June 12, 2021

Draft HSB Minutes 6-9-2021

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

June 9, 2021 @ 6:00 pm

Online Meeting  

Members Present    Administrators Present

Kevin Christie    Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill     Cathy Newton

Russell North    Roy Hathorn

Havah Armstrong Walther

 1.  Call to Order

Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda  
Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 6:07 PM.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to approve the agenda as presented, motion carried. 

 2. Global Ends Reporting (Section 1 Policy EP)

Review of District Ends Policies in Relation to Current Events
Mr. DeBalsi turned the meeting over to Mrs. Newton and Mr. Hathorn, who shared exciting summer program news. The district has partnered with The Immersion Montessori School to hold a summer school outside at DBS, 8:00-12:00. There are 68 children enrolled with five on the waitlist. The teacher student ratio is 1:10. This program will model the Montessori curriculum components with stations offering a wide variety of activities: math, language, science, STEM, nature exploration, Spanish, movement, etc. Families were informed through school newsletters with a survey link to sign up. Hartford Community Coalition will provide snacks and lunches for the program. This is not intended to “make up ground” but to offer additional learning opportunities. Students will be outside participating in hands-on learning. 

Staff were invited to propose other summer activities. Two math camps will be held at  WRS. OQS will hold an outside learning activity for outgoing 5th graders. Potentially there will be a “Broadway” program. The middle school will hold a math program and a program similar to the Montessori program. HHS will offer a credit recovery program and an outdoor learning opportunity. They are also looking at some community work based activities. HACTC will hold their traditional June course for sending school students, 160 students are enrolled.  

 3. Communication and Support to the Board (Section 1 Policy EL 9)

Student Representative Report 
 No report 

Superintendent’s Report
Mr. DeBalsi highlighted:

HMMS PBL program presentations on outdoor learning spaces, treehouses, obstacle courses, one would be picked and financially supported for a summer building project. 

Girls’ lacrosse team in semi finals; HMMS 8th grade graduation; HHS seniors activity day; HHS boys’ baseball semifinal game; 2 more days of school; summer project lists from administrators; hiring exciting new candidates; pool construction in full swing, going well-coordinating with HHS Administration, ties in with underground drainage work and electrical connections seven years ago

Graduation is Friday, June 11, 2021. Students will be together, families will be in a grid section on the football field. Mr. Christie will do awards, Mr. North will do the Honors Awards.

Mr. North announced that the Girls’ lacrosse team lost in the final seconds.

 4. Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

Equity Coordinator Introduction 
Mr. DeBalsi introduced Maggi Metry Ibrahim, who begins her new position on July 1st. She described the position as her dream job. She shares her activist spirit with many of her family members. Much of her work is guided by her upbringing as a student and a teacher. Her work will focus on kindness, open mindedness, and building relationships. She noted much has been done in the district. She is thinking about what types of professional development are needed, what is the staff looking for. She identified her strength as having important and uncomfortable conversations. She wants to make all students feel safe and important. 

Mr. Christie thanked Maggi for her presentation. He is proud of our district and welcomes her. 

Maggi will be based at the Supt’s Office. She has a district email. 

Federal COVID Recovery Plan Overview
 Mr. DeBalsi reported that money has come through the state from the feds. 

 Mrs. Newton and Mr. Hathorn reported, with Mr. Jake Vezina offering financial support. Thank you to Bill Yates for the data collection.

 Over four phases: guidelines issued, team assembled with good representation, conducted a needs assessment, assembled a plan using collected data, identified current activities and new ideas to move forward, and drafted a new plan. All work fills three buckets: mental health and well-being, reengagement/ truancy, and academic success and achievement. Mrs. Newton noted that not all parts of the Recovery Plan are new, many are from the district’s CIPs, and will be supported by a combination of funding sources. 

 ESSER grant funding was discussed. Jacob reported that the majority of this work will be funded by ESSER 2 grant money. ESSER 3 money will be available later in the year. All plan action steps will be evaluated via strict guidelines as supported by data.

Mr. DeBalsi shared that the Recovery Plan brings everything together.  


End of the Year Financial Report
Mr. Jacob Vezina asked three members to sign the Certificate of Project Completion, Mr. Merrill, Mr. North, and Ms Walther, will e-sign. The Wilder School renovation project was completed on June 9, 2021. 

Mr. Jim Vezina reported:

$ 143,000 projected fund balance added to current fund

$ 900,000 to the good in expenses

$ 800,000 short in revenues

$ 460,000 short from state funding

He cautioned the board that no monies are in next year’s budget for projects. He suggested thinking about using some reserve funds.

HACTC $ 700,000 to the good (not all Hartford money), tuition benefitted, sold a house- $345,000, currently paying as we go for new house builds, if money isn’t used then it will be returned to the sending districts. There are 4 additional lots at the Brookmeade Circle site. Revisit the BEST room proposal, $860,000 when last reviewed? The Allied Med program is being limited by the space they are in, enrollment is limited. If the BEST proposal is completed that program would have 2 rooms, thus doubling the enrollment. Review of the project costs would be necessary. Could the money be reserved for future renovation? Mr. North suggested consulting with the auditor about capital reserve. Mr. Christie asked for an update at the next community engagement meeting. 

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to instruct Mr. DeBalsi and the financial team to investigate the best options for spending the surplus for the center, motion carried. 

Construction and Systems Reserve Accounts
Mr. Jim Vezina cautioned the board that if the money is not spent on a project then the money has to be returned. You have five years to use the money. 

There was a proposal to have a discussion of the potential facility repair/renovation needs at a second board retreat meeting later this summer. 

Any additional money from the state will be explored, Efficiency Vermont. 

Michelle Boleski commented on the Covell House renovation project. She attended a Historical Preservation meeting. She noted the house was built around 1880 and is interested in a committee researching the building. She asked about the Hartford Garden Club being contacted to renovate the gardens. 

Mr. DeBalsi reported that all efforts will be made to preserve the Covell House when/if any renovations are done. 

Summer Hiring Permission
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms Walther, to empower the Superintendent to hire, as needed, when the School Board is not in session during the summer months, motion carried. 

 5.  Public Comments  

The public was invited to the meeting using https://zoom.us/j/97430755984, meeting ID 974 3075 5984.

Michelle Boleski asked about the board doing some equity training as noted in the Strategic Plan. She further thanked the school district for keeping the students safe. 

Mr. Christie responded that the training started with a joint training with the Select Board and there will be additional trainings. This would be an excellent area for the Equity Coordinator to work on with the board. 

 6. Board Professional Development (Section 4 Policy GP 9)

  See #5

 7. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

Meeting Minutes – 5/12/2021, 5/26/2021
Appointments, Resignations

Anisha Bettweiser, DBS; Katherine Fritschie, DBS; Joshua Richardson, HHS; Karen Rhoades, HMMS; Kristen Liu, HHS ; Torrelee Fisher Sass, HHS


Lance Johnson, HACTC

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms Walther, to accept the Consent Agenda, motion carried. 

 8. Summer Retreat Planning and Dates

Mr. Christie noted that the Recovery Plan should be included in the retreat discussions. The facility plan would be discussed at a second meeting. 

Mr. DeBalsi will send out a Google form with some dates, work will be 4:00 - 8:00 PM, with dinner provided. 

 9. Meeting Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Mr. North, the meeting was satisfactory.

 10. Executive Session may be necessary for the discussion of a public employee’s evaluation.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms Walther, to enter Executive Session at 8:32 PM pursuant to  (1 VSA 313): c. (3) the appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee, provided that the public shall make a final decision to hire or appoint a public officer or employee in an open meeting and shall explain the reasons for its final decision during the open meeting; I move that the Board enter into Executive Session to discuss the evaluation of a public employee under the provisions of Title 1, Section 313(a) (1) of the Vermont Statutes. Motion carried.

The board came out of Executive Session at 8:49 PM. The purpose of the Executive Session was to discuss the evaluation of  the Superintendent. The board will meet with the Superintendent at the next meeting to share their conversation with him. 

 11.  Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to adjourn at 8:57 PM, motion carried. 

Mr. DeBalsi asked Mr. Christie to return the signed teachers’ contracts. 

Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey


High School Graduation June 11, 2021 7:00 PM 

Next Community Engagement Meeting June 23, 2021 6:00 PM