REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION
Regular Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Board of Education Members: Denny, Florkowski, Gaspar, Hoffman, Irwin, Miller, Whaley
Administration: McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Lagas, Edwards, Martin, Wessman Huber, Basta, Wallin
Others: Approximately 18 members of the public
Dr. Irwin called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. in the John Read Middle School Community Room.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: Move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the March 7, 2017 Regular Redding Board of Education meeting as submitted. Hoffman, Gaspar. Approved. Unanimous.
Colleen Pilato, Portland Avenue: noted that she attended the Board of Finance meeting on April 3, 2017 and that they verbally reassured the public that if the Health Insurance Reserve was deficient they would assist fiscally. She stated that this was not a formal agreement and it should be put on record.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Chairman Irwin thanked Mrs. Florkowski for writing a letter to the Connecticut Governor regarding his proposed education budget.
Mr. Miller seconded the previous comment by Ms. Pilato regarding the informal nature of the Board of Finance’s agreement to assist if the Health Insurance Reserve should be deficient.
Ms. Whaley noted how impressive the Redding Musical event was. She added that she wished JRMS had more representation.
Mr. Hoffman noted that he appreciated the staffing data made available by the administration and staff. It was very useful, and highlighted that over the last 10 years, 19 classroom teaching positions have been reduced.
Discussion on budget reflections and inflation vs. enrollment ensued. It was also mentioned that the trust level between the Board of Finance and Board of Education needs to be improved.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION
A. CABE Communication Awards:
Dr. McMorran presented two awards, one to RES and one to JRMS. The awards were for the River Exchange and the “It’s Okay to Be Yourself” program.
B. Health Insurance Reserve:
Dr. McMorran presented on the Health Insurance Analysis. He referred to a handout and noted that the average monthly claims over six years was about $250,000. There was a $150,000 deposit made in September, and another meant to be made this spring. Dr. Lagas then discussed that it is important to have enough in the reserve to cover claims. He referenced an article that was distributed. Dr. Lagas then noted that Brown & Brown recommend a minimum of $617,000 to cover claims. Mr. Hoffman recommended that the Health Insurance Financial form be redesigned to match the budget.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education add agenda item 5J, transfer of Insurance Funds, to the agenda. Miller, Florkowski. Approved. Unanimous.
C. 2017-2018 Operating Budget:
Dr. Irwin recapped that the last presented budget was -.34%, and that the Board of Finance asked the Board of Education to remove an additional $250,000 from the budget. She noted that this could be achieved by cutting the Health Insurance Reserve by $250,000. Dr. McMorran briefly presented alternative cuts that could be made to achieve the $250k reduction without cutting the Reserve such as; Project Adventure, Gifted and Talented Program, Enrichment Program, and paraprofessionals.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education open the floor to Public Comment. Hoffman, Florkowski. Approved. Unanimous.
Keith Rich, Putnam Park Road: suggests that the Board make the reductions to Health Insurance Reserve instead of programs.
Sarah Odell, Black Rock Turnpike: suggests that the Board make the reductions to Health Insurance Reserve instead of Programs.
Colleen Pilato, Portland Avenue: suggests that the Board make the reductions to Health Insurance Reserve instead of Programs.
Mike D’Agostino, Glen Hill Road: stated that given the current economic environment, it was inappropriate to add reserves to the proposed budget.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education reduce the contribution to the Health Insurance Reserve in the proposed budget for 2017-2018 by $250,000. Gaspar, Denny. Approved. 6-1. Mr. Miller opposed.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the 2017-2018 Operating Budget at $2,752,268, or a -1.53% reduction. Hoffman, Miller. Approved. Unanimous.
D. Superintendent’s Findings on End-of-Year Financial Processes:
Dr. McMorran presented on processes and procedures for end-of-year expenditures for the Redding Board of Education. He distributed a handout on his recommended procedural corrections and safeguards. His plan for transparency includes review and observation of all relevant policies, changes to the procedures used to encumber and disburse funds, introduction of controls to prevent accounts from being overspent, Central Office initiation of new purchase orders as of March 15 of each year, and a meeting of the Board of Education in June to determine the disposition of unspent accounts.
E. Recommendation of Superintendent Concerning Teacher Non-Renewals:
Motion: move that the contracts of employment of Sara Goss and Jennifer Marandola not be renewed for the following year upon their expiration at the end of the 2016-2017 school year and that the Superintendent of Schools is directed to advise such persons in writing of this action. Florkowski, Gaspar. Unanimous.
F. Pre-School Tuition Comparisons:
Ms. Edwards referenced a handout concerning Redding’s preschool range of costs and coverage compared to other area schools. Mr. Gaspar asked that the cost comparisons be broken down in a more dollar/hour format.
G. Review of Easton’s Teacher Tuition for Children’s Policy and Region 9 Contract Language Article XIX, Child Tuition:
Dr. McMorran reviewed the current policies in place in Easton and Region 9. It was discussed that this matter be part of the overall upcoming negotiations with the Teachers’ Unions.
H. Approval of Cello Donation at RES:
The Cummiskey family is offering to donate a cello to Redding Elementary School
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education accept the generous donation of a cello to Redding Elementary School with gratitude. Hoffman, Denny. Approved. Unanimous.
I. Policy Review: 1st Reading:
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education accept the following policies for first reading:
1. Policy 5125: Family Education Rights & Privacy – Appendix
2. Policy 5131.911: Hazing Bullying
3. Policy 5141.4: Reporting of Child Abuse, Neglect & Sexual Assault – (3 versions)
4. Policy 5141.21: Administering Medication
5. Policy 5144: Discipline
6. Policy 5144.1: Use of Physical Force / Restraint, Seclusion – Policy & Regulation
7. Policy 5144.5: Progressive Discipline / Promoting Positive Student Behavior
8. Policy 5145: Civil and Legal Rights & Responsibilities
9. Policy 5145.511: Exploitation; Sexual Harassment – Policy & Regulation
10. Policy 5145.53: Gender Identity and Expression (Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth) – Policy & Regulation
11. Policy 5145.6: Student Grievance Procedures – Policy & Regulation
Miller, Denny. Approved. Unanimous.
J. Transfer of Health Insurance Funds:
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education transfer $150,000 into the Health Insurance Reserve Fund. Hoffman, Florkowski. Approved. Unanimous.
Principal, Redding Elementary School: Dr. Wessman Huber noted that there would be a Facilities Committee meeting tomorrow. She will report their discussion to the Board at the next meeting. They are still using bottled water at the school.
Principal, John Read Middle School: Mrs. Martin invited the group to a recital this upcoming Thursday at 6:30pm.
Director of Special Services: Ms. Edwards referred to her written report.
Interim Director of Finance & Operations: Dr. Lagas referred to his written reports on Object Summary and Transfers.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction: Dr. Pierson Ugol referenced her written report, which focused on the Social Studies.
Superintendent: Dr. McMorran noted that there are currently two employment searches underway for the positions of Supervisor of Special Services and Director of Finance and Operations. He requested that a board member serve on each search committee.
BOARD OF EDUCATION COMMITTEE REPORTS
Communications Committee: Mrs. Florkowski reported that there was a letter sent to the Governor’s office outlining the issues with the proposed budget changes. She then noted future communication planned with The Redding Pilot. Finally Mrs. Florkowski mentioned the new video series “Just Five Minutes” aimed at educating the community on the school system.
Mike D’Agostino, Glen Hill Road: noted that the tri-district concert was sequenced and reduced to save time and space. He then mentioned that informational text on behalf of the Board should be voted on at a public meeting. Finally, he thanked the Superintendent for looking into overspending.
Colleen Pilato, Portland Avenue: noted that controls should be put in place to any spending system changes in order for the improvements to remain permanent.
Chris Parkin, Indian Hill Road: asked that it be made clear who is serving on which committees. He then recommended that changes be made to spending procedures before the new position is filled. Mr. Parkin also noted that Board Members are allowed to communicate with the public during Public Comment.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mr. Hoffman mentioned that he values substance over form.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Miller, Florkowski. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 10:25 p.m.
Submitted by Allyson Florkowski, Secretary of the Redding Board of Education.
Recorded by Elise Cavanaugh.