MINUTES

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

337 Napoleon Street

New Roads, LA  70760

 

REGULAR MEETING

Thursday, January 24, 2013

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board met in a regular session on Thursday, January 24, 2013, in their meeting room located at 337 Napoleon Street in New Roads, Louisiana 70760.   Mr. Brandon Bergeron, President, called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m.

 

Board members present were: Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, Anita LeJeune, and Thomas Nelson.

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

 

Mrs. Karen Shaw was requested to offer the invocation.

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Expression of Sympathy.   On motion by the entire Board and seconded by the entire Board, an expression of sympathy was offered to the families of the following:

 

James Webre, brother of Amanda Brooks, Payroll Bookkeeper, Pointe Coupee Parish School Board.

 

Nathaniel Batiste, Sr., father of Claudia Batiste, Educational Diagnostician, Pointe Coupee Parish School Board.

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Recognition of the Football Team and Coaches from Livonia High School.   Certificates of achievement were provided to players and coaches for their successful 2012 football season that afforded them the opportunity, for the first time in the history of the school, to participate in the state semi-finals. Coach David Brewerton, Head Football Coach/Athletic Director, was recognized for receiving the Coach of the Year Award.  Coach Brewerton expressed his gratitude to the School Board and School Administration for the support and recognition they have been given.  Pictures of the players and coaches were taken with the Superintendent and other system officials; family members of the three senior football players attending the meeting were also recognized.

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Cooperative Endeavor/Intergovernmental Agreement with  the Police Jury Regarding the Use of the Gym at the Morganza School Site.   Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury’s Parks and Recreation Committee Chairperson, Janet Vosburg, was in attendance to address the Board to ask for support from the School Board for the use of the Morganza gymnasium as a site for a youth recreation program for basketball, volleyball and related activities.  She mentioned that there are a lot of repairs to do on the gym, understanding that it is their responsibility to get the gym up to par, with anticipation of the program beginning next year. President Brandon Bergeron mentioned that he had attended a Morganza Town Council meeting to obtain feedback regarding the proposed plan to utilize the gym.  Mr. Bergeron stated that the idea was embraced positively and was asked to relay to the Police Jury that they are looking forward to seeing this project transpire. Ms. Vosburg expressed her appreciation to Mr. Donald Fuselier, Director of Maintenance and Support Services, for the assistance he has provided with regard to having items that have been stored in the gym removed.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, to accept the Superintendent’s recommendation to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor/Inter-Governmental Agreement with the Police Jury for the use of the gym at the Morganza School Site in Morganza, Louisiana, effective January 24, 2013, until such time as either party hereto notifies the other in writing that it wishes to cancel this agreement, which notice shall be given at least thirty (30) days in advance of cancellation.  The motion carried.

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Continuation of a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement Between the Police Jury and the School Board to Transport Scrap Metal for Livonia High School.  The School Board and the Police Jury previously entered into a cooperative endeavor agreement, effective January 1, 2012 through which the parish has been transporting scrap metal between the Livonia High School Welding Shop and Stupp Corporation.  The Stupp Corporation sends scrap metal pieces back to the welding shop for the students to use. Both, the School Board and the Police Jury would like to continue said agreement; however, the agreement expired December 31, 2012. Attorney John Wayne Jewell, Attorney for the Police Jury, prepared another Cooperative agreement to continue said agreement indefinitely in the same fashion as was done under the agreement between the parties for the year 2012, with a,  30 day, in advance, cancellation clause. 

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard made a motion, seconded by Mr. Thomas Nelson, to accept the Superintendent’s recommendation to continue a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the Police Jury and the School Board to transport scrap metal for Livonia High School’s Welding Shop to the Stupp Corporation in return for scrap metal pieces for the agriculture shop.  The motion carried.

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School Presentations:    At the Executive Committee meeting on January 17, 2013, Board Member Chad Aguillard questioned what principals needed from the Board for preparation for spring testing.   Mr. Bayoumi, Mrs. Stacy Gueho’s designee, was in attendance and mentioned what Livonia High School is doing to prepare for testing; Mrs. Helen Roy, Mr. Myron Brown’s designee, was in attendance and announced what Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary is doing to prepare for testing; Mrs. Bridget Berry, Principal of Valverda Elementary was in attendance and explained what was being done at her school to prepare for testing; Mrs. Patsy Langlois, Principal of Rougon Elementary School, presented information regarding what Rougon Elementary is doing to prepare for testing.  Mrs. Monica Fabre, Principal of Rosenwald Elementary, prepared a PowerPoint Presentation regarding school performance trend data at Rosenwald, trajectory if the performance trend continues, with comparison to the New State Accountability using student performance grade ranges.  Mr. Chad Aguillard asked what Mrs. Fabre was asking the Board to do.  She requested that the Board take a microscopic look at the budget and find funds to consider contracting with Mr. John McCray, an outside Lead Consultant with Success Now, to assist teachers in meeting the specific needs (missing skills) of non-proficient students.  Board member Chad Aguillard asked about the costs associated with the program. Mrs. Fabre clarified that it this is not a program, the consultant will be teaching skills that will last a lifetime; she stated that she did not bring cost information with her tonight. Mr. Frank Aguillard stated that he has supported all of the programs that Rosenwald requested to implement in the past and suggested that Mrs. Fabre meet with Superintendent D’Amico and Administration to decide what program will work best for her school.  Mrs. Fabre reiterated that this is not a program. Mr. Chad Aguillard questioned if the Master Teachers are supportive of this endeavor and she stated that they are.  Mr. James Cline mentioned that he has also supported programs in the past requested by Rosenwald to try to help them to improve student scores.  Mr. Cline stated that many of the problems lie in the neighborhood and doesn’t know what it is going to take, as this problem is not only at Rosenwald, but many schools throughout the country.  He issued a challenge for parents to be parents and support their children to improve education in the school.  Mrs. Fabre stated that Mr. Cline’s comments demonstrated the great skill of generalization and that not all students at Rosenwald have parents that don’t care.  Mrs. Anita LeJeune stated that a lot of what Mrs. Fabre is saying is about change and can see that change is already happening.  She commended Mrs. Fabre and the teachers for what they are doing. Superintendent D’Amico mentioned that she has spoken to Mrs. Fabre about using the funds allotted to Rosenwald in the general fund budget, as well as her allotted Title I funding for Rosenwald, to provide contractual fees for the consulting services that she is requesting.  Mr. Thomas Nelson stated that he was disappointed in Mr. Cline’s comments, as he doesn’t know the parents.

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Consent Agenda

 

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

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

 

 

End of Consent Agenda

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Presentation of the 2011-2012 Annual Financial Report by Postlethwaite & Netterville, a Professional Accounting Corporation.    Mr. Freddy Smith announced that the school system once again received an unqualified opinion on the financial statements.  Mrs. Anita LeJeune stated that the term “unqualified” has a negative connotation and wishes that it could be changed to a more positive type word. Mr. Smith explained that unqualified reflects a clean report, the best opinion that you can receive.  He mentioned that there were no identified material weaknesses regarding internal control and recommendations were made in a management letter; one minor finding regarding the sales tax fund, a relatively new fund that was set up dedicated to salary and benefits was noted.  According to state budget law, if revenue falls short more than 5%, you must amend the budget; the tax fund exceeded the budget by 10% year end resulting in an entry accounting minor finding.  The school system operated with a surplus; no significant exceptions to the data reported in the performance measurement data; only minimal verification regarding education level of staff, test scores, etc.  He was very pleased to report the unqualified opinion with regard to compliance for Federal programs that were audited as major programs. Mr. Smith expressed accolades regarding the 1st time in many years that federal programs have not had findings (21st Century Community Learning Centers; Head Start; School Improvement; Education Jobs; School Food Service). 

 

Mr. Chad Aguillard commended the Superintendent.  He stated that the report is an impressive testament of the work the Director, Chief Financial Officer, Supervisors and Superintendent are doing with regard to the system’s finances.

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard mentioned the credibility of the Professional Accounting Firm of Postletwaithe and Netterville, a firm that has engaged in auditing the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board for 8 years, of which there has been four Chief Financial Officers during this time.  He commended Stephen Langlois for a job well done.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, to accept the 2011-2012 Annual Financial Report presented by Mr. Freddy Smith of Postlethwaite & Netterville, a Professional Accounting Corporation.  The motion carried.

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Receive the Head Start Supervisor’s Monthly Report.  Mrs. Karen Shaw prepared the Head Start Supervisor’s monthly report for members of the School Board.  She introduced Mr. Clarence “Jeff” May, the President of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board’s Head Start Policy Council.  Mr. May expressed his appreciation to the Board for their active role in the Head Start program. He mentioned that he is a stay at home dad and has had the opportunity to visit all of the school sites and is impressed with the Head Start Program offered in the parish.  Mrs. Shaw mentioned that the final monitoring report was received.  She was elated to report that there were no findings, especially since the law has recently changed from 1800 to 2500 standards!  Mrs. Shaw thanked the School Board, her staff, all of the employees in the school system, the Policy Council, and the community for the hard work that they do each day to make the Head Start Program in Pointe Coupee a great success. 

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Discussion and/or Action Regarding the Monthly Financial Information.  Mr. Kevin Hotard made a motion, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, to accept the monthly financial information as prepared and presented by Chief Financial Officer Stephen Langlois for December 2012.

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Appointment of a Member of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board to the Sales Tax Oversight Committee of the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury.   A letter was received from Ronell Roubique, Sales Tax Director of the Pointe Coupee Parish Sales Tax Department, on behalf of President Melanie Bueche, requesting participation from all entities that collect sales taxes to participate in a Sales Tax Oversight Committee of the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson stated that Mr. Frank Aguillard is qualified to serve on the Sales Tax Oversight Committee of the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury.  Mr. Frank Aguillard accepted President Brandon Bergeron’s appointment to serve on the Tax Oversight Committee on behalf of the school system.

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Contract with the City of New Roads for a Resource Officer at Rosenwald Elementary School.   Superintendent D’Amico recommended that the School Board consider allowing her permission to contract with the City of New Roads for a School Resource Officer at Rosenwald. 

 

Mr. James Cline made a motion, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard to accept Superintendent D’Amico’s recommendation to contract with the City of New Roads for a SRO at Rosenwald Elementary to work during the school year, and during the summer, if a summer program is offered.

A short discussion ensued regarding the need to secure perimeters at all schools.   Superintendent D’Amico announced that post certified off-duty police officers could be stationed on school campuses that do not have SRO officers by hiring them on a rotating hourly basis.  Board member Leslie Grezaffi stated that after deputies become familiar with every campus, they will be in a better position to come up with a plan of what is needed to secure each individual campus. It was announced that an item to address this item will be added at the end of the agenda.

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Adoption of Revision to Policies Received from Forethought Consulting, Inc.  Policy File: BCBB (Notification of Board Meetings); File: BCBD (Agenda Preparation and Dissemination); File: EBBH (Use of Automated External Defibrillator); File: GAMIA (Electronic Communications between Employees and Students); File: GBDA (Employment of Retired Personnel); File: IDDG (Alternative Schools Education Program); File: IFBGA (Student Computer Access and Use); File: IHAD (Parent Conferences); File: JCD (Student Conduct); File: JCDAF (Bullying and Hazing); File: JD (Discipline); File: JDD/JDE (Suspension/Expulsion); and File: JGCE (Child Abuse), prepared by Forethought Consulting, Inc., following legislative changes made during the 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature were provided to School Board members at their December meeting.  Superintendent D’Amico stated that the law firm of Hammonds, Sills, Adkins, and Guice reviewed the policies prior to giving them to the Board for consideration of adoption. 

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, to approve revisions to policies BCBB, BCBD, EBBH, GAMIA, GBDA, IDDG, IFBGA, IHAD, JCD, JCDAF, JD, JDD, JDE and JGCE, as prepared by Forethought and reviewed by legal counsel.  The motion carried.

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District Participate in the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers’ Grant Competitions.    Superintendent D’Amico stated that an item is on the agenda to consider district participation in the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant (SRCL) and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Competitions (21st CCLC).  She stated that the school system participated in the first SRCL cohort last year, reached the final stage; however, was told to resubmit the application this year.  The turnaround time-frame is quicker than in previous years; therefore, rather than having to call a special meeting of the Board, she

would like to obtain the Board’s authority to participate in an effort to expedite the process. Mrs. D’Amico also mentioned that she expects the 21st CCLC’s grant application process to become available in the very near future.

 

On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the Board approved Superintendent D’Amico’s recommendation to participate in the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers’ Grant Competitions.  The motion carried.

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Update Regarding Acts I & II.  Attorney Hammonds stated that Act 1 of the 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature was filed by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers in the 19th Judicial District Court.  Recently, the Judge declared half (½) of the Act unconstitutional.  Some of the parts of the Act declared unconstitutional included the Superintendent’s performance objectives, review of his/her contract by the State Superintendent, as well as the local Superintendent having the authority to hire all employees of the school system.  Act 1 gives School Boards the authority to hire/fire the position of Superintendent.  Under Act 1, the Superintendent has the authority to hire all employees and dismiss teachers; however, all other employee dismissals, are at the recommendation of the Superintendent and vote of the School Board. Provisions of Act I dealing with salary schedules and tenure were upheld by the Judge. Mr. Hammonds explained that although an appeal has been filed, school systems must comply with the provision of the current act until final judgment is rendered. In the event that the appeal is upheld, the Board will have to re-address the recently implemented revisions to the RIF policy, as well as many other policies resulting from the Act I legislation. 

 

Under Act 2 of 2012, students who attend public schools rated C, D, or F under the state accountability system and who meet income rules can apply for state aid to attend private or parochial schools, effective with the start of the school year 2012-2013.  The Minimum Foundation Program funding (MFP) Resolution (SCR 99) was approved the last day of the 2012 session to use the allocations of public funds in the form of vouchers, by a 51-49 vote, not a majority vote of 53 votes of the 105-member House. Attorney Hammonds encouraged everyone to keep their eyes open during the upcoming legislative session that will begin on April 8, 2013; talk to local legislative delegation, expect or watch for reductions or cuts across the board in the MFP.  Mr. Hammonds stated that the Justice Department is getting involved because of the desegregation of students going to schools with vouchers causing re-segregation.  The constitutionality of the education overhaul, called Act 2, passed at the end of the last legislative session.  The Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) said that Act 2 violates Section 3 of the state constitution which says public education funding will go only to public schools and school systems. The definition of equitable allocation of education resources and the definition of the Minimum Foundation Program and who determines how it is calculated was part of the lawsuit.  Mr. Hammonds expects to receive information from the Supreme Court regarding litigation in late spring or early summer.

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Discussion and/or Action Regarding the Office of President of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board.  Attorney Robert Hammonds was requested to attend the January meeting for clarification regarding the tie vote that occurred with regard to the position of President of the School Board.  Mr. Hammonds stated that he concurred with Mr. Nelson’s interpretation of the policy regarding the tie vote.  Mr. Hammonds said, “Mr. Bergeron, you will remain as president until such time they elect someone to replace you.  If the Board doesn’t reach a majority to elect a new president, then you will continue to sit, but you’d be subject to being replaced at any meeting where the board got a majority to bring in a new president.”  Mr. Hammonds then suggested that the School Board open the floor to nominations for the office of President; the nominee with the most votes would then step into the position. 

Mr. Bergeron called for nominations for candidates; however, no nominations were offered. 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion to close the nominations, seconded by Mrs. Anita LeJeune.  The motion carried.

Attorney Hammonds stated, “I guess it doesn’t need to be said, but hearing no nominations, Mr. Bergeron, you just keep on; nothing changes”; according to Mr. Hammonds, Mr. Brandon Bergeron will remain in office until a majority of the Board elects a new president.

Mr. Bergeron thanked his fellow Board members for allowing him to remain as President. 

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Appointment of Members of the School Board to Serve on Committees.    President Bergeron appointed Mr. Chad Aguillard and Mr. Kevin Hotard to the Executive Committee effective February 2013-December 2013; School Board members are expected to be appointed to other committees at the February meeting. 

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Discussion and/or Action Regarding BoardDocs.  Mr. Frank Aguillard made a motion, seconded by Mr. Chad Aguillard, to table the agenda item regarding BoardDocs until next month.  The motion carried.

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Added Agenda Item.  Mr. Frank Aguillard made a motion, seconded by Mr. Thomas Nelson, to add an item to the agenda regarding contracting with post certified off-duty deputies from the Sheriff’s Office for security measures; officers will report to school campuses that do not have School Resource Officers on a rotation basis.  The motion carried.

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi, to accept Superintendent D’Amico’s recommendation to contract with post certified off-duty armed deputies from the Sheriff’s Office, for those schools that do not have School Resource Officers, to patrol school campuses for security purposes. A roll call vote resulted in the following:

 

YEAS:              Chad Aguillard, Frank R. Aguillard, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi and Thomas Nelson

NAYS:              Brandon Bergeron and Kevin Hotard

ABSENT:          Anita LeJeune

 

The motion passed by a 5-2-1 vote of the Board, effective February 1, 2013. 

 

Superintendent D’Amico re-iterated that contracted school security officers will be stationed at UPCE, Rougon and Valverda until the end of the school year. The officers will patrol the campus for the purpose of preventing intruders, etc. from entering the campus; however, they will not perform the duties of trained School Resource Officers that work with students.  Mrs. Grezaffi stated that she thinks this is a good idea; deputies on campuses will have a better insight of each campus of what is needed to further protect schools.  A request was made to obtain a report from the Sheriff regarding each school’s individual campus security assessment by the February meeting. 

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Remarks from the Superintendent.  Superintendent D’Amico congratulated the Pointe Coupee Parish Jobs for America’s Graduate (JAG) teachers at Livonia High School for the excellent report from the National JAG reviewers; the reviewers also complimented the school climate.  At the request of teachers and principals, Mrs. D’Amico approved a small afterschool remediation program for all elementary schools. Additionally, Livonia High School will offer remediation and credit recovery, both during the day and afterschool.  She announced that in an effort to help students improve their ACT scores, Sylvan Learning Center taught their Speed Reading Program to a group of the teachers at Livonia High. Students are receiving instruction from these teachers in Speed Reading using the Sylvan Method.  She mentioned that Elementary and Junior High students were challenged again this year to read books for the opportunity to ride on the Superintendent’s “Reading to Ride” Mardi Gras float that will participate in three parades.

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Strategy Session and/or Action Concerning Pending Litigation.Attorney Hammonds was questioned if counsel was alerted prior to Judge Brady’s unannounced visit to Livonia High School.  Mr. Hammonds informed the School Board that counsel had not been alerted prior to the Judge’s visit.  Mr. Hammonds stated that Judge Brady had toured the campus at Pointe Coupee Central, at the request of the Recovery School District, the same day that he visited Livonia High School.  He announced that the next status conference is scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2013. 

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Adjournment.  On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, the meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

 

                                                                                                           

                                                                                   

Brandon Bergeron, President

 

                                                                                   

Linda D’Amico, Superintendent