The Tupelo School Board has begun its noon meeting. Four members are present. Rob Hudson is not here.
The board will again tonight at 5 p.m. It will vote on agenda items during that meeting and also will have several recognitions. It will discuss agenda items and hear several reports during the noon meeting.
The board also had a work session at 10 a.m. this morning to hear more in-depth reports on several issues. Read more about that work session here: http://djournal.com/education-matters/2015/04/21/tpsd-work-session-04-21-15/.
Board now will have several recognitions. Begins by recognizing BancoprSouth for efforts with the district through the years.
District recognizes retired teacher Donna Loden for our efforts to promote health in Tupelo and in the school district.
Next recognition is Tupelo High senior William Ikerd for his appointment to West Point Academy.
District will recognize members of the special education department. They serve 1,000 students.
Assistant Superintendent Diana Ezell notes the work by special education director Gena McAlpin.
McAplin wants to acknowledge two of her employees. They are home-bound teachers. They work with students who can’t come to school because of medical reasons or other reasons. Karen Logan and Tyler Philley. McAlpin is reading testimonials about each teacher.
AEE President Ryan Roper and incoming president Emily Jarrett are speaking about this year’s grants. Jarrett said they received 70 grant proposals this year, requesting $320,000 in funds. One third requested $5,000 to $10,000. That included a wide variety of projects. It was very difficult to say no to great projects. Grants will be announced on Friday during AEE’s annual luncheon.
This year, AEE will fund 20 grants totaling about $68,000.
Board member Joe Babb commends the work of AEE. Said it sets the district apart.
Finance director Rachel Murphree is making a presentation about ad valorem collections. They are mostly in line with past years, Murphree said. Homestead may vary a little differently based on when it was received. It was received in March this year.
12: 45 p.m.
School Board attorney Otis Tims is speaking about the district’s audit. It was received by MDE. No questions were raised. The board’s audit committee will meet with the auditors.
Board president Ken Wheeler reads through consent agenda. Board will vote on it tonight. It includes contractual agreements, acceptance of donations and permission to add and delete items from the fixed assets listing. Also includes student transfer report, overnight field trip requets, career-technical center local plan update, resolution authorizing the sale of fives buses for salvage, an update to the joint use agreement with Tupelo and permission to authorize payment of a moving expense.
Finance director Rachel Murphree is making a presentation about the docket of claims and several finance reports – reconciled bank statements, statement of revenue and expenditures, cash flow report, consolidated fund balance sheet and monthly financial statement.
Human resources director Jim Turner will now make a presentation. Addendum includes job description for a teacher at Tupelo Career center.
Personnel report includes new job description for an office assistant for One D’Ville Apartments and an Occupational Therapist Assistant. There also are job descriptions for part-time school board clerk and for director of educational enhancement and innovative research.
Murphree will talk about the district’s 2015-16 salary schedule. It reflects the state’s salary schedule, plus the district supplement. It changes to reflect the second phase of the state’s teacher pay raise that was passed in 2014.
Loden said the district will have the board vote tonight for re-employment of school administrative personnel, building administrators, licensed district administrators and district wide positions that do no require a license.
Assistant Superintendent Diana Ezell presents a tweak to the district’s Family and Medical Leave Act policy. Changes term “husband or wife” to “spouse.”
Eddie Moore will make a legislative update presentation. Notes there is a task force to study gifted education and to extend it to 12th grade.
Another bill will allow districts of innovation. Tupelo is working on a plan to apply to become one.
Bills still on governors desk include one that appoint task force to tweak Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards.
Moore is noting some bills that died that he would have liked to have seen passed. One would have changed the 63-percent attendance rule and could have resulted in some more funding for districts. Another dealt with funds for school resource officers.
Executive director of facilities and operations Andy Cantrell will speak about the district’s safety assessment that was done by MDE.
It found school interiors and exteriors were clean and well maintained. Staff were knowledgeable of all emergency procedures.
Suggestions inclued additional outside lighting, securing outside electrical panel boxes, locking storage boxes, fixing roof leaks, equipping water fountains with ground-fault indicators and making sure evacuation routes are posted.
Cantrell said the district is advertising bids the repair of the roof at Filmore.
Other suggestions included utilizing school resource officers more in crisis response and annual safety audits, making sure SSOs carry pepper spray. That would help disperse that if there is a big crowd.
Director of security Terry Hatch will talk about the pepper spray. Said all officers carry it. They are told to limit use because it can be really painful but it is a good tool to have. Can be used to disperse a crowd.
Hatch: Pepper spray is a deterrent for everyone. You only use it for a reason. If you get it in your eyes, it takes about 45 minutes for your vision to come back. If there is a big group, a big fight, it can be used.
It is just a deterrent, he said. Often the threat of pepper spray is enough to get people’s attention, get them to listen to officer.
Can lasts about 45 years. Hatch said it would be ideal to carry. Board needs to give permission to be able to carry it.
Wheeler: Your department is to be commended for the good record you have now. Deterrent is the level we are currently at. It is a visual deterrent, but it is just in case, you have some sort of tool to use.
Wheeler asks if additional training is needed.
Hatch said they are prepared. They get trained at their annual conference.
This is just for information. Board won’t vote on it tonight.
Other suggestions from the safety audit included more individualization in each school’s plan and more signage.
The district passed with a B-plus grade. They said no As are given because all safety plans can be improved. The enemy of any safety plan is complacency.
Cantrell notes members of a safety audit committee who prepared the district for the audit.
Cantrell now will make a presentation about several summer projects. They will install safety cameras at many elementary schools. At the Filmore Center, they want to have one room with six TVs and a central command station. Three SSOs are at Filmore right now. They will have one person there monitoring those cameras to be proactive. Also can be monitoring during football, basketball games with large crowds.
They have 450K budgeted for cameras and 66K budgeted for security film.
Install several alarm systems.
Possible canopies at Milam, Lawndale and Carver.
Could install a cross country trail at Tupelo High. 25,000 budgeted for it.
Two pressure washing teams will go around the district this summer.
All summer projects, district has budgeted $1,211,289
Plan is to use QSCB money that must be spent this year. $25K out of district funds and be reimbursed $482K out of Safe and Sound Bond. If bond does not pass, will use the QSCB money for the roofing repairs.
Assistant superintendent Diana Ezell will make a presentation about handbook updates.
Highlights include: athletic department will no longer provide letterman jacket for athletes but families can purchase on their own.
Milam’s book will add bus discipline policy that district implemented last year. TMS will update tardy policy. Tupelo High will add a new program to career technical center and details to dual enrollment and AP programs. Early graduates will not be eligible for the school’s Hall of Fame.