Monday, September 18, 2017

Board Briefs from Sept. 12, 2017 Work Session

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the Sept. 12, 2017 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.


Board President's Remarks
  • Board President Andy Bresler Board requested that two Board members volunteer to assist him in the selection of the instrument to be used in the upcoming year for superintendent evaluation.  Sheri Glantz and Jeff Kopolow agreed to assist in the process and the three of them will meet with Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics to review options with the goal of making a recommendation to the entire Board on at the Board Business Meeting on Sept.25, 2017.
Superintendent Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke let the Board know that this is the week for the annual Sixth Grade Camp.  She mentioned that Ladue Middle School Industrial Arts Teacher Mark Biernbaum does an excellent job leading the coordination of the camp which provides students an opportunity to team build, connect as a class, and gain new experiences.
  • Dr. Jahnke announced that this year, there are 21 National Merit Semifinalists. This is the highest number ever for Ladue School District, and also the most of any school (private or public) in the state. She said that these students honor themselves, their school and their families by achieving at such a high level.
REPORTS

C&I Curriculum Review. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Jennifer Allen, STEM Coordinator Dr. Kevin McColgan and ELA/Social Studies Coordinator Laila Crabtree presented an overview of Curriculum Development plans for the coming years.  These plans were revised as part of the Strategic Planning process. The curriculum development process occurs over three years, and each department is reviewed on a six-year cycle. Click on the header of this paragraph for details.

Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. Dr. Allen presented the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) which is also developed in concert with (and is aligned with) the district’s Strategic Plan.   The CSIP is required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for every district in the state and is a culmination of months of discussion, surveying, analysis and development of district priorities.

Tax Rate Hearing Discussion. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented an update on the district’s current financial status, including the current tax rates and future projections for revenue, expenditures and the fund balance.

Board Policies. Mr. Rossics presented revisions to the Policy HH-1: Teacher Negotiating Representatives. This policy includes procedures to be used in the event the Ladue Educators’ Association (LEA) is found to no longer represent a majority of eligible district employees, and outlines parameters for potentially changing representation.  The policy will be aligned to the Master Agreement language regarding the recognized bargaining unit.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting on Sept. 25, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road.  Tentative agenda items include the following.  

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting Sept. 25, 2017:

STARS Awards for Excellence in Research

ACTION
  • Tax Rate and Debt Service Hearing and Approval
  • Board Policies
  • High School Building Project
    • Project Report #18
    • Payment Applications/Bid Approvals
INFORMATION

  • Transportation/2017-2018 Bus Routes/Mileage
  • MAP Data and Report

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Board Briefs from Aug. 28, 2017 Business Meeting

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the Aug. 28, 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.


Superintendent Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke commented on the successful start of the school year, noting the hard work of staff at every level that was required in order to successfully prepare for the arrival of our students on Aug. 17.
  • While the official Missouri “Count Day” is not until the last Wednesday in September, it appears that enrollment has increased by approximately 100 students across the district and Old Bonhomme Elementary School now has the largest enrollment of the four elementary schools.  
  • Students across the district participated in viewing the Total Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21.  Dr. Jahnke thanked Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Jennifer Allen and STEM Coordinator Dr. Kevin McColgan for their support of our teachers and schools for months in advance of the event to ensure it was both safe and memorable.  Dr. Jahnke also thanked the Ladue Education Foundation for funding the solar viewing glasses used by staff and students across the district.  
ACTION ITEM

Declaration of Surplus Property. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s recommendation for the following items to be designated as surplus property:

  • District property at 10601 Clayton Road
  • High school furniture

A Request for Proposal regarding the property will be released by the district on or before Sept. 15, 2017, with a due date for proposals of Oct. 31, 2017. The furniture will be further evaluated to determine what will be repurposed, sold or donated.

2017-18 Board Goals/Objectives. Following discussion, the Board approved their goals for the 2017-18 school year.  These goals support the Board of Education’s role in implementing the district’s Strategic Plan, as also recently approved by the Board, as well as their mandated responsibilities for overseeing the superintendent and district finances.

High School Building Project: Report #17; Payment Applications; Northwest Section Buildout/Field and Campus. Project Director for S.M. Wilson Kort Cole presented Construction Progress Report #17, which includes the July pay application and updates on the work completed during the summer, the construction timeline and the project budget. Photos of various components of the project are included in the linked document.  

At this time, anticipated savings identified on the project as originally defined are anticipated to be approximately $4.6 million, which is not inclusive of the Construction Contingency of $2.2 million still in reserve for unanticipated expenses incurred in completing the project. In light of this information, Dr. Jahnke shared that the Board of Education has given the administration approval to proceed with researching the logistics, timeline, and estimated costs for completing the remaining components of the full campus renovation.  

In 2015, when the Board voted to put Proposition R on the ballot in April 2016, the determination was made that $82.2 million of the total $85.1 requested would be targeted to renovating the academic areas of the high school. In addition, the Board directed that any savings identified through the course of construction be utilized to fund improvements to other areas of the high school campus not included in this original scope of work, as well as other district projects.  

INFORMATION ITEMS

First Semester Board Meeting Agenda Calendar. Dr. Jahnke presented a draft of the topics to be addressed by the Board of Education during the first semester of the 2017-18 school year.  This is a tentative calendar, and topics will be added and potentially rescheduled during the course of the year.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

The next Board of Education meeting will be a Work Session on Sept. 12, 2017.  The following meeting will be a Business Meeting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2017.  Both meetings will be held at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road. Tentative agenda items include the following.   

Tentative Agenda Items for Work Session Sept. 12, 2017:

INFORMATION
  • Tax Rate Hearing Discussion
  • Strategic Plan Documents
  • C&I Curriculum Review
  • Comprehensive School Improvement Plan
  • Board Policies
Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting Sept. 25, 2017:

  • STARS Awards for Excellence in Research

ACTION
  • Tax Rate and Debt Service Hearing and Approval
  • Board Policies
  • High School Building Project
    • Project Report #18
    • Payment Applications/Bid Approvals
INFORMATION

  • Transportation/2017-18 Bus Routes/Mileage
  • MAP Data and Report

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Board Briefs from July 24, 2017 Business Meeting

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


Superintendent Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke shared that plans are well underway for Opening Session, an annual event held to kick off each new school year the first day all staff are back from summer break. The event will be held in the Ladue Horton Watkins High School Performing Arts Center after a summer of heavy construction on that campus. It will be an exciting day!
ACTION ITEM

2017-18 Tuition Rate Per Policy JECA - Admission of Students. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented, and the Board approved, a tuition rate of $16,997.82 for the 2017-18 school year. The rate was calculated using the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (DESE's) Suggested Worksheet for Determination of Basic Tuition Charge. This tuition rate includes the debt service levy. The Board is required by the state to set and approve a rate each year. The district does not accept students on a tuition basis except as noted in Policy JECA.

High School Building Project: Report #16, Payment Applications, Work Package Bid, Approvals, Change Orders; Northwest Section Buildout (Nielson Area). 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 June 2017.

INFORMATION ITEMS

Board Goals/Work Plan. Board of Education President Andy Bresler provided an outline of the formal Board of Education’s objectives being developed for the 2017-18 school year, noting they will purposefully align with the Priority Initiatives of the district’s Strategic Plan. Objectives being discussed include: timely completion of the high school renovation within budget, developing long-range plans for continued facility improvements across the district, managing spending parameters and compensation plan structures, and Board member training, including diversity training.  The Board will continue refining these objectives in the coming weeks.  

Fifth Grade Center Facility. Dr. Jahnke presented the survey results and focus group data from the assessment conducted on the Fifth Grade Center in May 2017 as part of the strategic planning process. The survey was sent to all parents since opening in the 2013-14 school year, equally represented the four elementary schools and garnered 409 responses (20%).

District Property in Frontenac- 10601 Clayton Road. Dr. Jahnke provided an update on this property, noting that it is no longer under contract, and that there has been additional interest in and offers on the property.  A formal Request for Proposals is in development and the administration anticipates having any responses for the Board’s review sometime in October. At that time, the Board will engage in conversation to determine whether or not the district has interest in selling the property.  

UPCOMING MEETINGS

The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting on August 28, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road.  Tentative agenda items include the following.  

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting August 28, 2017:

ACTION
  • SSD Carl Perkins Consortium Allocation Agreement
  • SSD Contract for Homebound Services
  • SSD Contract for Substitute Personnel
  • District Surplus Property
  • High School Building Project
    • Project Report #17
    • Payment Applications/Bid Approvals
INFORMATION

  • First Semester Board Meeting Agenda Calendar

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.
ACTION ITEM

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

INFORMATION ITEMS

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.  

UPCOMING MEETINGS

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:

ACTION
  • 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)
INFORMATION

  • Board Goals/Work Plan

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Board Briefs from June 6, 2017 Board Work Session

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the June 6, 2017 Board 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 the district’s administrative team attended a two-day retreat last week for the purposes of preparing and planning for the 2017-18 school year and beyond.  Dr. Jahnke said she believes the administration is well positioned to continue to support our students and community at the highest level, and that significant time was dedicated to discussing the components of the Strategic Plan currently under development and scheduled for implementation in the 2017-18 school year.
ACTION ITEM
High School Building Project: Bid Approval. Senior Project Manager Vernon Pfeil presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s recommendation for awarding a contract related to the high school renovation project. The bid process was coordinated by S. M. Wilson, the district’s construction management firm.

  • Balance of Civil Work, Landscaping, Irrigation & Pavers: Castle Contracting, LLC, for $975,600

REPORTS

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 and detailed in the documents linked to the header of this paragraph.

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

Performance-Based Evaluation Program Updates. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics outlined 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. In addition, the Teacher Feedback Instrument will be voluntary for the 2017-18 school year except in individual instances where there are performance concerns. The Board will be asked to approve these recommended changes at the June 26, 2017 meeting.  

Policy Discussion.  Administrators outlined a number of policy changes which will be recommended for approval by the Board at the June 26, 2017 meeting.  The majority of these changes are being made 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.

Financial Review. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented an update on the district’s current financial status, as well as future projections, and led the Board in a discussion regarding setting strategy and direction aimed at sustaining and improving the district’s ability to deliver high-quality instruction in appropriate learning facilities, while also being fiscally responsible and delaying the potential for additional taxpayer requests for operational needs.    

Facilities Report. Mr. Rossics presented the total enrollment projections for the district, which show a slight increase in resident student enrollment (approximately 30 students each year for the next two years), but suggest much less growth than previously anticipated. Director of Facilities Mike Noonan presented a preliminary overview of the district’s Facilities Master Plan which will be used to guide planning for maintaining and improving the district’s buildings and properties.  A more thorough analysis and discussion of this document will take place at the June 13, 2017, Special Work Session.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

The next Board of Education meeting will be a Special Work Session on June 13, 2017.  The following meeting will be a Business Meeting at 7 p.m. on June 26, 2017. Both meetings will be held at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road. Tentative agenda items include the following.

Tentative Agenda Items for Special Work Session June 13, 2017:

INFORMATION
  • Strategic Plan
  • 2017-2018 Budget Review
  • Finance/Facilities Future Projects: Future Planning
Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting June 26, 2017:

ACTION
  • Consolidated Application for Federal Grants
  • 2017-2018 Student Testing Schedule
  • 2017-2018 Extra Duty Stipend Amounts
  • 2017-2018 School Lunch Prices
  • Final 2016-2017 Bus Routes
  • Hearing and Approval of 2017-2018 Preliminary Budget
  • Food Service Contract
  • Comprehensive School Improvement Program
  • Strategic Plan
  • Performance-Based Evaluation Program Changes/Certified Staff
  • Board Policies
  • High School Building Project
    • Project Report #15
    • Payment Applications/Bid Approvals
INFORMATION

  • Professional Development Report and Plan
  • SAS122 Internal Controls/Risk Assessment
  • Fifth Grade Center Review