The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Several key items were discussed, including:
- A report on the "Leader in Me" program, currently taking place at Jackson and Johnson Elementary Schools,
- An update on assessments for the 2016-17 school year,
- Recognition of new employees to Kingsport City Schools,
- A potential Tennessee School Boards Association resolution submission regarding Advanced Placement fees,
- Acceptance of a grant from First Broad Street United Methodist Church to fund "The Leader in Me" program at Jackson Elementary,
- Consideration of a temporary consulting service contract regarding the KCS health insurance plan,
- Consideration of a budget amendment pertaining to a donation supporting "The Leader in Me" program at Jackson Elementary,
- Review of the FY 2015-16 4th quarter financial report,
- An update on KCS health insurance, and
- A draft 2017-18 KCS School calendar and Designated Holiday Schedule for 12-month employees.
CALL TO ORDER
The Pledge of Allegiance was led tonight by Charlotte Ensminger and Will George, students at Johnson Elementary School. Charlotte is a first grader and is the daughter of Clark and Heather Ensminger. Will, the son of Robert and Julie George, is in the fourth grade.
STUDENT FOCUS REPORT
Mr. Stacy Edwards, Principal of Johnson Elementary School, and Dr. Krissy Turner, Principal of Jackson Elementary School, shared information about The Leader in Me program which has been implemented in those two schools.
- The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation process developed by Franklin Covey, a nation-wide management and consulting firm.
- It teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.
- This program is a student version of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- The seven habits for students that serve as the focus of this program are Be Proactive; Begin with the End in Mind; Put First Things First; Think Win-Win; Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood; Synergize; and Sharpen the Saw.
Parent interest REPORT
Mr. Michael Hubbard, Director of Performance Excellence, reported on changes to State testing for the coming year. Assessment updates for 2016-17 were shared, along with information about reductions to the time spent testing, test formats, assessment windows, and parent resources.
- The Tennessee Department of Education has contracted with Questar, for testing.
- On average, students should spend about 30% less time taking State tests this year.
- In grades 3-8, TCAP testing has been shortened by up to 210 minutes, depending on grade level.
- Most End of Course (EOC) assessments have been reduced by 40-120 minutes.
- The only EOC tests that remain unchanged are Biology and Chemistry, which already had the shortest testing time for EOC tests.
- Assessments will be given in a single administration window at the end of the school year or block, with tests taken in a series of shorter subparts to fit into the normal school schedule.
- The Fall testing window will be November 28 - December 16, 2016. The Spring testing window will be April 17 - May 5, 2017. Assessment calendars are located on the KCS website under the PARENTS tab.
- The State has recently released several new resources which are also available on the KCS website:
Chief Human Resources Officer Mrs. Jennifer Guthrie introduced new KCS employees for the 2016-17 school year, including all those hired after the September 2015 BOE meeting.
- A reception was held in honor of the new KCS employees immediately prior to the start of tonight's Board meeting.
Mr. Hyche reviewed a proposed resolution for submission to the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) as part of TSBA's annual request for potential legislative priorities.
- The proposed KCS resolution urges the TSBA to petition the Tennessee General Assembly to provide funding for Advanced Placement (AP) test fees for all students enrolled in AP courses, regardless of income level.
- Extensive efforts have occurred in Tennessee's public schools to improve standards, raise expectations, and provide effective instructional opportunities for all children.
- Governor Haslam and Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen have championed these efforts by supporting and developing programs such as the TN Promise, the HOPE Scholarship, the ACT retake opportunity, and the Drive to 55.
- Research indicates that having students better prepared for employment and competition in the global marketplace is achieved, in part, by requiring all high school students to take challenging courses and by streamlining the assessment system so that high school tests can also serve as readiness tests for college and work.
- While low-income students are eligible for subsidized exam fees in Tennessee, other students must pay $95 for each test taken. There are many low-income and minority students who do not qualify for these subsidies, therefore, they have limited opportunities for participation in AP courses.
- After review and consideration, the Board voted 4-0 to submit the proposed resolution regarding AP test fees to the TSBA for their consideration as future legislation.
Mrs. Jennifer Guthrie provided a review and analysis of a temporary consulting service contract for the KCS health insurance plan.
- KCS is seeking an additional opinion regarding health care services and design, and would contract with Gallagher Benefit Services to provide additional consultation as to planning for 2017.
- After consideration, the contract was approved by vote of 4-0.
Chief Finance Officer Mr. David Frye reviewed Budget Amendment #1 for consideration by the Board.
- The amendment is related to a donation from First Broad Street United Methodist Church in the amount of $40,000 to Jackson Elementary School.
- This donation is for "The Leader in Me" student development program, with funds to be used for purchase of instructional supplies and staff development during the 2016-17 school year.
After review and discussion, the Board voted 4-0 to approve Budget Amendment #1.
Mr. Frye reviewed the 4th quarter financial update for Fiscal Year 2015-16.
- Revenues for FY 2015-16 were at or above estimates for FY 2015-16.
- Sales tax saw a strong gain of 7.7%, while revenue from tuition and early childhood fees ran at a minimal deficit for the year.
- For the year, 97.1% of the budget was expended.
- At year end, overall operations ended at a deficit of less than $56,000.
- At the end of the fiscal year, the General Purpose School Fund Balance is just over $4.8 million, representing 6.6% of the FY 2017 KCS Operating Budget.
Mrs. Guthrie and Mr. Frye provided an update regarding KCS health insurance for 2016.
- The report included a summary of the process KCS utilized to investigate and move to self-insurance, consistent with the goal to recruit and retain effective educators through competitive benefit offerings.
- KCS utilized the firm Sherrill Morgan as a consultant to advise this process.
- Mrs. Guthrie and Mr. Frye reviewed the goals of the current plan, as well as the revenues, costs, and financial impact of both the 2015 insurance costs & revenues and current estimates for 2016.
- 2015 expenses were higher than estimated, requiring a $1 million fund balance transfer at the end of 2015.
- Estimates for the current year were reviewed, including expected claims of approximately $9.5 million for 2016.
- Plans for the remainder of 2016 include an ongoing reevaluation of plan costs based on actual performance in 2015 and 2016, which will then inform plan design for 2017.
Mr. Andy True, Assistant Superintendent - Administration, presented a draft 2017-18 KCS School Calendar for review, discussion, and feedback. In addition, he also presented for review the proposed 2017-18 Designated Holiday Schedule for all 12-month employees.
- The draft calendar reviewed this evening would have students returning for the first day of class on August 7, 2017. Teachers would report on Monday, July 31, 2017.
- Fall Break is recommended to be the week of October 16-20, Thanksgiving Break November 22-24, and Winter Break beginning with an abbreviated day on December 21, 2017.
- Teachers would report back from the Winter Break on Monday January 8, 2018, with students' first day for the Spring semester on Tuesday, January 9, 2017.
- The draft calendar currently includes the 2018 Spring Break on March 26-30, 2018.
- As a part of the discussion, the Board reviewed information regarding a trip by the D-B Band and Orchestra, scheduled to take place March 15-21, 2018. Further information regarding the potential impact of this large student trip, including the potential to consider a Spring Break from March 19-23, 2018, will be compiled and reviewed at the October Board meeting.
- The suggested last day of class would be on May 24, 2018 (abbreviated-day), and Dobyns-Bennett graduation would take place on Saturday May 26, 2018.
The Board will continue to consider the topic, with the anticipation of holding a formal vote to accept a 2017-18 calendar and Designated Holiday Schedule at the October Board meeting.
The next meeting of the Board of Education will be a Work Session on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Tennessee Room of the Administrative Support Center (400 Clinchfield Street).