August 17, 2019

HSB Minutes 12-12-2018

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

December 12, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Hartford Town Hall


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

Administrators:  Tom DeBalsi, Noel Bryant, and Jim Vezina

1.  Call to Order - Kevin Christie called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM


2.  Public Comments - None


3.  Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda-

▪ Peter Merrill moves to approve the Agenda with the two additions requested. Nancy Russell seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion.

4.  Consent Agenda- 

Minutes- Regular Meeting 11-28-2018

▪ Russell North points out that his name is misspelled on last meeting’s minutes.  Needs correction.
▪ Leave request:  Tom presents a long-term sabbatical request for Board’s approval.  Request comes from high school Spanish teacher and department head Katie Hluchyj who is completing her master’s degree at Middlebury and is seeking to spend a year abroad next year.  Noel explains that the request fulfills all of the established criteria and indicates that the request has received preliminary approval by the Sabbatical Committee.  Nancy Russell, Peter Merrill, and Russell North express support for the request. 
▪ Peter Merrill moves to approve the Consent Agenda with the 1 correction. Kevin Christie seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion.


5.   Items Requiring Board Discussion and Possible Action

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

▪ Tom reports on bobcat in Wilder and two schools’ placed on lockdown.
▪ A new Manager of lunch programs has been hired and bringing new energy to school lunchrooms including additions like Breakfast After the Bell; a Mexican-themed Taco Tuesday at the high school; and the creation of Share Tables to collect extra food.
▪ Noel Bryant reports on discussion with third-grade teacher Nikki Raney and her success with goal settingand creating a safe-zone within the classroom despite having a large class.
▪ Significant improvements have been made to the website.  The Policy and Parents’ page have been enhanced and a copy of the explanations for the new report cards can also be found.


Policy EL 5 Financial Planning and Budgeting

2019-20 Budget – Final Draft of Expense Budget

▪ Special Ed AOE just received
▪ Still waiting on two critical state numbers: CLA (Common Level of Appraisal) and Actual Students Count
▪ Yields from treasurer’s office have been favorable; increases in STEP (salary based on seniority) have beenreported, resulting in more reimbursements.


The Board asks Superintendent to present a recommendation at next Board meeting for excess funds,highlighting associated costs and cumulative impact upon change in tax rate.  Among the top priorities are expansion of elementary language offerings; additional remedial teachers for math and reading at the middle school; updating restrooms in middle and high school; and replenishing reserve accounts for future construction projects.  Community member Zac Scott asks about how teachers’ salaries are calculated and margin of error.  Jim Vezina explains the process and indicates that administrative team has succeeded at estimating with only a $100k margin of error.

Policy EL 2 – Relationship with Students, Parents and Community

Town/School Meeting Cycle Planning and Presentations

Budget, Adjacent Property, Wilder Renovation Bond

Important upcoming dates

2/25: Full presentation on budgets at the high school

3/2: Overview budgets, tax impact

1/7: Information night, first presentation to the public. Peter Merrill volunteers to present on the adjacent Covell property to explain its value, how much it will cost, and how the Board intends to pay for it.

2/5: Required by statute

3/2: Second bond 

3/5 Voting


Safety and Security Updates

- Passing Buses with Red Lights On

Programmed electronic sign outside Town Hall will alert public of the problem; announcement begins tomorrow. Affidavits have been filed and police department is following up with the listed drivers. Additional signage will be employed to educate drivers.

- Safety Procedures in Schools
o A collaborative letter by the Superintendent and the police department has been distributed to the community and school staff to educate on procedure for lockdown, lockout and other safety drills in the school.
o An RFP for safety equipment is currently being reviewed with facility director to move toward keyless and additional safety equipment and cameras.
o Superintendent explained that District Safety Committee meets monthly and includes representatives from administration at each of the schools as well as representatives from the fire department and Hartford police department.  Committee discussions are exhaustive and address any and all vulnerabilities within the schools.

Monitoring Reports

Policy EL 5 Financial Planning and Budgeting

▪ Tom reports that, for the past seven years, the district has ended each year with a surplus and that no errors have been discovered by the comprehensive independent audits conducted. 
▪ Peter Merrill moves to approve Superintendents’ monitoring report on financial planning and budgeting.  Nancy Russell seconds.  A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion.

Policy GP 3 Board Job Outcomes

▪ Kevin Christie assesses Board’s performance in overall compliance with opportunities for improvement.
▪ Michelle Boleski suggests redrafting language within governance materials to allow for greater comprehension among public.  This is added to the parking lot list of items.
▪ Peter Merrill moves to approve the GP 3 Board Job Outcomes monitoring report as presented.  Nancy Russell seconds.  A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion.


Policy B/SR 3 Accountability of Superintendent

▪ It is assessed that the Board and Superintendent perform within the boundaries of state statute.
▪ Peter Merrill moves to accept the B/SR 3 monitoring report as presented.  Russell North seconds.  A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion.


Board Member Committee Reports

▪ Hartford Community Coalition (Russell) – No report
▪ Regional Advisory Board (Boleski) – No report
▪ Manifest Approval (Christie) – Moving along well
▪ Racial Inequity and Inclusion (Boleski, Russell) – Met last week.  Working on new times to meet since committee got reconstituted; there is an open spot on the committee. A workshop is going to be presented on implicit bias.  One was done with the community in conjunction with Episcopalian church.
▪ Policy Review (Merrill) – No report
▪ Sister City Update (Boleski) – A meeting was held discussing the trip and a presentation will be held for the town.  Michelle suggested that a presentation also be given for the Board.
▪ Wilder School Building Study Committee (Merrill) – Most of the work has been taking place on the administrative staff level.  Cost estimates are being put together.  Based on designs, committee will come together again as a whole next Wednesday to begin conversation on putting together a presentation for the public.
▪ Negotiations (Christie, North) – The group began discussing a tentative agenda.  
▪ Select Board Liaison (North) – No report
▪ Social Media and Community Engagement (North) – No report


6.   Meeting Review/Evaluation and Agenda Planning

Next Meeting Agenda

▪ Next draft of budget with recommendations by Superintendent and his administrative staff
▪ Discussion around unifying the language in governance materials and moving monitoring reports to Consent Agenda


Meeting Evaluation:  Russell North completed the meeting evaluation. Everything was rated as satisfactory.


Peter Merrill made a motion to adjourn at 9:17. All in favor.


Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, January 9, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Hartford Town Hall



Parking Lot Items:

Superintendent’s recommendations for excess funds in budget

Redrafting language in governance materials

Joint Select Board/School Board Meeting (Spring time frame)

Harassment and bullying prevention education for staff

Redrafting of language in monitoring report



Submitted by Amy Shaw 12/13/18