BOD Meeting Minutes- June 13, 2017

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

ABS 7th Street Building

Winston-Salem, NC

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In Attendance: Robin Hollis, Michelle Kennedy, Paige Raper, Kevin Nunley, Julee Nunley, Brittany Emery, Joan Marie Belnap, Margaret Taylor, Amy Lanning, Charles Cleveland, Julia Toone, Heather Smith, Eric Prior, Chrissy Hardy, Bill Scheidt, Charlie McCurry, Chris Gilmore

AGENDA

  1. Meeting Called to Order – Joan Marie Belnap calls the meeting to order
  2. Approval of May 2017 Minutes – Motion to approve the May minutes made by Amy Lanning. Michelle Kennedy seconds the motion. All are in favor. The May minutes are approved.
  3. Review of YTD financial statements – May financials operated at a deficit of $282,000 due to draining down of federal funding and the timing difference in getting other finds. Net deficit of $23,000 right now. There is more local money to be drawn down. Books and supplies spent this month for summer school is all covered by summer school funds. Contracted student services are over due to CNA services for which we thought we’d get funding (like we did last year). Joan Marie Belnap asks about the $173,000 from Forsyth County. Robin Hollis says we’ll get those checks soon (we got one today) and it’s based on the number of pupils. Motion to approve made by Charles Cleveland. Kevin Nunley seconds the motion. All are in favor and the motion passes.
  4. Budget Discussion and Approval – Margaret Taylor asks about the lack of pay raises in the budget draft. Brittany Emery explains that we’ve put $20,000 away for bonuses until we have the ADM number. Margaret asks if we do get an increase in ADM, will that be for raises? Brittany explains that it’s looking like we’ll have a deficit this year. Eric Prior reminds everyone that we typically operate on a $50,000-60,000 reserve. Robin Hollis says adding a social studies teacher adds about $45,000. Margaret Taylor says she doesn’t want to set a precedent on giving bonuses instead of increases. Mrs. Hollis says the only time we have done this was when the state took money back. She reminds everyone that we’ve given raises when the state didn’t. Ideally we wait to give contracts until we have the real ADM number. Eric Prior says we’ve been fortunate that we were adding students quickly and benefitting from excess cash flow. Now that we’re not adding students/revenue our expenses continue to grow in rent, etc. Charles Cleveland adds that we’ve discussed this “plateau” before and brainstormed other sources of revenue at that time. Michelle Kennedy asks if the committee can also consider what fundraising actions are more successful. Would parents be more likely to give for a targeted need like teacher pay? Mrs. Hollis reminds everyone that we are tuition free. We also have a couple of positions that are unique this year – CNA and EC assistant. We have built a healthy reserve but you don’t want to use that for salary increases. If we get an ADM that is favorable, salaries would be something to look at. Eric says two years ago we went through a benchmarking process on salaries and we found that many teachers are working at or above what they would be making in the county. We would expect that given our expectations. Many charter schools pay only the pay scale without the local supplement. We have looked at the state scale with local supplement. Heather Smith says it’s best to find what fundraising tactic works here and go for that. Brittany reminds us that the state is talking about reducing class size so we can’t add students to bring in more money. Brittany says we kept ADM consistent and total revenue was $4,200,000. Keeping salaries consistent with a $20,000 bonus pool leaves benefits close to the same. We looked at last year’s budget and the annualized amounts from this year. We increased rent because of the leases. Overall, there is a $10,000 maintenance reserve budgeted. Any ADM increase will go towards reserve. Robin asks to what level? If we hit a certain amount would more go toward salary? Eric Prior says maybe not because we need to take any construction into account. Kevin Nunley asks if the 3-month reserve is a target or mandated. It’s a target. Heather Smith says we’re following the same procedure as recent past years with letters of intent. Kevin Nunley says the budget makes good sense. The draft comes from the committee. All are in favor of passing this preliminary budget. The budget is passed.
  5. Principal’s Report Hollis sent this ahead by e-mail. EOG test scores are discussed. The third grade cohort’s scores were not a surprise. We saw in August that the standardized test scores for this group were not in line with our usual results. The question is “what will you do to help those kids?” We put interventions in place early this year to help including Read Live, a reading intervention for some students. Of the 17 that were not proficient, only four didn’t have good cause exemptions. Growth can show up on mClass testing and MAP testing in addition to EOGs. Math scores across all grade levels have been discussed before. Our math scores are not as high as our reading scores. Last year, we launched into intensive teacher training in math called Guided Math. We talked about launching in fall or spring and we decided to get into it in the spring so we can hit the ground running in the fall. It’s similar to how we successfully teach reading already. Science scores are high. We look at all of the data and decide what to adjust, what training to put in. We don’t see that it is widely different from class to class. Michelle Kennedy asks about specialists who work with students and how you group students in that EC group. Robin Hollis explains that the state defines special education categories. It can be anything from other health impaired to speech to learning disabilities. School-wide 69 students are identified as special needs. Margaret Taylor asks if we feel like we have enough staff that are properly prepared to help with those students. Robin says yes, we do. Our teachers take full responsibility for the learning of all students in the class. We bring the specialist into the room whenever possible. Chris Gilmore asks if all of those students have IEPs. Yes, they do. He asks if they get additional time on tests. Yes, but the state allows an extra hour for all students. Other accommodations include reading the test aloud to students, marking in the test book, etc. Chris asks if those students’ scores are amongst the others. Yes, they are. He asks if that puts a lot of pressure on those students. Robin says we spend a lot of time on classroom and school culture. We purposely make our classrooms so they are varied. Michelle Kennedy asks if we’ve looked at the ages of the third grade students. We haven’t seen that as a factor in this case. Michelle asks if EC staff receives training. Robin says they participate in all of our training and they are seasoned veteran teachers. The state provides training in terms of the law with regard to IEPs, etc. Staffing – We have a sixth grade position and saw a fantastic candidate teach and interview. The Read to Achieve summer program has been extended by the state. We can now include 1st and 2nd graders who meet eligibility requirements. It’s two-fold: they don’t have as much summer loss and the teachers can really intensively teach students. It’s a very low ratio with many instances being 1-1 tutoring. There is a lot of testing at third grade. Thank you to the departing board members: Heather Smith, Eric Prior, Charles Cleveland, Doug Punger. Robin thanks the members and acknowledges their hard work on expanding into middle school and the capital campaign.
  6. Committee Updates – Facilities – We’ve been looking at this for a number of months. Splitting LA and SS for 7th/8th grade into separate classes is necessary but there is no extra space in either building. There is also a need for a music classroom to teach band and chorus, lunch space that is not the hallway. Kevin Nunley has designs on 7th St expansion to share. He shows and explains the design for 3 additional classrooms, music and lunch multi-purpose space, and restrooms in the existing courtyard. There is still a good amount of courtyard left with this design. We would try to do this with the existing aesthetic in place while saving money when we can. Financially this is probably a million to $1.1 million to construct. The classroom side is an additional $35,000 in lease expense. The other is $55,000. Neil Foster has agreed to construct and do this for us. Joan Marie Belnap asks if we’re committed to doing both sides at once. No. There are cost savings to doing both sides at once but it’s a lot to bite off. Margaret Taylor asks do the new classrooms bring new students and new money? Not really because we are already over our capacity. Michelle Kennedy asks when was the last capital campaign? Five years ago. Kevin Nunley says we’d like to get started this summer. It won’t be finished but we’d be moving in the right direction. We’d also like to get started on a capital campaign. Julia Toone asks if there’s a target number on the capital campaign. Robin thinks we want to stay under the cap from the Winston-Salem Foundation because there is a long wait. The limit has been $500,000 in the past. Kevin also mentions the idea of buying the buildings. There is a large pay out but it lowers the monthly and yearly costs a lot. Eric Prior asks if we add the classrooms do we have three sections of each grade through 8th No. If you add another class in 7th or 8th, you add four more teachers part-time to teach the core content due to teacher licensure. Michelle Kennedy asks if we could add students in the art garden. Joan Marie Belnap asks if we buy the space are we tied to this location? Maybe not. Real estate around here is doing well. Robin would have liked to move on this already. There is $930,000 in reserves with $35,000 in rent increase if we build. Bill Scheidt asks what the reserves are earmarked for. They aren’t. It’s a fund for any type of emergency. Eric Prior reminds us that during expansion, some board members wanted to build a large reserve. Kevin makes a motion to begin building on the classroom side of the courtyard with a feasibility study this summer for an upcoming capital campaign. Charles Cleveland seconds the motion. All are in favor. The motion passes. Strategic Planning – Chris Gilmore discusses strategic plan updates. The plan with amendments was sent prior to the meeting. The plan is coming from committee. All are in favor with no one opposed. The strategic plan passes.

Finance – New committee members needed. There are some new members coming on in August with a background in finance. Charles Cleveland mentioned that Alex Ewing was so pleased with the Friday Sing in the new space.

Other BusinessMrs. Hollis needs copies of board members address for new audit requirements.

 

  1. Adjournment – Joan Marie Belnap adjourns the meeting.