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Minutes of Redding Board of Education, 01/07/2016

AGENDA: Redding Board of Education Budget Workshop

RECEIVED 01/11/2016 8:30am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Minutes

Board of Education: Denny, Florkowski, Gaspar, Hoffman, Irwin, Miller, Sobel
Administration: McMorran, Sullivan (8:30 pm), Pierson Ugol, Edwards, Freeston, Martin, Wessman Huber, Basta
Others: 12 members of the public

Chairman Sobel called the January 7, 2016 meeting to order at 7:30 pm.

PUBLIC COMMENT
Linda Mitchell, Huckleberry Road: Mrs. Mitchell spoke in support of the World Language program in the elementary school and related her observations of her son’s experiences and use of the knowledge and skills he has learned.

Amy Cabot, Gallows Hill Road: Mrs. Cabot spoke in opposition to the proposed reductions in the music and art programs.  She noted the many benefits to being exposed to music and art at a young age, and the importance of a well-rounded education and student.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mrs. Sobel expressed the Board’s appreciation for all the hard work Mike D’Agostino and art teacher Mimi Weiss put in to creating the “shiny” masterpiece that is now displayed on the JRMS gym floor.

Dr. Gaspar presented information on how the Board goes about its priority setting process and why.

DISCUSSION OF 2016-17 OPERATING BUDGET

Dr. McMorran began the discussion with a list of technical edits. These edits represent additional savings or expenses that have been identified since the budget document was created.

  • Add RES telecommunications, error, not included in original document: $20,000
  • Reduction in hours for teacher of hearing impaired, reduction in need; ($9,000)
  • Reduction in transportation costs, JRMS, savings found: ($8,426)
  • Reduction in transportation costs, Special Education, savings found: ($26,643)
  • Additional Excess Cost Reimbursement, ($34,000)
  • Reduction in anticipated health insurance claims ($100,000)

The technical edits bring the 2016-2017 potential budget increase to $263,640 or 1.24% over the current year approved budget.

A list of budget questions submitted by the Board were reviewed and answered by the appropriate administrator. Discussions included the following topics:

  1. Cost of substitutes, how they are used, and ways to reduce the cost.
  2. Wish list of the administrators (in-depth reasons were discussed)
    a. RES – Mrs. Wessman Huber wished for optimal class sizes that range from 18-21
    b. JRMS – Mrs. Martin wished to maintain the team teaching approach
    c. Curriculum & Instruction – Dr. Pierson Ugol’s wish, stated by Dr. McMorran, was for greater support and resources for curriculum and staff development.
  3. World Language offerings at JRMS and what the impact would be of a potential reduction of an offering:

Currently:

French Latin Spanish
6th grade, 2 sections of 13 each 1 section of 25 3 sections of 22
7th grade, 1 section of 24 1 section of 23 3 sections of 18
8th grade, 1 section of 20 1 section of 24 3 sections of 18

4.  Discussion of STIC, STEM, Math Specialists, and Technology staffing. What their current roles include and the impact, if any, it would cause the students if roles were combined in some way.
a. Discussed what these roles would look like 3-5 years from now. Subject moved to long-range planning committee.

5.  Project Adventure program support:       Mrs. Martin discussed the importance of the program in fostering cooperation, teamwork, inquiry-based activity, and physical activity. These are all features involved in the program and skills every student needs to learn in order to be well-prepared for the future which is why it is a core class at JRMS.

6.  Before/after school programs and costs: Programs at RES are generally at capacity, programs at JRMS generally include 10 students.

7.  Math curriculum: Discussion of needs for math curriculum and instruction. Dr. Pierson Ugol explained the need for curriculum leadership positions, especially related to the development of the math curriculum and instruction.

8.  Special Education contingency:       Ms. Edwards explained that a contingency of $75,000 is typically included in the budget to cover the unpredictable since it is impossible to know what changes may occur in students who need special services.

9.  Special Education costs:       Ms. Edwards explained the costs and services being provided by the Center for Children with Special Needs (CCSN). Discussion and questions followed.

Due to the time, Mrs. Sobel called for the discussion to end and be continued at the next meeting. She thanked the Redding First Selectman and Redding Board of Finance for attending the meeting and offered clarification on any item already discussed.

PUBLIC COMMENT
None

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mrs. Sobel reminded Board members of the Tri-Board meeting on January 27, 2016 at 7:30pm in the JRMS Community Room.

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

The meeting adjourned at 10:00 pm

Submitted by Allyson Florkowski, Redding Board of Education Secretary

Recorded by Mary Maday

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