July 20, 2019

HSB Meeting Minutes November 18, 2015

DATE: 11-20-2015

Hartford Board of School Directors
School Board Meeting Agenda
November 18, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
 HACTC/HHS Getaway Dining Room

Board Members Present: Lori Dickerson, Paul Keane, Kevin Christie, Paula Nulty, Peter Merrill   

Administrators Present: Tom DeBalsi, Noel Bryant, Jim Vezina

Student Representative: Luke LaFountaine

1.  Call to Order: Lori Dickerson calls the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.

2.  Consent Agenda

  • Minutes - Regular Meeting 10-28-2015

    • Peter Merrill moves to accept the agenda with two amendments of who seconded motions and the rewording around the police’s role. Paula Nulty seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0  no).

  • Accept Resignations and Appointments: None

3.  Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda

  • Peter Merrill proposes to table discussing the board member Code of Conduct until the Policy Committee has had time to redraft it so that way the Code of Conduct reflects the language used in other policies.

  • Peter Merrill motions to amend the agenda by tabling the board’s Code of Conduct until the Policy Committee can look at it. Kevin Christie seconds. A verbal vote (3 yes, 2 no) passes the motion.  

4.   Public Comments relative to items not on the Agenda

  • Mr. Arnold would like to ensure the fall sports survey to evaluate coaches will be sent out. He also has questions around the budget and staff negotiations, and would like to see a cost breakdown of the White River School construction costs. The information that is public knowledge will be shared with Mr. Arnold.

  • Mr. Chris Hamilton expresses his concerns about potential consequences for not hiring a strength and conditioning coach for the weight room, and hopes to be on a future school board meeting agenda. Mr. Bob Miller explains the training and education of a strength and conditioning coach, sharing his concerns that athletes or students could injure themselves without the proper guidance. Mr. Hamilton and Tom DeBalsi will be communicating about these concerns.

5.   Items Requiring Board Discussion and Possible Action

  • Budget Draft 4

    • Jim Vezina shares that there is a $3.5 million cost for the operation of facilities. There has been careful attention paid to make sure that data is recorded in the correct category; therefore, custodial costs associated with athletics (i.e. lining the fields) has been moved into the athletic program budget. Tom DeBalsi points out that during the fall/spring seasons, two maintenance workers are working almost full-time to prepare the fields for the teams. While athletic custodial costs were moved into the athletic program’s category, transportation for athletics was not.

    • Jim Vezina reports that the labor costs are at $528,000 with $326,000 of that being benefits related.  There are a large amount of regulations to be met which require contracted services (i.e. elevator inspections). Aslands costs $289,000 to employ, but it is the most efficient and effective way for those services.  

    • Jim Vezina shares that electrical costs are at $263,000 as the school district is seeing a lessened cost due to the Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service Corporation merger. That budgeted amount has not been increased even with the construction of the fitness facility.

    • Jim Vezina reports that the amount allocated to the repairs budget has been adjusted down. Recent work has improved heating efficiency in the district schools.

    • The board thanks Jim Vezina for his work.

  • Town/School Charter Update

    • Ms. White speaks about the work with the charter review. Moving forward with an official committee to review the charter, the committee would be comprised of three members from the public, three select board members, and 1-3 school board members. The committee will focus on a local option tax where the town can have a 1% meals and room tax as well as removing redundancies between the state statute and the charter.

    • Ms. White expresses that the town and school could have separate charters, but Lori Dickerson and Kevin Christie both agreed that it is more cost efficient and a better use of resources to have one charter. Ms. White wonders about the board’s preference of the Australian ballot, and Lori Dickerson reports that she has received emails in support of this ballot.

    • Ms. White reminds the board that the charter will have to be voted on prior to being shared with the community and would like to be on a future school board agenda.

    • Lori Dickerson and Paula Nulty express interest in representing the school board. Kevin Christi suggests a message on the list serve or an advertisement to inform citizens who might want to be involved in the charter’s provisions. Ms. White will investigate whether a student representative could serve on the committee.

    • Kevin Christie motions to accept Paula Nulty and Lori Dickerson volunteering to represent the school board on the charter committee. Peter Merrill seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (4 yes, 0  no).

  • HHS Lobby  

    • Tom DeBalsi addresses the concern that those in the front high school office cannot see into the front lobby. Originally, a window or door could not be added to the wall separating the office and lobby since it was considered a firewall; the code had since changed and it is possible for a window to be added. Tom DeBalsi is currently waiting on estimates for the project.

    • Kevin Christie acknowledges the range of security systems various schools have implemented. Tom DeBalsi shares that the schools have the capability of locking outside doors and requiring visitors to buzz in. Kevin Christie credits Tom DeBalsi for having the state police representatives’ help with the safety committee.  

  • Teaching Staff Turnover and Support System

    • Tom DeBalsi shares that 35 teachers left in 2014-2015 school year. Of those 35 teachers, eight retired, eleven moved, six were not asked back, eight were unhappy, and two cited other reasons for leaving (advancement, stayed at home with a child).

    • Noel Bryant explains that there is a mentor program in the district to support new teachers. The mentor and mentee meet for 30 minutes weekly and there are four coaching cycle meetings during which the mentee has the opportunity to reflect on a specific aspect of his/her practice.

    • Due to feedback and use of resources, the district will evaluate the mentor program and the new teacher orientation day. Noel Bryant also points out that there are great teachers who support new staff at all of the schools.

    • The board thanks Noel Bryant and Tom DeBalsi.

  • Road to WABA and Track Pits Update

    • Tom DeBalsi is happy to announce that the roads are installed. The only work left is a finish coat on the road to WABA and the formation of one shotput pad. The project is currently under budget.

    • The town has generously offered to split the costs of the rubberized coating for the long jump track and the guardrail to protect the fields if the projects can be completed for the agreed upon price. Tom DeBalsi points out that this a great opportunity and extends his thanks to the town for their willingness to help pay for those two projects.

  • Subcommittee/Liaison Report

    • Policy  

      • Peter Merrill reports that the committee is proceeding with anti-bullying and hazing policies. He expects they will finish in 1-2 sessions. The committee has been working to expand the language and definitions to encompass more individuals (i.e. homeschooled students who join sports at Hartford). The HSD policies will encompass all those use the school facilities.

      • Tom DeBalsi mentions that discussion of the athletic code of conduct is up next for the committee.

    • Negotiations

      • Lori Dickerson reports that there is no change to the teachers’ negotiations.  

      • Tom DeBalsi and Lori Dickerson report that the support staff negotiations went through impasse, mediation, and fact finding. The results of the fact finding were agreeable to the staff but not to the district. A letter was sent to the union asking them to come back and talk with the board, but there has been no response yet.

    • Consolidation

      • Kevin Christie points out that there have been inquires around the idea of a mega-district. In addition, the committee has been participating in a  study group with Norwich, Thetford, Sharon, and Strafford. A side-by-side model could work; with this model, K-12 districts with charters would join with K-12 districts without school choice but who could be part of the sending arrangement.

      • The committee is on Hartland’s school board agenda and will open discussion with them.

    • HCC

      • Lori Dickerson reports that the committee has been working with Marlboro College for figuring out how to reach into the community.  At upcoming meetings, the committee will try to bring community members together for a discussion around how to build the committee in order to help the community.

    • Select Board

    • HACTC – RAB

      • Paula Nulty reports that Doug Heaviside would be willing to come to meetings around the budget. The summer programs have been a huge success with high enrollment, and South Royalton reached out to send students who want to be in a program not offered with their current arrangement. The STEM program is beginning soon and has over 30 students enrolled in the program.

      • Tom DeBalsi points out that the tech center is doing well with higher than normal enrollment, which is great considering that the student population to recruit from has been shrinking.


6.  Incidental Information

  • Discussion of Future Items for Board Consideration

    • Lori Dickerson would like to revisit the board’s Code of Conduct.

    • Tom DeBalsi would like to investigate the qualifications of those guiding the fitness training at the new facility and have a discussion based on his findings.

    • Tom DeBalsi would like the principal and assistant principal to report on their  plagiarism findings.

    • Tom DeBalsi would like provide those who worked on the idea of foreign language at the elementary level to present their findings and share their research.

    • Paula Nulty would like to share her experience touring the Wilder school.

    • Tom DeBalsi needs the board to establish parameters for the budget.

Peter Merrill moves to have an executive session to discuss the superintendent’s contract and issues related to teacher retention. Paula Nulty seconds.  A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (4 yes, 0  no).

Peter Merrill moves to go into executive session. Kevin Christie seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (4 yes, 0  no).

7. Executive Session

9:50 The board came out of executive session. Peter Merrill made the motion to extend the superintendent's contract for 3 years. Kevin Christie seconded it. A unanimous verbal vote passed the motion (4 yes, 0  no).

8.  Adjournment

9:55 Peter Merrill motioned to adjourn. Kevin Christie seconded. A unanimous verbal vote passed the motion (4 yes, 0  no).

Draft Respectfully Submitted 11/20/15

Hannah Prescott