The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Emry Chesterfield. Members present: Emry Chesterfield, Dr. Charles McNulty, Calvin Johnson, Belinda Pearl, Loria Bryant, Robin Luckadue, and Kameele Robinson.
The first item on the agenda is a bonus for classified employees. Mr. Chesterfield invited Mr. Denise Palmer, the Pulaski County School District Chief Financial Officer, to explain the average daily membership (ADM) amount per student which is approximately $6,700.
Mr. Chesterfield made the following points:
In response, Ms. Palmer discussed several ways for the district to generate revenue growth.:
Ms. Palmer then explained the targeted fund balances for the district. FY 18/19—10 percent. FY19/20—11 percent. FY20/21—12 percent.
She also explained that the district had approved second lien bonds which will help to offset the budget deficiency for construction projects at Mills and Robinson and mitigate outstanding debt. The district would utilize unrestricted building funds to maintain facilities, purchase equipment, cut and control expenditures.
Ms. Palmer said in FY 2018/19, the district will reduce expenditures for the remainder of the school year to fall within 10 to 11 percent fund balance. The focus areas will be student nutrition, overtime, substitutes for non-instructional staff, utilities, and other non-personnel expenditures. In FY 2019/20, the district will implement a 3 percent reduction of expenditures across all departments and schools. Projected cost savings of $4.1 million. The plan would implement a targeted reduction in specific areas, but hold safe maintenance, equity, specific curriculum initiatives, employee benefits and transportation. Targeted reduction $2 million. Certified hires would be reduced from 150 in 2018-19 to 90 in 19/20.
The district will work with building leadership, pupil personnel services, and other stakeholders to ensure efficiency in instructional programs. Targeted reduction $3 million. The district will engage in the following:
Fiscal Year 2020-21 outcome indicators:
Ms. Palmer invited questions.
Mr. Chesterfield asked if the bonus was put off until February of 2019, could employees get a bonus then?
Ms. Palmer said she would look at it across the board. She said the District also had to address fiscal impact of the increase in the minimum wage.
Dr. McNulty asked what if AE (Arkansas Department of Education) doesn’t approve the second lien bonds?
Ms. Palmer said if AE does not approve the second lien bonds the district would not have the money to provide the $20 million for school improvement and vendors might sue for nonpayment.
Mr. Chesterfield again asked Ms. Palmer if she thought the board might approve a bonus if the committee brought them the idea.
Ms. Palmer said she didn’t know what the board would do, but they had been put on notice.
Ms. Pearl asked if the fund balance meant the district needed to have 60 days of wages.
Dr. McNulty said yes.
Ms. Pearl asked if the 3 percent reduction in specific areas and hold safe the maintenance, equity, specific curriculum initiatives, employee benefits and transportation mean these areas will be affected.
Dr. McNulty said those areas would not be touched.
Mr. Chesterfield asked Ms. Palmer about the Sweep Account.
Ms. Palmer said the account might contain $19 million now, but on January 31, the bond payment will be $3.6 million more than last year. She said the projection and cash flow indicates there will be zero balance.
Ms. Bryant wanted to know if the deficit for the Mills and Robinson schools still stood at $20 million.
Ms. Palmer said that was the projection.
Mr. Chesterfield asked if there were further questions. There were none. He thanked Ms. Palmer for coming.
Mr. Chesterfield asked the pleasure of the board.
Ms. Pearl moved that the committee propose to the board at its February 2019 meeting a bonus of $1250 for full time employees and $625 for part time employees. Ms. Bryant seconded. Mr. Chesterfield asked Ms. Pearl to call the roll:
Ms. Luckadue—Yes, Ms. Bryant—Yes, Dr. McNulty—abstained, Ms. Robinson—No, Mr. Johnson—abstained, Ms. Pearl—Yes, Mr. Chesterfield—Yes. The motion carried.
The next item on the agenda was the salaries of folks holding the title or titles of bookkeeper/registrar/secretary.
Dr. McNulty told us that what other districts are paying the three positions.
Ms. Pearl asked what would happen if one person was doing two jobs.
Mr. Chesterfield asked Dr. McNulty if this would be a good time to take the matter to the board.
Dr. McNulty said he would like to see what he could do for the 2019-20 school year.
Mr. Chesterfield asked the pleasure of the committee.
Ms. Pearl moved to bring to the board, no later than April 2019, a raise for the bookkeeper/registrar/secretary. Ms. Robinson seconded. The motion carried.
Me. Chesterfield welcomed Mr. Johnson to the committee. He then asked for member concerns.
Ms. Bryant stated no concerns.
Ms. Pearl restated her belief that the bonus should be taken to the board.
Ms. Robinson said she felt the minutes should contain quotation marks.
Mr. Chesterfield said the minutes are recorded and they will reflect exactly what members say. He also praised the job Ms. Pearl does with the minutes. He then gave Dr. McNulty the last word.
Dr. McNulty said he respected the work of the committee. He made several observations about the upcoming state board meeting that will determine the fate of the district’s second lien bonds. He ended by saying, there is what we say, and there is a message we want to get out.
Ms. Pearl moved to adjourn. Ms. Bryant seconded. The motion carried.