Monroe City School Board: June 23, 2020 Minutes

Monroe City School Board of Education
2006 Tower Drive
Monroe, Louisiana 71201

MINUTES

The Monroe City School Board met in regular session, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at Monroe City School District Central Office, 2006 Tower Drive, Monroe, Louisiana 71201. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by President Cooper. Prayer was offered by Minister Trandon Welch, Living Waters Ministries International, and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Notice: In compliance with Governor Edwards’ Executive Order and the Attorney General’s open meetings guidance concerning the worldwide pandemic COVID-19, the Board will adhere to the twenty-five percent capacity attendance limit and practice social distancing while in the meeting. The meeting will be livestreamed to allow the community to virtually attend the meeting and see actions of the Board in real time.

Agenda Item 2C – Roll Call

Present: Mr. Rick Saulsberry, Mr. Daryll Berry, Ms. Betty Ward-Cooper, Mr. Brandon Johnson and Mrs. Sharon Neal-Greer. Absent (via teleconference) Ms. Jennifer Haneline and Mr. Bill Willson.

Action Item 2D – Adoption of the Agenda

On a motion by Mr. Berry and seconded by Ms. Greer, the Board approved the agenda as printed. The motion carried on a unanimous vote.

Agenda Item 3A – Ten-year Student Population Projection Report

Mr. Michael Hefner, Chief Demographer, Geographic Planning & Demographic Services, LLC, presented an overview of the Ten-year Student Population Projection Report.
* Economic activity of the Parish should maintain current trends over the next five years. However, the long-term results of COVID-19 related mitigations are uncertain at this time.
* The ratio of students attending public school as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey will remain the same.
* The general population and housing trends based on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey will remain the same.
* With any forecasting or future projections, it is assumed that: student attendance zone lines will remain district-wide with no closures or consolidations; current borders will remain unchanged; there will be no major shift to or from private, charter or parochial schools; and there will be no future policy changes affecting student choice or program locations.
* Ouachita Parish has a diminishing rate of increase.
* Monroe City is trending towards a loss of population and Ouachita Parish is trending toward an increase in population.
* District enrollment increased after closing of the charter school.
* Ouachita Parish, as of 2017-2018, is losing more residents with a higher earning power than the Parish is gaining from in-migration of taxpayers with a lower earning power.

* Projected enrollment may influence certain facilities. For several schools, the projected enrollment decrease may leave the facility underpopulated to the point where the cost-per-student is considerably higher at that school than others.
* Projections at Neville High shows an increase. This will put a strain on the school’s capacity.
* The Board may consider program changes, attendance zone boundary modifications, magnet schools, grade span changes, and school consolidations.

Public Comment: Mrs. Vickie Krutzer stated that she is concerned about the amount of money taxpayers are spending on the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High because of enrollment numbers at the current school.

Action Item 4A – $38,000,000 Bond Refunding Resolution

Mr. Bill Boles, Boles Shafto Public Finance Attorney, noted that the initial bonds were $58,000,000. Currently, interest rates are low, and the district can refinance the bonds for a savings of $1.3 million.

On a motion by Mr. Berry and seconded by Mrs. Greer, the Board approved a resolution granting preliminary authority relative to the issuance by City of Monroe Special School District, State of Louisiana, not exceeding thirty-eight million dollars ($38,000,000) aggregate principal amount of taxable or tax-exempt general obligation school refunding bonds, in one or more series, making application to the state bond commission for approval of said bonds and providing for other matters in connection therewith. The motion carried on a unanimous vote.

Action Item 5A – Consent Agenda

On a motion by Mr. Saulsberry and seconded by Mr. Berry, the Board approved May 21, 2020 Board meeting minutes; awarded Bid #MC20-07 for replacement of fan coil units for Minnie Ruffin and Sallie Humble; and accepted first reading of policies BBC (Board Committees), KF (Use of School Facilities) II (Testing Program), and GBAA (Compensation Guidelines/Overtime). The motion carried on a unanimous vote.

Action Item 6A – Consent Agenda Items for Sperate Consideration

None.

Agenda Item 7A – Financial Reports

Dr. Vidrine stated that a Finance Committee meeting was held June 17th. The Legislative Auditor has projected a $1.5M deficit; however, expenditures were low due to school closures. Also, sales tax checks will be released July 13th.

Agenda Item 7B – Report of Superintendent

Dr. Vidrine reported that principal positions are open at Barkdull Faulk and Neville. Interviews for Barkdull have concluded and Neville interviews are ongoing. The draft operational plan for school opening and revised school supply list was disseminated. He noted that the renaming committee for Lee Junior High is being formed and will consist of board member representatives, students, parents and staff. The goal is to announce the new name at the August board meeting.

Agenda Item 7C – Report of Board Members

Mr. Johnson stated that there are many issues in our country with police brutality. He is concerned that the district has not made a statement regarding racism. However, as an African American board member, he stands with the community. He then recognized former board member and president, Bishop Rodney McFarland, and thanked him for attending the meeting. He noted that Bishop McFarland initiated the Robert E. Lee Junior High name change while on the Board; but it did not have support at that time.

Mr. Saulsberry asked the superintendent to set a meeting with principals and dean of students because there is no consistency in policy from school to school. He announced a Curriculum Committee meeting for June 30th at 5:15.

Mr. Willson offered condolences to the Madison James Foster Elementary family and family of two students that lost their lives in a tragic incident. He acknowledged the Black Lives Matter Movement. He stated that all lives matter and that the country needs to pull together. He further stated that the Board is unified as they care for all students, employees and stakeholders. He thanked everyone for their prayers and concerns as he and his wife recovered from the corona virus.

President Cooper indicated that she attended the LSBA Summer Virtual Conference. The conference was very informative, and she look forward to attending the next one.

Agenda Item 8– Future Meetings

The Board will be polled for the next meeting date.

Action Item 9 – Recess/Adjournment

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 7:26 pm.

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/BettyWard-Cooper/ /Brent Vidrine/
Betty Ward-Cooper, Board President Brent Vidrine, Ed., Superintendent

Note: These minutes summarize the final decisions made by the Board at the referenced meeting. This meeting was also audio recorded and that recording is available for review by contacting the Board clerk at laura.jacobs@mcschools.net.