August 17, 2019

HSB Minutes 10-24-2018

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

October 24, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Hartford Town Hall


Board members present:  Kevin Christie, Peter Merrill, Michelle Boleski, Russell North and Nancy Russell

Administrators present: Tom DeBalsi, Noel Bryant


1.  Call to Order:  Kevin Christie calls the meeting to order at 7:00pm.


2.  Public Comments

  • Russell North asks for clarification on work plan assignments.


3.  Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda

  • Tom DeBalsi informs that a preliminary report on the HRA is ready for review.  It is decided that the presentation will be given at the next meeting to allow for further review and to allow opportunity for members of the community to be in attendance.
  • Peter Merrill moves to accept the agenda with the addition of an executive session.  The motion is seconded.  A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion (5 yes, 0 no).


4.  Consent Agenda

  • Minutes –  Regular Meeting 10/10/2018
    • Peter Merrill indicates that a statement under the ‘Homework’ section should be moved to the preceding ‘Monitoring Reports’ section.
    • Minutes –  Special Meeting 10/15/2018
    • Peter Merrill moves to approve the consent agenda with the change to the 10/10/18 minutes amended.  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
    • Tom DeBalsi informs that two school administrators are away at the Waddington Institute for professional development.  He goes on to share positive news regarding important strides in technology for the district: Tessa Johnson, Dothan Brook librarian, has been hired to improve upon and maintain the website; ratio of computers to students is nearly 1:1; and all schools now boast high-performing servers and high-speed internet access.
    • Noel Bryant reports on two changes in state assessments: 1) PE assessment is to include only 9th grade; and 2) each school will be required to conduct a climate survey which will be part of an annual snapshot which will replace the previous format.
    • The State Board visit to the High School was a success and several acclamatory remarks were made regarding the facility and recent improvements.
    • Three awards were given over the last two weeks: Ottauquechee and Dothan Brook were recognized as exemplary in PBIS; band teacher Michael Conerty was named Vermont’s Outstanding New Music Educator for 2018.


  • Policy EL 5 Financial Planning and Budgeting
    • 2019-20 Budget – Second Draft of Expense Budget
      • Jim Vezina provides two informational packets and explains the Special Education and Personnel budgets, as well as reimbursement formulas and challenges including disruptions to cash flow due to delays in state reimbursements, the limitations of block grants, and the need for contracted services to meet the dynamic needs of students.  The Board thanks Jim for his presentation and findings.


  • Policy EL 2 Relationship with Students, Parent and Community
    • Proficiency-Based Learning Implementation Timeline
      • Noel Bryant presents a 2015-20 timeline of accomplishments and targets for the implementation of the proficiency-based homework plan which is in compliance state mandate which requires all students to graduate from a competency/proficiency-based system by 2020.  Thus far, high school students are becoming articulate in PBLOs terminology and, for the first time, the high school is incorporating PBLOs into the grading system.  The revamped elementary report card is in progress.
      • Russell North identifies that student perspectives are missing from the action plan.  The Board decides that an evaluative mechanism needs to be put into play and that student insight needs to be incorporated into the action plan.
      • The Superintendent will revisit the idea of having a student representative for the Board and explore possibilities.
      • Noel Bryant encourages parents of elementary kids to attend future Board meetings and participate as specific items pertaining to homework and report cards are being addressed.  She also asked for parents to be part of a parent advisory committee.
      • Board thanks Noel for her presentation and work thus far.


  • GP 9 Governance Investment
    • 2018 VSBA/VSA Conference Report Out
      • Tom DeBalsi thanks Board for attendance at the conference.  The Board shares highlights and takeaways.  Slides from the conference are to be posted on the website.


  • Policy GP 3 Board Job Outcomes
    • Board Member Committee Reports
      • Hartford Community Coalition (Russell):  Food and milk deliveries have been postponed to next week due to unforeseen circumstances.  McNamara’s invitation to collaborate is pending.  Volunteers are being called for Thanksgiving and Christmas deliveries.
      • Regional Advisory Board (Boleski):  No updates to report.
      • Manifest Approval (Christie):  Facility improvements have resulted in formidable savings. Green Mountain Power invoices reflect a decrease of $6k/month in expenditures over the last five years. More savings are expected to be seen when solar is implemented.
      • Racial Equity and Inclusion Committee (Boleski, Russell):  Committee is working on setting up a meeting to discuss timeline for training, expectations and an RFP for schools and town. Tom DeBalsi raises concerns about lack of funding for staff training; the challenge of allocating time for training of administrators; and obtaining community engagement.  Kevin Christie asks Superintendent and his team to create a timeline for training next year and connect with “Leo’s successor.”
      • Policy Review (Merrill):  No updates to report. 
      • Sister City Update (Boleski):  The committee is headed to France on 11/6.  A subway stop will be named after Hartford.  The Byrnes Foundation has given a $5k grant.  The possibility of an exchange program in Cenon is being explored.
      • Wilder School Building Study Committee (Merrill):  Meeting with the construction manager Breadloaf is tomorrow (10/25) to begin discussions about requests for design team.
      • Negotiations (Christie, North): One of the three trainings is scheduled; remaining two yet to be scheduled.  There will be opportunity after the trainings take place for an open session to discuss feedback and strategy.
      • Selectboard Liaison (North):  Nothing to report.
      • Social Media and Community Engagement (North):  A couple of posts have been added.  Tactical items like how to post documents are being worked out.


6.  Executive Session


              At 9:55 Peter Merrill motions an Executive Session is necessary as stipulated by Title 1 VSA 313 to consider (2): the negotiating or securing of real estate purchase or lease options; I further move that the Board enter into Executive Session to discuss the securing of real estate or a lease option under the provisions of Title 1, Section 313(a) (2) of the Vermont Statutes.


The Board came out of executive session at 10:04. Peter made a motion to authorize the superintendent to enter into a purchase and sale agreement for the property at 71 Highland Avenue. Russ North seconded, all in favor.



7.  Meeting Review/Evaluation and Agenda Planning

  • Next Meeting Agenda
  • Meeting Evaluation
    • Nancy Russell evaluates the meeting as satisfactory.


8.  Adjournment

  •        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 10:10 pm.



Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Hartford Town Hall.