June 24, 2024

HSB Minutes 5-24-2023

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Community Engagement/Regular Meeting Minutes

May 24, 2023 @ 5:30 pm

In-Person at Hartford Town Hall and Online (Zoom) Meeting

Members Present                                          Administrators Present

Kevin Christie                                                  Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill                                                    Roy Hathorn

Nancy Russell                                                 Julie Robinson

Russell North                                                  Jonathan Garthwaite

Douglas H. Heavisides

1. Executive Session/s will be needed for the purpose of discussing a personnel matter (1)VSA 313(a)(4)


          2.  Call to Order 

-  Changes, Additions and Approval of the Agenda  
Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to approve the agenda with the removal of item #1. Motion carried. 

          3.  Recognition of Outstanding Student Achievement 

Mrs. Russell recognized Charlotte Jasmin for her athletic recognition for Excellence in the 2023-23 basketball season. She was selected by the Vermont coaches to be one of the athletes to watch.

Mrs. Russell recognized Daniel Hunter who was not in attendance. He will graduate in June, completing two years in auto body, and has a job placement at JAS Auto. He was nominated by the staff for his tenacity and success at Hartford High School. 


4.  Special Presentation

-        Morocco Trip Student Presentation 

Mr. North invited the students who went to Morocco to the podium to share their presentation. Katie Hluchjy, French and Spanish teacher,  reviewed the student trips since 2013. She spoke of the fundraising and grant availability for the trip.

Meg MacLaury, senior French student, has taken French since first grade, this was a culminating activity for her studies. 

Alex Owens, Senior HHS, helped to break down cultural differences and misconceptions, most people on the trip won’t get another opportunity like this, a service trip, important to bring American culture to other countries. 

John Cassell, senior HHS, interpersonal connections within the group were increased, unifying experience for the group, and thanked the school board for the opportunity. 

Sofia Asis, it was mind opening to communicate with others who don’t speak English.

Other students who participated were Bella Boeri, Nora Lyons, Everett Winslow, Anthem Philip, Ceci Wendling, Megan Lang, Silvia Hale, and Arianna Heijn.

John Cassell shared that the group will be presenting to students on Exhibition Night to educate others about the trip and the many positive outcomes of the trip. 

They will also do a sharing during Block 5 time and at the Language Club. 

Mr. DeBalsi thanked the group for sharing their eloquent and articulate



5.  Community Engagement Topics

-        Facility Needs Assessment and Planning 

Mr. DeBalsi gave a brief introduction about the deferred maintenance upon his arrival in 2011. The facility assessment was completed in 2012 by an outside party. It has served the district well. Jonathan has reviewed this for tonight.

Mr. Garthwaite gave the thirty thousand foot overview for the district buildings. He has visited all with the state agency for assessment, the fire marshall, and the insurance vendor. He broke the maintenance into two categories: big building concerns and program concerns. There are some general district concerns: locks and keys, shared facilities, conversion to gender diverse restrooms. There is always a cost associated with deferring any work, and big problems get bigger. 

His incomplete list:

DBS: roof, old boilers, exterior doors and windows, parking lot/walks paving, restroom renovations, outside moss growth, folding walls between cafe and gym 

OQS: roof, drainage, ventilation: moisture problems in the building, lack of pre K playground, doors and windows, parking/walks/entry road, restrooms, boilers/tank, cracks/movement, folding walls between cafe and gym, gym flooring

WIlder: odds and ends, leftover from construction

HHS: north stairs, storm water problem impacting stairs, fire alarm and sprinkler system, structural features/concrete footings in catacombs, rooftop equipment, plumbing supplies, kitchen equipment, wood chip boiler, #2 boiler not sufficient to heat building solely, gym floor, auditorium

WRS:back storage tank, parking lot and road, entrance steps and ramps, interior painting (lead paint rules), northeast foundation drainage, fence

MMS: roof, rooftop equipment/HAC controls, chimney needs to be replaced, boilers, elevator controls, doors and windows, north wall water vapor, band room ceiling 

Larger upgrades are needed in the high school, fire alarms,  library renovation, flooring, painting, window walls

Mr. Christie reminded the group of the extensive spread sheet from the original twenty-five year facility plan. He asked about seeing a new spreadsheet with the details, what does it look like?

Mr. North shared that grouping the projects is a good idea. 

Mr. Garthwaite said the priorities are safety of students and schools, program support, and grouping of projects. He couldn’t give a grand financial total. There are no items that are in the emergency category. 

Mr. Merrill said this is encouraging, most needs are a result of age and not negligence. Home owners face these issues. He asked for a range of the costs, recognizing that we wouldn’t be able to do it all at once. It’s a manageable list and is reasonable given the total facilities. We have gotten value into what was invested then. He feels comfortable stating that over the next ten years we will need to spend $XXX to update our facilities. 

Mr. DeBalsi reminded that the study in 2012 was for $36,000,000. The district has done a great job with working on the list. It’s a balance of what’s maintenance and what’s programmatic enhancements. Other state superintendents are discussing bond votes for school replacements. He’s proud that we have a plan to address the needs. He and Jonathan will work to develop the needs of buildings, what the priorities are, and  come up with a proposed plan. There are some funds set aside to address some of the maintenance items. 

Mr. North stated that the community has been very supportive of the district facilities. There is a level of trust that the board and district are working cautiously. 

Mr. Christie said a key piece is to systematically approach the needs. It seems like this is a great jumping off place, how do we make this work?

Mr. North stated it’s not prudent to move forward until the regulations are finalized. Whatever the guesstimate is, it should be a number and not a range. 

Mr. DeBalsi suggested that the board have the plan early in the next school year. He complimented Jonathan for his work on the facilities assessment which he’s done all on his own. 


          6.  Public Engagement

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

Mr. Christie shared that over the weekend he got a call from a community member who shared college graduation information about a HHS alumni, very exciting work!

Parminder Kaur, former HHS graduate, Patrick and Marchelle Leahy Scholar, Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace, worked on NASA and Lockheed Martin projects, was announced at the dedication of the Leahy Honors College. 

No one from the public was in attendance to speak. 



          7. Business Meeting Items

-        Current School Year Calendar

State announced 172 school days due to Covid, waived the two snow days, last student day June 15th, teachers June 16th

-        2023-24 Board Work Plan

work plan updated from last meeting, will work with Dr. Robinson for ENDS reporting three times/year, kick off meeting of the work (Sept), Feb meeting, end of year

Mrs. Russell asked for quarterly budget reports, beneficial for all.

Mr. North agreed, would show where the district is throughout the year, dovetail community engagement. 

-        Joint Meeting Planning

Mr. DeBalsi shared there have been two meetings to set an agenda and goals: Community and Relationship building, updates from each board, alignment on meaning and value for joint work, opportunities for future work, Mary Gannon-review DEI plan from 2019, map out a plan of where we’re going, June 13, 2023

-        August Retreat Date

Katie Sutton will participate with the board.  

Mr. DeBalsi suggested combining the two August meeting days, August 16 or 23?, 5PM start, business meeting first then retreat, multi-tiered support, special ed delivery model

-        End of Year Events -  

HHS Student Exhibition Night (6/1, 4:00-5:30 PM); 

Retirement Reception (6/7, 3:30 PM);  HHSAwards Night (6/11, 6:00 PM); Middle School Graduation (6/15); HHS Graduation (6/16, 7:00 PM)

-        Board Attendance and Roles - Graduation

Board members should let Mr. DeBalsi know who will be attending.

-        Review Monitoring Report on EL 7 

Mr. North requested the superintendent review his response for 7.4 Unnecessarily expose the organization, its Board, or its staff to claims of liability. 

Mr. DeBalsi will report back at the next meeting. 


8.  Consent Agenda

-        Minutes from 5/10/2023

-        Appointments: Ethan Watson, HHS; Jaclyn Pageau, WRS; 

Harold Flad, WRS; Nicole Stuart, HHS; Auyata Hamilton, MMS 

-        Honorable Mentions: Julia Lau, Equity Coordinator; Justin Bouvier, Interim MMS Principal

-        Resignations:Jennifer Wallstrm, Wilder; Gabrielle Bradley, MMS

Dr. Robinson reviewed the process for the hIring Committee for the Equity Coordinator position. She thanked all who participated in the  presentations and sessions. There was a wide range of nationwide educationally background  candidates.

Mr. North recommended Dr. Robinson make a presentation to HCOREI.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the Consent Agenda with thanks to those who are leaving and welcome to new staff. Motion carried.


          9.  Public Comments  

No members of the public were in attendance. 

Mr. Merrill shared that Olivia offered to discuss the high school student rep position.

Mr. DeBalsi suggested that it could be discussed at the next meeting. 


          10.  Next Meeting (6/21) Agenda

retreat date announced

HHS student board representative (Olivia Merrill)

summary of ENDS result

EL7, action item

Superintendent’s summer hiring


          11. Meeting Evaluation

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


12. Executive Session

Moved by Mr. Merrill, pursuant to (1)VSA 313(a)(3) there is a need for an Executive Session for the purpose of discussing the evaluation of a public employee and to enter into said Executive Session, seconded by Mrs. Russell. Motion carried. 

The board entered Executive Session at 8:20 PM. 

The board came out of Executive Session at 10:08 PM.

The board took no action.


13. Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell to adjourn the meeting at 10:10 PM. Motion carried. 


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



Retirement Reception (6/7), HHS Awards Night (6/11), 

MMS Graduation (6/15 ), HHS Graduation (6/16)

Joint Meeting of School Board and Select Board Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Next School Board Meeting is June 21, 2023