BOE Work Session Notes - April 21, 2016

The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held a work session on Thursday, April 21, 2016.   Several key items were discussed, including:
  • A proposal for key improvements to a playground at Robinson Middle School;
  • Information about a "Read to Be Ready" summer grant designed to target at-risk students who experience the greatest summer learning loss;
  • Information regarding a grant that will provide coding curriculum for students and job-embedded professional learning to staff at KCS Title I schools;
  • The 3rd quarter Financial Report; 
  • An update on the FY 2016-17 budget.
Work Session Audio*
Detailed Work Session Notes
Mr. Brian Partin, Principal of Robinson Middle School, along with Robinson teachers Vickie Sewell and April Hite, provided a presentation on plans to convert an existing playground into an inclusive play area for students with special needs.  
  • There is a community playground currently on RNR property that is used on a regular basis by three self-contained programs, although the playground is not completely age-appropriate.
  • The school would like to pursue fundraising efforts, including seeking donations and applying for grant monies, to improve the existing playground.  Quotes obtained from Recreational Concepts, LLC and Playworld estimate the project to cost between $105,400 and $118,900.
  • When completed, the playground would include a variety of sensory and age-appropriate equipment.
  • The playground will also provide additional equipment for the RNR physical education classes and recreational space for families to utilize after school hours.
  • Based on the positive response from the Board this evening, consideration of approval to pursue funding opportunities will be placed on the May Board agenda.
Mrs. Emily Helphinstine, Coordinator of Literacy Programs, and Dr. Lamar Smith, Supervisor of Federal Programs, provided information about the "Read to Be Ready" summer grant proposal submitted by KCS.
  • The purpose of the grant is to fund a program that targets at-risk students by providing summer instruction rich in reading and writing opportunities.  
  • The ultimate goal of the program is to develop a student's love for reading by providing access to a multitude of high-quality books at different levels, targeting different interests.
  • If KCS is awarded a Read to Be Ready grant, a summer reading program will be held at Kennedy Elementary from June 1 - July 1, from 8:00 - 12:30.  Ms. Lori Smith, Kennedy Associate Principal, would oversee this program for 25 students, with five certified teachers providing instruction and hand-on learning activities.
  • Extended learning and family engagement opportunities for this program would include Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Healthy Kingsport, the Kingsport Public Library, and the Kingsport Farmers Market.
  • KCS School Nutrition Services would provide a free lunch each day to participants and KCS Transportation would provide transportation to and from Kennedy.
  • Notification of award recipients is expected to take place on May 2, 2016.
Dr. Amy Doran, Associate Principal of Washington Elementary School, provided information on an exciting coding grant which KCS has received.
  • The grant, which for the 3rd year has been awarded by BoardDocs, is awarded to only one district nationwide each year.
  • Having been the sole nationwide winner this year, KCS will be provided extensive coding opportunities and professional learning for K-8 students in KCS Title I schools.  
  • Through the grant, a trainer from Emerald Data Solutions will reside in Kingsport from July 2016 - May 2017 to provide a coding curriculum and job-embedded professional learning in KCS.
  • The grant requires no financial obligation from KCS, and has a value (goods and services) of up to $1 million.
  • The grant will provide for a deeply embedded coding curriculum for KCS students during the 2016-17 school year, while exposing teachers to training that can be maximized for student learning and experiences in future years.
Mr. David Frye, Chief Finance Officer, reviewed the Quarterly Financial Report for the 3rd quarter of FY 2015-16.
  • In general terms, Mr. Frye indicated that the state of the 2016-17 budget is strong at this time.
    • Income from revenue sources such as taxes, tuition, and fees are meeting or exceeding expected levels.
    • Expenditures are also in line with estimates for this time of year.
Mr. Frye also provided a report on the status of the FY 2016-17 budget currently in development.
  • At this point, KCS is still awaiting final 2016-17 BEP revenue estimates from the State.  In order to have information for tonight's presentation, Mr. Frye sought additional guidance on preliminary calculations from the State... That information indicated that although BEP revenues are approximately $1.6 million higher than 2015-16 levels, they may be approximately $1 million less than initially predicted in previous state estimates.
  • If approved as currently constructed, potential salary improvements in next year's budget include:
    • Step increases for both classified and certified staff.
    • Increasing the minimum teacher salary/bottom of the teacher pay scale by $1,500, as well as raising the max-out point on the teacher pay scale by $1,500.
    • A cost of living increase of 2% for classified staff. 
    • A cost of living increase of $1,100 to all levels of the teacher pay scale.
      • EXAMPLES:  If approved under this currently proposed scenario (and considering the previous recommendation of providing step increases based solely on classroom observations, unless a teacher's final TEAM score results in a higher overall level), a level-3 teacher would receive a salary increase of $1,400 ($1,100 + $300 step increase), a level-4 teacher would receive an increase of $1,700 ($1,100 + $600 step increase), and a level-5 teacher would receive in increase of $2,000 ($1,100 + $900 step increase).
    • Other currently proposed expenditures include increased funding for additional teachers, instructional design specialists, technology, utilities, and other various items.
      • To view a full listing of items from the budget as currently constructed, click the file link below.
  • A full budget will be considered for formal approval at the May Board meeting.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 6 p.m.  The meeting will take place in the Tennessee Room of the Administrative Support Center (400 Clinchfield Street).
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