Dallas County School Board talk jobs in last meeting before 2023-24 school year

Published 5:12 pm Friday, July 28, 2023

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It was all about jobs at the final Dallas County School Board meeting before the beginning of the 2023-24 school year on Thursday night at the Dallas County Learning Resource Center.

During the superintendent’s Administrative Report, Dallas County Superintendent started off by presenting a plaque to former Dallas County Shop Forman James Towns who worked for the district for 36 years. In the June 29 meeting the board recognized Towns for his retirement but the plaque was not available then.

“Towns has a wealth of knowledge. The calmest disposition. The greatest work ethic who knows how to make it happen,” Sampson said. “He can work to achieve what needs to be accomplished and it was always about people. It was never personal… I admire his attitude and I admire his spirit. He’s a joy to work with. He will always be a close ally of mine that I will call on his guidance, for his advice because he knows. I trust him, explicitly.”

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Sampson continued on in his report and talked about the vacancies that were still open in the district with school starting on August 7. Sampson said he wanted to be transparent with his board and wanted them to know every vacancy. Sampson said that he feels confident that the district will be ok come the start of the school year staff-wise.

“Some of our schools had no vacancies,” Sampson said. “That’s amazing. We are starting out full and hitting the ground running. My focus is on making sure that the kids are there on the first day…We have a few vacancies. I’m not saying we have a lot of vacancies because we don’t. We have a few vacancies and true to form those principals answer the call and fill those vacancies.”

One of the highly talked about positions talked about was the Accounts Payable position. This position had been filled and then that person left leaving the district again without anyone in the seat. The board made it clear that they were frustrated with that position specifically and wanted something done about it.

“Go get you the best you can get,” Board member Leroy Miles said.

With this position being so valuable to the district Sampson wants to make sure the right person is in the chair so that they don’t meet that misstep again.

“When we have a misstep it’s something that we realize and we self asses and take proper corrective action to not make that mistake again or to not have that misstep again,” Sampson said. “We are working and what I think will do is come back and retool that position. We will bolster it a little bit more so that we can attract that highly skilled and high-quality person that’s willing to commit and have that capability.”

Sampson also brought up the thought of having the classified workers work a 40-hour week. Miles and Story agreed with Sampson while the other board members did not make any distinction one way or another. Board President Mamie Solomon said that that was something that would be discussed in the executive session.

“Historically Classified employees have worked 35 hours a week,” Sampson said. “The Fair Labor Standards Act, meaning that it is the Law, gives latitude for classified employees to work up to 40 hours a week and not be placed in an overtime status. I think we are leaving five hours on the table that we could get added value and benefit to great accomplishments for those of the district in those areas.”

During the Financial Report for June of 2023, Board members Miles and Mark Story put in a request to the district CFSO Sandra Purdie if more detail to the descriptions of the use of the money could be made available. After some clarification, Purdie said that she would have that done for them in the next board meeting.

Dallas County Schools attorney Malika Fortier presented the results of Sampson’s Superintendent Evaluation to the board and to Sampson. Sampson passed the evaluation. Fortier made a recommendation for the board that next year the board consider doing a more in-depth evaluation that would involve more people in the evaluation process. The cost would be $2,500 but would provide more information and detail to the evaluation. The board moved into the business of the night which focused on the CNP programs of the district. The board approved the CNP Vendor Recommendations of Flowers Bread of $25,235.00 and Forestwood Farms (Milk Bid) of $125,534.20. Story asked for clarity sake that other vendors had been contacted and that these were the best bids and according to Dallas County CNP Director Latonia Thrash they were. The board also approved CNP Extension Letters for vendors to Hood Cleaning, Humitech, Scott’s Flooring, Pest Control and Refuse.

The board went into a lengthy executive session that was over 30 minutes. After the executive session, no action was taken. Sampson requested the board approve the recommendation of the last part of the businesses which was the Physical Therapy Contract for Services for Delta Rehab LLC and Occupational Services. The board approved that motion.

The board also approved the Personnel Action Report and the Personnel Action Report Addendum.