MINUTES

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

337 Napoleon Street

New Roads, LA  70760

 

REGULAR MEETING

Thursday, January 22, 2015

 

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board met for their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, January 23, 2015, at 337 Napoleon Street in New Roads, Louisiana 70760. President Frank R. Aguillard, Jr., called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.

 

C. J. Powell and Malcom Dedrick, students in attendance from Livonia High School, were requested to lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

 

Mr. Myron Brown was requested to offer the invocation.

 

Board members present for roll call were: Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, Leslie Ann Grezaffi, Bobby Jarreau and Thomas Nelson.

 

Board member Anita LeJeune was absent.

 

Board Member James Cline arrived at 5:40 p.m.

 

School Personnel in attendance were:  Linda D’Amico, Superintendent; Bridget Berry, Supervisor of 21st Century Community Learning; Lacey Bueche, Supervisor of Technology; Lisa D’Aquila, Supervisor of Personnel; Kate Guillory, Supervisor of Child Nutrition; Stephen Langlois, Chief Financial Officer; Karen Shaw, Supervisor of Head Start; Mary Wells, Supervisor of Special Education;  Natalie Aguillard, Interim-Principal of Rosenwald Elementary; Myron Brown, Principal of Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary; Marcie Cazayoux, Interim-Principal of Rougon Elementary; and Kim Canezaro, Principal of Valverda Elementary.

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Expression of Sympathy.  On a motion by the entire Board and seconded by the entire Board, condolences were offered to the families of: 

 

Kevin Bethely, husband of Jacquie Bethely, clerk at Valverda Elementary.

 

Nicole Salter Cline, employee of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board.

 

Mary Davis, the mother of Reginald Davis, custodian at Valverda Elementary School.

 

Jill Garrison, the mother of Kristin Torres, paraprofessional at Valverda Elementary School.

 

Lester Jack, retiree of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board.

 

Ethel Wells, retiree of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board.

 

President Frank Aguillard and Board Member Thomas Nelson also expressed condolences to the family of Mr. Leroy Achee’, a former Pointe Coupee Parish School Board Member of District H.

 

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Recognition of 2014 District 3A State Football Champs.   School Board members and Superintendent D’Amico recognized football players from Livonia High School with a certificate for their accomplishment of a 14-0 season and for winning the District 3A State Football Championship played on December 13, 2014, in the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA.  An engraved plaque was also presented to coaches.

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Consent Agenda

 

There will be no separate discussion of items unless a member of the School Board so requests, in which the item will be removed from the consent agenda and considered as an item on the regular agenda for a separate vote.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Anita LeJeune, to approve the following consent agenda items.  The motion carried.

 

 

 

 

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School Presentations.   Mr. Myron Brown, Principal of Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary School; Ms. Kim Canezaro, Principal of Valverda Elementary School; Natalie Aguillard, Interim-Principal of Rosenwald Elementary School; and Marcie Cazayoux, Interim-Principal of Rougon Elementary provided a brief update regarding their school.  Supervisor Lisa D’Aquila presented information prepared by Mrs. Stacy Gueho, Principal of Livonia High School, as she had to return to school for the junior ring ceremony.

 

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Update Regarding STEM Academy of Pointe Coupee.    Superintendent D’Amico  provided an update regarding the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy of Pointe Coupee for consideration of implementation next school year (2015-2016), pending the federal judge’s final approval.  She presented information regarding action steps, timelines, 2.5 entrance requirement, mentioned differences between a regular high school and the proposed STEM Academy, Project Lead the Way, Partnering with Northwestern University for professional development  She stated information regarding goals, timelines, objectives, etc. can be found on BoardDocs.  Mrs. D’Amico mentioned the brief article she had published in The Pointe Coupee Banner; a public interest survey regarding the STEM Academy is attached to a link for input.  Mrs. D’Amico announced approval by the federal judge is pending; the other requirement is to seek BESE Board approval.  Following Supt. D’Amico’s presentation, President Frank Aguillard called for comments from members of the School Board.

 

Mr. Chad Aguillard questioned beyond the poll from the survey, do we have any idea if student body currently enrolled in our school system is interested in transferring to the STEM program?  Superintendent D’Amico mentioned we have data on the number of students eligible to transfer and she is expecting results from the survey.  Mr. Aguillard also questioned if there will be a maximum CAP regarding enrollment?  Superintendent D’Amico stated she plans to start with 25 students per grade level in the beginning.  Mr. Aguillard further questioned if Superintendent D’Amico has any idea from legal counsel when the court is prepared to address our plan, as it is already January and there is concern about getting started.  Mrs. D’Amico mentioned she does not know the date of the next status conference and explained the Judge accepted the plan (for use at the currently closed Pointe Coupee Central High School site) with the understanding the plan would be “tweaked” as we worked with the Justice Department and Plaintiff on request of Federal Judges.

 

Mr. James Cline stated the court wanted to know what our plan is for the upcoming school year.  Superintendent D’Amico reiterated the Judge accepted the plan with the understanding the School Board would have to “tweak” the plan.

 

Mr. Brandon Bergeron questioned the 2.5 admissions’ eligibility criteria as he thought the criteria would be 3.0.  Superintendent D’Amico stated she had reviewed other STEM programs and the highest requirement of those was 2.75; the revised change was made to make it accessible for more students to be eligible to attend.  Mr. Bergeron further questioned the magnitude of the program being operational by the beginning of the school year since there are so many details (facilities, finances, staffing, and etcetera) to work out in a short amount of time.  He stated his initial thought was to make sure that everything could be implemented with fidelity; however, he is concerned about the time frame for a program of this magnitude (the building is not ready, the uncertainty of finances, staffing needs, etc.).  Superintendent D’Amico announced that she is preparing to be ready and anticipates hearing something from the parties involved by the end of February.

 

Mrs. Anita LeJeune expressed her confusion regarding the change in grade level/small enrollment numbers, and admissions’ eligibility.  Superintendent D’Amico explained originally, the plan was for grades 6-9; however if the numbers permit, grades 10, 11 and 12 could be included, depending upon funding and interest.  The focus remains grades 6-9. 

 

Mr. Bobby Jarreau, the newest member of the School Board, questioned if the Board was financially able to pay for the STEM program.  Mrs. D’Amico stated it would be hard to operate a 6th public school in the parish with our current budget thus, the reason for seeking corporate sponsorships and grants to subsidize the program.  She once again stated that as Superintendent, she was charged with presenting a plan for consideration of implementation at Pointe Coupee Central. 

 

Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi questioned if the grade point average was core subjects; Mrs. D’Amico stated it was cumulative and mentioned the pupil progression plan.  Mrs. Grezaffi wanted to know when we could expect the survey results and if students in the private/parochial schools will be surveyed.  Mrs. D’Amico stated she is hoping the survey instrument will identify student interest from private and parochial schools.  Mrs. Grezaffi stated in lieu of finances, she wanted to know if part of the Pointe Coupee Central Facility campus could be used for the STEM program.  Mrs. D’Amico stated yes, and explained the budget simulation is based on 250 students; therefore, she is looking at using the 2nd and 5th wings of the building that will provide accessibility to the science labs. 

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson stated on October 2, 2014, when Supt. D’Amico recommended the Stem Academy, he heard about 3.0 eligibility entrance requirements and 6-9 grade configuration.  Mr. Nelson mentioned he is now hearing the “bar” is being moved.  Mrs. D’Amico explained the plan was for grades 6-12 when she first presented the plan; she projected grades 6-9 would have full classes with hopes of getting students to enroll in grades 10, 11, & 12.  Mr. Nelson questioned the changes.

 

President Frank Aguillard stated the Superintendent was asked to give an update tonight and questions were entertained from Board members; however, no action will be taken tonight and he will allow two questions from the public.

 

Reverend Carl Terrance asked when the Superintendent plans to sit down with the public to explain the plan.  Supt. D’Amico stated the next step is to showcase the program.

 

Leola Bellazaire questioned if any community people were involved in this plan? Supt. D’Amico stated that there were some community members involved in the plan being presented for review by the Judge. 

 

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Discussion and/or Action Regarding Repairs at the Former Pointe Coupee Central High School Campus. 

 

Mr. Donald Fuselier was requested to come back with information regarding the minimal amount of money it would take to get the building ready for the STEM Academy to operate.  Mr. David Mougeot, Architect, and Mr. David Bonaventure, Engineer, were requested to attend the meeting to review proposed project estimate repairs for the campus.  It was mentioned that information was included on BoardDocs for review.  Following a discussion regarding mandatory repairs to preserve the integrity of the building, President Frank Aguillard asked the wishes of the Board.   Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion to approve the repair of the existing boiler and replace the existing chiller.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi; however, further discussion was entertained from members of the Board.

 

Mr. Cline questioned if the $350,000 in projected costs is included in the itemized list of deficiencies currently in negotiations with the Recovery School District (RSD) due to their neglect while operating the school.  Superintendent D’Amico explained that Attorney Evan Alvarez is working with our architect, engineer and Mr. Fuselier to present findings to negotiate a settlement with the RSD Supt. Patrick Dobard.

 

Mr. Chad Aguillard stated he voted against the STEM Academy; however, it is a fundamental obligation of the School Board to maintain all its property and prepared to vote to authorize the repairs on the campus of Pointe Coupee Central High School.

 

Mrs. Grezaffi questioned if the school could operate with the existing condition of the boiler and chiller.  Mr. Bonaventure, an electrical and mechanical engineer stated the school is deteriorating faster than normal due to the condition of the chiller and in his professional opinion this work needs to be done as soon as possible.

 

Mr. Brandon Bergeron requested a roll call vote on the original motion made by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi, to approve the replacement of the boiler and the existing chiller, which resulted in the following:

 

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

 

NAYS:  Brandon Bergeron, Bobby Jarreau, and Anita LeJeune

 

The motion passed by a 5-3 motion. 

 

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Individual Grant Budgets and Award Letters for 2014-2015.   A binder of individual grant budgets and award letters are routinely prepared by the business department on an annual basis.  Chief Financial Officer Stephen Langlois presented the information relative to 2014-2015 and stated if anyone had any questions to contact him either by email or telephone.

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Receive the Head Start Supervisor’s Monthly Report.    Mrs. Karen Shaw presented the Head Start Supervisor’s monthly report.  She provided a copy of the information memorandum from the Administration for Children and Families regarding the new uniform administrative requirements, cost principles and audit requirements, effective December 26, 2014.   A brief discussion ensued regarding the non-federal share report with regard to the Board having to agree to the 20% of non-federal in-kind match.  It was explained that general fund pays fuel costs for transportation, and some other transportation costs.  In-kind services are pupil appraisal, school nurses, administrators, etc.   Chief Financial Officer Stephen Langlois stated the match expenses incur each year and explained it is time for grant renewal.

 

Mr. Chad Aguillard made a motion to receive the Head Start Supervisor’s Monthly Report.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Bobby Jarreau.  Mr. James Cline requested a roll call vote resulted in the following: 

 

YEAS:  Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Jr., Brandon Bergeron, Leslie Ann Grezaffi, Bobby Jarreau and Thomas Nelson

 

NAYS:  James Cline

 

Anita LeJeune had stepped out of the room prior to the discussion of this agenda item.

 

The motion passed by a 6-1-1 vote.

 

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Discussion and/or Action Regarding Monthly Financial Information.   Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi, to approve the monthly financial information, prepared and presented by Stephen Langlois, Chief Financial Officer. The motion carried.

 

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Approval of Winning Bidder for E-Rate Category 2, Internal Connections.   Mrs. Lacey Bueche, Supervisor of Technology, provided information regarding the E-Rate Category 2 request for Proposals (RFP) to upgrade the infrastructures of our schools and expand wireless coverage at all locations. She stated three bids were received and recommended the acceptance of the lowest bidder, Detel.

 

On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, the Board voted to approve Detel, the winning bidder for E-Rate Category 2, Internal Connections.  The motion carried. 

 

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Policy Files IKI, IKI-R and IHA.  Superintendent D’Amico requested to table this agenda item because the leadership team is still working on proposed changes regarding lesson plans and grading systems.

 

Mr. Brandon Bergeron made a motion to table the agenda item regarding revisions to policy files IKI and IKI-R and HIA.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Anita LeJeune.  The motion carried.

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Discussion Regarding Facilities Use Agreement between the City of New Roads and the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board for use of Certain PCPSB Property for a Recreation Facility. 

 

Superintendent D’Amico referred to the pictures on BoardDocs depicting a piece of property fenced off behind Rosenwald Elementary School.  She mentioned the City of New Roads is requesting the School Board enter into an agreement for use of the property as a recreation facility.  It was stated the facilities use agreement will allow playground equipment purchased by the Kaboom Grant for use by students and on weekends and holidays the fence would be locked behind the school for community recreation where the old basketball courts are located.  The former Principal of Rosenwald Elementary expressed her concerns about safety and monitoring and did not want the park opened near the school.  Interim-Principal Natalie Aguillard was questioned if the proposed recreation facility is something she would like to have near the school. Mrs. Aguillard stated she is not in favor of including the school’s property in this recreation project due to concerns about security.  Mr. Nelson mentioned the School Board just discontinued the 10-year agreement with the Police Jury for the property behind Rosenwald as improvements never materialized.  A representative from the City, Mayor Robert Myer, was called upon to approach the podium.  He provided information regarding refurbishing the old basketball courts for use as a recreation facility in the community on weekends and holidays.  He clarified the hours the park would be open to the public and announced security would be provided. 

 

Mrs. Anita LeJeune offered a motion to enter into a 2-year agreement with the City of New Roads for the property located behind Rosenwald Elementary.  Mr. Brandon Bergeron seconded the motion. 

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson stated that he is of the opinion that citizens in the community should have an opportunity to decide if they would like to have a park across the street from their home open on the weekends. People with good intentions and people with not good intentions can go and gather.

 

Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi stated the park sounds like a wonderful plan, however, she will vote with the Principal as she respects her decision and err on the side of the best interest of the school.  

 

Mr. Chad Aguillard stated that he is respecting the Administration’s position not to have this park behind the school.

 

Mrs. Karla Jack stated she was speaking as a citizen, not an employee, and has concerns about incidences. She mentioned there are too many incidents that could happen and supports the decision of Mrs. Natalie Aguillard not to have this on the campus.  Mrs. Jack stated there is a park 50 yards down the street that can serve the children.

 

Mr. James “Big” Brown Joseph stated there are a lot of kids going too far away to play basketball on weekends; and thinks this would be a good place for kids to play.

 

Mayor Robert Myers announced that he would like to withdraw the City’s request.

 

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Adoption of a Resolution to Amend Accountability Sanctions Associated with PARCC Testing.   Superintendent D’Amico stated she received Resolutions from LSBA that were adopted by other parish school systems seeking assistance relative to amending Accountability Sanctions associated with PARCC Testing.  Mrs. D’Amico stated she wanted to give the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board the opportunity to decide if they wanted to adopt a Resolution as well. 

 

On a motion by Mr. James Cline, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, the following resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Board:

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Discussion and/or Action Regarding Lease of a Building in New Roads to Utilize as a Mechanic Shop and Office for First Student.    Superintendent D’Amico prefaced this agenda item regarding the opportunity to service First Student buses locally, rather than having to transport buses to Zachary for repair, resulting in a quicker turnaround time.   First Student is requesting that the School Board share 50/50 in the cost of leasing a building for bus repairs.  Mr. Will Love, Location Manager for First Student, stated not only will a local shop save time, but it will also save transportation fuel costs by not having to drive across the bridge to Zachary for repairs.  Mr. Love stated the fuel costs to travel to Zachary are $15,000 to $20,000 per year.  Mr. Brandon Bergeron expressed his concern regarding these figures and questioned the average age of the fleet, and requested to see the contract. Mrs. Anita LeJeune questioned why not use an existing building in the parish to repair buses (the former school board office or the automotive shop area at the former Pointe Coupee Central High School).  Mr. Bobby Jarreau stated the lift in the former high school automotive shop was designed for automobiles rather than buses. 

 

Supt. D’Amico stated the contract states no school bus supplied by the Contractor will exceed (12) model years of age at the start of any school year, unless approved in writing by District.  Contractor agrees that if District has just cause and requests removal of a bus supplied by Contractor from its fleet, said bus will be removed.  District shall make all such requests in writing to Contractor, and Contractor shall have a reasonable opportunity to review and respond to concerns advanced by District.

 

Mr. Tony Vidrine explained First Student brings school buses across the river to Zachary for a PM site 4 times a year and mentioning the transportation fuel cost associated with bringing buses across the river for other mechanical breakdowns.  Mr. Vidrine mentioned they have been looking for a facility to repair buses in the area of New Roads for a few years and one has become available on Hospital Road.  Mr. Vidrine stated First Student has been building a partnership with the community over the last few years.  He also mentioned they increased the wages for bus drivers in an effort to improve bus services in the parish.  He stated the next step is to find a mechanic shop to repair buses locally. 

 

Mrs. Leslie Grezaffi made a motion to table the agenda allowing the Finance Committee to discuss.  The motion died for a lack of a 2nd.  President Aguillard announced no action was taken on this item.

 

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Discussion and/or Action Regarding the Johnson Property on the North Side of Livonia High School.     Superintendent D’Amico stated the school system is already leasing a small portion of Johnson property as part of the baseball field in back of LHS’s campus where (dug out, press box, bleachers) set; this 12-month lease is up for renewal now.  Board Member James Cline stated a member of the Johnson family contacted him regarding 12.5 acres of property next to Livonia High School becoming available for lease in the very near future as the succession of their mother’s estate has been completed.   Mr. Cline stated the children are graduates of Livonia High School and they would like to offer the School Board the first opportunity to lease the property,   

 

Mr. James Cline made a motion, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, to authorize Superintendent D’Amico to negotiate terms with the Johnson family for discussion with the Finance Committee and bring it back to the Board.  The motion carried.

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Strategy Session and/or Action Concerning Pending Litigation. President Frank Aguillard stated Attorney Hammonds contacted him to inform him that he is ill and unable to attend the meeting.  Mr. Aguillard requested a motion to table this item until a subsequent meeting.

 

On a motion by Mr. James Cline, seconded by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, the agenda item regarding strategy session and/or action concerning pending litigation entitled, “Boyd and United States v. Pointe Coupee Parish School Board”, Civil Action No. 65-3164-A on the docket of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana was tabled.  The motion carried.

 

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Request to add an item to the agenda.  Superintendent D’Amico stated interviews for Principals of Rosenwald and Rougon Elementary Schools were held and Interim assignments have been made.  However, during the last legislative session, the new law indicates the Board has to approve the terms of the contract used for all administrators.  Mrs. D’Amico mentioned this is why she was requesting to add an item to the agenda is to vote on the term of two- years and the salary which is based on the parish salary schedule.  Mr. Aguillard mentioned the Board will not vote on individual principals, just the terms of the contract.

 

Board Member Chad Aguillard stated he would like the record to reflect that he is recusing himself from voting on the matter.

 

President Aguillard asked the wishes of the Board with regard to adding this item to the agenda. 

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion to add an item to the agenda to approve the terms of administrative contracts.  Mr. Bobby Jarreau seconded the motion.  Mrs. Anita LeJeune stated she wanted to have more time to read the contract and does not want to add the item to the agenda tonight.  Mr. Frank Aguillard called for a roll call on the motion resulting in the following:

 

Mr. Chad Aguillard announced once more that he would like to recuse himself from voting.

 

YEAS:  Frank Aguillard, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Bobby Jarreau and Thomas Nelson

 

NAYS:  Brandon Bergeron and Anita LeJeune

 

The vote was 1-5-2 and President Frank Aguillard stated the item will not be added to the agenda tonight de to the lack of approval by the entire Board.

 

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Remarks from the Superintendent’s Office.  Superintendent D’Amico announced Fire District #5 is hosting an Active Shooter Drill at Rosenwald Elementary on Saturday, January 31, 2015.  Mrs. Bridget Berry, Crisis Management Facilitator for the school system, is involved with the drill that will include school personnel, the New Roads Police Department, the Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office, the New Roads Fire Department and First Responders.  The drills are for training purposes only and are very crucial trainings and exercises.  Mrs. D’Amico also announced someone donated a Cajun microwave, gun and a gas card for raffle ticket purposes to help pay for the championship rings for Livonia High School football team members.   The School Board cannot donate money to individuals, but donations can be accepted and money can be raised to help students with the cost of rings.

 

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Adjournment.  On a motion by Mrs. Anita LeJeune, seconded by Mr. James Cline, and having no objections, the meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m.

                                                                       

 

                                                                                   

Frank Aguillard, President

 

                                                                                   

Linda D’Amico, Superintendent