Public Meeting Minutes: September 10, 2018 at 5:30 PM - Committee As A Whole


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September 10, 2018 at 5:30 PM - Committee As A Whole Minutes

September 10, 2018 at 5:30 PM - Committee As A Whole
I. Committee As A Whole
I.A. Call to Order
I.B. Roll Call of Board
I.C. Pledge of Allegiance
I.D. Notice of Open Meeting Posted
I.D.1. President insures all can hear proceedings
I.E. Presentations
I.E.1. Emerson Presentation
Discussion:  Emerson Principal Sara Colford said the staff has been working on building family connections and communications. The school counselor and Mrs. Colford have been meeting with all kindergarten and new student parents. The kindergarten meetings last a half hour and focus on the whole child, sharing school information, and discussing learning goals. Teachers also send home Kudo Cards once per quarter, so parents can receive positive comments about their child. There are also weekly celebrations, a monthly newsletter, and this year the counselor started an Emerson Facebook page.

The staff are also trying to do a better job of sharing MTSS parent letters, incident reports, and BIST notifications. The intervention forms are also shared with the classroom teachers, so they are aware of what is going on with the student. Parents will be sent an incident report if something happens at school involving their child. This is sent home and must be signed by the parent, and it does not always mean the child is in trouble. If a student is asked to go to the safe seat, buddy room or recovery room the parents are also informed. The safe seat is a place in the classroom where students can go to think. If they do not calm down after going to the safe seat, they may be asked to go to the buddy room. At this time, the student is told how long they will be in the room. If they are successful, they will be sent back to the classroom to sit in the safe seat, but if they are not able to calm down, they will go to the recovery room, which is a place for students to go and think about the process. Colford said the idea is to show parents the different levels of support at school.

Another emphasis has been school culture. Some things they have done to help in this area include: team building challenges, kudo cards for staff, staff favorites, employee of the week, suggestions box, staff lounge, and shared leadership. The staff kudo cards are read to students to show how people can be nice to each other. The staff favorites are a list of items that staff really like, so if someone wants to do something nice, they will have an idea of what to get. The employee of the week gets his or her picture on the wall of fame and a special parking place. The staff suggestions are all done in a Google doc and they are discussed at the building meetings. Colford said this year they added a staff lounge, so staff can go and relax on their breaks.

Students are taught skill lessons every week, and teachers recognize students whom exemplifies these skills. They also do many social emotional activities that help students to recognize things like bullying. The students have expectation stations, which are a blueprints for being safe responsible and respectful.

Emerson has tremendous support from the community. Some of the support has come from McTeacher Night at McDonalds, Big Give, support from many local churches such as backpacks of food for families, giving cash donations and school supplies and offering volunteers to come and help tutor after school. She said Emerson also received another fresh fruit and vegetable grant so students will receive these items four times a week. The Big Give raised $3,000, and thanks to the Emerson families and others the school were able to purchase soccer goals. Colford said the kids were very excited about the soccer nets, and the community has been using them as well.  

She said even though the students just received the iPads, teachers are already doing lots of things on them. Colford also showed a video about preschool that talked about the pyramid training the staff just went through.

I.E.2. RVW Presentation
Discussion:  RVW architect Dan Keiter discussed the re-use of the former CMS. He said he is preparing bid documents to remove the south half of building including the 1924, 1955, 1965 and 1988 second and third stories. Keiter said one of the big issues will be getting rid of the hazardous material in those areas. He said all these hazardous materials must be removed before the building can be knocked down. Keiter said he doesn't know what is behind the walls. He said a crew will come and do some investigations and get a clearer understanding of asbestos in the building. Keiter said this will take about four weeks. After this is completed, a plan will be created to remove the hazardous materials. Keiter said he is not sure how long it will take to abate the building, and the contractor can’t start on the demolition until it is done, so specific guidelines must be spelled out. Keiter said by the end of October, there should be hard bids from abatement contractor. He said hopefully by the end of November once abate is completed, the building will be brought down. Keiter said if the district wants to salvage anything, it must be done before the abatement process.  He did tell the board that if the contractor is expected to salvage some items, the price may increase slightly.

The utilities will be cut off before abatement starts. Keiter said the fire alarm panel is going to be important. He said the fire marshal has said as long as the district doesn’t change the use of the areas the fire alarm will not need to be upgraded. Once remodeling starts, the alarm system will need to be upgraded and brought up to code. He said the concern with upgrading the system now is it may not work with what the district wants to do in the future. Keiter said he will get with B-D and find out how long it will take to bring the building down.
I.F. Board Special Functions
I.F.1. Adjourn Regular Meeting and Enter into Special Hearings
I.F.2. Hearings
Discussion:  The board went into the special hearings at 6:10 p.m.
I.F.2.1. Special Hearing for the purpose of receiving public input on the 2018-2019 Columbus Public Schools Budget
Discussion:  Executive Director of Business Operations/Human Relations Dave Melick said he tries to keep the tax levy stable and make sure CPS is financially sound. He said this year there were several challenges in creating the budget. He said the district added several new staffing positions and the district continues to have to pay the county’s 1 percent fee.

 Melick said the assessed valuation increase was not as high as in the past and not close to the five-year average. He said some of the reserves were also spent last year to cover expenses. Melick said there were eight and a half new staff added and everyone had increases in compensation. There were also 49 teachers who moved up on the pay scale, which is about 8 more than usual. There are currently 18 people receiving early retirement. Melick said there were also two dean of student positions that were converted to assistant principals. The total budget is $65,488,032, with 75 percent going into the general fund. The total budget expenditures are down 1.25 percent from last year. The general fund expenditures are $48,772,376 with 86 percent of that going for personnel.

Melick said the spending and tax money is really tight this year. He said state aid is a roller coaster. This year the district received $524,306, which is a 4.5 percent increase from last year but still below by $1 million from 2009-2010 budget. Board member Theresa Seipel said the board has done a good job of setting priorities and goals.
I.F.2.2. Special Hearing to Receive Input on the 2018-2019 Final Tax Request
Discussion:  The property tax request for this year will be $19,523,343. The general fund levy will be $1.010768 and the building fund .039221 cents, which will generate $757,575.75 dollars for the special building fund. The total levy will be $1.249989. He said the bond debt was reduced by $4.2 million.
I.F.2.3. Adjourn from Special Hearing
Discussion:  The board adjourned the special hearing at 6:34 p.m.
I.F.3. Second and Final Reading of Policy 504.24 Professional Boundaries and Staff Relationships with Students
Discussion:  Superintendent Dr. Troy Loeffelholz said the changes the board requested have been put in the document. He said the emergency clause was added that states in some instances students may be left unattended or have not been picked up by their parents and/or legal guardian. Under these circumstances, staff may transport students home or shelter them from weather with the permission from that parent/legal guardian.

The other statement added says the district will provide guidance to staff on appropriate means of electronic communication to students. Dr. Loeffelholz said this policy is something that some might consider restrictive, but the district wants to protect teachers and staff. He said the administration wants to do what is right but does not want to close off communications between staff and students.

The Administrative Team will go through training Wednesday morning on the new features and the media technology specialist Wednesday afternoon. Some of the board members were concerned about what happens if the parent cannot be reached. Dr. Loeffelholz said another adult should ride with the staff member, and if one cannot be found, then another student. Dr. Loeffelholz said a policy like this protects everyone. The policy could also be called to shelter the kids. Doug Molczyk said all people have cell phones and the ride could be recorded on the phone. Dr. Loeffelholz said all of these steps could be put in the exhibit or the procedures to the policy. He said he will draft an exhibit. All staff must use their discoverers email address so it can be achieved.
I.F.4. Approval of CPS Foundation Board of Directors
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said the foundation is still looking for one board member. He said there can only be two school board members on the foundation board. Candy Becher and Theresa Seipel can stay as long as the board president wants them to be the representatives. Dr. Loeffelholz said there have been two people who have applied for the marketing director and foundation director position.
I.G. Consent Agenda
I.G.1. Approval of Minutes
I.G.2. Financial Reports M2, M3, M4a
Discussion:  Melick said the district is currently receiving money from one of the early childhood grants. He said more grant money will be coming next month.  
I.G.3. Financial Report M4b
I.G.4. Certified Personnel
I.G.5. Classified Personnel
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said the principals are starting to get the rest of their classified staff hired.
I.G.6. Professional Travel
I.H. Acceptance of Gifts/Donations
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said Kim Kwapnioski was contracted to work a few additional hours, but she was official done last Thursday. Jen Augustin is currently working on the books and handling the disbursements of checks. The total amount given for the month of August was $9,656.40
I.I. Business Operations and Human Relations
I.I.1. Policies
I.I.2. Administrative Functions
I.I.2.1. School Fundraising Applications
Discussion:  Melick said these are the fundraising projects that are charitable giving but don’t benefit the classes and students directly. Some of the causes include: Holiday Spirit Co-op, water wells for Africa, Sammy Superheroes, Food Pantry, Center for Survivors, Paws and Claws, Pennies for Patients, Relay for Life, United Way Coins for Kids and Simon House. Melick said the projects are similar to the ones approved in the past. He said a lot of CPS kids are giving back to our community. If the applications are approved, the board would like a report of how much money was raised.
I.I.2.2. Surplus Property
Discussion:  Melick said by disposing of these items, space will be freed up in the storage closets. Some of the surplus items include CHS family and consumer pots and pans; CHS vocal sound equipment; Emerson rugs and West Park Zoo Phonics items. 
I.I.3. Updates
Discussion:  Maternity leave was used the most last year from the leave bank. This year there are 284 staff members participating with a total of 200.75 days available. He said there were 83 days carried over from last year. Melick said in order to participate, a person must contribute one of his or her sick days. He said there are already a number of people on leave.
I.J. Buildings & Sites/Technology
I.J.1. Policies
I.J.2. Administrative Functions
I.J.2.1. Approval of Use of School Facilities for Temporary Snow Fence Placement by City of Columbus
Discussion:  Executive Director of Technology and Operations Leonard Kwapnioski said the city has requested placement of a snow fence on CHS property where the future activity complex is set to go. He said the idea of the fence is to protect 38th Street from drifting. Kwapnioski said one of the conditions is the property must be left exactly like it was when the fence was put up.
I.J.2.2. 2018-2019 Safety Committee Members
Discussion:  Mr. Kwapnioski said there have been a number of people added to the safety committee. He said many are members of the crisis team. He said Cheri Van Dyke was also added because she often fields questions in her role as the superintendent’s secretary.
I.J.3. Updates
Discussion:  Mechanical Sales Inc. will be used to inspect the heating and cooling systems on the roof at the high school twice a year. Rasmussen will also do preventative maintenance coverage on the middle school, Emerson Elementary, Centennial Elementary for combustion analysis, turning of burners and broiler safety checks.

Kwapnioski said the warehouse parking lot by West Park has been paved. He said this should provide more parking for the staff. 

He said all the locks have been installed and 90 percent of the access controls are in place. The bell intercom system is also completely installed. Kwapnioski said there are still a few minor things that need to get done. He said the safety and security committee will determine what needs to be done next year.

Gaggle is a new student safety system that was started this year. This is a scanning tool that can scan email and Google Drive and pick up key words or phrases. Kwapnioski said students need to be taught about how to use their devices properly. He said the district did not want to lock down student use and prevent contact with people outside the district. He said this ties into the digital citizenship piece.

Kwapnioski said the new system has been keeping the high school busy. He said in one day there were 15 inappropriate uses. These are all things that are going through the school email. When an inappropriate use is found, the principal emails the student and reminds him or her that he or she is on a school device. Kwapnioski said it all goes back to training. He said since the training is starting in all grades the number of problems should decrease. This is the first year the district has ever used this scanning tool.

The first CMS portable will be moved Sept. 23 and the other shortly after that. Kwapnioski said the city is being difficult about how to get these out of the town.

Kwapnioski said the district needs to stop referring to the facility as the old middle school. He said a name for the facility should be created. He said in order to protect the history of the site, he suggested calling it the Kramer Education Center. Carl Kramer was a school board member for 40 years and died before the building was completed. Kwapnioski said this would be a good way to honor the past. He said he would also like to use parts of the building to construct an archway out at the football stadium at the high school and would like to name that Kramer Field. He said there are parts of the building that could be used in the new education center like the stones that say when it was built.

Theresa Seipel said some people have questioned her as to why there are weeds now growing where the landscape was removed from the schools. Kwapnioski said with the weather, maintenance is having to mow fields twice a week and has not had time to go and do weeding. He said the goal is to put sod in. Kwapnioski said the district has also learned not to plant trees on islands because all they do is cause problems.  Kwapnioski said things will be cleaned up. 
I.K. Curriculum and Instruction
I.K.1. Policies
I.K.2. Administrative Functions
I.K.2.1. Close Up Scholarships
Discussion:  Each year the social studies department requests $4,000 for students to go to Washington DC for the Close-Up Program. Dr. Loeffelholz said this gives students an opportunity to see Government at work. Melick said the district has budgeted $4,000 for the scholarships.
I.K.3. Updates
Discussion:  Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Romshek said the new science curriculum was approved last year and ties into the new science standards. She said high school biology and chemistry worked on it, and CMS jumped in and wanted to get started. Romshek said it is not easy writing lesson plans for the new standards. She said the middle school science teachers have been working with Laura Plas from ESU7.

Jan Hoegh has been working with staff on proficiency scales and writing common assessments. She has been to CPS three times and has worked with elementary, middle and high school staff. She will be back Sept. 20 to show others the process. To write common assessments will take 1 to 3 years to get completed.

Romshek said the elementary principals asked if the contract with NWEA could be extended to include MAP testing for kindergarten and first grader. She said there has never been any MAP testing done at these levels and it provides a lot more information. Romshek said she is not sure how it will work yet. She said there are six districts that currently do the testing, and they have had positive results. She said she is anxious to see the results and share it with the board. At this time, the district will continue to use DIBELS because it provides different information and includes an oral reading piece.  Romshek said NWEA can extend the contract to include this information. In this program, a teacher can hear a student read because it is recorded. Romshek said this will be something that is discussed in the future.
I.L. Student Services
I.L.1. Policies
I.L.2. Administrative Functions
I.L.3. Updates
Discussion:  Executive Director of Student Services and Special Education Jason Harris said the special education financials for 2016-17 were audited on Aug 24 by the Nebraska Department of Education. Harris said NDE found no significant findings and he should be receiving a letter soon. Harris said he is currently working on the reports for the 2017-18 school year.

There are 103 students more than last year at this time. Enrollment is currently 4,009 students and last year it was 3,906. He said this shows the district’s enrollment is increasing. Harris along with Mike Goos and Dr. Loeffelholz will be attending the Community for Kids meeting that is being put on by the Buffet Foundation. He said the two-day seminar talks about finding funding for early childhood programs and what it takes to have a good program.

Harris said members of the crisis team attended the candle vigil in Frankfort Square for suicide prevention. He said their services were not needed, but it was good to be there just in case.
I.M. Superintendent's Report
Discussion:  Dr. Loffelholz said the Kramer Education Facility would be a good way to link the past to the new early childhood center. He said Melick did a good job with the budget hearing. Dr. Loeffelholz said the board and administration did a nice job of budgeting for the strategic plan so plans could be made for the future. He said the district is right under the $1.05 levy limit, and CPS is one of the few equalized school districts that can still afford to budget for building and sites. He said the valuation didn't go up as the administration wanted, but the annexation was approved in a 7-0 vote with one city councilman absent. Dr. Loeffelholz said Lakeview Community Schools wanted to wait until after the city council meeting to see what would happen. He said he is not sure what Lakeview will do. Dr. Loeffelholz said in the long run, CPS is better off with the land than getting paid for kids to option in. He said the Lakeview Board of Education will be discussing the annexation at the meeting tonight.
I.N. Board Sharing
Discussion:  There was no board sharing.
I.O. Adjourn
Discussion:  The board adjourned at 7:52 p.m.
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