Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Board Briefs from Nov. 26, 2018 Business Meeting

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the Nov. 26, 2018 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.

Superintendent Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke shared that the district’s Diversity Committee would be hosting a complimentary screening of the documentary 13th as part of the Fearless Focus series which provides the community with opportunities to explore issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. A discussion facilitated by members of the Diversity Committee will follow the screening.
  • The Ladue Horton Watkins High School varsity football team beat Webb City (17-13) in the Class 4 Semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 24. They will advance to play MICDS in the state championship on Friday (11/30 at 7 p.m.) at Faurot Field on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia. The game is being touted as the “War on Warson” and Dr. Jahnke encouraged all who are able to attend.

Acceptance of Auditor’s Report. The Board approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Audit. Assistant Superintendent for Business & Finance Dr. Jason Buckner introduced Mark Janiesch, a representative of Daniel Jones & Associates, who presented the district’s annual Independent Auditor’s Report which states all financial statements reviewed, in all material respects, fairly represent the respective financial activities, and each major fund, of the district, as of June 30, 2018. The district received an “unmodified opinion,” the highest opinion a district can receive and remains one of the few public school districts in Missouri to hold a stand-alone AAA rating from Standard and Poor's.

2019-20 LECC Tuition and BASK/TAS Rates. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics presented the 2018-19 tuition rate recommendations for early childhood programming and the district’s before and after school care programs (BASK/TAS). Currently, the district alternates years for rate changes for preschool programs and BASK/TAS. This year, BASK/TAS (K-8) rates are recommended to be increased by 2% (which will bring the rates in line with comparable districts’ rates), while early childhood programming will not increase from 2018-19 rates.

After discussion, the Board requested additional information to review for the Dec. 10, 2018 meeting before voting on the recommendation. More detailed information can be found by clicking on the header to this paragraph.

Safety and Security Coordinator Policy and Position. Mr. Rossics presented the administration’s recommendation to hire a Safety and Security Coordinator to provide additional capacity for training, coordination and protection. The person hired would be a district employee with an office at Ladue Middle School and would also support other district facilities — particularly those located outside of the City of Ladue. (The district currently partners with the City of Ladue for an active duty police officer whose office is at Ladue Horton Watkins High School.)

Following the discussion, the Board asked that the recommended policy and position description be revised, including specifying that the Board will take an active role in determining the responsibilities of the individual hired based on their experience and qualifications, including whether or not they will be authorized to carry a firearm. The Board will vote on the revised recommendations at the Dec. 10, 2018 Board meeting.

(Click on the header to this paragraph for the job description and additional information.)

Board Policy Updates. Dr. Jahnke presented, and the Board approved, recommendations for changes to 16 district policies, part of the district’s ongoing efforts to maintain policies which accurately represent district expectations, incorporate current legislative requirements, and take into account recommendations by the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA). Additional details can be found by clicking on the header of this paragraph.


2018-19 Budget Update. Dr. Buckner presented an update on the district’s budget. The Board of Education approved the 2018-19 Preliminary Budget on June 25, 2018. Throughout the year, the budget is adjusted and revised based on the availability of more accurate revenue and expense data as it becomes available. Click on the paragraph header for additional details.

Student Performance/Social Emotional Learning Supports. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Amy Zielinski and Director of Student Services Dr. Derrick Wallace presented a report on student performance and social/emotional supports in order to offer an overview of the district’s current systems, anticipated next steps and the data that will be analyzed going forward to measure success. Student supports incorporate multiple tiers of instruction and intervention to ensure all students’ needs are being addressed systematically and in the way that benefits them most. Click on the paragraph header for additional details.

Launch Program Memorandum of Understanding. Dr. Zielinski presented a Memorandum of Understanding between the district and Springfield Public Schools which will allow the Ladue School District to use Launch, a program run by Springfield Public Schools that offers virtual courses aligned to Missouri’s educational standards and fulfills state requirements for online coursework. Through this partnership, Ladue Schools will be able to offer traditional virtual courses, credit acquisition and credit recovery to students. The agreement spans two years and the partnership is scheduled to begin in January 2019. Click on the paragraph header for additional details.

Staff Attendance Report. Research indicates student achievement is negatively impacted when a classroom teacher is absent more than 10 days (regardless of the reason for the absence). As a result, an overarching goal is to reduce absences to less than 10 total days to keep instruction as effective as possible. Mr. Rossics presented summary staff attendance information for the districts’ employees by building for the past three years in order to show the progress made over the past year. Overall, there was a positive impact on attendance particularly in the categories of sick/primary/unavoidable.

Highlights from the 2017-18 data include:  
  • Total absence days decreased by 3%
  • Total amount spent on substitutes decreased by 4.7%
  • Overall paid FMLA qualifying leave decreased by 24%
  • Paid FMLA qualifying leave for certified staff decreased by 40%
  • Grand total by employee decrease of 8.2%
  • Grand total for sick/primary/unavoidable leave decreased by 10.8%
  • Certified staff sick/primary/unavoidable leave decreased by 7.0%

Copier/Printer Agreement. Dr. Buckner and Director of Technology Rob Highfill presented the administration’s recommendation to enter a new five-year agreement with Marco, the current vendor of copy machine services for the district. The new agreement would replace the existing copier fleet with upgraded machines, increase the number of copiers in the district, and decrease the monthly cost to the district by $500. Click on the paragraph header for additional details.

Fifth Grade Center Construction Project Update. Improvements to safety and security features, as well as building infrastructure (fire suppression, air conditioning, accessibility for persons with disabilities) are being planned for summer of 2019. Over the next few weeks, a staff committee and the Facilities and Finance Committees will interview four contractors who responded to the district’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a Performance/Design Build Contractor. The administration will recommend a candidate for approval by the Board of Education at the Dec. 10, 2018, Board of Education Meeting. Click on the paragraph header for additional details.


The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting on Dec. 10, 2018, at the Ladue Horton Watkins High School Multipurpose Room, 1201 S. Warson Road, at 6 p.m. Tentative agenda items include the following.  

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting Dec. 10, 2018:

  • Approval of Contractor for Fifth Grade Center Construction Project

  • Alternate Programming Update
  • Facilities Usage Report
  • Second Semester Board Agenda Calendar (January — August)