March 1, 2024

HSB Minutes 10-11-2023

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

October 11, 2023 @ 6:00 pm

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

Board members present: Kevin Christie, Peter Merrill, Nancy Russell, Douglas Heavisides, Sara Campbell

Administrators present: Tom DeBalsi, Nelson Fogg

 1.  Call to Order 

Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda
The meeting was called to order at 6:01 PM by Mr. Christie.

Mr. Merrill asked to amend the agenda to include a second Executive Session, (1)VSA 313 (a)( 1)(F) for the purpose of discussion with the board’s attorney of whether or not a session can be held or if the item would be in public session.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to amend the agenda. Motion carried.

2.  Executive Session for the purpose of discussion with attorney about said Executive Session (1)VSA 313 (a)( 1)(F) and discussion a student record   (1)VSA 313(a)(1)(D)

Moved by Merrill, seconded by Ms Campbell, in accordance with (1) VSA (a)(1)(F), to go into Executive Session for confidential attorney-client communications made for the purpose of providing professional legal services to the body, and to enter said Executive Session. Motion carried.

The board entered Executive Session at 6:05 PM.

The board came out of Executive Session at 6:23 PM.

Mr. Merrill announced that after consultation with the attorney the board would enter Executive Session for the discussion of a grievance.  

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. Heavisides, to enter Executive Session according to (1) VSA 313 (a)(1)(D) for the purpose of discussing a grievance. Motion carried. 

The board entered Executive Session at 6:27 PM. 

The board came out of Executive Session at 9:13 PM.

Attorney Bernie Lambek summarized the session. He thanked the DeFelices for making their presentation. The board is not an investigatory body. They want to encourage the DeFelices to continue to communicate with the superintendent.

The board will also encourage the superintendent and administration to review the sports coaching program at the high school, the techniques of coaching and the effects on students. Additionally the board will institute procedures so they can respond in a more timely manner to parent complaints.

Mr. Merrill stated that Mr. Lambek summarized the board’s position well. He added that the board hopes that a meeting can be held between the DeFelice’s son and a third party. The board is in support of a review of the coaching program. The intention is to not break the chain but that all steps are held accountable. 

Mr. Christie added that times are different. The board is concerned about it and it will be addressed. It’s that important. 

Ms Campbell shared her appreciation.

Mr. Christie thanked Mr. Fogg and Mr. Lambek for attending. 

 3.  Recognition of Outstanding Student Achievement 

 The students will be recognized at the next meeting.

 4.  Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

Finance Department Report
Mr. Christie shared that the Finance Committee will meet to review the audit.

Second Read of School Policies
-    Fire and Emergency Preparedness Drills

-    Access Control and Visitor Management

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms Campbell, to accept the policies. Motion carried.

-    Update on Transgender Policy Revisions

Mr. DeBalsi updated the board, he is meeting with staff and the author of the draft. He will meet with Mr. Merrill to review the revisions. This will be shared at a future meeting.

2023-24 Board Work, Policy Governance Training
Mr. DeBalsi announced that the trainer couldn’t attend the October meeting, they are working to find a new date, a special meeting or wait until after the holidays?

Mrs. Russell suggested waiting until after the March election because there may be a new board.

Mr. DeBalsi shared that the budget season will be a busy one, with many items up for discussion. 

The board agreed to have the policy governance training after the election.

Board Committee Assignments, Reports and Updates
Mr. Christie nominated Mrs. Russell to be the voting member for the district for the VSBIT meeting. 

Mr. DeBalsi shared the updated committee assignment list. He asked board members to review the list. 

Ms Campbell announced that she is still the chair of HCOREI, there will be a meeting and a new chair should be elected. She asked if the board wanted to report their second seat on HCOREI as a rotation basis or Mrs. Russell. The community safety review sessions are very informative. She urged other board members to review these. 

Mrs. Russell shared that she had the GP4 Monitoring Report finished. 

HCC, Mrs. Russell, will send the board an update.  

Policy, Mr. Merrill, policy just passed.

Finance, Mr. Merrill, meet to review the audit

Manifests, Mr. Christie, all moving along, dues payment manifest was completed yesterday, AP has been processed

DEI, Mr. Christie, waiting to hear from Julia to see when she’s starting the district piece

Mr. DeBalsi reported that Dr. Brown is continuing to work in the district with administrators, met with staff yesterday and did 4 sessions, great feedback, and bias was a focus at the training sessions.

RFP in packet for superintendent’s search, Mr. DeBalsi sent it to some private groups and will post it in some administrative listings

 5.  Public Comments  

The public was invited to the meeting in person and online using, meeting ID 974 3075 5984.

Mrs. Russell announced that every school district in the state is back with the VSBA.

Mr. DeBalsi shared that he hosted the VItal Community Education group today. This was a great day. He started with an hour-long presentation of his journey in education, 37 years. This is a group of business leaders who want to get involved with local schools. The second portion was a panel discussion addressing what schools are dealing with today. The third session was about the health and well being of students. Attendees were very impressed with what the district is and does. The afternoon sessions were held at HACTC with a wonderful lunch.

No one in the Zoom session asked to speak.

 6. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

Meeting Minutes 

Regular Meeting 9-13-2023
Engagement Meeting 9-27-2023
Appointments: Lindsey Pikurny, HMS Science
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the Consent Agenda with a welcome to the new staff member.

 7. Next Meeting (10/25/2023) Engagement Topic- District Facility Needs

Mr. Heavisides shared that Mr. Barth will have a flow sheet/plan available for review at the next meeting with the facility needs information. 

Ms Campbell added this is not a wish list but what needs to be done to keep our schools running.

Mr. DeBalsi shared that during COVID some of the repairs were left undone, due to unavailable supplies and labor.

 8. Meeting Evaluation

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

9. Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms Campbell, to adjourn at 9:56 PM. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey