REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
March 1, 2022 – 7:00 p.m.
John Read Middle School – Community Room
Board members: Parkin, Hoffman, Oulton (remote), Belfatto, Gibbons, Hardridge, Sadana
Administration: McKinnon, Pierson Ugol, Del Conte, Petruzzelli, Scrafani
Others: 12 members of the staff and public, and the recording secretary.
CALL TO ORDER
C. Parkin called the Redding Board of Education Regular meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the January 27, 2022 Budget Workshop meeting and the February 3, 2022 Budget Workshop meeting as submitted. (Hoffman, Belfatto). Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the February 1, 2022 Regular meeting with the following revisions: on page 2, should read “American Rescue Plan Art planning group,” and not “Art Hub Planning Group;” on page 2, should read “Sadana,” and not “Sardana.” (Hoffman, Hardridge). Approved. Unanimous.
C. Parkin said that approval of the minutes of the ER9 Joint Boards of Education Regular meeting of February 22, 2022 would be tabled for now.
Stephanie Organom, Glenn Hill Road, read a prepared statement which said that the RES kindergarten paraprofessionals are not full-time employees and therefore, have no medical benefits; and that they are the only paraprofessionals at RES who are not full-time. She explained the role of kindergarten paraprofessional as that of an educator of academics and social and emotional skills, and said that several kindergarten paras have left to accept other positions with medical benefits. S. Organom said that this disrupts the continuity for the students and asked the BOE to make the kindergarten para position a full-time one.
Lynn Valenti, Lonetown Road, read a letter from the RES kindergarten teachers in support of making the kindergarten paraprofessionals full-time.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
L. Gibbons thanked the RES staff and everyone for coming to tonight’s meeting.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jason McKinnon, welcomed everyone to tonight’s meeting and introduced the building administrators.
Redding Elementary School Principal, Melissa Labrosciano, spoke about recent events and activities at RES, including: “Month of Love,” when students created a heart with a note of appreciation and/or positive message; “Rocky’s Weekly Roundup,” a new weekly communication that combines the former “Tuesday Newsday” with the weekly family update; a celebration of African Americans throughout the month of February for Black History Month; for Read Across America and National Women in History Month, a week of highlighting diverse women in history will take place; and students participated in the Annual Kids Heart Challenge during PE classes.
John Read Middle School Principal, Meghan Ward, spoke about recent events and activities at JRMS, including: the second Advisory session has started and will focus on conversation skills and common words to use; Read Across America had a kindness theme; a new water fountain has been installed with a bottle refill feature; the 8th graders met with counselors from JBHS to review their course selections; students participated in Random Acts of Kindness Week, which also included a food drive sponsored by the JRMS Student Council; National School Counseling Week was celebrated with the theme of “Better Together;” eight students will participate in the Connecticut Invention Convention; the JRMS Players are back and will put on a Spring musical of “Seussical JR.!;” over 20 students submitted entries to the Housatonic Valley Recycling Billboard contest; and the gymnasium floor received needed maintenance and sneakers only are now allowed on the floor.
Director of Finance & Operations, Scott Petruzzelli, said that he is pretty comfortable about where the District will land at the end of the year and went over several lines in the Budget Object Summary. He explained the status of several lines and about how some of these lines will change or be reclassified in next year’s budget reports.
BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS
2022-2023 OPERATING BUDGET
Dr. McKinnon first explained how the budget had gotten to this point after a few budget workshops held in January and February. He said that the most recent adjustments were a $61,515 decrease from savings on transportation and a $98,000 decrease from a known non-outplacement. Dr. McKinnon said that other potential decreases to the budget could possibly be: $10,000 at the building level; $10,000 in professional and curriculum learning; $13,000 in hardware; $8,200 in roof maintenance; $67,000 in one class section at RES.
In the area of health insurance, Dr. McKinnon explained the relationship of health claims to the health benefits account to the operating budget, and went over what was budgeted vs. what was used and what was deposited to the account. He said that if monthly claims continue at the same pace for the rest of the school year, and with end-of-year claims traditionally higher because people have met their deductible, that the potential exposure for the District is at -$67,828.
In the area of class size at RES, Dr. McKinnon said that they are recommending 25 class sections and will plan the sections this Spring; he said that of particular concern are the 2nd grade and 3rd grade. Dr. Pierson Ugol said that, so far, students are responding to interventions but that it is unwise to think that this is a short-term situation; that more interventions will be needed next year and small class size is the way to address it. Dr. McKinnon said that with the decreases in transportation and non-outplacement, the budget is at an overall 3.62% increase.
A lengthy discussion followed that included a variety of topics including: the process of facility maintenance and repairs; health claims and health plans; health reserve account contributions and account management; team structure at JRMS and availability of interventionists/metal health staff to be used in other capacities; larger class sizes at JRMS; retirements; long-range planning and the need for it; defining goals for the District; and days past, that had a larger student population and more sections.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the 2022-2023 Operating Budget of $23,896,619.64, an increase of $835,581.67 – or 3.62%. (Sadana, Gibbons). Approved. 4-3. (Belfatto, Hardridge, Hoffman dissented).
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve an Agenda Change of adding 1st Reading of Policy 5141.8 to the Agenda. (Gibbons, Hoffman). Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education accept Policy 5141.8 for a 1st Reading. (Gibbons, Hoffman). Approved. 6-1. (Parkin dissented).
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education Regular meeting be adjourned. (Gibbons, Hoffman). Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:17 p.m.
Submitted by Stephanie Oulton
Secretary, Redding Board of Education
Recorded by Sarah Ota