Mansfield, Louisiana

September 1, 2022


The DeSoto Parish School Board met in regular session at the DeSoto Parish School Board Instructional Materials Center, 523 Oxford Road, Mansfield, Louisiana, on Thursday, September 1, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. with the following members present:


Dudley M. Glenn, Dr. Neil Henderson, Donald B. Dufour, Alice Thomas, Coday Johnston, Dale Morvan, Mark Ross, Bobby Boyd, Rosie Mayweather, and Clay Corley, Superintendent.  Absent:  Thomas Craig, Jr., Jeffrey Dillard


            Item 1:  Call to order


            President Alice Thomas called the meeting to order and, along with Superintendent Corley, asked to please remember the family of bus operator David Armstrong, who passed away last week.  Also please remember other families of those who recently lost loved ones, Board Member Tommy Craig and others facing health issues.  Mrs. Mayweather led the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.


            Item 2:  Revisions to the agenda.


            There were no revisions to the agenda.


            Item 3:  Approval of minutes of the regular Board meeting of August 4, 2022, and the OPEB Trust meeting of August 18, 2022


            Motion was made by Mr. Boyd, seconded by Mrs. Mayweather, to approve the minutes of the regular Board meeting of August 4, 2022, and the OPEB Trust meeting of August 18, 2022, as presented.  The vote was taken and the President stated the motion carried with the following votes – Yes = 9, No = 0, Absent = 2, and Abstentions = 0.


            Item 4:  Great News


            Mrs. Janice Lingle, HR Director, gave an update on employee attendance percentages. She explained that the new Attendance Incentive Program, approved by Board Members at the August Board meeting, is now up and running.  Employees are excited about the opportunity offered to them to earn up to $300 per month in extra pay for each of the ten months schools are in session. She expressed gratitude to the Board for supporting and approving this exciting opportunity for all employees.  In August 2021, 302 employees had perfect attendance. In August 2022, we had 416, which is a 37% increase!


            Mrs. Lingle gave an update on staffing and the open positions in the parish.  She informed the Board that there are still several open positions at this time, but until a certified teacher can be hired, there are some unique solutions in place.  One is “Adopt a Class” and we have been doing this for a couple of years.  If a classroom does not have a certified teacher in front of them, we connect with a certified teacher already in our district.  Those teachers can adopt the class virtually to oversee the grade level subject matter and coordinate with the sub who is physically in the class.  They work together to make sure the class stays on task in all areas.


            Superintendent Corley added to Mrs. Lingle’s presentation by explaining if there was no certified teacher available, we would normally hire a day to day sub. During COVID, we learned that a virtual connection can provide vital support for our students.  A lot of subs do an amazing job in the classroom, but adding the daily connection with a certified teacher helps ensure the students are well supported in the curriculum for their grade level.  It helps create a win, win situation for all students – the best of both worlds.


            Mrs. Lingle added that recruiting efforts are still in full swing, with morning ads running on KSLA.  Our vacancies are also advertised on all social media accounts on a rotating basis, and employees are helping tremendously by sharing information.  We are using innovative approaches to get the word out about the few vacancies that still exist.  DeSoto currently hosts two resident teachers – one at Stanley High School and one at Mansfield Middle School.  They are doing a great job and, with Board members’ approval, we have increased their pay to $1,500 per month to help cover their travel expenses to/from our schools.  This has proven to be one of the best recruitment tools we have ever used.  Mentor teachers will earn $2,000 more a year to host our resident teachers in their classroom.  We train them for a year, and we hope to retain them as fulltime teachers after completing their residency.


            In July, Board members were able to meet forty-nine new teachers and we have added fourteen more since then.  They are supported by training, the TAP model, mock evaluations and school administrators.  DeSoto pays a good salary, but the support offered to new teachers is the key to keeping our teachers in DeSoto.


            Superintendent Corley thanked Mrs. Lingle for giving these updates.


            Item 5:  Report of the Finance & Operations Committee meeting held on August 18, 2022


a.       Approval of minutes of the August 18, 2022, meeting

b.         Review and approve action from the meeting

·         Approve budget revisions to Internal Service Fund and OPEB Trust as presented


            Motion was made by Mr. Ross seconded by Mr. Boyd, to approve the minutes of the regular Finance & Operations Committee meeting of August 18, 2022, as presented.  The vote was taken and the President stated the motion carried with the following votes – Yes = 9, No = 0, Absent = 2, and Abstentions = 0.


            Motion was made by Mr. Ross seconded by Mr. Morvan, to approve the budget revisions to Internal Service Fund and OPEB Trust, as presented.  The vote was taken and the President stated the motion carried with the following votes – Yes = 9, No = 0, Absent = 2, and Abstentions = 0.


6.    Board policies for review 


Mr. Corley presented the following policies for review.  These policies will be up for approval at the October Board meeting.


a.     BE – School Board Ethics

b.     DC – Annual Operating Budget

c.     EDD – School Bus Scheduling and Routing

d.     GAAA – Equal Opportunity Employment

e.     GAMB – Employee Dress Code

f.      GBRH – Employee Leaves and Absences

g.     JAA – Equal Education Opportunities

h.     JBD – Student Absences and Excuses

i.      JCDAG – Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing

j.      JCDB – Student Dress Code

k.     JD – Discipline

l.      JDE – Expulsion

m.   JGC – Student Health Services

n.     JGCD – Administration of Medication

o.     JM – Student Voter Registration

p.     JQA – Expectant and Parenting Students


            Mr. Corley told Board members that the changes are a result of state law and they are highlighted.  He also asked Board members to contact him to provide any feedback or questions they might have.


Item 7:   Comments


            Mr. Corley made Board Members and the public aware of the following:


·         Attendance Matters campaign – We had an average daily student attendance of 94% for August 2022, compared to 81% for August 2021.  Attendance makes a huge impact on student performance.  We are grateful for the support the Board has shown by supporting this campaign.  The upswing in student attendance is a result of support from the Board, school leaders, teachers, parents and extended family members to focus on keeping our students in school.  Many thanks to Student Services Department – Mr. Fuller, Ms. Jackson and Mr. Dahlem, for their hard work in accomplishing this increase in student attendance.


·         Thanks to Board support and approval, we also added the attendance incentive for all personnel.  Staff attendance perfect attendance percentages have increased over last year as well.


·         Tonight and tomorrow the first Student/Parent/Teacher conferences are being held.  This is the first time they are being held at the 4 ½ week mark instead of the end of the 9 week grading period.  Dr. Henderson added that he and his wife could not attend their child’s conference due to scheduling conflicts and the teacher scheduled a virtual conference that would fit in their schedules.  He expressed appreciation for DeSoto teachers being flexible and working around parent work schedules.  He also explained that the FASTalk app was being well used and has proven to be a very good source to keep parents involved in what their students are studying during the day.  The app helps inform parents so they can have a good conversation with the student about the work done in the classroom.


·         DeSoto football teams have games tonight and Saturday night.  Everyone is excited that football season has begun.


            Item 8:  Adjournment


On a motion by Mr. Dufour, seconded by Mr. Boyd, the Board voted to adjourn the meeting at 6:19 p.m.


Alice Thomas, President                                                                         Clay Corley, Secretary

            DeSoto Parish School Board                                                       DeSoto Parish School Board