Franklinton, Louisiana

June 27, 1995

6:00 P.M.


The Washington Parish School Board met in special session on the above date   with the following members present: President Bringier H. Barker, Karl Bickham, Hayward Boone, Holly James, Susanne Jones, Harold Smith, Richard N. Thomas, Bruce Brown and Freddie Jefferson. Absent:  None.


Agenda Item #1 - Opening of meeting­


The meeting was called to order by President Barker. Invocation was given by Bruce Brown. President Barker welcomed all in attendance.


President Barker stated that two items had been inadvertently left off the agenda, and he offered a motion to add the following two items to the agenda:


(1)        Give an answer to Clara Graves regarding her grievance, and (2) Executive Session for evaluation of Superintendent.


The motion was seconded by Holly James and was unanimously carried.


Agenda Item #2 - Conduct grievance hearing for Dr. Guy V. Schilling, Assistant Superintendent.


The Board heard Dr. Schilling's grievance in open session, which was at the request of Dr. Schilling. Dr. Schilling's-address was as follows:


"I appreciate you taking this time to hear my grievance appeal. I will try to be brief and specific.  Just prior to my return to work on June 1, 1995, 1 met with Superintendent Coleman. I was shocked to learn that he had taken the position of Personnel   Director away from my position as Assistant Superintendent and made the Child Welfare Supervisor Personnel Director, and that the position of Transportation Supervisor had been placed under the Assistant Superintendent. I had not been notified of any change in my job, nor have I been given any reasons for such a major change in my position.


Therefore, On June 1, 1995, as a procedure prescribed by Board policy, I filed a grievance with the Superintendent as Step I. I expressed to him in the grievance that such a change in my job adversely affects my pro­fessional status as Assistant Superintendent in the school system. I also indicated that such action violates several Board policies, including the Per­sonnel Accountability regulations. I also indicated in my grievance to him that such action violates state law and deprives me of my rights under the Louisiana Tenure Law. On June 8, 1995, the Superintendent responded in a written letter stating that he had authority to make such a change and quoted a clause in his contract as his authority. He did not provide any redress for my grievance.


As Step II in the process, I now make my grievance appeal to the School Board. I was appointed to the position of Assistant Superintendent by the Wash­ington Parish School Board in 1979. As reflected in the school board records, the position of Personnel Director was, from the inception of the one Assistant Superintendent position in the parish, specifically reserved as a responsibility of the Assistant Superintendent. As clearly shown in the Board's policy manual in the staff chart (File: CCA), the position of Personnel Director is reserved to the Assistant Superintendent at a higher level of authority and responsi­bility. Also, as current Board policy provides (File: CGBAA), a major respon­siblity of the Assistant Superintendent is to assist in the selection of in­structional personnel.


Some will argue that to change the position and responsibilities of Personnel Director from the Assistant Superintendent to the Supervisor of Child Welfare and to assign to the Assistant Superintendent the duties of the Transportation Supervisor, which have always been the job of the Child Welfare Supervisor, is simply an administrative change and that the positions are on equal basis and status. Any reasonable and objective observer will see that such an argument is without merit. The Superintendent has proposed to change my job description in a highly visible and substantive way and in a way that adversely affects my professional status in the school system and the wider community.


The Personnel Director's status and duties, and the many related responsibilities inherent in the position, involves a broad range of leader­ship duties that impact almost all facets of the school system's operations.


As has been stated, in Washington Parish, since the inception of the Assistant Superintendent position, the Personnel Director position has been synonymous with that of Assistant Superintendent. To be removed from the position of Personnel Director and assigned a position with responsibilities that were assigned to a subordinate with transportation duties, without any due process procedures and without any valid articulated reasons, clearly lowers my status in the school system and the wider community. This action violates my rights under the Louisiana Tenure Law; it violates Board policies, and it violates provisions under the Personnel Accountability regulations.


In the Washington Parish School Board Policy Manual File GBI, adopted October, 1994, 1 quote, "The Superintendent and his/her staff have the responsibility for developing, monitoring and maintaining an effective and efficient personnel evaluation program in accordance with guidelines as developed by the Department of Education and adopted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The process for all observations, evaluations ... and related functions shall be conducted in accordance with state requirements, as well as regulations and other criteria enumerated in the district's guidelines for teacher assessment and school personnel evaluation." In compliance with state law and Louisiana State Department of Education procedures, the Washington Parish School System adopted the following process: (1) The Washington Parish School System Personnel Evaluation Steering Committee, which was mandated by the State, was selected by the group each member represents through a parish-wide election. This standing committee was responsible for developing and implementing the Personnel Evaluation Program. (2) A major component of this Personnel Evaluation Program contains comprehensive job descriptions for all certified employees. (3) This completed Personnel Evaluation Program was developed during the Spring semester of the 1992-93 school year by the Steering Committee. The entire Personnel Evaluation Program, which included job descriptions for all certified school employees, was presented to the Washington Parish School Board and was adopted as Washington Parish School Board Policy at its regular board meeting on June 10, 1993. The adopted policy was then submitted to the State Department of Education and was approved as submitted. (4) It is the responsibility of the Steering Committee to annually review and make revisions to the Personnel Evaluation Program. This includes job descriptions of certified employees. (5) These revisions are then presented to the Washington Parish School Board for adoption as policy prior to submission to the State Department of Education for approval. The action taken by the Superintendent completely disregards all components of this process. By policy of this Board, and under the requirements of state law as provided through the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education regulations, the duly elected body called the Personnel Accountability Steering Committee of the Washington Parish School System was established in accordance with all state and federal regulations and Washington Parish School Board policy. That steering committee has duly carried out this exhaustive responsibility. I certainly do not think that this action is in the best interest of the school system. Let me explain. The Superintendent has already asked me to head up a parishwide effort to improve student test scores. Isn't this ironical? He proposes to remove me from a position in which I am most highly qualified, and one which is necessarily closely tied to the instructional program and move me to a position for which I have not been trained, and a position that is far removed from the instructional program. What kind of logic does this make? Is the interest of our young people's education being best served by this action? Let's be up front and express the real issue. My removal as personnel director is simply a matter of reducing my status and influence in the school system.


My official record reflects, in every instance, that my work as personnel director has been excellent. In all the years that I have been evaluated by Mr. Earle Brown and members of the supervisory staff and principals, not even one fraction of a point has ever been taken off on any ratings given on my evaluations. As a matter of fact, I would like to share with you briefly some comments and quote to you directly from some of my evaluations. Comments by Earle Brown: "Professional relationships with teachers and staff is commendable; attempts to improve parish academic program though school visits and securing the best qualified teachers available; works toward improvement of total school program; provides best available personnel; strives to maintain properly qualified teaching personnel in the classroom." Does this reflect that I have done an incompetent, or poor, or ineffective job? Please allow me to point out that, in the 16 years that I have served as personnel director, the school board has not lost the first challenge made against it relating to any violations of rights of personnel in the school system. Under my leadership, and unlike many systems, this Board has never suffered through any successful challenge of violations under Title VI (racial discrimination) or Title IX (sex discrimination). The same is true under the personnel accountability regulations. Why? Because we have kept your house in order! I suggest to you that I have been instrumental in seeing that the regulations were carried out. The State Department of Education has always rated our personnel accountability programs, procedures, organizations and records as excellent, except where individual administrators have failed to carry out individual responsibilities.


However, even with this record, it is proposed that I be removed as Personnel Director and relegated to transportation, where I have neither training or experience. Such action also has an obvious fracturing effect on the many other responsibilities of the Assistant Superintendent. As mentioned before, the many requirements under Title VI, laws prohibiting racial discrimination, Title IX, laws prohibiting sex discrimination and laws which prohibit discrimination because of age, religious preference, handicap, national origin and personnel accountability regulations (evaluations and retentions) must be closely coordinated through the personnel director. The proposed action essentially tears these responsibilities apart, thus, causing a fractured, confused and uncoordinated effort, which can only lead to less efficient and less effective control in these areas. These programs, and others, are best carried out under one person who is best trained and experienced in the position of Personnel Director.


I am certainly not an attorney, but I also submit to you that the clause in the Superintendent's contract is flawed in at least one major way. It should have contained a statement that reads, "In accordance with all local policies, state and federal regulations and laws," because, Mr. President, I do not believe that this school board can or should it ever delegate its final authority to anyone, not even the chief executive officer. The Board always retains the power of final say, short of the legal system. Also, a school board cannot rightfully delegate authority for anyone to take actions contrary to it’s own policies and state law or Board of Elementary and Secondary regulations pursuant to state law.


I trust that this Board will exercise its duly constituted authority and keep me in the position of Personnel Director, and I pledge to respond to each of you and the system's needs on an equal basis and to carry out the duties in a fair and impartial manner. I submit to you that the school system will be better served by such action."


Following Dr. Schilling's presentation, President Barker asked for comments from Superintendent Robert Coleman, which were as follows:


"I'd like to read from the policy manual File GCC - Nonprofessional Personnel Recruitment/Hiring, "By law, the Superintendent makes recommendations to the School Board for the appointment of all personnel and the board should act on these recommendations. If the board rejects a recommendation, it's the Superintendent's responsibility to present another ... Recommendation to fill a vacancy will be made by the Superintendent and submitted to the Board for approval."


File GBD - Staff Hiring, reads, "It shall be the duty of the Superintendent to recommend to the Board for appointment to any position, including administrative and supervisory positions, the applicant who, in his professional judgment, is best qualified for the position. The Board may then vote to employ or not to employ the applicant or applicants recommended by the Superintendent. If the Board does not accept the recommendation, the Superintendent shall make another recommendation."


File CDD - Hiring, reads, "...the Superintendent shall appoint a screening committee. The Superintendent, based on the committee's recommendation, will then submit a nomination to fill the position to the Board."


File CGC - Recruitment of Administrative Personnel, reads, "Along with other efforts of the Superintendent to recruit the best possible applicants for administrative positions ... The Superintendent shall submit nominations to the board for administrative and supervisory personnel appointments. In the case of rejection, it is the duty of the Superintendent to make another nomination."


File GBD - Staff Hiring, reads, "The Superintendent shall prepare or cause to be prepared necessary regulations and procedures for reviewing and evaluating all applicants for all vacant positions. The Superintendent shall make recommendations for transfers or promotions in accordance with established Board policy ... The administrator in charge of the screening procedure for filling a personnel vacancy shall be directly responsible for assuring that only individuals with validated credentials are permitted to go through screening. Appropriate reprimand will be administered when an administrator fails to properly carry out this responsibility."


File CGB - Positions, reads, "The Superintendent or his designee shall select a committee to screen applications for administrative positions in the parish."


I read these policies to point out it is the Superintendent's responsibility to hire. The Superintendent can have a designee, and when it talks about it reprimanding an administrator, it doesn't say the Assistant Superintendent; it says an administrator. So the person that would be doing this is the Superintendent's designee, as pointed out in policy CGB. I'd also like to pass out some more policies for you. Under Board-Superintendent Relations, File CF, it reads, "Delegation by the Board of its executive powers to the Superintendent provides freedom for the Superintendent to manage the schools within the Board's policies, and frees the Board to devote its time to policymaking and appraisal functions."


File CE - School Superintendent, states, "The Execution of all decisions made by the Board concerning the internal operation of the school system shall be delegated to the Superintendent. While retaining ultimate responsibility, the Superintendent of Schools shall be authorized to delegate certain duties to other members of his administrative staff. This shall include, as appropriate, any administrative or supervisory employee."


File CEB - Superintendent Duties, states, "The Washington Parish School Board shall delegate to the Superintendent the authority to organize the school system and supervise its operation."


The contract executed by the Washington Parish School Board states, "The Superintendent will have full authority to organize, reorganize, and arrange the administrative and supervisory staff, including instruction, pupil services, personnel, and business affairs, in any manner which, in his judgment best serves the Washington Parish Public School System."


I think it's clear that, according to your policy regulations and according to my contract, the Superintendent has the authority to organize the administrative staff as he sees fit."


President Barker declared a recess in order for the Board to obtain copies of various policies and review the material presented. (Board members remained in the board meeting room during the recess.)


Following President Barker's declaration that the Board was back in session, President Barker invited comments from board members. Hayward Boone stated he felt the Board was in violation of board policy, citing Policy BCBG in the Washington Parish School Board Policy Manual, which states specific duties of the Assistant Superintendent relating to personnel matters. Harold Smith stated he felt Dr. Schilling should have had an opportunity to return to his position (following sabbatical leave) and serve. If there was a conflict between the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, then the Superintendent should bring the matter to the board.


Holly James made the following statements for the record: "When the Superintendent's contract was drawn up, it was drawn up with the idea to give him the power to rearrange, but, we have a professional evaluation instrument that the Board approved, and it lists in that job description a Director of Personnel. It is a board policy. I'm worried about the legality of relieving someone from a job without the Board making a vote on whether or not to change the policy. I think it's probably a good idea that we get a legal opinion. I would feel better if this had come before the Board at a board meeting and we had voted on it.'


President Barker stated, "Dr. Schilling has filed suit in the Judicial Court in Franklinton. We have been given a grievance to handle after the suit has been filed. It is the Board's intentions to be right and just, but we do have some legal matters that we need to look at."


It was moved by B. H. Barker, seconded by Freddie Jefferson, that the Board's attorney, Bob Hammonds, be consulted and Dr. Schilling be given an answer to his grievance within ten (10) days. President Barker declared motion carried following a show of right hands of those in favor of the motion.


President Barker stated a special board meeting would be held July 6, 1995, to give an answer to Dr. Schilling's grievance. Dr. Schilling questioned the purpose of the July 6th meeting, and President Barker answered that the Board would give him an answer to his grievance on that date.


Dr. Schilling stated, "I'm maintaining that, by your own policy, if you reconsider a major change in my job description, with existing board policy, it would have to be by three-fourths majority for the Board to re-consider a change in my job description."


Agenda Item #3 - Consider a motion to approve Personnel Evaluation Program.

Revisions for the 1995/96 school year, as recommended by the Personnel Evaluation Program Steering Committee.


Supervisor Mary Jones, Chairperson of the Personnel Evaluation Program Steering Committee, reviewed the revisions with the Board.


It was moved by Hayward Boone that the Board approve Personnel Evaluation Program Revisions. Superintendent Coleman asked to discuss a matter with the Board. Mr. Coleman recommended that the Board change the job descriptions for the Assistant Superintendent and the Child Welfare Officer, as presented to the board members. Mr. Boone stated he needed a second on his motion. President Barker declared motion died for lack of second. The motion was then seconded by Richard N. Thomas. President Barker stated Mr. Coleman asked for the floor before the motion and second; therefore, there was no motion and second to the motion.


Superintendent Coleman stated he had asked Attorney Kuhn to look at reconsideration of action and examine Robert's Rules of Order. He asked Mr. Kuhn to tell the Board his findings. Mr. Kuhn stated he would like to discuss with the President what he sees in the policy; he may want to get an opinion from Bob Hammonds regarding this, if this involves the matter regarding litigation.


Superintendent Coleman suggested this matter be postponed until after a legal opinion is obtained from Bob Hammonds.


It was moved by Harold Smith, seconded by Hayward Boone, that the Board approve Personnel Evaluation Program as recommended by the Personnel Evaluation Program Steering Committee. Freddie Jefferson offered an amendment to the motion that, if the Board is going to pass the accountability phase that's been presented by Ms. Jones, that the Superintendent's additions be included. Bruce Brown seconded the amendment to the motion. Following discussion regarding whether a three-fourths vote or a majority vote was needed to pass the motion/amendment, President Barker asked Attorney Kuhn to advise the Board. Mr. Kuhn stated the Board needs to look at board policy as to what the three-fourths vote means. He stated, "If you're going to take action based on whether it's a majority or three-fourths vote, I think you should not vote tonight, or until I have an opportunity to confer with the President, since the President is the party who makes the decisions as to the procedure, then any other members have the right to appeal the ruling. I think you need to review where this comes from; I've always heard that policy can only be changed by three-fourths vote, but you can suspend your policy by a majority vote. The question is going to be what you mean by reconsider - - how you interpret reconsideration. Do you mean by Roberts Rules of Order or do you mean that when you reconsider, you reconsider something that's already been voted on by the Board?"


President Barker declared a five-minute recess. Following President Barker's declaration that the Board was back in session, it was moved by Karl Bickham, seconded by Bruce Brown, that the previous motion be tabled until July 6, 1995. Motion carried unanimously.


Agenda Item #4 - Give an answer to Clara Graves regarding her grievance and Discuss Evaluation of Superintendent.


It was moved by Harold Smith, seconded by B. H. Barker, that the Board enter into Executive Session for the purpose of answering Clara Graves' grievance and discussing the Superintendent's evaluation. Motion carried unanimously.


It was moved by Harold Smith, seconded by B. H. Barker, that the Board go out of Executive Session. Motion carried unanimously.


It was moved by Freddie Jefferson, seconded by Richard N. Thomas, that the following item be added to the agenda:


Salary adjustments for ClaraGraves and Rita W. Magee.


Motion carried unanimously. President Barker asked for Superintendent Coleman's recommendation, which was as follows: Recommend that the Board establish - * salary schedule of Data Clerk/Secretary (Clara Graves), and the salary schedule range from $7.02 for "0" years experience, $7.31 for I year, $7.61 for 2 years, $7.91 for 3 years, $8.21 for 4 years, and $8.51 for 5 years. Recommend that the Census Clerk/Secretary to Assistant Superintendent's salary be increased from $8.09 to $8.91 per hour (Rita W. Magee).


It was moved by Freddie Jefferson, seconded by Richard N. Thomas, that the Board accept the recommendation of the Superintendent, to become effective July 1, 1995. Motion carried unanimously.


President Barker declared a 10-minute recess.


It was moved by B. H. Barker, seconded by Harold Smith, that the Board return to Executive Session to discuss the Superintendent's evaluation. Motion carried unanimously.


It was moved by Harold Smith, seconded by Karl Bickham, that the Board go out of Executive Session. Motion carried unanimously.


It was moved by B. H. Barker, seconded by Hayward Boone, that the Board adjourn. Motion carried unanimously.