Thursday, May 16, 2019

Board Briefs from May 13, 2019 Business Meeting

This document includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the May 13, 2019 Business Meeting. This is an unofficial record. Official minutes of each Board meeting are posted on the district website and are available for viewing at the Administrative Center after the Board approves them, typically two weeks after the meeting.

An audio recording of the May 13, 2019 Board Meeting is linked here.

Excellence in Education Award
Debbie Kunitz
Fifth Grade Center

Superintendent Remarks

  • Dr. Donna Jahnke shared her enthusiasm and congratulations for the district being named a National District of Character and two schools — the Ladue Early Childhood Center (LECC) and Ladue Middle School — being named National Schools of Character.  She said this recognition is reflective of the district’s focus on developing the whole child, and while this important work is never truly done, she applauds the efforts of all district staff and particularly the leadership of LECC Director Kerri Wetzel and Ladue Middle School Principal Dr. Tiffany Taylor-Johnson. She also thanked Paula McMaster (counselor at Spoede Elementary School) and Roger Scherk (counselor at Ladue Middle School) for coordinating the application process.
  • At an event on Thursday, May 16, 2019 Teachers of the Year for each of the district’s schools will be celebrated and the District Teacher of the year will be announced. Dr. Jahnke expressed her appreciation for the dedication shown every day by every teacher in the district, and her congratulation to this year’s Teachers of the Year.
    • Evy Bickel — 6th Grade Mathematics Teacher, Ladue Middle School
    • Cindy Brown — Preschool Teacher, Ladue Early Childhood Center
    • Leah Crawford — Third-Grade Teacher, Old Bonhomme Elementary School
    • Amy Grumwaldt — School Counselor, Conway Elementary School
    • Becky Jones — Reading Specialist, Spoede Elementary School
    • Angela Kelly — Reading Specialist, Fifth Grade Center
    • Jeff Vetter — Science Teacher, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
    • Laura Wilber — Special Education Teacher, Reed Elementary School
  • Also at the event on Thursday evening, the district will honor two support staff members with the Distinguished Service Award. This year, those awards are being presented to Rick Dent, Custodian at Reed Elementary School and Curtis Nguyen, Technology Specialist.
  • Congratulations to the Class of 2019! Graduation will be Sunday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chaifetz Arena.

Board President's Remarks

  • Board President Carolyn Jaeger introduced Barbara Fraser, the Education Liaison to County Executive Sam Page. Mrs. Fraser was in attendance to present a proclamation to Dr. Donna Jahnke in honor of her 36 years of service in public education, 32 of those years in the Ladue School District. The proclamation acknowledged Dr. Jahnke’s vision, fairness, management skills and drive to serve every student. It also proclaimed Monday, May 13, 2019 Dr. Donna Jahnke Day!


Recommended Patron Appointments to Board Advisory Committees. Community patrons can apply to serve on one of four Board Advisory Committees which provide input to the Board and administration on specific issues and topics. This year, the following patron appointments were recommended and approved by the Board of Education.  

Finance Board Advisory Committee: Dr. Buckner recommended the appointments of Kortney Christensen, Katherine Fezzi and Thomas Piazarkowitz. He also recommended the reappointment of Mark Murdaugh.

Technology Board Advisory Committee: Director of Technology Rob Highfill recommended the appointments of Anne Roberts, Ron Cytron, Maxwell Hu and John Murphy.

Facilities Planning Board Advisory Committee: Director of Facilities Mike Noonan recommended the appointments of Tim Spiegelglass, Ann Von Allmen and Merri Cross.

(There were no patron openings on Curriculum & Instruction Board Advisory Committee this year.)

Nurse Salary Schedule. Dr. Jahnke presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s salary recommendations for district nurses. This is the last employee group salary schedule to be addressed by the Board. Details can be found by clicking on the header to this paragraph.

Middle School Feasibility Study. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner advised the Board that only two firms (Bond Architects and Hastings + Chivetta) responded to the Request for Proposal issued by the district for a firm to do a feasibility study of Ladue Middle School. This study will help to refine the scope of improvements needed in that building. The administration recommended, and the Board approved, awarding the feasibility study work to Bond Architects.

Bond Architects is currently conducting feasibility studies of Old Bonhomme Elementary School and Spoede Elementary School. Ameresco is currently conducting an evaluation of Reed Elementary School and Conway Elementary School.

These feasibility studies are being conducted as a result of the recently completed Facilities Master Plan which identified general facility needs at the elementary and middle school levels. These feasibility studies will help to further refine the scope of the work required for these improvements.

Bus Lease/Purchase Agreement. Dr. Buckner presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s recommendation for entering into a lease purchase agreement to continue the rotation of replacing the district’s school buses so that the fleet remains updated and no bus is more than five years old. The buses have a five-year bumper to bumper warranty.  For the 2019-20 school year, the fleet will be made up of six 2018 models, 14 2019 models, and six 2020 models.


2019-20 Professional Development Report and Plan. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Amy Zielinski introduced Kevin Heyman, chair of the District Professional Development Committee. Together they provided an overview of professional development activities which took place in the 2018-19 school year, as well as plans and goals for the 2019-20 school year. The presentation can be found by clicking on the header to this paragraph.

2019-20 Testing Schedule. Dr. Zielinski outlined changes in the testing schedule for the 2019-20 school year, along with the district testing calendar and schedule by grade. These documents can be found by clicking on the header to this paragraph.

2019-20 School Lunch Prices. Dr. Buckner outlined the administration’s recommendation to not increase student meal prices for the 2019-20 school year. Historically, the program has been designed to run a small surplus, with excess funds being used to support additional food service expenses. With no increases in lunch prices, there will be a surplus of approximately $50,000 in the 2019-20 school year which will be used to upgrade and replace food service equipment.

High School Roof Replacement. Having issued a Request for Proposals, Dr. Buckner presented the administration’s recommendation that Taylor Roofing be selected to replace sections of the high school roof that are all eighteen-years-old or more at a cost of $320,467.

2019-20 Preliminary Budget Introduction and Financial Planning. Dr. Buckner reviewed the status of the district’s expenditures in relation to the spending parameters set by the Board of Education. The district is on track to reach all benchmarks.

Preliminary property assessment information from St. Louis County indicates that when the Board of Education sets the 2020 operating tax levy in September, they will be in a position to roll back the operating levy to at or below $2.75. This is an important distinction for several reasons:

  • This is the levy the district maintained for nine years prior to the financial downturn in 2007 which reduced property assessments to the point that the district had to ask voters for an increase in the operating tax levy in order to maintain the total amount of property taxes collected.
  • As required by state law, district’s with a levy at or below $2.75 cannot increase their levy without approval from voters. In other words, the Ladue School District cannot return to tax rates levied in 2012 to 2018 without going back to voters for approval, even if property values were to drop again and decrease collectible taxes overall.
  • Districts with levies at or below $2.75 are not subject to the rollback requirements of the Hancock Amendment which require district’s to set their levies so that total taxes collected are not greater than the year previous plus the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Board Member Assignment to Board Advisory and Other Committees. President Jaeger led a discussion with fellow Board members to determine representation on various committees. This led to the following decisions.

Representation on Board Advisory Committees:
  • Curriculum & Instruction: Sheri Glantz, Nancy Goldstein and Kisha Lee
  • Finance: Andy Bresler, Carolyn Jaeger and Sheldon Johnson
  • Facilities: Andy Bresler and Sheldon Johnson
  • Technology: Carolyn Jaeger, Jeff Kopolow, Kisha Lee

Superintendent Advisory Committees:
  • Finance: Andy Bresler, Carolyn Jaeger and Sheldon Johnson
  • Facilities: Andy Bresler, Carolyn Jaeger and Sheldon Johnson
  • High School: Nancy Goldstein, Jeff Kopolow and Kisha Lee

District Committees and Organizations:
  • CURE: Sheri Glantz and Kisha Lee
  • Ladue Education Foundation: Carolyn Jaeger and Kisha Lee
  • Legislative: Jeff Kopolow and Kisha Lee
  • Policy: Sheri Glantz and Jeff Kopolow
  • Wellness: Nancy Goldstein and Sheldon Johnson
  • Parent District Council: Carolyn Jaeger (Sheri Glatz as alternate)
  • Diversity: Nancy Goldstein and Kisha Lee

School Liaisons:
  • Ladue Horton Watkins High School: Nancy Goldstein
  • Ladue Middle School: Kisha Lee
  • Fifth Grade Center: Jeff Kopolow
  • Conway Elementary School: Andy Bresler
  • Old Bonhomme Elementary School: Sheri Glantz
  • Reed Elementary School: Kisha Lee
  • Spoede Elementary School: Carolyn Jaeger
  • Ladue Early Childhood Center: Sheldon Johnson


The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting and Work Session on June 11, 2019, at Ladue Horton Watkins High School Tentative agenda items for that meeting include the following.  


  • 2019-20 Professional Development Report and Plan
  • 2019-20 Student Testing Schedule
  • 2019-20 School Lunch Prices
  • High School Roof Replacement
  • 2019-20 Master Agreement

  • 2019-20 Preliminary Budget Review
  • Comprehensive School Improvement Program Review
  • Curriculum Review - Social Studies & English Language Arts, Physical Education and Foreign Language
  • Custodial Services
  • Master Facilities Plan Timeline Review
  • Long-Term Financial Plan Review
  • Board Goals Review
  • Board Policy Updates
  • Banking Contract
  • Extra Duty Stipend Amounts

The following meeting will be a Business Meeting June 24, 2019, at the Ladue Horton Watkins High School Multipurpose Room, 1201 S. Warson Road, at 6 p.m. Tentative agenda items for that meeting include the following.  

  • Hearing and Approval of 2019-20 Preliminary Budget
  • Comprehensive School Improvement Plan
  • Consolidated Application for Federal Grants
  • Custodial Services
  • Final 2018-19 Bus Routes
  • 2019-20 Tuition Rate Per Policy JECA
  • Policy Updates
  • Banking Contract
  • Extra Duty Stipend Amounts

  • SAS122 Internal Controls/Risk Assessment Document
  • Board Goals/Work Plan