BOD Meeting Minutes – February 9, 2016
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
ABS 7th Street Building
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
In Attendance: Eric Prior, Heather Smith, Paige Raper, Renee Semones, Laura Luykx, Robin Hollis, Debbie Linville, Amy Lanning, Doug Punger, Michelle Kennedy, Emily Ball, Griff Morgan, Nigel Alston, Margaret Taylor, Chrissy Hardy, Laurie Valentine, Michelle Lawrence, Chris Gilmore, Kevin Nunley
- Meeting Called to Order – 5:45PM – Heather Smith calls the meeting to order at 5:48. Introductions are made for new board members and visitors.
- Approval of March 2016 Minutes – ACTION DELAYED TO MAY
- February and March financials – Renee Semones gives reminders that we have a maintenance reserve and an operating reserve. We are where we should be with drawing down revenues. We spend out the state revenue first because local and some federal funds can be rolled over. We expect to end the year at budget or better. We will have a draft budget at the May meeting and approve a budget in June.
- Principal’s Report – 5:50-6:10PM – It is our busy season right now. As we look forward to next year in staffing, we have been told that Emilie Wagner (5th grade teacher) will not be returning. She would like to take a year to stay home with her family. We will be moving some staff members around and it looks like we will need a 3rd grade teacher. We will announce that in Thursday Notes. Robin Hollis, Mary Siebert, and Paige Raper have been discussing foreign language. Two years ago we had Spanish and this year we tried a survey of language. It is very difficult to staff that. One of the challenges is space. We are out of space in the 7th St building and Kevin Nunley will talk about our thoughts on how we can reconfigure space in this building. Not having a foreign language classroom makes it very difficult to recruit great teachers. Upcoming events: 4th grade Like a Family, 8th grade Lion King, Artist Fusion party next Friday. This is a chance to meet with artists and talk to them about their process. It’s also a time to celebrate the donors that have helped with the capital campaign. We start End of Grade testing on May 24th and that will go to the end of the school year.
- Audit Contract – ACTION REQUIRED – 6:10-6:15PM Robin Hollis reports that each year we are required to have audits (compliance and financial audits). Pearson has done our audit for several years. We bid it out again two years ago and they had the best price. We budgeted $13,000 and it cost a little less than that. Motion made by Griff Morgan to enter into the contract again with Pearson and seconded by Eric Prior. All in favor and no opposed, no abstentions. The motion passes.
- Lice Policy- (from ad hoc task force) – ACTION REQUIRED – 6:15-6:25PM – Heather Smith explains that two years ago a parent asked us to review the policy. It was reviewed at Parent Council and decided that it would not be reviewed further. This year a parent asked us to review it and it was decided to take it to the board level to make sure we were following through and taking the concern seriously. We currently have a “no-nit policy” which means if a student has live lice or nits (eggs), they are sent home with instructions for treatment and are checked. The policy is not based on emotion; the committee is educated and knowledgeable. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that no-nit policies may be too extreme and unnecessary. This recommendation may be written for school environments that are not like ours. We think the unique characteristics of our school (more contact between children, between children and teachers, costumes, and soft materials in use, etc.). Other schools are changing the school environment to fit in with the policy. The committee recommends a preamble to the policy stating that we understand the recommendations and feel that they don’t necessarily fit with our environment. Laurie Valentine reports that it is not just the AAP, it is also other organizations too. Her children had lice very badly before she noticed and she feels like they would have infested the classroom before they missed school. She is also concerned that lice will become resistant to medications. As a minister, she feel like this is a justice issue. This is based on ick factor but not a health hazard. There are ways we can address this such as how students wear their hair. Heather Smith wants to point out that this is not an issue of compliance. These are recommendations but not rules. Margaret Taylor discusses that she was on the committee and reports that they looked at data on absences. The average ABS student misses 2.2 days for lice. It has been spread in classrooms and two teachers ended up with lice from students. Staff input and the existence of interaction and soft material in classrooms played a role in the committee’s decision. Robin Hollis says that our goal is that the lice and nits are removed and the student returns to school. Guilford County has a policy that students return if they have a 75% reduction and WSFCS has a policy to send students home with ten live lice. This would be time consuming and difficult to determine. Doug Punger asks if we talked with the health department. Robin Hollis says we have consulted with the health department in the past and they do not track lice cases. Doug Punger says he wishes board members had received the information before the meeting. He feels that members of the health department are experts on this issue. Laurie Valentine adds that she has talked with other parents who have girls with blonde hair and there was a lack of knowledge on how to identify it. Robin Hollis says she thought Nicole Whitaker reviewed it all with Mr. Valentine. Laurie said she did but it was still difficult. Robin says that with the current policy, she is able to check and see if treatment has worked and been used effectively. Not all parents take the same responsibility as the Valentines and this policy allows the school to check and make sure that the student is ready to return to class. Heather Smith asks if there needs to be a vote if the committee recommends no change to the policy. Doug Punger makes an opposing motion that we amend our policy to follow the AAP guidelines and Griff Morgan asks what the policy would be if we changed away from a no-nit policy? Margaret Taylor adds that the hybrid policies put a lot of responsibility on school staff to count a reduction of nits or live lice. Robin adds that in Michigan many schools changed the policy to allow nits but many charter schools stayed with no-nit policies. In NC many counties are different. Some have live lice and some have numbers of total live lice. Emily Ball asks if there is information that can be sent ahead of time before a case occurs – maybe at the start of the year. Heather says the committee has discussed this. Robin said we typically don’t give it out at the start of the year because for many parents it is not relevant so they don’t commit it to memory until it is about their child. Everyone in the class gets the information when there is a case in the class or grade level. We don’t want students to miss school but if necessary, we want one child to miss school instead of many if it spreads. Eric Prior moves that we keep the policy the same but add the preamble. Michelle Kennedy seconds. Doug Punger opposes. Nigel Alston abstains. Everyone else votes in favor. The motion to keep the no-nit lice policy in place with an added preamble is approved.
- Board Terms (Heather) – 6:25-6:30PM – Heather Smith reports that Leigh Cameron-Atkins, Chad Cleveland, and Renee Semones are leaving the board this summer. Joan Marie Belnap is rolling over for another term.
- Facilities Update (Kevin) – 6:30-6: – Kevin Nunley reports that the facilities group met this week and spent a few minutes talking about parking. The gravel lot is now closed as expected. We spent time discussing the black box theater project. This is a backspace renovation. The backspace would become more like a theater and dance would move out to where the fourth grade is now. There is one unused space in the MLK building (resource room) and the existing computer lab would become 4th grade classes that move. The two fourth grade classrooms would become 1.25 dance and .75 computer lab. We don’t have a recommendation for the board yet. We are still looking at seating and how to make sightlines better. Margaret Taylor asks if we have funding. Kevin Nunley says there is a donor who is remaining anonymous now but has agreed to fund the project. Robin Hollis says we have had great help from the community. Jim Sparrow, head of Arts Council and Howard Jones from UNCSA have been very helpful in thinking through this. Robin says we are meeting with a builder. We will bid the project out. We are out of space in the 7th building. We are looking at temporary space to put in the courtyard or building three classrooms in the courtyard. Doug Punger says he is not an advocate of portables but there is a market for them and you can often get them at a decent price. We are exploring this right now. The anonymous donor is all in for the black box theater project but we would pay for this project (7th St.)
- Other Business – 6:40-6:45PM – Winston Salem Monthly will have an article next month about the school and Community Creates.
- Adjournment – 6:45PM – The meeting is adjourned at 7:52.
IMPORTANT DATES … MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
- Next Meetings: May 10, June 14, NO July meeting, August 9
- Artist Fusion and Capital Campaign Celebration Friday, April 22
- Community Creates! Saturday May 7