July 16, 2019

HSB Meeting Minutes from May 10, 2017

DATE: 05-25-2017

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Agenda

May 24, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Hartford Town Hall


Board members present: Kevin Christie, Lori Dickerson (phone), Peter Merrill, Nancy Russell, Michelle Boleski

Administration present: Tom DeBalsi, Noel Bryant


1.   Call to Order: Kevin Christie calls the meeting to order at 7:04 pm.               


2.   Public Comments:

  • Allan Johnson (Wilder) - excited about the school system’s interest in solar.  Good to pair with cold climate heat pumps which will provide BTUs for a lower cost than oil.  Also provide air-conditioning in the warmer months.
  • Mr. Merrill reported that he run into another select board member who suggested we put in conduits when paving the parking lot for the future for charging electric cars.  Mr. DeBalsi commented that there will be an electric bus workshop this summer that he will be attending.


3.   Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda:

  • Add Middle School Elevator Lift to Financial Conditions under EL 4
  • Mr. Merrill would like to share his thoughts on payment for meetings under his Monitoring Report
  • Agenda was approved (5 yes; 0 no)


4.  Consent Agenda 

  • Minutes:  

○      5/10/2017 Peter Merrill made the motion to approve the minutes.  Ms. Boleski seconded.  Minutes approved unanimously (5 yes; 0 no)

  • Resignations and Appointments

○      Appointments:  The appointments are Abigail Markowski (HHS), Patricia Murray (HHS), Staci McDougall (OQS) Riley Hopeman (MMS), Sarah Kniffin ((QS)

○      Resignations:  Loralee Smith (DBS), Mitchel Moore (HHS)

○      Peter Merrill moves to accept the minutes and extend congratulations to the new hires and accept the resignation with regret. The motion is seconded. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion. (5 yes, 0 no).


5.   Items Requiring Board Discussion and Possible Action

  • Policy EL 9.4 Communication and Support to the Board – Incidental Information

○      40 students that have not documented their community service hours which they need to graduate.  Mr. Merrill thought he remembered that this wasn’t a requirement.  Mr. DeBalsi will research it.  Ms. Dickerson wondered how many hours they are missing?  She expressed a concern for noting this at this late date.  Mr. DeBalsi said that it was about documenting the hours.

○      Jen Boeri-Boyce selected as Middle School Teacher of the Year

○      Student representative to the Board:  Mr. Merrill reminded the Board that in the past there had been student representatives.  While they do not have a vote, their voice was heard.  Wanted to discuss if the Board wanted to revive that.  Difficult to find students that could regularly attend because students today are so busy.  Not able to attract anyone for this year.  Having two representatives might help in having some representation.  Could make it an independent study with some course credit (Mr. DeBalsi is a certified Social Studies teacher).  Mr. DeBalsi will look into it for next year.

○      Ms. Bryant told about the first mentoring Colloquium which celebrated our new teachers to the profession and included their mentors and administrators.


  • Policy EL 4 Financial Conditions and Activities

○       Impact Fees

■      The Town Manager did a presentation on Impact Fees.  Impact Fees established in 1989.  School Impact Fees were revised in 2004.  There is a formula to set the fees.  The Board was provided with the costs associated with various impact fees.  The Select Board collects the fees and then spends them at the direction of the School Board.  Balances for the end of April were then shared.  About $20,000-$25,000/yr. for schools.  It is up to the municipality to implement impact fees.  Lebanon’s formula is different and they collect them for different groups.  The ordinance gives the municipality to collect the fees.  Once the fees are collected for the school fees, the authority of the Select Board expires.  A review of the fees is needed.  As part of that, the Town Manager recommended a discussion with the school board.  The town might suspend them for a while as they review the fees.  Mr. DeBalsi wanted to have a conversation with the Town before there was any decision to change them.  Any decision that was made need not be one that lasts forever.  Some flexibility with “toggling them on and off.”

○       Federal Programs Status

■      Medicaid - significant cuts in the Medicaid reimbursements.  This will impact our clinicians.

■      Consolidated Federal Grants:  Reductions in Title 1 and Title 2a.

■      Mr. Merrill concerned about the broad scope of cuts and their intent.  May impact redirecting and redistribution of funds.  Consequences could be significant.

■      Mr. Christie suggested that we might need to be creative in the future (e.g. HHS Quest program closest thing in our district to charter). 

○      Elevator Lift from 1st Floor to Basement at HMMS

■      Was not working properly.  A repair company came to look at it.  Cannot be replaced.  Must either move the classroom or put in a proper lift.  Price for this will be $275,000.  Classroom must be used for something, so the option to move the classroom and make it storage is not possible.  Construction fees for facilities are earmarked for other projects.  If we move the classroom it will greatly impact our program.  Have $60,000 in impact fees, money from the rainy day construction reserve fund, and use money we saved on the Regional Resource Center project.  Next time Mr. DeBalsi will obtain the exact numbers from each fund and provide the proposal.  He would like the Board to authorize him to move forward with this project.

■      Mr. Merrill moved that the Board authorize Mr. DeBalsi to explore the expenditure of the existing reserve funds and saving with the intention of coming back to the Board with a proposal to move forward with this project.  Ms. Russell seconded.  Mr. Christie would like to make a friendly amendment.  He would like to order the lift so that we can move forward.  Mr. Merrill accepts the amendment and Ms. Russell seconds.  A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion. (5 yes, 0 no).



  • Policy  GP 7 Board Committee Principles

○      Wilder School Study Committee Proposal - Revised

■      Mr. DeBalsi amended the previous proposal to have 7 voting members to include one Hartford School Board Member, 3 members of the public that have professional design acquisition experience, one of which is a collaborative board member, 1 staff from the programs housed in the building, the Supt.,.

■      Ms. Boleski suggested including someone from the Energy Commission.  A discussion followed.  The board did not want an even number of members.  It was also suggested that we are mindful of the total number. 

■      Perhaps include that historical and energy issues be addressed. 

■      Mr. DeBalsi wondered about selection of members (hoped to move forward with this over the summer). 

■      Mr. Merrill proposed 2 edits:  item #5:  develop and articulate the argument for a bond to finance the proposed solution.  Add #6:  Review energy efficiency options and historical preservation issues related to the proposed solutions.

■      Mr. Merrill moves to accept the amended charge.  Ms. Russell seconds.  The motion was approved (5 approved; 0 opposed).

■      Mr. Merrill made a motion to pick a member of the Board to be a member of a sub-committee to work with the Supt. to expedite the enabling of the new committee and moving forward of vetting that process for members of this committee. Ms. Russell seconded.  (4 yes; 1 abstain).  Ms. Russell made a motion that Mr. Merrill be the representative.  Ms. Boleski seconded.  Mr. Christie made a friendly amendment that the Board Chair help if needed. Ms. Russell would accept that amendment.  (4 yes, 1 abstained).

○       Sister City Update on Board Representative

■      Mr. Christie proposed that he prepare a memo to the Select Board that they consider a School Board Liaison to the Sister City Program.  All the Board members agreed that this happen.  Mr. Debalsi expressed that this could be a valuable learning experience for our students.

  • Monitoring Reports

○      Policy GP 8 Board Committee Structure

■      Mr. Merrill presented this report.  He spoke about the connection with GP 7 and included that policy.  Mr. Merrill then provided his interpretation and his belief that the Board was in compliance with all components of this policy.

■      Mr. Merrill went on to provide some suggestions on activities for which Board members should be compensated.  Presently members compensation is $75/meeting, additionally the stipend of $150 is awarded for the chair and $75 for clerk per year.  Compensation is for meetings only.  He recommends that compensation should be extended to include other meetings that are critical to the functioning of the Board.  He suggested 3 criteria or tests;

  • Does the meeting help to achieve appropriate results for students or avoid unacceptable situations. Additional specificity in this regard can be gained from board policies GP 3,where there is a list of Board responsibilities that would apply to the committee.
  • Was the meeting held for the purpose of carrying out one of the responsiblities in GP3
  • Last, are there other Board roles that are specifically mentioned in the policies.
  • The group discussed how to document participation in the meetings (reporting out at a subsequent Board meeting.  Need to make sure in the report out that the member indicate the number of times the committee met. Phone meetings should be included).

■        Ms. Russell moved to accept this report on GP 8 and Mr. Merrill’s tool to decide what constitutes a meeting for which compensation should be required.  Ms. Dickerson seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

○       Policy EL 2 Relationship with Students, Parents and Community

■      Follow-up on Security of Student Information (Section 2 - last 4 bullets under Evidence).  Student data stored in IC which is not on our network, but in the cloud.  We have high quality software to protect endpoints (business class).  We use a dual layer firewall.  We recently implemented additional security precautions (e.g., change in password).

■      Mr. Merrill suggested that we need to go further and adopt a framework that regularly review security.  Challenge is that none of this is easy, quick or cheap.  The US gov. runs free evaluations of the system.

■      Mr. Christie would like to suggest that his nephew take a look at this.  He supervises the Seatle, Washington school district’s security.

■      Mr. Debalsi assured the Board that our system is better than many surrounding communities.

■      Mr. Merrill moved to accept the monitoring report and follow up with the issues discussed in 6 months.   Ms. Russell seconded the motion.  The board passed the motion unanimously.


  • Policy GP 9 Governance Investment

■      Summer Retreat Planning with Select Board - August 23

  • Topics for Agenda

○      Discussion around impact fees

○      Areas where we could collaborate and save money (e.g. snowplowing, accounting, training, sharing of facilities, cyber security, etc.)

■      Board Training with Jim Fitzpatrick June 28 @ 5:00 @ SOS

  • Overview of Policy Governance
  • Check in with the work the Board has done
  • Answer questions
  • Looking at the Board’s agenda and filling in work calendar
  • Will be at SOS.  Dinner will be provided (and birthday cake!)


  • Policy GP 3 Board Job Outcomes

○      Board Member Committee Reports

■      Act 46 Merger Study Committee (Merrill, Christie): now that legislative session is over, Mr. Merrill and Mr. Christie to get together and look at changes in legislation. 

■      Negotiations (Dickerson, Merrill, Christie):  met with a mediator.  At the same time the legislature was coming out with some things.  No agreement reached.  No additional meeting date set.

■      Hartford Community Coalition (Russell): had 2 meetings this week. Concentrating on final details for block party on June 7th.  Rotary Club providing food.  Aim is to make the meal as healthy as possible.  Bite Out of Hunger anticipates on serving 18,000 meals this summer.  Collaboration with Lebanon to distribute food to 2 housing programs.  We will provide the driver to deliver the meals.  60 backpacks for the children to take home.  This year the goal is to provide healthy food with greater variety.

■      Regional Advisory Board (Boleski): did not meet.  Tonight was the awards night.  They tried to schedule it on another night, but were unable to get the venue.  Mr. Debalsi asked them to schedule it on another night next year.  Ms. Russell spoke last week at the National Honor Society at the HACTC.

■      Manifest Approval (Christie): had 3 additional pieces this week.  All was completed including the payroll. 

■      Racial Inequality Committee (Boleski, Russell): first meeting on May 31st.  Mr. Debalsi attended a conference last week that had a presentation on Implicit Bias.  He gave Ms. Boleski the book.  Said they were available to come here and do some training.

■      Policy Review (Merrill):  met on the 12th with Mr. Debalsi.  They completed the Harassment and Bullying policy and procedure.

■      Selectboard Liaison (Dickerson): was not able to attend last night’s meeting.


6.  Meeting Review/Evaluation and Agenda Planning

  • Agenda Planning:

○      Information on the lift in HMMS.

○      Looking at work calendar for the year

○      GP 2: Ms. Russell

○      EL 7 & 8:  Mr. DeBalsi

○      BSR 2:  Mr. Christie

  • Questions:

○      Mr. DeBalsi is working on a proposal for the solar panels.  Not sure he can have it for the next meeting, but will do it soon.

○      Status of parking lot:  administrators from HHS and HMMS met with project administrator.  After questions from this group, wanted to do some additional work.  He will present at the next meeting.  Probably will not see work this summer.  Test pits identified.  Will be drilled in the next 8 weeks.  Dig Safe has completed their work.

  • Evaluation:  Peter Merrill did the evaluation which was satisfactory.


7.  Adjournment

10:06 pm Peter Merrill moves to adjourn the meeting. The motion is seconded. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0 no). The meeting is adjourned at 10:06 pm.


Draft respectfully submitted 5/24/2017 by

Noel Bryant