Friday, September 29, 2017

Board Briefs from Sept. 25, 2017

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the Sept. 25, 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 encouraged Board members, and all members of the Ladue Schools community, to visit Spotlight on Ladue on a regular basis. This website is dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments of students, staff, alumni and the district as a whole. All posts to the site also feed to the district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. More than 300 entries are posted each year so the many great accomplishments of our district can be shared and celebrated.    
  • Dr. Jahnke shared that the administration is currently in the process of researching the possibilities and logistics of expanding the high school renovation project to the full campus.  With the current project currently $4.5 million under budget and nearly $2 million raised by the Ladue Education Foundation, the district is in a position to follow the direction provided by the Board in 2015 to address additional needs on the campus not included in the original scope of the project.  These components include updated multipurpose athletic fields, grandstand, and an expansion of the Nielson Gymnasium lobby.

Approval of 2017-2018 Operating Budget Tax Levy. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented, and the Board approved, the administration’s recommendation for setting the operating and debt service levies for 2018.

  • Preliminary data from St. Louis County indicates an increase in property assessments of approximately 6.7%. Due to the Hancock Amendment, the district’s operating tax rate ceilings have been lowered in each subclass of property as follows: $3.0307 (residential), $3.0590 (commercial), $.0500 (agriculture) and $3.2400 (personal). If St. Louis County used a single rate method, this would result in a rate of $3.0554 ($.1091 lower than last year).  
  • The debt service levy will remain at $0.78, the same rate as 2016.

Approval of CSIP Action Plan. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Jennifer Allen presented, and the Board approved, 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.

High School Building Project: Project Report #18; Work Package Approvals. Project Director for S.M. Wilson Kort Cole presented Construction Progress Report #18, which includes the August 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 $4.76 million, which is not inclusive of the construction contingency of $1.95 million in the construction budget for unidentified or unforeseen expenses incurred during the remainder of the project.


Transportation/2017-18 Bus Routes/Mileage. Dr. Buckner presented an overview of the current bus routes, including a breakdown of routes per school, and information regarding adjustments to Fifth Grade Center routing, detours around Ladue Road construction and seating capacity.

Board Policy ADF - District Wellness Program. The District Wellness Program is undergoing revision due to the Smart Food mandates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which attempt to stem childhood obesity by requiring healthier food choices for students during the school day (on or off campus) and until 30 minutes after the school day ends. The district meets the standards in regards to food allergies, and Chartwells, the district’s food service provider, has already implemented the Smart Food guidelines. Parents are permitted to send whatever food they wish to school for their own children to consume, but any food provided to other students must meet the guidelines.

School Calendar: Length of Day/Start Times. Dr. Allen presented research gathered by the Calendar Committee, a group assembled to study school calendars and start times based on best practices in education, as well as logistics and needs specific to the Ladue School District.  The presentation includes comparisons with surrounding districts.  The committee will move forward with their work using direction provided by the Board to continue developing recommendations for the 2019-2020 calendar. .  

Superintendent Evaluation Process. Mr. Bresler presented the new process for superintendent evaluations, noting that the evaluation tool and additional information about the procedures to be used are available on BoardDocs. This process was derived by a subcommittee of the Board with input from Dr. Jahnke.  The Board will continue to review this information and vote on its adoption at the Oct. 23, 2017 Board Business Meeting.  


The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting on Oct. 23, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road. Tentative agenda items include the following.  

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting Oct. 23, 2017:

National Merit Semifinalist Student Recognition

  • 2017-18 Bus Routes/Mileage
  • Superintendent Evaluation Process
  • High School Building Project
    • Project Report #19
    • Payment Applications/Change Orders

  • Enrollment and Residency Report
  • LEF Report
  • MAP Data and Report