Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Board Briefs from Sept. 24, 2018 Business Meeting

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the Sept. 24, 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.

Excellence in Education Award
Dianne Powell, English Language Arts Teacher, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) Program Participants
Recognized for Excellence in Research
Rose Alise Coughlin, Rajdeep Paul

American Heart Association
Representative Julie Hederman Recognizes Ladue School District’s Fundraising Efforts

Board President's Remarks
  • Board President Andy Bresler gave an update on the search for the next superintendent, noting that the application deadline has passed and the Board will now begin reviewing candidate credentials and determining when initial interviews will be scheduled.
Superintendent Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke commented that the Ladue Education Foundation’s annual community breakfast is this coming weekend. She encouraged everyone to attend. Former Superintendent Dr. Chuck McKenna will be honored, and it is a great way to show appreciation to the foundation for all the work they do on behalf of Ladue Schools students and staff.

Adjustment to Board Approved Spending Parameters. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented, and the Board approved, a resolution to increase the spending parameter by $396,000 for the 2018-19 budget to fund the hiring of six additional teachers not already incorporated in the budgeting process in order to follow existing class size policies.

Approval of 2018-19 Operating Tax Levy. Dr. Buckner presented, and the Board approved, the 2018-19 operating tax levy as the following per $100 assessed valuation for each class of property:

  • $3.0437 Residential
  • $0.0500 Agricultural
  • $3.0593 Commercial
  • $3.24 Personal Property
  • $3.0715 Single Rate/Blended Operating Levy

The Board also approved the 2018-19 debt service levy as $.78 per $100 assessed valuation, culminating in a 2018 total blended tax rate of $3.8515. Details regarding this decision can be found by clicking on the header above.

High School Building Project: Payment Applications. Project Director for S. M. Wilson, Kort Cole, presented, and the Board approved, pay applications and change order requests, as follows:

High School Renovation:
  • August Pay Application in the amount of $987,038.22
  • Change Order requests 282, 328, 338, 346

High School Expansion Project (grandstand, plaza and parking):
  • Pay Requests 01 for  $255,377.03 and 02 for $283,470.47

Details can be found by clicking on the header above.

Resolution on Athletic Plaza Naming.  Dr. Jahnke recommended, and the Board approved, naming the plaza connecting the new grandstand and field area with the Nielson Gym and Ramming Athletic Center in honor of former superintendent Dr. Charles McKenna. Dr. McKenna served the Ladue School District for 37 years, including 29 years as superintendent. The area will be named the Dr. Charles McKenna Athletic Plaza.


School Start Times. Dr. Jennifer Allen, the former Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, returned to provide an overview of the Curriculum and Instruction Board Advisory Committee’s analysis of the benefits and challenges of changing school start/end times to more closely match the natural sleep cycles of students. Dr. Allen reported the committee’s conclusion that start/end times should remain as they currently are for now due to a number of safety, logistical and financial factors. However, the district should continue to monitor these factors, as well as opportunities for mitigating them, in case the change can be achieved with less disruption in the future.

Transportation/2018-19 Bus Routes/Mileage. Dr. Buckner presented an overview of the current transportation program. The district runs approximately 122 regular routes with 3,500 students scheduled for transportation twice per day for 175 school days. The most prominent challenges this year include routing of the Fifth Grade Center’s buses which must be completely revised each year due to an entire new student population. In addition, there is an increase in the need for athlete transportation for practices and games due to the construction at the high school. The district is monitoring some buses that have a large number of students riding; however, none of the buses have more students than the seating capacity allows (legal seating capacity on district buses is 71 or 77 passengers, based on three students to a seat).

Finances and Facilities Update. Dr. Buckner presented a plan outlining necessary improvements needed at the Fifth Grade Center as identified through the district’s Facilities Master Plan. The district’s estimated remaining capital funds total approximately $7,862,459 (the breakdown of revenue sources can be found by clicking on the header above). The identified needs at the Fifth Grade Center include efficient and consistent heating, ventilation and cooling; fire suppression through the entire facility; and upgrades to the life safety and lighting systems, among others. The administration recommended starting this process by securing a design build/performance contractor.

Staffing and Hiring Information. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics presented the timeline for posting and filing positions for the 2019-20 school year, along with a summary of ongoing staffing and recruiting efforts. Details can be found by clicking the header above.


The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting on Oct. 22, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of Ladue Horton Watkins High School at 1201 S. Warson Rd., 63124. Tentative agenda items include the following.  

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting Oct. 22, 2018:

  • EdPlus Presentation
  • Excellence in Education — Ladue Middle School
  • National Merit Recognized Students

  • 2018-19 Bus Routes/Mileage
  • SSD Reimbursement of ECSE Costs
  • High School Building Project
    • Project Report #29
    • Contractor Payment Requests

  • Ladue Education Foundation Report
  • Enrollment and Residency Report
  • 2019-20 LECC Tuition and BASK/TAS Rates
  • Superintendent Search Update
  • Staff Attendance Report
  • Facilities Use Information