March 2014 Board of Trustees Work Session Minutes

May 10th, 2014

Board of Trustees Work Session Minutes

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dale R Fair Babson Park Elementary (Media Center)

3:30 PM   

Trustees Present:  Chair Keith Wadsworth, Cassandra Denmark, Terry Fasel, Cheryl Garnett, Cindy Landen 

Staff Present:  Superintendent Jesse Jackson, Brian Fisher, Marie Cherrington-Gray, MaryBeth Claypool, Elizabeth Tyler, Denise Moss, Mike Bishop, Barbara Jones, Donna Dunson, Damien Moses, Jennifer Barrow, Gail Quam, Kenneth Henson, Angela Heyward, Julio Acevedo, Deirdre Mithaug, Tammy Atmore

Others Present: Robin Gibson, Brenda Brader   

I.          CALL TO ORDER                                                          Jesse Jackson, Superintendent

The meeting was called to order at 3:38pm.

II.  FINANCIAL REPORT                                                                      Brian Fisher, CFO

A.  Monthly Financials

The February revenue outpaced the expenditures in our overall system.  Net addition to the system-wide Fund balance is $375,000.  The General Fund Statement of Operation for February under state revenue has revenue activity not seen in the previous month for  advanced placement, education bonus and career academies.  The second installment for K-Support should be received soon.  E-rate – priority 2 funding schools – has to be 90% or above.  Two of our eligible schools JHW & PAE did not receive any funding during this fiscal year which is unprecedented.

Our enrollment is now at 4,023.  Our Pre-K VPK revenue payments are in arrears for our schools.  Transportation – we expected a 2% – 3% increase – $25,000+ in revenue based upon the transportation survey data submitted through the PCSB.

Trustee Fasel:  How often do we receive this?  CFO Fisher:  July to May – eleven months out of the year.  We usually start with the budgeted amount and then end up later in the year with a blended count for transportation just like we do with student FTE.  Food Service – we are 2/3 of the way so far this year and the program continue to provide solid fiscal results through the reporting period.

We have had a few unemployment payments also for this year from former staff members which accounts for the negative variance under benefits.  Pre-K food service will continue to operate at a deficit level but at a decreasing rate because of the removal of the high school program.

Federal Programs – 54% of our entitlement grant funds have been expended as of the end of February and with Title I & IDEA representing 50% of our programs as a whole.  We anticipate not leaving any funds on the table.  However, anything left will carry over.

B.  LWHS Vending Distribution

LWHS partnership with Florida Fresh Vending

There is a $2,000 sign-on commission with 30% of the sales (25% will go the high school and 5% will go to food service).  Trustee Fasel:  What’s in the vending machines?  Principal Henson:  water, juice, etc.  Per the government – healthy snacks.  Trustee Wojcik:  Will they have access to the machines all day?  Principal Dunson:  Yes 

Trustee Wojcik:  Will this affect regular food service?  Principal Henson:  Not really, these are the kids that might not eat lunch but prefer a snack and juice is usually what they choose.  CFO Fisher:  Will the contract be done annually?  Principal Henson:  Yes, it will be done annually.  We will need Board approval for the distribution of the proceeds (25% high school, 5% food service). 

Trustee Fasel:  How many machines will we have?  Principal Henson:  We will have 6 to 8 machines.  Trustee Fasel:  Are the machines accessible to our athletes?  Principal Henson:  Yes

C.  Personnel Changes

Personnel changes for your review and will be presented for your approval at our Board Meeting this afternoon.

III.  ATTORNEY’S REPORT                                            Robin Gibson, General Counsel

A.  Litigation Update

Litigation has been held over by all the Charter Schools in our District.  I met with former Chair Harold Mareddy and Ralph Fryer.  Our goal is to dismiss this case. 

We had a huge closing recently with the refinance of the Bok Academy mortgage.  I reviewed the legal piece (Citizens Bank & The City of Lake Wales).  The closing went smoothly.  We had an overall savings of $800,000 on the Bok Academy mortgage.  Chair Keith Wadsworth and his committee raised about $200,000 towards the Bok mortgage and this assisted us with the mortgage and also the closing costs.  This funding was raised through the Foundation. 

Foundation Chair – Robin Gibson:  We are the beneficiaries of change in the Central office.  We have converted our Public Outreach position to the Director of Development which is now marketing and development.  We are a public school system supplemented with private funding.  This will also enable us to find a part time assistant for the director – we will have a two person office.  Our new Director of Development Tammy Atmore is a former Babson Park Gnat and Lake Wales High School graduate.  She has done this before having worked with the Pinellas County Schools and the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Director of Development Tammy Atmore:  It is great to be a part of the LWCS.  I am looking forward to planning our Charter Schools ten year celebration and also celebrate 100 years of school in Lake Wales.  We look forward to getting our Lake Wales alumni back to Lake Wales to see what’s going on and we will have a series of 7 to 8 events.  We will also have our Superintendent Round Table with businesses and community leaders.  We are planning our Teacher of the Year banquet which will be a night of celebration to honor our teachers and we will also celebrate our business partners.  This event will be mid February 2015. 

Superintendent Jackson:  We would like to have our teachers involved in the State Teacher of the Year which will enable them to compete in the National Teacher of the Year – we have great teacher who can compete at these levels and win.  We depend on our local community – when the schools are great the community supports us.  We are looking forward to doing something in the future with Amare Stoudemire – he met us in New York and was very supportive of LWCS.  The students and adults had fun and received a signed jersey.  We appreciate this relationship.  I have sent a copy of a recent interview I did with the National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC).  We are out there and we are working on the branding of our system.

IV.  SUPERINTENDENT’S  REPORT                                            Jesse Jackson, Superintendent


Presented for review and approval at the March 17, 2014 Board of Trustees Meeting.


Janie Howard Wilson – Principal Barbara Jones

We have a lot going on at JHW.  The NY visit was wonderful and I came away with a lot of ideas.  We saw a lot of things that we are doing.  Out Teacher of the Year Sierra Gibbs attended and we will share highlights and insights at our faculty meeting.  Thanks Principal Dunson for coordinating this event.  Highpoint did a great family night for us to include a puppet show.  The families always look forward to this event and this increases parent involvement.  Special thanks to our Highpoint Church Family.  We also celebrated Dr. Seuss’ Birthday – teacher Liz Anderson did a great job with this event.  Ignite Academy (high performing 4th & 5th graders) visited Bok Academy and participated in their outdoor classroom.    Our Green Team  – Science Club – traveled to Pelican Island, this was sponsored with a grant written by our teachers. 

Polk Avenue Elementary – Principal Gail Quam

We are preparing for FCAT.  Our planning week will include meeting with every child in our school.  Our auditorium repairs should be finished soon.  We will be tenting our building over Spring Break for termites.  Kindergartners are pretty busy with their concert and also fishing with the firemen.  We continue to monitor our scores and we have seen great gains.  We had a great time in NY.  It was very powerful to talk with our staff on the differences.  We will debrief and also share with our entire staff. 

Hillcrest Elementary – Principal Jennifer Barrow

We are working on FCAT writing.  NY trip was great and it was neat to see all the schools.  Teachers have a common language and they were really great folks.  Our bus ramp is being resurfaced and we will also have our Carnival on Friday.  Agrifest was great and the Artist in Residence was great (Polk State).  Having Tammy (Dev. Dir) is going to be a great asset. 

Edward W. Bok Academy – Principal Damien Moses

We are working and tutoring.  FCAT writes went well.  We appreciate Warner for allowing us to use their campus during this time.  We will have our Apple Distinguished School presentation this week.  It was nice to have JHW visiting our floating classroom.  We use the floating classroom often and we have our students teach our guest students.  Defenders of Crooked Lake had their annual meeting on our campus, and the students taught Science lessons.  Bok Soccer – the girls are undefeated and the boys lost 1 game.  Superintendent Jackson:  The Avenues is also an Apple Distinguished school (school visited in NY).  Principal Moses:  As we look at other schools we are doing some great things her at Bok and we are wanting even more for our students.  We have about 200 seats for 6th graders with over 500 applications.    

Lake Wales High School – Principal Donna Dunson

We are grateful to our donor Ms. Serita Winthrop who funded the NY visit and sponsored 7 students.  We will raise the bar next year.  April 1st we will have Liz Murray, author of Homeless to Harvard visit our school.  Our mentoring program is doing well.  Our reading scores is the highest it has ever been this time of the year.  We will have 5 IB exams. 

Superintendent Jackson:  Ms. Serita Winthrop will have a life-long impact on our students.  Principal Dunson:  We have students with complicated lives that were taking notes and asking questions.  We even had a student to share that they hope to see in themselves what other see in them.  Trustee Wojcik:  How were the students selected that participated on the trip?  Principal Dunson:  They were recommended by their teachers.  We have ninety students registered so far for next school year.    

Bok has about 145 students and McLaughlin about 216 students.  We are working in our neighborhoods to get the word out to ensure all of our Lake Wales and surrounding area students are attending the high school.     

Dale R. Fair Babson Park Elementary – Principal Kenneth Henson

Our NY visit was pretty impressive.  We went with our AP and two resource teachers.  In a few weeks we will have Charlie (dog) on campus assisting with our ESE reading.  Our PE coach Becky Mendes raised over $3,000 for the Pie in the Face contest for our school.  The top student was able to pie Mr. Henson and the second place was able to pie Mrs. Tyler.  All Pro Dads Webber basketball game is Thursday.  We will be piloting an online math initiative – Ten Marks.  We will also do the summer program free for the LWCS  K-12.  Ten Marks was just bought by Amazon.  I also referred them to Polk County Schools.  We will be traveling to Tallahassee Tues/Wed/Thur for Charter School recognition with Hillcrest & Bok. 

Superintendent Jackson:  We are looking forward to our trip and we hope to get funding for the old High School in Lake Wales. 

Foundation Chair Gibson:  We have working relationships with Warner and Polk State and will continue developing our relationship with Webber.  Folks like hearing about the relationships with our local colleges and the LWCS.


The April Board of Trustees Work Session and Board Meeting will be Monday, April 21, 2014 at Janie Howard Wilson Elementary. The Work Session will begin at 3:30 PM and the Board Meeting will begin at 5:00 PM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  VI.  OTHER BUSINESS FOR THE GOOD OF THE CAUSE



Meeting adjourned at 5:01pm.


Respectfully Submitted,

Marie Cherrington-Gray, Corporate Secretary

Board Approved:  April 21, 2014

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