

Shanika Martin, certified teacher, Valverda Elementary, effective, 02.17.11-02.22.11, 03.04.11; and

Pearl Smtih, certified teacher, Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary, effective 03.10.11-03.11.11

 

Leave Without Pay:
 

Linda Jarreau, certified teacher, Rosenwald Elementary, effective 03.14.11-05.05.11

 

Sabbatical Leave for Professional and Cultural Improvement:
 

John Gaspard, certified teacher, Rougon Elementary, effective 08.08.11-05.25.12

 

Appointment of Master Teachers at Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary:
 

Karen Barrios, effective 2011-2012 school year; and

Mary Drummer, effective 2011-2012 school year

 

Appointment of Mentor Teachers at Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary:
 

Carolyn Wells, effective 2011-2012 school year;

Helen Roy, effective 2011-2012 school year; and

Yolanda Jones, effective 2011-2012 school year

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Discussion/Action Regarding Monthly Financial Information for February 2011.  Superintendent D'Amico announced that  Chief Financial Officer Jared Gibbs was not present at the meeting because he is attending the Louisiana Association School Business Officials (LASBO) conference.  He had prepared and presented the monthly financial information at the Executive Committee meeting.

 

On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the Board unanimously accepted the monthly financial information for February 2011 as prepared by Chief Financial Officer Gibbs.

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Review of Letter from the Louisiana Department of Education Regarding Fiscal Monitoring of Internal Controls for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.  Superintendent D'Amcio stated that she wanted the School Board to be aware that the school system was monitored for general fund stimulus funds that the State used to back fill the MFP.  The July 1, 2010 fiscal monitoring and technical assistance desk review of the Pointe Coupee Parish School District was to determine if funds were expended in accordance with federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines governing the use of funds for the Fiscal Monitoring of Internal Controls for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 and the fiscal monitoring of NCLB, ARRA and, SFSF funds for FY 2010 grants, as performed in accordance with procedures that were considered necessary at the time.  Mrs. D'Amico was happy to report that based on the Louisiana State Department of Education's Division of Education Finance, the review of records, complied with the criteria and is now considered final.

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Discussion/Action Regarding Proposed 2011-2012 General Fund Budget with Phase II Cost Reductions, Proposed MFP, and Increased Insurance and Retirement Expenses.  Superintendent D'Amico mentioned that school systems across the state are struggling financially due to budget cuts, rising benefit cost, etcetera. Superintendent D'Amico, along with other public entity persons in Pointe Coupee and other parishes, went to the legislature to express their opinion regarding the way oil companies are assessed for ad valorem tax.  This change in the way oil companies are assessed will reduce the amount of ad valorem tax received by the school district.  It was reported that the Finance Committee met and discussed the proposed 2011-2012 general fund budget.  Teachers' Retirement and School Employees' Retirement has increased from 20.2% to 23.7% and 24.6% to 28.6% respectfully.  Other increases affecting the budget are an increase in Office of Group Benefits' insurance premiums by 5.28%, fuel for buses, and remediation for the summer of 2012, due to the ending of the 21st CCLC Grant in May 2012.  Continued funding of programs such as LA4 Universal Pre-K, 8g Pre-K, cost for the new connections program that replaces Pre GED, and potential funding of Birth to 12 Literacy were discussed.  Superintendent D'Amico stated that she had requested and received assistance from principals regarding suggestions regarding cuts at their prospective schools. Teacher Focus Group meetings were held and the question of a four-day work week for cost saving measures is a repeated inquiry by that group as it is estimated that this measure would save about $400,000.00 per year mainly in transportation cost.  Committee members discussed implementing the Reduction-in-Force (RIF) policy.  Committee members discussed the subjectivity of evaluations, retiree return to work tenured and non-tenured retired teachers and active teachers= tenure and certification as it pertains to RIF.  Several parishes are offering retirees a bonus to resign and sign an agreement not to sign for unemployment and not to ask to return to work in their parish if they meet certain criteria and apply for the program.  Iberville parish is offering a $14,000 buyout to employees who meet certain criteria and apply for the program.  Their plan will allow twenty (20) employees to participate. Webster Parish is offering a $10,000 buyout to all retired or retiring employees.  Mr. Kevin Hotard, Chairperson of the Finance Committee reported that the Finance Committee recommends giving the Superintendent the authority to meet and discuss with retirees who returned to work or employees eligible to retire (certificated) whether or not they would be interest in a buyout suggested at $10,000.00.  If an employee chooses the buyout, they would agree not to apply for unemployment and would not be rehired at a later date by the school system.  The Finance Committee recommends the adoption of Phase II Expenditure Reductions two through seven as previously presented and recommended by Superintendent D'Amico.  The Finance Committee also recommended the adoption of a Resolution giving employees general notice of a possible RIF.

 

Phase II (2-7) Expenditure Reductions for School Year 2011-2012 are as follows:

 

2.    Consider reducing central office staff through expected attrition and reduction-in-force (possible areas bookkeeping, supervisor, clerk)

 

3.    Eliminate the State's unfunded stipend for National Board Certified employees (speech therapists, social workers, counselors, psychologists).  Through the Red Tape Act, allow the Administration to request exemption from paying the stipend for National Board Certified teachers (an unfunded mandate).  Eliminate the district's stipend to Nation Board Certified teachers.

 

4.    Eliminate the bi-annual fuel supplements to bus drivers beginning fall, 2011.  This supplement was replaced by a monthly supplement; however, was never discontinued.  The monthly fuel supplement will remain in force.

 

5.    Freeze current salary schedules for the 2011-2012 school term.

 

6.    Reading First/ELFA- in the event the district does not receive Birth to 12 Literacy Federal Grant for the 2011-2012 school year, dissolve this response to intervention program and return teachers to the classroom using the RIF policy.

 

7.    Authorize the Administration to implement the Reduction-In-Force (RIF) policy, if necessary, to bring expenses in line with income.
 

A.             Adopt the categories of personnel

B.            Approve the number in each category

C.            Approve the personnel names

D.            Authorize administration to send RIF letters to personnel.

 

A discussion followed.  President Chad Aguillard reiterated what former Superintendent Daniel Rawls had previously pointed out regarding school system finances.  Dr. Rawls stated that if you continue to cut and further reduce those cuts, there will be nothing else to cut.  In December 2004, Dr. Rawls presented a Financial Exigency Plan that summarized that sometime in the future, it will be critical to increase local support to properly fund school operations; Pointe Coupee is currently 68 out of 70 in local contributions.  Without such support, we will most assuredly be revisiting this exact crisis again, as there simply will not be anywhere else to consolidate or implement Reduction-in-Force.

 

Mr. Kevin Hotard made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi, to adopt the 2011-2012 general fund budget with Phase II cost reductions two through seven, as recommended by Superintendent D'Amcio.

 

Mr. Brandon Bergeron offered a substitute motion to adopt the 2011-2012 general fund budget with Phase II cost reductions, two, three, five, and seven.  Mrs. Anita LeJeune seconded the motion.  A roll call on the substitute motion resulted in the following:

 

YEAS:                     Brandon Bergeron and Anita LeJeune
 

NAYS:                     Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, and Thomas Nelson
 

ABSTENTIONS:       None

 

The substitute motion failed by a 2-6 vote.

 

The Board was requested to vote on the original motion offered by Mr. Kevin Hotard, seconded by Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi, to adopt the 2011-2012 general fund budget with Phase II cost reductions two through seven, as recommended by Superintendent D'Amico.  Mrs. Anita LeJeune requested a roll call vote:

 

YEAS:                     Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, and Thomas Nelson
 

NAYS:                     Brandon Bergeron and Anita LeJeune

 

ABSTENTIONS:       None

 

The original motion passed by a 6-2 vote.

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Consider Approval of a Resolution for the Establishment of a Possible Mineral Lease of the 16th Section Property.  Mr. James Cline made a motion, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, to ratify a resolution previously signed by the Superintendent that allows permission to negotiate a possible mineral lease of the 16th Section Property.  Unanimously carried.

 

                                                                                           RESOLUTION

 

BE IT RESOLVED that pursuant to a public notice, a regularly scheduled meeting of the POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD was held on the 24th day of February, 2011, at 5:30 P.M. at the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board Office, where the following resolution, upon motion duly seconded and passed, was adopted, to-wit:

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD has determined that it is the owner of mineral interest in and under immovable property described in Exhibit "A", attached hereto and made a part hereof;

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD has determined that it desires to take advantage of LSA R.S. 30:152 (A), et seq, to authorize the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy board to nominate the property described in Exhibit "A" for state agency mineral lease;

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD , in legal session convened, that it does hereby direct and authorize the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board and the Office of Mineral Resources to accept nominations, advertise for, accept and award bids, and execute all oil gas and mineral leases pertaining to the immovable property listed on the attached Exhibit "A";

 

                                                                                           CERTIFICATE
 

I hereby certify that the above is a true and correct copy of a Resolution adopted at a meeting of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board in the City of New Roads, Louisiana on the 24th day of February, 2011, pursuant to due notice, at which meeting a quorum was present, and that said Resolution is duly entered in the Minutes of said Board and is now in full force and effect.

 

                                                                    _______________________________

                                                                                 Chad Aguillard, President

                                                                       Pointe Coupee Parish School Board

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Ratification of a Resolution for the Establishment of a New Mineral lease on Property Shared with the West Baton Rouge Parish School Board (Lease #6128). Superintendent D'Amico introduced Mr. Shawn Bradley with Energy Production Corporation.  The Board was requested to consider adopting a resolution for the establishment of a new mineral lease on property shared with the West Baton Rouge Parish School Board (Lease #6128).

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mr. James Cline, to adopt the following Resolution:

 

                                                                                           RESOLUTION

 

A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE CONVEYANCE FROM FLAGSTONE 1992, L.P. TO COG-EPCO 1992 LIMITED PARTNERSHIP OF ALL RIGHTS, TITLES AND INTERESTS IN AND TO STATE AGENCY LEASE NO. 6128.

 

BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD, in regular session convened, that it does approve that certain Conveyance date November 8, 2010 (recorded in Conveyance Book 498, at Page 553, under Instrument No. 2010-00004302, Records of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana and in Conveyance Book 567, under Entry No. 024, Records of Pointe Coupee Parish Louisiana) from Flagstone 1992, L.P., as Grantor, to COG-EPCO 1992 Limited Partnership, as Grantee, of all rights, titles and interest in and to State Agency Lease No. 6128 dated effective August 13, 1973 from the State Mineral Board of the State of Louisiana on behalf of the West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee Parish School Boards (State Agency Lease No. 6128 being recorded in Conveyance Book 124, under Entry 54, records of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana and in Conveyance Book 112, under Entry 77, records of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana).

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this approval is expressly granted subject to the condition that the Grantee accepts and will fulfill all terms and conditions of the said Sate Agency Lease No. 6128.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                           CERTIFICATE
 

I, Linda D. D'Amico, Superintendent of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board, hereby certify that the above constitutes a true and accurate copy of a resolution which, upon MOTION of Thomas Nelson, SECONDED by Mr. James Clines, was adopted by the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board in regular session convened on March 24, 2011, and that a quorum was present and voting in favor of this resolution, and that said Resolution is duly entered in the Minute Book of said Board and is now in full force and effect.

                                                                 

Linda D. D'Amico, Superintendent

of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board

Date: 3-24-2011

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Discussion/Action Regarding Continuing to Provide Transportation to Students who Reside Out of the Parish, but Attend the Parochial or Private Schools in our Parish.  Superintendent D'Amico stated that there are currently 30 out of parish students who attend FRA, Catholic High and Catholic Elementary of Pointe Coupee from the West Baton Rouge area; these students meet our buses in Pointe Coupee Parish.  She mentioned that she attended a meeting of the FRA Board of Directors where transportation of students that live out of the parish was discussed.  It appears that additional students are requesting transportation and these request will result in having to add an additional bus route at an approximate cost of $55,000.  For 2010-2011, the State of Louisiana discontinued subsidizing the cost of transporting students to private and parochial schools.  This was a $282,000 budget cut for the school system.  The 2010-2011 cost of transporting students to private and parochial schools will cost the school system a minimum of $500,000.  Parents in attendance at the FRA Board of Directors' meeting discussed contracting with a bus service; their willingness to pay for bus service, parents paying for bus transportation, but combining in and out of parish students to reduce the costs.  Mrs. D'Amico referred to LA R.S. 17:158 A. (1) Except as provided by Subsection H of this Section and in accordance with the requirements of Subsection F of this Section, each city, parish, and other local public school board shall provide free transportation for any student attending a school of suitable grade approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education within the jurisdictional boundaries of the local board if the student resides more than one mile from such school.  Mrs. D'Amico stated that she had also planned to attend the March parochial School Board meeting, but unfortunately our School Board meeting was the same night.  Individuals in our parish are tax payers and the school system will continue to provide transportation for children who reside in the parish to attend private and parochial schools. For the last three school sessions, funding subsidies to assist with private and parochial transportation has been reduced and now eliminated; therefore, it is the recommendation of Superintendent D'Amcio to discontinue providing transportation for children who live outside of the parish.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion to terminate transportation for all out of parish children that ride buses provided by the school system in Pointe Coupee Parish.  Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi seconded the motion.  Unanimously carried.

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Consider Revision of File JGCR (Student Health Services). Superintendent D'Amico mentioned that it is the position of the National Association of School Nurses that the management of head lice should not disrupt the educational process.  She met with our school system nurses and the Board is being requested to consider revising policy file JGCR that will reflect following proper treatment, a student should not be out of school for more than one day, not three days as stated in the current policy.  Any student absent for longer than the one day period should be referred to the Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance.  Upon return, the nurse or trained personnel will conference with the child and his/her parent to determine if proper treatment has been received.  Parent must be present in case student is not cleared for return to school.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, to revise File JGCR (Student Health Services).  Unanimously carried.

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Board Member Thomas Nelson stated that he had received a request from a constituent to place an item on the agenda regarding a brief presentation by members of the organization, Concerned Citizens for Education for All Children. There was no objection by Board members to add the item to the agenda.

 

Added Agenda Item Request Granted.  On a motion by Mr. Nelson, seconded by Mr. Chad Aguillard, the Board made a motion to add an item to the agenda.  Unanimously carried.

 

Presentation by Representatives of the Organization, Concerned Citizens for Education for All Children.  Ms. Sherry Hunter, Mrs. Monica Fabre and Reverend Carl D. Terrance announced the grass root's organization would like to offer their support as helping hands in the community to promote and foster education in the public school system.  Mrs. Fabre questioned what is going to happen with the reacquisition of Pointe Coupee Central High School as students are currently dispersed throughout the parish.  A discussion followed regarding the take over of Pointe Coupee Central High School, the low tax base, unfunded mandates, etc. 

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Remarks from the Superintendent.  Superintendent D'Amcio stated that our students completed the first phase of the State Assessment Writing ELA and Constructed Math Response on Tuesday. Principals gave her positive comments that were relayed to them by students and teachers that were pleasing to hear. 

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Adjournment.  On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, the meeting adjourned at 7:23 p.m.

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

 

_____________________________

Chad Aguillard, President

 

 

_____________________________

Linda D. D'Amico, Superintendent

Secretary-Treasurer