BOD Meeting Minutes – May 12, 2015
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
ABS 7th Street Building
Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
In attendance – Robin Hollis, Heather Smith, Joan Marie Belnap, Renee Semones, Charles Cleveland, Alex Ewing, Laura Luykx, Paige Raper, Leigh Cameron Atkins, Doug Punger, Kevin Nunley, Margaret Taylor
- Meeting Called to Order – 5:45PM – Heather Smith calls the meeting to order at 5:45.
- Approval of April 2015 Minutes – ACTION REQUIRED – 5:45-5:47PM – Charles Cleveland makes the motion to approve the April minutes, Doug Punger seconds the motion. All are in favor and no opposed so the motion passes and April minutes are approved.
- Principal’s Report (Robin) – 5:47-6:00PM – The new Charter School Framework looks at three areas: financial, academic, and operations. We have no problems with financial compliance. Budget is turned in, board meeting minutes reflect board review of financials each month, etc. One area to work on is under academics. We need to work on how to make growth for students academically. We knew this going in before this review. Mrs. Hollis and Mrs. Raper are looking at addressing it. Do we come at it from the top and work more with AIG students? Alex Ewing asks if we are worried that we’re not working with those AIG students. Mrs. Hollis reports that using the arts is a way to reach high achieving students but it’s not often shown on the tests. She says schools that show great growth are often the ones that are behind. Kevin asks if that measure is purely academic. Yes, state end of grade or course tests. Even high achieving children should show growth. Doug Punger says it might help to work with the higher students. It might bring others along with them. Margaret Taylor says this is often a problem that plagues higher achieving schools. Kevin Nunley points out that they don’t look at non-academic growth. Leigh Cameron-Atkins asks which one says still monitoring. EC students section is a separate audit that has not happened yet. This is a benchmark year for the Charter School Framework. They are not using this for any high stakes decisions right now.
Staffing snapshot – When we look at the budget we try to look at all of the data. We have 3 National Board Certified teachers in classroom, more teachers have a master’s degree than don’t, and we pushed for AIG licensure. We almost have at least one teacher at every grade level. How do we keep up with that financially? Teachers expect a step increase for each year. We have two positions open. 7th/8th grade language arts and 1st grade. We are looking internally at anyone who is interested and have a folder of applicants from outside applicants. Mrs. Hollis reminds that board that we send letters of intent and the actual contract is determined once that state passes the budget. End of year testing is coming up, 6th grade film, and 8th grade graduation. last day of school! Renee Semones asks about the format of graduation. Paige Raper and Mary Siebert have asked the 8th graders what they want graduation to be like.
- Proposed Nepotism Policy (Robin) ACTION REQUIRED – 6:10-6:20PM – This was sent to board members prior to the meeting via e-mail. The language was taken straight from the senate bill. We also looked at the WSFCS system policy. They go into more about student assignment but it’s not required by the state. We did address the supervision aspect. The one thing not addressed by the system is board relationships with school staff.
- Assignment of Personnel – Before any immediate family of any member of the board of directors or a charter school employee with supervisory authority shall be employed or engaged as an employee, independent contractor, or otherwise by the board of directors in any capacity, such proposed employment or engagement shall be (i) disclosed to the board of directors and (ii) approved by the board of directors in a duly called open session meeting. The burden of disclosure of such a conflict of interest shall be on the applicable board member or employee with supervisory authority.
- Definition, “Immediate Family.” For the purpose of this policy, members of the immediate family include spouses, children, stepchildren, wards, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, uncles, and aunts.
Doug Punger makes a motion to approve the nepotism policy and Leigh Cameron-Atkins seconds the motion. All are in favor and no opposed. The motion passes and the nepotism policy is approved.
- Review of YTD Financials (Renee) – 6:20-6:25PM – April financials are the tenth month of the year. There is a $262,000 positive variation. Renee did some annualizing and we should end the year at budget or better. We booked the reserve ($262,000) and maintenance reserve ($10,000).
- Presentation of 2015-16 DRAFT Budget (Renee) – 6:25-6:40PM – Heather Smith reports that we have a draft budget for review so people can begin thinking about questions before a vote on the budget next month. Mrs. Hollis says last year we had a planning allotment from the state by this time. We don’t have that yet so we were conservative and based the budget on last year’s allotment even though we think we might have more this year. The budget is based on 510 students. Field trip money is different due to a change in overnight trips. Federal grants have not been posted yet so we used last year’s numbers. Some of these things are zero net effect so even if they change it’s not affecting the “bottom line”. Expenses – salary line item is up by $73,000. What accounts for this is a 20-hour math instructor, and part-time reading teacher based on the Read to Achieve initiative. Any child who does not pass the third grade reading test can be retained or promoted with a specific class where they receive 90 minutes of direct instruction every day. We are looking at that and being creative with it. This year was an experiment. We weren’t sure how staffing would work in this building specifically. We haven’t hired or created the positions. The other variation is that some teachers have received new licenses or degrees. Everything else is pretty much flat. Some teachers are listed under other categories like arts instruction. This is influenced by whether or not they are licensed, full time, etc. We don’t know health insurance costs for next year yet. We don’t know that number until the state passes the budget. Books and supplies are flat. We now have a CNA for a student who requires that help. We received a state grant for that cost and it’s in the 036 line item. Leigh Cameron-Atkins asks if we are comfortable with professional development staying flat. Robin Hollis says it is staying flat but we haven’t spent nearly all that we budgeted so it should be plenty. Heather Smith says the budget was a mixture of annualization and looking at what we budgeted last year. Kevin Nunley asks about reserves and the $262,000 surplus. Is that the reserve? No, it is in addition to the reserve. Renee Semones says last year is the first year that we had a hefty reserve. Robin Hollis says the reserve already put away does not appear here at all. Leigh Cameron-Atkins asks about key man insurance. Is it in there? Yes, it is under benefits, life insurance. Margaret Taylor asks about architect fees. We zeroed it out even though we might have new projects. When we budget for a project architect fees would usually be in there. We are looking at recruiting an architect to the board. If it were a capital expense, it would go there. Utilities, nutrition and food are flat. This was just for review but we will bring it forward for vote next month. Charles Cleveland encourages the board to look at the strategies we’ve written and make sure the budget reflects them. Heather Smith says we are ahead of where we said we would commit to being on reserves. The last time it was discussed, we committed to $80,000 towards reserves. Robin talks about Fair Funding and fund 8. Some lobbyists are working on it and we would receive $150,000.
- Board Development – Charles Cleveland discusses board class of 2018. We currently have 16 members and we can have 24. We don’t simply need more people, we need quality. We need diversity. We have two people who would like more information. One is an accountant and one is an architect. Class of 2015 is four people. One will probably not renew. One may not be eligible to renew. We will also work on officers next month. Does that make sense that we don’t need to build numbers? Yes. Margaret Taylor says there are some people who are not fulfilling board requirements for attendance. Alex Ewing feels that the board may be thin. It has gotten to be a bigger budget school. Heather Smith would like to see it near 20. Charles Cleveland says we want to do a good job of setting expectations and that includes discussing attendance.
- Community Creates – Heather doesn’t have official numbers but we think we cleared $30,000. The First Tennessee sponsorship helped – thank you to Kevin Nunley . The guest list was a little bit different this year, which was nice. Mrs. Hollis thinks the sponsorships are key to a successful event.
- CLOSED SESSION: Compensation (Heather) ACTION REQUIRED – 6:40-6:50PM
Open Session We propose a 3-year contract for Robin Hollis. For the first year of that new contract, her base salary will be increased by $8,000 to account for additional responsibilities plus an appropriate merit increase to be reflective of a completed performance evaluation. This was motioned for approval by Margaret Taylor and seconded by Doug Punger. All are in favor, none opposed, the motion passes.
- Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 pm.
● IMPORTANT DATES … MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
○ The NEXT Board Meeting – Tuesday, June 9, 2015
○ Reminder: NO July Board Meeting