The Top Three...
Most of the discussion centered around changes to the policy on recommending students for AP Courses. Current policy requires students to successfully complete a prerequisite course with a C average to enroll in AP classes. The new policy would allow "Each school [to] develop procedures to guide students, parents, and guidance counselors in making decisions for course placement based on the best interest of the student."
Mark Dely expressed concern that the new policy revision is too open-ended and could vary from school to school. He would like to see a policy spell out the procedures schools will follow in making their recommendation so parents will know what to expect. Mr. Manuel reiterated that parents will continue to have the right to override any school recommendation. He suggested the policy contain a rubric based on student performance. Natalie Williams spoke up and said, she did not want any changes to the wording of the proposed revision. She trusts the people listed in the policy to make the best decision and does not want the policy to include a rubric. She felt like including a rubric would mean changes to the policy every time the rubric changed. Ken Hoover asked if the rubric could be written using generic language such as "test" that would keep the policy the same even if the school chose to use a new test in the rubric. He also wanted the policy to include a provision for parental override. Ms. Williams suggested that the district office be given an opportunity to meet with school principals and develop procedures for course recommendations. After reviewing those procedures, the board can then decide how best to re-write its policy.
Deficit in the Nutrition Budget:
After sustaining heavy losses in the cafeteria this year, Autumn Enochs requested that next year's budget be amended to include subsidizing a $218,000 loss from the Nutrition Budget. Mr. Manuel and Ms. Enochs explained that they had previously thought cafeteria sales would increase enough to break even by the end of the school year. However, recent sales continue to plummet at each school with fewer than 100 children per day buying school lunches. Mr. Manuel said GMSD must continue to provide hot lunches in the schools to feed free & reduced lunch students. He also said that nutrition was a part of the shared services agreements with the other municipal school districts. Ken Hoover noted that the cafeteria loss would use up most of the budgeted reserves for next year. Both he and Mark Dely strenuously objected to approving budget with an unresolved loss of over $200,000. Mr. Manuel reminded the board that the City of Germantown had requested the GMSD Budget be approved soon. Natalie Williams said that the board needs additional time and the City should understand that more work is needed on the Nutrition Budget.
Strategic Planning Update:
Mr. Manuel presented current data showing Germantown's growth this year in households with children. Most of the growth occurred south of Poplar and he anticipates this trend to continue. This projection of additional students will exacerbate our school's current capacity problems. Mr. Manuel estimates that GMSD will be over capacity in its elementary schools by 642 to 862 students and by 148 to 248 middle school students. The variation depends on whether the school board elects to provide space based on the state maximum class size or an optimal student to teacher ratio.
A Strategic Planning Committee is currently working to address the problem of overcrowding. Among the ideas being discussed are an expansion project at Riverdale, new portables at Farmington and Dogwood, as well as a new school in the south Germantown area. Both Natalie Williams and Lisa Parker expressed the need to build the new school in a location that would cause the least amount of disruption from re-districting. Mark Dely said the board needs to develop a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan to address future needs as well as current plans for the Riverdale expansion and the new school in south Germantown. Ken Hoover who serves on the Strategic Planning Committee said the group will be finishing up their work soon and suggested a town hall meeting to discuss the committee's ideas.
Josh Cathey reminded the board that he would have to order any new portables by the end of the month so they could be installed in time for next year. Mr. Manuel said he would like to go forward with the bidding process for an architect. He also recommended going ahead with the Riverdale expansion. When asked, how soon could the expansion start? Mr. Cathey said, groundbreaking could begin this September with the project completed in approximately 8 months. But nothing is definite until funding from the City of Germantown is approved. Autumn Enochs said she expected the City to fund either Riverdale's expansion or a new school construction but not both projects. Several school board members objected saying they expected the City to fund both projects. Ms. Enochs then clarified by saying, she meant to say, the City would likely fund at least one of the two projects.
The only recommended change was in student surveys which can be found here.
Annual Review of Instructional Policies:
There is a recommended Correction to New Policy on High School Diplomas that would change the policy back to the original required 12 honors credits necessary to graduate with a GMSD "Honors" diploma. At the last school board meeting, the number of honors credits was raised to 14 but since then, Mr. Cherry, principal of HHS, has asked the school board to allow the number of credits to remain at the original 12.
Dan Haddow gave a presentation on GMSD's recruitment process for new teachers. He mentioned that 12 teachers should have been granted tenure through SCS and 14 more will be tenured under GMSD. So far, 15 teachers have announced plans to retire. Open positions at this time include a school nurse at Dogwood and an Alternative School instructor. 15 more open positions will be posted soon. Since January, GMSD has hired several new people including Chris Crabtree and Ryan Jackson as cheerleading coaches at HHS; Roya Alizadegan (HHS); Maryellen Zona (Dogwood); Sara Hendrix (Riverdale); and others.
TEAM Model for Evaluation Process Update
Mr. Haddow explained the TEAM model and how teachers are evaluated. Teachers are ranked on a level from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest rank. GMSD has the following teachers:
Level Five: 147
Level Four: 101
Level Three: 86
Level Two: 6
Level One: 0
GMSD is considering a wellness clinic either in conjunction with other municipal school districts or the City of Germantown.
The timeline for window replacement at Farmington has been moved up so the expense now needs to be included this year's budget.
Establish GASB45 Trust
The school system is legally obligated to hold its OPEB ARC monies in a GASB45 Trust Account. Mr. Manuel recommended setting up an account with the Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA). He noted that some of the other municipal districts, Shelby County Schools, and several school systems across the state have their GASB45 accounts managed by TSBA. Mark Dely questioned whether GMSD would have sufficient influence over the trust with SCS being the largest investor. It was brought up that the City of Germantown operates its own GASB45 Trust. Ken Hoover said he would like to explore the possibility of being a part of the City of Germantown's GASB45 or having GMSD operate its own account.