Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Committee Reports from the June 8 Board Meeting
Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch or attend the meeting -- I'll try to catch it online. However, I will share some interesting notes from the committee meeting minutes that were included in the meeting agenda listing online. If anyone attended and would like to post comments - please do.
Board Operations, Development and Policy Committee Meeting Minutes
Committee Secretary – Dr. Speaks
+Mr. Moseley was asked by Dr. Lewis to make adjustments to the policy by Dr. Lewis because groups monopolize the citizen comments portion of Board meetings which prevents others from participating.
+A discussion followed with several comments expressed:
a. Dr. Walker expressed the proposed changes/modifications were a political decision that he could not support and that if the Board tries to control how individuals sign up for comments the Board is being punitive.
b. Ms. Wood expressed the proposed changes/modifications would result in stifling comments by citizens and their freedom of speech.
c. Mr. Womack expressed the changes/modifications would prevent groups from monopolizing and in fact give more people an opportunity to participate and be heard by the Board.
A motion by Dr. Walker was made and seconded by Ms. Wood not to go forward tonight with the changes/modifications at the Board meeting. (Vote: 2 in support of motion and 2 opposed to motion. The motion failed and changes/modifications would be discussed at the Board meeting.)
FACILITIES AND PROPERTY
+The Committee recommends the approval for Ms. Pat Pope regarding the ten properties presented to the Board.
+There was a question regarding the spending of $20 million on Cross Keys High School based on the student enrollment. The Committee recommends the approval for spending the $20 million on Cross Keys High School pending Ms. Pope’s recommendation for future programs at Cross Keys High School.
Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting Minutes
Jay Cunningham, Chair
+Facilities & Property - Ms. Pope stated there are ten properties to be sold or reevaluated. Forrest Hills Elementary School will be used as a same gender (female) school. Mr. Womack stated he would like to see uniforms in schools.
+Ms. Pope said there is asbestos present in the Open Campus building and it would take $30 million to renovate the building. Ms. Pope would like to close the Open Campus building because of its appraised value of $18 million. Ms. Pope noted that there were only 60 students at the Clarkston Center and that it would be relocated. She said DISPAC will remain in Building “A” until it can be moved to the William Bradley Bryant Center for Technology. Ms. Pope mentioned the administrative offices needed a great deal of work.
+Dr. Walker stated the Cross Keys High School community is troubled by the development in the area. He inquired should the money be spent as recommended on Cross Keys or should we go in another direction?
- Ms. Pope thinks we should move forward with the renovations for Cross Keys with the idea of a different designation later, possibly a technology school, military school or school of the arts. Ms. Pope noted the DeKalb County Planning Commission does advise us of developments. She stated they build anyway without real input from the school system. Mr. McChesney made a report of the Cross Keys demographics and DeKalb County Board of Commissioners plans for the area. Ms. Pope stated the Board needs to approve the surplus plan for the future. Mr. (Ernest) Brown asked should we tear down some buildings and convert to green space?
Organization Chart – Dr. Lewis stated the goal is to organize more efficiently. Mr. Cunningham said we need to put an internal audit position back in the budget. He stated we also need a planning person to give relief to Ms. Pope. Mr. Cunningham said the demographers suggested a planning director based on the size of our school system. The salary for the Director of Internal Audit would be approximately $100,000.00.
- Mr. Turk stated the Director of Internal Audit would look at systems and processes. This person would not be an educator.
- Dr. Lewis stated he is trying to streamline instruction. He said Dr. Bouie will supervise all principals through the Area Superintendents. Mr. Cunningham, Dr. Walker and Mr. Womack suggested that the Office of Internal Affairs report directly to the Superintendent. Dr. Lewis stated in light of the economy, four positions on the Organization Chart needed an adjustment in salary; however, he will defer any raises for the promoted positions on the chart until the economy improves. The Committee questioned Dr. Lewis about possible salary schedules for new hires.
- The Committee questioned if there was a plan for the reserved funds? Dr. Lewis stated the idea is being looked at and they do not intend to touch the reserves. Mr. Schutten said it is a mistake to take away Area Coordinators and that the Office of Internal Affairs needed to be discussed.
- He also stated the teachers’ workload has increased without additional compensation. Mr. Schutten suggests peer review and evaluation. Dr. Lewis stated they are working very hard on principal leadership. Dr. Lewis wishes to increase dialogue with ODE.
+The audit on cellular services for the District decentralized use of cellular services. The multiple uses of cellular services include 926 cellular phones in the county spread across 12 areas. The annual total for all cell phone bills is $563K. The Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) has 352 phones under the MIS budget. MIS gets federal assistance for the 352 phones. The federal government funds 78% of their phone bill. The monthly cellular bill for the 926 accounts is $ 46,874. The federal government gave $202,598 for the 352 phones under MIS. The Committee recommends reducing the number of cellular phones and place ll cellular phone accounts under MIS in the future.
- It was noted that currently there is no cell phone policy; however, a cell phone policy is being constructed. Ms. Tyson stated there was a reduction in the number of cell phone users from 926 to 781. She has reduced the cell phone budget by 50%. Ms. Tyson said we are changing our cellular carrier from Sprint to AT&T if the Board approves.
- The committee agreed on the following recommendations:
1. Improve school alarm systems
2. Review Ms. Pope’s discussion and continue dialogue
3. Proceed with $20 million investment at Cross Keys High School and determine future use of building
4. Dr. Lewis will defer raises for the promotions listed on the Organization Chart until the economy improves
5. Committee agrees with cell phone presentation
6. Committee agrees with reductions in the Media Department
7. Committee agrees Mr. Moseley needs to revisit staff automobile usage and ensure chart is accurate to include the Superintendent’s vehicle
8. Continue to review Charter Schools information
Human Resources Committee Meeting Minutes
Don McChesney, Chair
1. The Mission and Vision statement from 2008 was approved without changes.
2. Experience levels of Principals and Assistant Principals:
a. Suggestion by D. McChesney: increase years of classroom experience to 5 years for Ass’t Principal and 7 years for Principal, with at least a Master’s degree if this is not already a requirement. This expectation could be waived in emergency situations with documentation of waiver.
b. Suggestion by P. Womack: aspiring AP’s and Principals to attend a “Leadership School/Academy” (possible length 2 weeks). Also suggested the administration of a psychological test battery by HR to Principal applicants.
c. Suggestion by P. Speaks: AP’s should have experience in areas critical to success as a Principal, e.g. instruction, discipline, scheduling, etc.
d. Previous suggestion by J. Cunningham: HR should develop a written manual of policies and procedures regarding hiring. Dr. Wilson will be asked if his power point presentation came from this manual.
3. Ask Dr. Wilson if there is an exit interview for exiting Principals.
4. McChesney/Speaks would like an update of Driver Education and Graphic Arts Departments regarding available open positions for employment placement.
5. P. Womack would like a further breakdown of Dr. Lewis’ organizational chart (e.g. the number of Principals reporting to Associate Superintendents)
6. Ask Ms. Tyson of possibility of informing public through emails/cell phones summaries of committee meetings.
7. D. McChesney suggests that the Human Resources Committee recommend that the committee meet only twice a year since Dr. Wilson presents the full Board with a monthly HR report. Also, after McChesney/Speaks polled several Board members from other school districts, they all convene in a COW rather than individual committee meetings.
8. Suggestion made to have Dr. Wilson and Ms. Tyson review HR Committee’s past 2009 agendas to familiarize themselves with discussion questions and attend the next committee meeting for Q&A.
9. Mr. Paxton stated that as a parent and community member he and others are asking the same accountability questions that the HR Committee is asking.
If you would like to look over the agenda and supporting documents yourself, it is all available online - click here.