The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held a called meeting and work session on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. Several key items were discussed, including:
- Consideration of technical legal agreements regarding the property lease for D-B EXCEL;
- A report on the updated classification of "Economically Disadvantaged/At-risk" students;
- A report regarding State End-of-Course test results for 2015-16 and other related assessment items;
- Review of potential new Board policies and suggested revisions of three existing policies.
Called Meeting and Work Session Audio
Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie presented two technical legal agreements regarding the new D-B EXCEL property lease for Board consideration.
- The City-approved lease with Cayenne Rental Properties, G.P. for space in the building connected to the KCS Administrative Support Center was approved prior to completion of Cayenne's paperwork for construction financing.
- First Citizens Bank & Trust, holder of the construction loan, and Cayenne Rental Properties, G.P. have requested the KCS Board of Education and the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Alderman approve a subordination, estoppel, nondisturbance and attornment agreement so financing can be completed. This agreement provides for priorities between the parties pertaining to the property.
- A supplemental agreement was also reviewed. This agreement would allow for immediate notification by Cayenne to the City regarding any default on the loan and ensures Cayenne's cooperation with the City in exercising the City's rights under the lease agreement.
- By a vote of 4-0, the Board approved both agreements.
Detailed Work Session Notes
Dr. Lamar Smith, Supervisor of Federal Programs, reported on recent changes to the BEP Enhancement Act, passed by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier in 2016.
- The act served to update the definition of "at-risk" students for purposes of the Basic Education Program formula.
- Prior to the 2016-17 school year, "Economically Disadvantaged/At-risk" students were defined as those receiving free and reduced lunch.
- Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, "Economically Disadvantaged (ED)/At-risk students are to be defined as students that meet the direct certification eligibility guidelines; i.e., those included in State or Federal Assistance Programs, or those identified as homeless, migrant, or runaway.
- This change will potentially impact accountability of school districts, BEP funding, and Title I school allocations.
Director of Performance Excellence Mr. Michael Hubbard provided on update on state testing and newly approved performance levels.
- Performance levels describe the specific knowledge and skills students at a given level should be able to demonstrate. New performance levels are based on understanding and applying knowledge and skills as defined by the Tennessee academic standards. The new levels are:
- Level 4 (Mastered) - Demonstrates a student has extensive understanding and expert ability to apply grade/course level knowledge and skills.
- Level 3 (On-track) - Demonstrates a student has comprehensive understanding and thorough ability to apply grade/course level knowledge and skills.
- Level 2 (Approaching) - Demonstrates that a student is approaching understanding and has a partial ability to apply the grade/course level knowledge and skills.
- Level 1 (Below) - Demonstrates that a student has minimal understanding and a nominal ability to apply grade/course level knowledge and skills.
- Academic standards in Tennessee are now more rigorous than in the past, resulting in students that are better prepared for college and careers.
- Higher standards mean more difficult tests, which will mean districts are likely to see lower test scores and grades in the short term, but higher test scores in the long term.
- English tests incorporated writing for the time, placed less emphasis on conventional grammar, and placed more emphasis on reading comprehension and citing evidence to support responses.
- Math tests included a subtest of Geometry for the first time. Portions of tests were calculator-prohibited and will provide a baseline from which to ensure students are fully grasping mathematical concepts and skills.
- U.S. History tests were conducted for the first time since 2013-14. The new exams included extended response items (writing) as well as multiple choice questions.
- Statewide data for 2015-16 was shared publicly on November 4, 2016, while district/school results and TVAAS evaluation composite scores will become available in mid-November and also when the State Report Card released in December.
Board member Mr. Todd Golden and Mr. Andy True, Assistant Superintendent - Administration, reviewed three revised and five new policies with the Board for consideration and potential action at the December Board meeting.
- Existing Policies to Potentially Revise:
- Policy 3.202 - Emergency Preparedness Plan is a revised policy, updated to address the new State requirement to conduct a CPR and AED drill in a school that has an AED.
- Policy 3.500 - Food Service Management is a revised policy, updated to incorporate a meal-charging provision that complies with new information released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This policy also includes a provision regarding the option for students with disabilities to request meal modifications and a provision denoting parent/guardian notification requirements.
- Policy 4.700 - Assessment Programs is a revised policy, updated to assist districts in complying with the State Board of Education rules regarding percentages applied to end of course exams.
- Potential New Policies to Consider:
- Policy 2.200 - Annual Operating Budget is a potential new policy related to Public Chapter 1080, requiring new budgetary timelines (esp. in county districts).
- Policy 2.601 - Fundraising Activities is a potential new policy including provisions regarding online fundraising to address concerns with sites such as "Go Fund Me." This policy stipulate circumstances under which online fundraising sites are allowable.
- Policy 2.800 - Expenditure of Funds is a potential new policy addressing State requirements that districts have polices and procedures in place to determine whether expenditures are an allowable use of federal funds. It includes expectations of the superintendent to comply with all rules and regulations, for Boards to implement federal grant expenditure procedures, and for districts to minimize time between transfer of such funds and disbursement.
- Policy 2.805 - Purchasing is a potential new policy addressing conflicts of interest and governing the actions of employees engaged in the selection, award, and administration of contracts. It also addresses timely disbursement of federal funds as recommended in Policy 2.800.
- Policy 3.219 - Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) is a potential new policy outlining basic operating requirements of drones and emphasizing that individual operators are ultimately responsible for ensuring safe and legal operations of all unmanned aircraft systems.
- In addition to the three policy revisions, the Board requested that potential new policy 2.601 be added to the December Board meeting for formal consideration.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be on Thursday, December 1, 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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