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Minutes of Redding Board of Education Special Meeting, 06/26/2017

AGENDA: Redding Board of Education Special Meeting

RECEIVED 06/28/2017 9:18am

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Special Meeting Minutes
June 26, 2017

Board of Education:  Denny, Florkowski, Hoffman, Irwin
Administration:  McMorran, Lagas
Others:  12 members of the public/staff/media

Chairperson Melinda Irwin called the meeting to order at 5:31 pm.

Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the June 6, 2017 joint meeting of the Easton and Redding Boards of Education as submitted.  Hoffman, Florkowski.  Approved.  Unanimous.

John Board, Umpawaug Road:  Suggested setting up a “rainy day” fund with 20% of any surplus left at the end of the year.

Mrs. Denny congratulated the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who attended the High Notes Music Festival at Lake Compounce.  They received 2 superiors and 1 excellent and she commended them for their talent, manners, and overall great attitude.  Mrs. Denny also commented on the current climate and perceptions of the Redding community as it pertains to the BOE and BOF.  She said that a review of central office policies and procedures is needed in order to help streamline efficiencies and relieve the administration of unnecessary work so that they can focus on their jobs.  Mrs. Florkowski, Mr. Hoffman, and Dr. Irwin were all in agreement.

Dr. Irwin commented on the recent 8th grade graduation ceremony and said she the speeches given by 4 of the 8th grade students were absolutely incredible and should be reprinted in our local media outlets for everyone to read.

Motion:  move to authorize Dr. McMorran to cooperate with the process and procedures review as long as it is during a time that is not exceptionally busy for the administration.  Hoffman, Denny. Approved.  Unanimous.

Dr. McMorran reviewed a presentation he and Dr. Lagas created which outlined the current status of spending given that the fiscal year ends June 30, 2017.  As of June 22, 2017, there is a surplus of $833,021.56 however, not all purchase orders have been received.  Dr. McMorran broke out which line items went over budget and which still had unspent funds.  The summary of unspent funds showed that the majority of the surplus comes from the human resources and transportation line items ($465,696).  These savings stem from areas such as teacher/ administration resignations and retirements, a lower than normal need for long-term substitutes, and a contract negotiation with DATTCO which saved $124,354.  Dr. McMorran stressed the importance of remembering that a school’s budget is an estimate based on previous year’s spending and what the Board and administration believe education will cost moving forward.

Dr. Irwin commented on the thorough analysis of the presentation and said that we should celebrate some of these good things.  However, she asked Dr. McMorran and the Board if 1. There should be concern over the increase in resignations, and 2. What should the Board do with the unspent funds?

Mr. Hoffman suggested adding a Public Comment to the agenda so that the Board could hear the public’s thoughts on the presentation and surplus.

Dr. Lagas pointed out that CT Boards of Education, with the exception of regional boards, are fiscally dependent on the town in which they serve and that funds left unspent be transferred back to the town.  He also noted that state law dictates that all board of education operating budgets, including transfers, be closed out by June 30th.

Mr. Hoffman referred to the ’17-’18 approved budget in which $1.9 million has been earmarked for health insurance.  He said that after reviewing the monthly averages for the past three years, he estimates that by the end of the ’17-’18 fiscal year the health insurance budget will be over by almost $400,000.

Motion:  move to transfer $400,000 of the unspent funds to the health reserve.  Hoffman/Denny. Approved.  Unanimous.

Dr. McMorran posed two questions to the Board.  First, should we retain the Gifted & Talented program? Second, if so, can the Board afford it?  The Board built in funds for one day-time custodian at RES.  Dr. McMorran suggested that it would be possible to defer the funds for the one custodian and move them to the Gifted & Talented program.

Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education defer hiring one Redding Elementary School custodian for the 2017-2018 school year and transfer those funds to the Gifted & Talented program.  Hoffman, Denny.  Approved.  Unanimous.

Mike D’Agostino, Glen Hill Road:  Wondered why the pension contribution was over budget (-$977.50) if there is a savings under human resources?  He also commented that he doesn’t think the health reserve needs to be finalized by June 30th.

Jean Wendsuch:  Commented that it is incumbent upon the board of education to decide where and how much is needed of the unspent funds.

Kristen Anstett, Whortleberry Road:  Stated that she chose to move to Redding because of its Gifted & Talented Program and appreciates the Boards desire to keep the program.  She added that the program is not just a benefit for those students who need it, but also for teachers and other classmates who may become distracted if the child becomes bored to easily.

Mike D’Agostino, Glen Hill Road:  Feels the numbers used to determine funding for the Gifted & Talented program were flawed and that the Board may have already used the budget for the custodian for something else.

Mrs. Denny thanked Dr. Lagas for stepping in and helping Dr. McMorran and the Board during a difficult time.  Her sentiments were echoed by the other board members present.

Mr. Hoffman said he was pleased that Dr. McMorran made it through the year frugally while also maintaining education excellence.

Motion:  move to adjourn the meeting.  Florkowski, Hoffman.  Approved.  Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 7:19 pm.

Submitted by Allyson Florkowski, Redding Board of Education Secretary
Reported by Allyson Florkowski

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