PROCEEDINGS OF THE ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

RESERVE, LA – MEETING OF DECEMBER 5, 2013

 

ITEM 1:  The Chair called the meeting to order and read the following call:

 

HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD

Parish of St. John the Baptist

 

Dear Board Member:

 

Upon call of the President, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board will meet in regular session at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School, 944 La. Hwy. 628, LaPlace, Louisiana on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at 2:00 p.m.

 

An agenda for the meeting is attached.

 

Sincerely, s/Kevin R. George

Superintendent/Secretary

 

The Chair called for a moment of silent meditation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

ITEM 2.  ROLL CALL OF MEMBERS:

 

PRESENT: Messrs. Jack, Burl, Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson, Bacas, Nicholas, Triche

ABSENT:  Mr. Wise

 

There were 10 members present, 1 absent.

 

ITEM 3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Meeting of November 14, 2013.

 

MOTION BY:     Mr. Jones

SECOND BY:    Mr. Bacas

 

MOTION:  To approve the minutes from the meeting of November 14, 2013.

 

No objections.

 

The motion carried.

 

10 Yeas - Messrs. Jack, Burl, Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson, Bacas, Nicholas, Triche

0 Nays

1 Absent – Mr. Wise

 

ITEM 4. SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT. Mr. Kevin R. George, Superintendent.

 

Mr. George asked Mr. Brad Guerin to give an update regarding the Lake Pontchartrain Elementary Temporary Campus.  Mr. Guerin stated that the project is on schedule and the campus would be ready for students after the Christmas holidays.  Rev. Nicholas asked when the road would be paved.  Mr. Guerin stated that the paving of the road would begin in January, as the buildings to house students will take precedence.

 

Mr. George stated that in order to facilitate the move to the new temporary campus during the Christmas holidays, all students of East St. John Elementary School and Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School will not have classes on December 20, 2013. Faculty and staff will report to work as usual.

 

ITEM 5. EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS AND RECOGNITIONS BY THE BOARD OR STAFF

 

ITEM 5a.  LaPlace Elementary School 1st Grade Bell Choir

 

Mr. George gave the following introduction:  The First Grade Bell Choir was first developed in 2002 by Ms. Kristina Miller and Ms. Anita Rodriguez.  To help with the funding of the choir, the founding teachers held many school-wide fundraising activities, local businesses helped by sponsoring the choir, and a successful RPEI grant was written.  The 2013 Bell Choir is under the direction of teachers Mrs. Kristina Miller and Mrs. Leslie Faucheux.

 

The Bell Choir performed 3 songs for the board and audience.

 

ITEM 5b.  Recognition of Christmas Card Winners

 

Mr. George stated:  The annual Christmas Card Contest was recently held for all students in St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools.  

 

The winning cards from each category have been printed and will be used by the school board to spread holiday cheer this year. The winners are:

 

·      Kindergarten – 4th Grade:  Norelle Frank, East St. John Elementary School, 3rd Grade

·      5th-8th Grade: Kaley Clayton, East St. John Elementary School, 8th Grade

·      9th-12th Grade:  Lori Chen, East St. John High School, 10th Grade

 

The students were presented with plaques that showcased their printed Christmas Cards.

 

ITEM 5c.  Recognition of Hillary Bossier, Grambling Hall of Fame

 

Mr. George stated:  Mr. Hillary Bossier of Edgard was inducted into Grambling State University’s Legends Sports Hall of Fame this past July.  Mr. Bossier signed with the Midwest’s minor league affiliate of the New York Mets.  Due to an injury, he did not pursue professional baseball.  He became a coach and educator at Second Ward High School and an instructional supervisor for St. John the Baptist Parish before retiring in 1987.

 

Mr. Bossier was present and was presented a plaque by President Triche.

 

ITEM 5d.  Recognition of LACUE High School Teacher of the Year Region 3:  Suk Lowery

 

Mr. George stated:  Ms. Suk Lowery was recently notified by Nicholls State University and the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators that she was selected as a teacher who has “Made a Difference” and is the recipient of the “High School Teacher of the Year of Region 3 LACUE Award”.  Ms. Lowery was also recently named the State Teacher of the Year by LACUE.

 

Ms. Lowery was presented a plaque by President Triche.

 

ITEM 5e.  Recognition of LDOE Teacher Leader Advisor:  Holly Manson

 

Mr. George stated:  Ms. Holly Manson was chosen from over 2,000 applicants as one of 60 teachers from across the state to participate as a Teacher Leader Advisor.  These teachers will create new resources, test items, etc. in order to support teachers and administrators with the Common Core State Standards.  They meet in Baton Rouge and are given assignments to work on.  The items that are created by Ms. Manson will end up on the Louisiana Teacher Toolbox on the state department website and they will also appear on the Eagle website. Congratulations to Ms. Manson.  We are so proud to have you on our team and representing St. John the Baptist Parish.

 

Ms. Manson was presented a plaque by President Triche.

 

ITEM 6.  PERSONNEL MATTERS

 

ITEM 7.  BUSINESS AND FINANCE

 

ITEM 7a.  Mr. Felix Boughton – Recommendation for cafeteria plan deductions

 

Mr. Boughton stated that the insurance committee finalized the information after 2:00 p.m. today.  This is a group of insurance that the board offers to the employees.  The following is a summary of what the insurance committee is recommending and will be offered to the employees upon approval by the board. 

 

MOTION BY:     Mr. Johnson

SECOND BY:    Entire Board

 

MOTION:           To accept and approve the following cafeteria plan as recommended and approved by the insurance committee.

 

No objections.

 

The motion carried.

 

10 Yeas - Messrs. Jack, Burl, Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson, Bacas, Nicholas, Triche

0 Nays

1 Absent – Mr. Wise

 

 

*** The plan, in its entirety, is available for viewing at the School Board Office, 118 West 10th Street, Reserve, LA.

 

 

ITEM 7b.  Mr. Peter Montz – Request Board approval to solicit proposals for property insurance.

 

MOTION BY:     Mr. Sanders

SECOND BY:    Entire Board

MOTION: 

 

The motion carried.

 

10 Yeas - Messrs. Jack, Burl, Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson, Bacas, Nicholas, Triche

0 Nays

1 Absent – Mr. Wise

 

ITEM 8.  OLD BUSINESS

 

ITEM 8a.  Mr. Kevin R. George -  Request approval of School Board Meeting Calendar for 2014

 

MOTION BY:     Mr. Jones

SECOND BY:    Entire Board

 

MOTION:  To accept the School Board Meeting Calendar for 2014 as presented.

The motion carried.

 

10 Yeas - Messrs. Jack, Burl, Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson, Bacas, Nicholas, Triche

0 Nays

1 Absent – Mr. Wise

 

 

St.John the Baptist Parish

School Board Meeting Dates

January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014

 

Date

Time

Location

January 16, 2014

6:00 p.m.

West St. John Elementary

February 6, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

February 20, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

March 20, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

April 3, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

April 17, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

May 1, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

May 15, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

June 5, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

July 17, 2014

6:00 p.m.

West St. John Elementary

August 7, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Emily C. Watkins

August 21, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

September 4, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

September 18, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

October 2, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

October 16, 2014

6:00 p.m

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

November 6, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Godchaux Grammar Cafeteria

December 11, 2014

6:00 p.m.

Emily C. Watkins

 

 

ITEM 9.  NEW BUSINESS

 

ITEM 9a.  Mr. Kevin R. George – Recommendation for Architectural Services.

 

Mr. George presented a PowerPoint on the process  by which the firms were selected:  There were 3 phases:  Planning, Selection Committee, and Review.

 

Planning:  Board authorized administration to submit RFP and RFQ.  Both documents were reviewed at the Board retreat in September.  The entire document was presented to the board at the retreat and questions were asked and answered.  The key components of the RFP and RFQ were:  scoring rubric were included so the board would understand how the companies would be scored.  The process would produce one clear winner. The superintendent would select the committee to rate the companies that submitted interest.

 

Selection Committee:  The selection committee was comprised of:  2 project managers from school systems, 2 engineers and 1 architect.  Four of the members were identified and solicited by the superintendent and he was assisted by Mr. Peter Montz to secure one member.  A total of 19 firms sent submittals.  The committee individually scored each firm (6 RFP and 13 RFQ).  The results were sent to the school board office and given to an auditor to tabulate.  The top 3 firms in each category were invited to give Oral Presentations to the committee. The scores from those presentations (6 total) were again given to the auditor to tabulate.

 

Review:  Licenses were verified and the entire process was reviewed by a GOHSEP official, who lauded our process. (Ben Plaia, Legal Counsel for GOHSEP’s Disaster Recovery Division stated “The St. John the Baptist Parish school district has done this in a highly professional way.  I wish all of my applicants would be as highly attentive to the details.”  GOHSEP (Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) must first give approval of any plans submitted before FEMA gets involved.  The superintendent then reviewed the entire process with board members in small groups so they would understand and have the opportunity to ask questions about the process.

 

The superintendent recommended Yeates and Yeates Architects for architectural services.

 

MOTION BY:     Mr. Bacas

SECOND BY:    Dr. Keller

MOTION:  To recommend Yeates and Yeates Architects for architectural services.

 

Mr. Cliff Turner, parent, asked what this company will be doing for ESJH and LPE.  Mr. Boughton stated that the architectural contract will be a 3 year contract:  January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016.  They will be responsible for any architectural needs the school system has whether it is disaster related or not.  Specifically for the disaster, they will not be doing design work  for ESJH because the board already has an architect under contract for that work. LPE will be their first full assignment once Yeates & Yeates is under contract.  Mr. Sanders asked Mr. Boughton to forward a copy of the architectural contract already in place for ESJH to all board members.

 

Mr. Nicholas stated his objection to signing a 3 year contract with the company. 

 

Mr. Jack stated his objection to this motion and stated that he did not agree with the process of selection.

 

Mr. Burl stated his objection to this motion, however, he applauded the process.  He stated that it was his belief that the board directed the superintendent to bring the top 3 firms to the board so that the board could choose one company from the 3.

 

Rev. Nicholas asked if there was a representative from Yeates and Yeates present.  Mr. Ames Yeates was present and stated that Yeates and Yeates is a woman-owned business. Mr. Burl asked Mr. Yeates whether he believes the board needs an architectural firm as well as a program manager.  Mr. Yeates stated that he does feel both are needed in a project this size.

 

SUBSTITUTE MOTION BY:  Mr. Burl

SECONDED BY:  Mr. Jack

 

MOTION:  Out of the top 3 that was selected, we sign a contract with Chasm and Fusion for Architectural Services.

 

Mr. Jones asked for legal counsel to give his opinion on the substitute motion.  Mr. George asked President Triche if he could call Mr. Mark Riley to the podium.

 

Mr. Mark Riley, Deputy Director for Recovery with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, introduced himself.  He stated that when a disaster happens, FEMA comes in and makes an assessment.  Based on this assessment, FEMA offers a grant.  The grant, however, does not go directly to the entity, but instead goes to the state as the grantee.  His office is responsible for making sure the grant is effectively executed.  With a grant from FEMA,  it’s a highly regulatory, highly complex, highly controlled activity.  The biggest problem that the Dept. of Office of Inspector General has found is improper procurement.  Procurement is a key item in these grants.  What happens when improper procurement takes place is that FEMA will come in and de-obligate the entire grant.  In other words, the funds are taken away based on the improper procurement.  The superintendent laid out a process that has been reviewed by the expert in the state on procurement and stated that he had never seen anything like it.  He was highly impressed with the process.  Mr. Riley further stated that once you adopt a process, you must not deviate from that process.  This could cause FEMA to come in and de-obligate the entire grant. This is happening in Cameron Parish School Board with Hurricane Rita and they will likely lose over $40 million. Mr. Riley also stated that if the RFP or RFQ had stated that the board had to hire someone locally, for instance, that would have invalidated the process.  There are some things you simply cannot do under FEMA’s rules.  Mr. Riley stated that he would encourage the board to follow the process that was adopted and not deviate from it.  Choosing a company other than the one the selection committee recommended would be a deviation.  He stated that FEMA is already watching St. John the Baptist Parish School Board because of all the media attention  and he gets questioned about it from headquarters in Washington DC often.  He again encouraged the school board to follow the process without deviating.

 

Mr. Burl thanked Mr. Riley for his information and asked him if the motion he made to accept any of the top 3 companies was ok.  Mr. Riley stated no, the only thing the board could do other than accept and vote on the recommended company, was to reject the superintendent’s recommendation and go through the process again unless the board could show that the recommended company was unqualified to do the job.

 

Mr. Burl stated that he was withdrawing his substitute motion, based on the information that Mr. Riley gave the board.

 

Dr. Keller called for question.

 

Upon roll call on the motion to recommend Yeates and Yeats for Architectural Services, there were:

 

8 Yeas - Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson, Wise, Bacas, Triche

0 Nays

2 Abstentions – Jack, Burl

1 Absent – Mr. Wise

 

The motion carried.

 

ITEM 9b.  Mr. Kevin R. George – Recommendation for Disaster Management Recovery Services – Grants Administration and Project Management.

 

Mr. George stated that his recommendation for Disaster Management Recovery Services – Grants Administration and Project Management is All South Engineers, LLC.

 

MOTION BY:     Dr. Keller

SECOND BY:    Mr. Bacas

 

MOTION:  To accept the superintendent’s recommendation of All South Engineers, LLC for the Disaster Management Recovery Services – Grants Administration and Project Management.

 

Mr. Adonis Woods, community member spoke against this recommendation.

 

Mr. Nicholas stated that his concern was that the board is choosing a company based on cost and not qualifications. He stated that he has a deep concern that we may not be hiring the most qualified company.  He stated he was not completely satisfied with the process of hiring these companies.

 

Mr. Burl stated that he would echo what Mr. Nicholas stated and that the board needs to stop hiring these companies to save money and start hiring the most experienced.  Again, Mr. Burl stated he wanted 3 companies to come before the board and he wanted the board to choose the companies to be hired, not the superintendent.

 

Upon roll call on the motion to accept the superintendent’s recommendation of All South Engineers, LLC for the Disaster Management Recovery Services – Grants Administration and Project Management, there were:

 

8 Yeas – Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johynson, Bacas, Nicholas, Triche

0 Nays

2 Abstentions – Jack, Burl

1 Absent – Wise

 

The motion carried.

 

ITEM 9c.  Dr. Gerald Keller – Discussion of Redistricting Plan

 

Mr. Cedric Floyd stated that he will have a firm report in February, 2014 concerning the board options.  He also stated that he had met with some board member in regards to “tweaking” the plan and he is currently working towards that.  He stated he will meet with other board members about the possibility of moving a block here or there.  He will be meeting with the Secretary of State’s Office next week regarding the plan and elections.

 

ITEM 9d.  Ms. Page Eschette – Standing Committee Elections

 

Mr. George stated that Ms. Eschette could not be present due to a family emergency.  The standing committee elections results were as follows:

 

Finance/Auxillary Services

-          Parent Nominee – None

-          Teacher Nominee – Bernetta Ambres

-          Support Nominee – Ronnie Smith

Personnel Services

-          Parent Nominee – Melvin Fenry, Jr.

-          Teacher Nominee – Alice Washington

-          Support Nominee  – Nedra Harper

Communication/Pupil Services

-          Parent Nominee – Derrius Taylor

-          Teacher Nominee – Caro Mills

-          Support Nominee – Shelia Boloney

 

MOTION  BY:    Mr. Jones

SECOND BY:  Mr. Sanders

 

MOTION:  To accept the Standing Committee Elections as presented.

 

No objections.

 

The motion carried.

 

10 Yeas - Messrs. Jack, Burl, Keller, Sanders, DeFrancesch, Jones, Johnson, Bacas, Nicholas, Triche

0 Nays

1 Absent – Mr. Wise

 

ITEM 9e.  Mr. Orenthal Jasmin, Board Attorney – Legal Update. 

 

ITEM 10.  ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

 

Mr. George stated that West St. John High School is in the semi-finals in Mangham, LA.  Therefore, the two westbank schools would have early dismissal tomorrow, Friday, December 6, 2013.  The high school will dismiss at 11:00 a.m. and the elementary school will dismiss at 11:40 a.m. to allow the families of players to attend the out of town game.

 

ITEM 11.  BOARD ITEMS OF INTEREST

 

Mr. Sanders stated that he wanted to personally ask Yeates and Yeates and All South Engineers that they not fail the board.  He stated that he expects nothing but the best quality work from them in our Disaster Recovery, as our primary goal is to educate children.

 

Mr. Nicholas congratulated both companies, stating that he has reservations, but the board will be behind them.  He also stated that he expects nothing but the best for our students.

 

Mr. George asked that the video of the LaPlace Elementary School’s 1st Grade Bell Choir be put on the website as soon as possible.

 

ITEM 12.  ADJOURNMENT - The agenda having been completed, and there being no further business, there was a

 

MOTION BY:     Dr. Keller

SECOND BY:    Mr. Bacas

 

MOTION:           Motion for adjournment.

 

There were no objections.

 

The meeting adjourned at 7:42 p.m.

 

________________________________                                       ________________________________

Kevin R. George, Secretary                                                        Clarence Triche, President