July 20, 2019

HSB Meeting Minutes for April 27, 2016

DATE: 05-01-2016

Hartford Board of School Directors
School Board Meeting Agenda
April 27, 2016 @ 7:00 pm
**** Hartford Town Hall ****

Board Members Present: Lori Dickerson, Kevin Christie, Peter Merrill, Paula Nulty, Nancy Russell

Administration Present: Tom DeBalsi, Noel Bryant

1.  Call to Order: Lori Dickerson calls the meeting to order at 7:01 pm.   

2.  Consent Agenda:

  • Minutes - Regular Meeting 3-23-2016: No changes made

  • Floor Meeting 3-26-2016: No changes made

  • Accept Resignations and Nominations

    • Tom DeBalsi shares that Courtney Stevens, a 2nd grade teacher at DBS, is resigning.

    • The following individuals are appointments for hiring: Kristen Meyerhoff (special educator at DBS),  Lori Beland (special educator at OQS), Cynthia Kussius (special educator at OQS) and, Mary Borger (special educator at DBS).  

    • Peter Merrill moves to approve the consent agenda as presented, approves the nominations, and accepts the resignation with thanks to for her service. Paula Nulty seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0 no).


3.   Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda

  • Tom DeBalsi explains that an executive session is no longer needed and can be removed from the agenda. Also, he suggests that the discussion around flexible pathways be moved to occur before the reduction in force plan.

  • Peter Merrill moves to approve the proposed changes to the agenda. Nancy Russell seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0 no).


4.   Public Comments relative to items not on the Agenda: None


5.   Items Requiring Board Discussion and Possible Action

  • Hartford Education Association Collective Bargaining Agreement 2015-17

    • Peter Merrill explains that he feels they reached a fair agreement with the teachers which will help the district move forward. The major changes were the removal of the bottom step, which increases starting salaries for new teachers to make the district more competitive, and  the addition of a new top step to allow continued progress.

    • Cherrie Torrey, the chair of the negotiation team, is pleased to have the settlement package with the new terms and benefits. The increased base will allow the district to attract new teachers. She is encouraged that the board and the teachers can work together to improve the relationship and school climate. She thanks Linda Nash for her tireless work.

    • Peter Merrill moves that the board adopt, approve and sign the agreement. Kevin Christie seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0 no).

    • Lori Dickerson and Cherrie Torrey sign the settlement.

  • Inclusion of teacher representative on the School Board

    • Peter Merrill moves that a possible solution to the feeling of disconnection between the teachers and the board is a teacher representative on the school board. The teacher would not be able to vote or participate in executive session, but would have a voice and also be able to better understand the constraints the board operates under. Increased communication could result in better understanding and cordiality. He believes that the teachers’ association should select the representative since the teacher’s union represents the teachers as a whole.

    • Paula Nulty expresses concern for how the taxpayers might feel since the representative would no longer have to follow the same process other community members follow in order to participate in school board meetings. Peter Merrill responds that the inclusion of a teacher representative is a response to the expressed feelings of disregard and distrust and is the proper way to move forward as a partnership; it would not remove power from the taxpayers.

    • Kevin Christie shares that one teacher represents all Vermont teachers at the state level and that the teacher has informed the discussion and enhanced the direction the state was taking. It would be up to the association to elect someone who has a pulse of the pedagogy and their colleagues to help inform the board as it moves forward.

    • Cherrie Torrey will bring this idea back to the union and they will talk with the VT-NEA about whether there is any additional liability.

    • Lori Dickerson repeats Peter Merrill’s motion to reach out to the HEA in regards to including a teacher representative on the board. A verbal vote passes the motion (4 yes, 1 no).

  • Flexible Pathways to Graduation - Act 177 Initiatives

    • Tom DeBalsi explains that the report sent to the state did not fully illustrate all of the flexible pathways that HHS offers to its students. High school counselors Audra Bucklin and Cindy Edson share the dual enrollment options available at the high school: through Dartmouth, through CCV (in person or online), programs at HACT-C,  and AP courses. Both VSAC and CCV have talked at Monday Meetings to the whole school. Also, The Eye is an independent study course which is being expanded to provide feedback for students taking college courses. Some current barriers to enrollment or participation are transportation and lack of technology at home to take online courses. The counselors say there is a continued need for the correct technology for PLPs to be a success and more chunks of time with the students.

    • Tom DeBalsi shares the number of students taking advantage of the dual enrollment courses available:

      • 11 students in 13 different courses at Dartmouth

      • 17 students in the River Valley CC Statistics course at HHS

      • 54 students in 6 AP courses

      • 13 students in 16 classes for dual-enrollment sponsored Vermont-based courses

      • 1 student in 4 courses in CCV’s Early College Program

      • 3 students taking 4 other college courses

    • Lori Dickerson thanks Audra Bucklin and Cindy Edson.

  • Reduction in Force Plan

    • Nelson Fogg shares that HHS was asked to cut $400,000 budget from their budget, which couldn’t be reached through attrition.  Committed that all the cuts would not come from one group, they created a process to look at twelve positions, the salaries, the student cohorts that would be impacted and how those students would be supported. He recommended to the board that two full-time and one part-time positions be cut (a teacher, a student support professional, and the athletic director position). Those decisions were not made easily. They are now moving forward, looking at supporting students with existing staff or programming.

    • Tom DeBalsi explains that he asked the high school to bear the brunt of the reductions since enrollment and therefore state funding was down.  

    • Paula Nulty thanks Nelson Fogg for addressing the process and needs of students who were affected. Lori Dickerson addresses the idea that this process may occur again since student enrollment is continuing to decrease, and she thanks Nelson Fogg.

  • State Assessment Results and Planning

    • Noel Bryant reports that the district is in the middle of SBAC testing and reviews last year’s data with the board, comparing how well the school did to the state average. Since SBAC doesn’t provide the district with actionable data, she explains that a large portion of the administrative team time was spent developing an assessment plan. The STAR program will be administered from 3rd to 11th grade. It is a computer adaptive test, takes only 45 minutes to give, and provides actionable data. She also encourages people not to compare our scores to Hanover; the poverty rate in Hanover is 3% while it is 35% in the district and over 50% in some schools. She expresses how proud she is of the teachers and administrators who wrap services around their students and found the comparisons unfair.

    • Nelson Fogg addresses the high school test scores, stating that the SBAC test requires a multi-year shift in instruction to meet students where they are at. The school lacks a common standardized assessment, students aren’t invested in the test, and the test snapshot doesn’t reflect what the students are capable of. (Noel Bryant shares that the idea that 11th graders might take SATs instead of the SBAC; however, if the district decides to go in that direction, that switch would be two years out.)

      • Kevin Christie knows that there has been a strong emphasis at the elementary level for standardizing assessment tools to obtain comparative data internally. He is curious what a longitudinal study would show. There are clear results from the math focus at the middle school level. He is impressed with where the district is at when he thinks about where it was.

  • HHS Library and Professional Licensure

    • Tom DeBalsi explains that with the HHS librarian retiring last year, the technology integrationist was placed in the library. The technology integrationist has applied for a provisional license for the media specialist license and is completing the necessary coursework.

  • Policy Governance Review and Board Training

    • Peter Merrill reviews that an assigned board member will look at each portion of the given policy and rate how well the board is meeting that policy. He reviews GP 1 Global Governance Commitment and GP 2 Governing Style. (Lori Dickerson will review a couple policies for the next school board meeting.)

    • Lori Dickerson wants to make sure that when the board is reviewing the policies that they consider how they can apply to the agenda and issues that are brought forward.  Peter Merrill shares that he sees this also as an opportunity to edit policies and possibly change some language used. Tom DeBalsi shares that if the board commits to this process, they could see bigger accomplishments due to keeping an eye on the big picture.

    • Mr. Johnson reminds the board to keep an open mind so as to allow parents and community member to share ideas.

    • After discussion around future retreats, it is decided that the last week in June will be focused on policy and August work will be focused on larger year goals.

  • Recreation Facility Open House

    • Lori Dickerson brings it to the board’s attention that there was not an official open house for the facility. Peter Merrill would like to have a tour of it and also for the board to have a conversation about the best use of the facility. It is decided that there will be a tour of the facility before a school board meeting. (The meeting on that day would be held at either HMMS or HHS and the change of location would be well advertised prior to the meeting.)

  • Road to WABA Construction - Impact Fee Motion Clarification

    • Tom DeBalsi explains that at a fall meeting, the board voted to use fees for the road and track pits. The treasurer is concerned that the motion made was not specific enough and requests that the following language is used: The school board is requesting impact fees for the expansion of the track and field in the amount of $40,000. The fees will be used to accommodate the access road and track renovations for the increased participation at various sports facilities located at the Hartford High School site

    • Kevin Christie moves that the language of the motion prescribed by treasury to meet statutory requirements is adopted. Peter Merrill seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0 no).

  • 1/13/2016 Meeting Minute Correction

    • Add that 12/28/15 made it into the minutes (modify the minutes) and approved

    • Peter Merrill moves that item two of the January 13, 2016 mintues is amended by adding a second bullet for the Minutes- Special Meeting 12-18-2015 and that the minutes read January 2016. Kevin Christie seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (3 yes, 0 no). (Nancy Russell and Peter Merrill abstain from voting since they were not present for the original motion.)

  • Subcommittee/Liaison Reports

    • Policy

      • Peter Merrill shares that the committee took take advantage of an existing policy from a  North Dakota school district  that addresses the same issues. He expects that the committee will be able to finalize the policies for the next board meeting.

    • Negotiations

      • Lori Dickerson is pleased that the negotiations were successful and thanks the teachers who brought treats.

    • Consolidation

      • Kevin Christie shares that the conversation is ongoing around school choice. Legislators have recently gotten together and their work is focused on Act 46, so there might be some new information coming from that caucus. Peter Merrill shares that he has been approached by a community member to see how consolidation could be promoted.

    • HCC

      • Nancy Russell shares that the committee is helping with a food program  for Ventures Program. This year, the children are being provided with enough food for the entire household. Luke Mattern of Springfield Auto sold the committee a van for $1 for the program, which will be sold back to him at the end. Also, the committee is hiring an individual to work for 25 hours/week for 8-11 weeks.

      • HMMS is providing a place for the food preparation. Nancy Russell and her group are putting together 50 packages of food to go out and the same  thing is happening with other businesses. The packages follow the federal guidelines and the committee is also looking into setting up a federal program in Hartford like Bradford or Bethel have.

      • Block Party dates: June 1 with a June 8 rain day

    • Select Board

      • Lori Dickerson asks Mr. Johnson to speak since he is on the charter committee. The Select Board feels that the charter amendments will not be approved by the legislature; it that happens, the board is hoping the charter will be voted on again during the fall elections.

      • There was a flaw in the way the information was presented to the voters. Kevin Christie shares that the article with the changes must be available in each voting booth. The article could be the same; it is the information to the voter that is key. If the select board agrees to start talking about the changes, they will come to the school board to discuss the changes, which could result in further meetings around the changes.

      • Tom DeBalsi will look into what needs to be approved by the school board in regards to the charter or any charter amendments. Lori Dickerson clarifies that there will be two separate ballots still.

      • Lori Dickerson thanks Mr. Johnson.

    • HACTC – RAB

      • Paula Nulty explains that the next meeting is 5/3 and that she will be the school board representative at Senior Night.

      • Partnership

        • Tom DeBalsi shares that there is a meeting before the RAB to talk about ways to consolidate business items, (i.e. to get better deals on supplies and materials, develop summer camps) that is continuing January’s work.

6.  Incidental Information

  • Discussion of Future Items for Board Consideration

    • Tom DeBalsi shares that he is approached by groups of students to do presentations (a team won awards at bridge building competition, honors club students want to present their theses, there was an exchange program in Puerto Rico through the Biology department). Lori Dickerson agrees that there should be one at the next three meetings and the presentations can last ten minutes. Kevin Christie adds that the full version of the presentations can be shared online and with CATV.


8.  Adjournment

10:13 pm Peter Merrill moves to adjourn. Nancy Russell seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0 no).

Respectfully submitted 5/1/2016

Hannah Prescott