Maintenance, early retirement discussed at Bogalusa City School committee meeting

Published 10:14 am Friday, November 16, 2012

By Jan Gibson

The Daily News

The Bogalusa City School Board held its committee meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13, rather than it’s usual Monday due to scheduling conflicts.

Among the items discussed were the contract for Phase 2 construction at Bogalusa High School and putting in place an early retirement incentive program in a year when a reduction of force may be necessary.

Reports were given by supervisors, beginning with Phlesher Mingo, new child welfare and attendance supervisor. She brought to the board an update on the new bullying policy, due in January, noting she had been to a training session and was working to complete the policy. She said she would have it ready for the next board meeting in December. She also noted that everyone in the school system would have to be trained, including board members. Mandatory statewide training would have to be done by May, she said.

Maintenance Coordinator Vic Boyles began by giving a report on Phase 2 work going on at the high school. The contract should be signed by Nov. 15, he said. The value engineering reduction, assuming everything comes through as negotiated, would be about $180,000, said Boyles. Reducing the contingency to 5 percent would be an additional $171, 000, a total of $351,000 in reductions. The 5 percent contingency that is built into the contract is $171,000, he said, and “we will use some of that money,” but he does not expect to use it all.

Continuing, he said the last of the asbestos for Phase 2 should be removed by Nov. 19. He also gave a report on some maintenance projects at the schools, including the new windows that have been added at Denhamtown Elementary. The jalousie windows in the cafeteria had been replaced and board member Curtis Creel said he had been at the school recently and the cafeteria workers had told him how much warmer it was in the cafeteria.

“We’re in pretty good shape with our roofs in all the school system,” Boyles said. He did say, however, that some roof work would be necessary in the future at Bogalusa High School, but that no leakage was going on at the present time.

Supervisor of Child Nutrition Programs, Joannie Miller, told the board about the recent Bee Fit Health Fair held recently at the YMCA, saying it was well attended and had been success for the community. She said that the winners of the coloring contest would be recognized at the December board meeting. She also noted that the schools would be having their Thanksgiving meals on Nov. 15.

Debbie Jenkins, supervisor of elementary curriculum and instruction, said she is concentrating on working district-wide so that all of the teachers in each grade are working together to share best practices. An in-service held for third and fourth grade teachers at the board office on a recent Saturday had 100 percent attendance by the teachers, said Jenkins, and they are going to continue meeting together in the future.

In addition, a request from Federal Programs Supervisor Shelley Gill to grant permission for several principals and others to travel to the ACT College Readiness Symposium was discussed by board members, who were concerned that there would be no one left in charge at those administrators’ schools.

“We want an administrator inside of the schools,” said board president Paul Kates.

Finance and Business Supervisor Deloris Walker said to the board, “Since we’re facing RIF this year, I’m asking the board if they want to consider again offering incentive pay. Last year we did get 23 employees to retire through the program. It would be $5,000 again for the professionals and $3,000 for the support workers.”

She continued saying that the program had saved the system “a lot of money.” After some discussion, specifically about adding an ending date with no exceptions, which Walker said was in the proposal she was submitting, the board also discussed retirees who had been rehired and then retired again, receiving another incentive. Walker proposed excluding those from the incentive program.

Other items covered on the agenda included approval of financial statements and a request to approve The Daily News as the official school board journal.

At the regular board meeting held on Wednesday, the incentive program was voted on and approved, as well as the financial statements and approving The Daily News as the official journal of the school system. In addition, the board voted to send only Leslie Rayborn and the new ACT teacher, Ms. Fortenberry, to the ACT Symposium, so that the schools would not be without administrators for the duration of the trip.