Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Board Briefs from June 26, 2017 Business Meeting .

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the June 26, 2017 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.

Retirement Recognition for Sweeney La Barge
23 Years of Service to the Ladue School District
Science Teacher and Activities Director

Superintendent Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke congratulated the Ladue Schools Communications Department on receiving a Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association in recognition for “exemplary work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing and engagement” in relation to the Proposition R bond referendum campaign.

Approval of 2017-18 Preliminary Budget. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s recommendation for the 2017-18 Preliminary Operating Budget. The budget reflects unrestricted expenditures totalling $61,869,147 and revenues totaling $61,923,573, creating a projected unrestricted surplus of approximately $54,426.

The budget being presented was developed to allow the district to stay within the Board-approved 2% cumulative per year increase of operating budget expenditures over the five-year period beginning in the 2017-18 school year and ending in the 2021-22 school year. The unrestricted fund balance percentage is estimated to be 50.8% at the end of the 2017-18 budget year, an intentional surplus designed to allow the district to delay the possibility of having to request an operating tax increase of voters, even if increases in local property assessments and/or the Consumer Price Index is minimal.    

Food Service Contract. Dr. Buckner presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s recommendation to contract Chartwells as the district’s food service provider for the 2017-18 school year with the option to renew annually up to four additional years. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) must review and approve the final contract.

High School Course Change Proposal. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Jennifer Allen presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s recommendation for changing the name of the current Foundations of History course to Foundations of American History. The curriculum for Foundations of History will be revised to cover more areas of social studies and can be repeated. The purpose behind these changes is to make this course accessible to students in special education programs who cannot access the social studies curriculum in a general education setting.  

Strategic Plan.  Dr. Jahnke presented, and the Board approved, the Priority Initiatives to be associated with the district’s Strategic Plan which has been under development throughout the 2016-17 school year.  The plan has been developed with the input of students, parents, staff and community members and will guide how energy and resources are used in the coming years.  

Comprehensive School Improvement Program/Strategic Plan. Dr. Allen presented, and the Board approved, the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Program (CSIP). The district’s CSIP outlines specific objectives and programs that will be used to support the implementation of the district’s Strategic Plan.

Amendment to 2017-18 School Calendar. The Board approved moving graduation for the 2017-18 school year to the evening of May 17, 2018, if the administration is successful in rescheduling Advanced Placement exams currently scheduled for May 18, 2018.  If rescheduling cannot be accommodated by the College Board, the school board will reconvene in a special Board of Education meeting prior to July 24, 2017 to review additional options as presented at that time by the administration.  A revision in graduation date is being pursued to avoid conflicts with religious observances.

Performance-Based Evaluation Program Changes/Certified Staff. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics presented, and the Board approved, refinements to the evaluation program as recommended by the Evaluation Committee. Changes include minor timeline adjustments and revisions to various forms for more clarity, simplicity and more effective feedback. The Teacher Feedback Instrument will be voluntary for the 2017-18 school year except in individual instances where there are performance concerns.  

Board Policy Revisions. Dr. Jahnke presented, and the Board approved, a number of policy changes, the majority of which have been at the recommendation of the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) in order to keep district policies in compliance with state and federal law, and to accurately reflect current district practices in policy.

Project Director for S.M. Wilson Kort Cole presented, and the Board approved, the monthly progress report for the high school renovation project, which includes updates on design and engineering; permitting; finance and budget; bidding and procurement; scheduling; current construction activity; change orders and pay applications for May 2017.  

The Board also approved the administration’s recommendation for awarding two bids related to the high school renovation project. The bid process was coordinated by S. M. Wilson, the district’s construction management firm.

  • Balance of Concrete: Concrete Strategies LLC for $886,600
  • Greenhouse: Crystal Structures for 196,500


Professional Development Report and Plan. Dr. Allen introduced Drew Crismon, chair of the District Professional Development Committee and math teacher at the high school, who presented a report on the professional development opportunities that took place during the 2016-17 school year.  The report included an overview of the activities that took place, how they tie to the district’s Strategic Plan and how the knowledge and skills gained will be used to improve student achievement going forward.

SAS122 Internal Controls/Risk Assessment Document. Dr. Buckner presented the district's "Guide to Internal Controls and Risk Management" which must be provided to the Board on an annual basis in order to comply with Statement of Auditing Standards (SAS) 122 requirements and is used as a tool to continue strong internal financial controls.

Fifth Grade Center Review. Dr. Jahnke presented the findings from a survey conducted by the district of parents whose students have attended the Fifth Grade Center. Teachers at both the Fifth Grade Center and Ladue Middle School were engaged with focus groups to provide feedback, as well. The purpose of the surveys and focus groups are to gauge the effectiveness of the current structure and to determine how to maintain strengths, as well as provide improvements going forward.  The Board will review the findings of this research in greater detail at the Business Meeting on July 24, 2017.  


The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting on July 24, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road.  Tentative agenda items include the following.  

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting July 24, 2017:

  • 2017-2018 Professional Development Goals
  • 2017-2018 Tuition Rate for Nonresident Property Owners
  • High School Building Project
    • Project Report #16
    • Payment Applications/Bid Approvals
    • Northwest Section Buildout (Nielson Area)

  • Board Goals/Work Plan