REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION
Regular Meeting Minutes
December 5, 2017
Board of Education: Hoeing, Hoffman, Irwin, Pilato, Reilly, Whaley, Parkin (voted onto Board mid-meeting)
Administration: McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Reiss, Martin, Wallin, Hammond, Basta, Torre, Visners
Others: Approximately 50 members of the public/staff
CALL TO ORDER
Dr. McMorran, temporary chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:31 pm. He noted that at the beginning of the meeting the Board would be having a question-and-answer session with three candidates for the vacancy on the Board and would then vote. The successful candidate would be based on majority vote of the Board.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the November 8, 2017 regular meeting as submitted. Hoffman, Whaley. Approved. 3-0-3. Hoeing, Pilato and Reilly abstained.
Mike Lyons, Orchard Drive: Stated he hopes the Board will vote for Chris Parkin. Feels he would hit the ground running.
Gwen Denny, Wayside Lane: Feels the Board is fortunate to have three strong candidates for the vacancy created by her resignation. She supports Catherine Vecchiarelli for the opening. Feels her philosophy and values most closely align with her own.
Dan Barrett, Gallows Hill Road: Current chairman of the Redding Democratic Town Committee. Feels the opening on the Board should be filled by a Democrat since the position was vacated by a Democrat who had been elected by Redding citizens. Strongly supports Democrat Catherine Vecchiarelli.
Chris Racette, Drummer Lane: Hopes the Board will vote for Chris Parkin. Feels the position should be filled by the best person to sit in the seat, not by political party.
Darrell Bradford, Great Pasture Road: Supports Chris Parkin. Feels his legal background and his demonstrated commitment to the community is important. Feels Mr. Parkin has earned a seat on the Board of Education.
Jenifer Wyss, Cross Highway: Supports Kim Thompson for the Board of Education. Feels her experience as a director of human resources and legal counsel to Danbury Public Schools is important and will bring a lot to the table.
Rudd Anderson, Meeker Hill Road: Registered Democrat who strongly supports Chris Parkin for the Board of Education.
Erach Screwvala, Lamppost Drive: Lifelong Democrat who supports Chris Parkin. Feels he will be a great advocate for our schools and our town.
Ray Boudiette, Seventy Acre Road: Supports Kim Thompson who he believes is extremely qualified to be on the Board.
Amy Arnold, Werf Drive: Lifelong Democrat who thinks there is no other candidate who deserves a position on the Board more than Chris Parkin. Board’s decision should be about the best candidate for the job, not the political party.
Eric Baker, Black Rock Turnpike: Welcomed the new members to the Board of Education and voiced his support for Chris Parkin. Feels Mr. Parkin will improve communication between the Board of Education and the Board of Finance. Feels his primary focus will be on what is best for the students.
Michael Falowski, Limekiln Drive: Not about party affiliation. Feels Kim Thompson’s 10 years of experience in education would be invaluable to the Board of Education.
Michele Hresko, Middlebrook Pond Road: Looks to the Board members to keep their eyes on the ball on behalf of the community. Having Mr. Parkin on the Board will be a huge asset.
Kristen Anstett, Whortleberry Road: Strongly supports Chris Parkin for the Board. Feels he is kind, compassionate, extremely respectful and has worked hard to be on the Board of Education. Deserves the position.
Kris Singleton, Seventy Acre Road: 500 plus people voted for Chris Parkin in the last election. Feels he should be the one to fill the vacancy.
Ed Humphrey, Thankful Bradley Road: Supports Chris Parkin for a position on the Board of Education. Dedicated, intelligent, deserves to be on the Board.
Rich Basile, Sunnyview Drive: Met Chris Parkin through the Cub Scouts. Feels that Chris is well informed and is passionate about the school system. Hopes the Board votes for him. Lifelong Democrat who voted for Mr. Parkin.
Jeff Fligelman, Pocahontas Road: Urged the Board to vote for Chris Parkin.
Alysia Morris, Dayton Road: Supports Chris Parkin.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
Mr. Hoffman urged the Board to fill the vacant seat. Does not feel it should be a political decision. Feels the vote should be for the most qualified candidate.
Mr. Reilly said he echoes Mr. Hoffman’s comments.
Mrs. Hoeing said she did research to find out if there was a gentleman’s agreement to fill a Board vacancy based on the political affiliation of the exiting Board member, and a previous Board Chair who no longer lives in town told her there was. Stated the election process was a long one. Feels the Board needs to fill the vacancy.
Mrs. Whaley: Congratulated Mrs. Wallin for being selected Middle School Assistant Principal of 2018 and thanked the RES administration for the recent Veterans Day ceremony. Stated all three candidates for the Board are well qualified. Feels it is not about politics, but about the students. Believes voters should be respected. Acknowledged emails received from supporters of Mrs. Thompson and over 500 votes cast for Mr. Parkin. Feels the position should be filled by a Democrat. Thanked the candidates for volunteering.
Dr. Irwin congratulated Matt Farina, Redding Teacher of the Year, and Darlene Wallin, for CT Association of Schools Middle School Assistant Principal of the year. Stated she takes the vote extremely seriously and thanked the three candidates for being willing to volunteer.
Mr. Hoffman stated that the call went out to members of the public at the last meeting for anyone interested in filling the vacancy on the Board of Education to make themselves known. Feels it is fortunate to have three qualified candidates. He noted that committee work of the Board is very important and mentioned the recent teacher negotiations in which he took part and that the work was about 100 plus hours.
John Read Middle School: Mrs. Martin congratulated Mrs. Wallin and read from a letter from the Connecticut Association of Schools which informed Mrs. Wallin that she was selected as the 2018 Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year.
Redding Elementary School: Mrs. Hammond spoke about the Veterans Day celebration at the school. RES was recognized again as a PTA School of Excellence. Congratulated Mr. Farina for being selected Redding Teacher of the Year.
Brief videos of RES and JRMS students at work were shown.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction: Dr. Pierson Ugol reported that the State of CT has cut funding for the new teacher induction program called T.E.A.M. New teachers are partnered with and mentored by a trained veteran teachers in the district. The district may have to absorb the cost which across the three districts is approximately $11,000. She also reported that the health curriculum Second Step Program at the elementary school will be expanded to a middle school model. She also mentioned that there is new funding being provided by a state grant for Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which focuses on well-rounded education, safe and healthy students, and effective use of technology.
DISCUSSION – OPPORTUNITIES FOR CANDIDATES FOR THE BOARD VACANCY – Q & A:
The Board held a question-and-answer session with the three candidates for the vacant position: Chris Parkin, Kim Thompson, and Catherine Vecchiarelli. The Q & A session is on videotape and posted on the Board’s Webpage at www.er9.org (select “Boards of Education” and then “Redding Board of Education”). Dr. Irwin read the bylaw pertaining to filling a vacancy.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION: VOTING BY REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION TO FILL VACANCY
Dr. McMorran read the letter of resignation from Gwen Denny and then described the process by the Board of Education to fill the vacancy by majority vote as outlined in the bylaws. The first vote was: 3 for Chris Parkin (Pilato, Reilly, Whaley), 2 for Kim Thompson (Hoeing, Hoffman) and 1 for Catherine Vecchiarelli (Irwin). With no majority, the Board voted again following a brief discussion. Results of the second vote were: 4 for Mr. Parkin (Irwin, Pilato, Reilly, Whaley) and 2 for Mrs. Thompson (Hoeing, Hoffman). The majority vote resulted in the appointment of Mr. Parkin to the Board.
A brief recess occurred. The Redding Town Clerk was contacted for assistance in swearing in Mr. Parkin.
Motion: move to change the order of the agenda items, moving item I, Policy Review to occur before item C. Hoffman, Whaley. Approved. Unanimous (6-0).
DISCUSSION AND ACTION: POLICY REVIEW
Motion: move to accept Policy #3280, Gifts, Donations and Bequests for 1st Reading. Hoffman, Hoeing. Approved. Unanimous (6-0).
Dr. McMorran explained the revisions to the policy and asked that Board members direct any questions to him prior to the next Board meeting.
Mr. Hoffman explained the history of the next Policy #5118.2, Tuition, Children of Non-Resident Certified Staff – 2nd Reading. Several potential revisions were discussed. The Board tabled the decision on accepting this policy with new Board members asking for more information to be given at the January meeting for a third reading.
At this point in the meeting First Selectman Julia Pemberton swore in Chris Parkin as the new Board of Education member.
ELECTION OF BOARD OFFICERS
Nomination: Mr. Hoffman nominated Melinda Irwin as chairperson for the Redding Board of Education. The nomination was seconded by Mrs. Hoeing. There were no other nominations. Per Board policy, paper ballots were distributed to Board members, collected and tabulated by Dr. McMorran. The vote for Dr. Irwin was unanimously approved.
Nomination: Dr. Irwin nominated Michael Hoffman as vice chairperson for the Redding Board of Education. The nomination was seconded by Mrs. Pilato and unanimously approved.
Nomination: Dr. Irwin nominated Colleen Pilato as secretary. She declined. Mrs. Pilato nominated Chris Parkin as secretary. The nomination was seconded by Mrs. Whaley and unanimously approved.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION: REVISED 2018 BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING DATES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education accept the calendar of 2018 meeting dates as presented with a revision in the date of the May tri-board meeting. Parkin, Hoeing. Approved. Unanimous.
The Board members discussed possible dates for a retreat in December 2017.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION: AGENDA ITEMS E, F, AND G
Motion: move that agenda items E, F and G be tabled and added to the agenda for the January meeting. Irwin, Reilly. Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION: POWER AND WATER AT REDDING SCHOOLS
Mr. Reiss reported that the Facilities Committee met twice since the November regular board meeting and reviewed the power and water issues at both schools. It was determined that there is a breaker issue on the main panel for the generator at JRMS. The recommendation of the committee is to do a full load test to see if there are other issues and then replace the breaker. At RES, the generator does not have sufficient capacity to run the entire building. We are in the process of obtaining a quote to have the current generator set up at RES evaluated and to determine if a larger generator might be needed. The Facilities Committee reached out to the premier hydrogeology and engineering firm in CT, Leggette, Brashears & Graham, Inc., to discuss the water problems at the two schools. The committee is recommending that the Board move forward in hiring the firm to do a complete investigation of the water situation at the two schools and suggest long-term alternatives and recommendations. The cost estimate is $13,500. It would take approximately 6-8 weeks to get the report.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education accept the recommendation of the Facilities Committee, waive the three bid requirement, and direct the Director of Finance of Operations to engage the Leggette, Brashears & Graham, Inc. to investigate the water situation at the two schools for long-term alternatives and recommendations, for fees not to exceed $13,500. Parkin, Hoffman. Approved. Unanimous.
Director of Finance & Operations: Mr. Reiss stated there is nothing unusual to report on the budget or transfers this month. The budget is at 4.5% unspent at this point in time. The schools have been instructed to initiate the purchase order process for the second half of the year spending. He reported the October health insurance claims were the lowest so far this year at $200,372. The current reserve balance of $293,996 however, is lower than the recommended amount.
Superintendent: Dr. McMorran invited Board members to join him or Dr. Pierson Ugol on a walkthrough of classrooms beginning at RES up through grade 12 at Barlow.
BOARD OF EDUCATION COMMITTEE REPORTS
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mr. Hoffman spoke of the negotiation process and the finalized teacher contract of which he is proud.
Mr. Parkin thanked the Board for putting their faith in him and stated he looks forward to working with everyone.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Hoeing, Hoffman. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 10:44 pm.
Submitted by Chris Parkin, Secretary of the Redding Board of Education.
Recorded by Vicki Cram