Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Board Briefs from June 14, 2016 Work Session

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the June 14, 2016 Work Session.  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 reported that while school is out, the summer remains a busy time for the district as plans are developed for the upcoming school year and beyond.  The Board of Education met for a full day with senior administrators earlier this month, and last week the entire administrative team — including all superintendents, building leaders and Special School District coordinators — participated in a two-day workshop.  
  • Summer is also a busy time for hiring, and a number of outstanding new teachers and support staff members have recently been approved by the Board.  Hiring will continue throughout the summer, and Dr. Jahnke thanked Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics for leading these efforts to recruit high-quality staff to the Ladue School District.     
  • Extensive professional development is in progress across the district, including training for the new math program - Math in Focus; sixth-grade English Language Arts teachers are working on new units in a readers-writers workshop; technology specialists and administrators are exploring the MakerSpace program; and staff are attending a variety of conferences through the summer.
  • The high school renovation project is moving along nicely with Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner and Facilities Director Mike Noonan taking the lead on the project.  Other administrators, as well as Board Members Andy Bresler, Carolyn Jaeger and Sheldon Johnson have also been deeply involved in various aspects of the project and decision making.  Dr. Jahnke thanked these individuals for the effort and time being put into this important project.
Comprehensive School Improvement Program Review. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Jennifer Allen provided an overview of the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Program (CSIP).  The district’s CSIP outlines the objectives, strategies and programs that guide the district.  These objectives are incorporated into the following three areas in alignment with the district’s Strategic Plan:

  • High Quality Teaching and Learning
  • Educating the Whole Child
  • Optimal Learning Environment

Performance-Based Evaluation Program Updates - Certified Staff. Mr. Rossics outlined refinements to the evaluation program as recommended by the Evaluation Committee.  Changes include the addition of new standards and criteria for counselors and technology specialists, as well as a minor timeline and wording adjustments on forms.  In addition, online evaluation will become mandatory in the 2016-17 school year.  The Board will be asked to approve these recommended changes at the June 27, 2016 meeting.  

2016- 17 Budget Review. Dr. Buckner provided a review of a draft of the district’s 2016-17 Preliminary Operating Budget, reflecting direction provided as a result of lengthy discussions with the Board on the district’s financial status and objectives earlier this month.  The budget draft reflects unrestricted expenditures of approximately $59.2 million and revenues totaling approximately $59.6 million.  

As a result of budget planning, the passage of Proposition 1 in April 2012 and in coordination with the board’s approval of a 2% unrestricted operating budget increase parameter in September 2012, the last five budgets have experienced a surplus which will extend the length of time before the Board will need to consider asking taxpayers for additional support with operations.  The current preliminary budget draft projects a 51.5% unrestricted fund balance at the end of the 2016-17 budget year.  The next year’s operating budget (2017-18) will begin to deficit spend as originally planned during the Prop 1 planning process.

Board Policy Revisions. Administrators presented 13 policy revisions for the Board’s review.  The majority of the revisions are being recommended due to changes required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and/or state law, and are recommended by the Missouri School Board’s Association.  Others add provisions for the Board to make timely decisions regarding the high school renovation project.

Staff Leave Provisions. Mr. Rossics outlined recommended refinements to staff leave procedures, including those related to the amount of sick/primary care days for various employee groups, the allotment of sick/primary care days that can be converted to vacation days, and specifics related to bereavement leave. Those allotment revisions will be recommended to the Board for approval at the next meeting..  

Update On High School Building Project. Dr. Jahnke and Dr. Buckner updated the Board on the high school renovation project.  

Dr. Buckner provided the Board with an update on project finances.  Funds are now available from the bond sales approved by the passing of Proposition R.  Project cost refinement continues as the architects prepare the schematic designs to be used for permitting.  Opportunities for cost savings are being identified, as are project alternates that may become possible as more precise cost estimates become available.  Dr. Buckner emphasized that project cost monitoring and reporting will continue throughout the project and that district administrators, Board member representatives and the design/construction team will continue to meet concerning the overall budget for the project.  

Dr. Jahnke reported that all portions of the project scheduled for this summer are proceeding on schedule, including creating temporary classrooms within the existing building, installing mobile classrooms on the current practice field, establishing construction staging areas and reconfiguring parking and traffic flow.  Abatement of hazardous materials in the portion of the building to be rebuilt is due to begin in late July, with demolition of this portion scheduled to follow the completion of abatement.  


The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting at 7 p.m. on June 27, 2016, at the Administrative Center.  Tentative agenda items include the following.

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting June 27, 2016:

  • Board Policy Revisions
  • Consolidated Application for Federal Grants
  • 2016-2017 Testing Schedule
  • 2016-2017 School Lunch Prices
  • Final 2015-2016 Bus Routes
  • Patron Appointments to Board Advisory Committees
  • Hearing and Approval of 2016-17 Preliminary Budget
  • Comprehensive School Improvement Plan/Strategic Plan
  • Performance-Based Evaluation Program Changes
  • Professional Development Report and Plan
  • SAS122 Internal Controls/Risk Assessment Document
  • Update on High School Building Project