Board of Education: Denny, Florkowski (7:35 pm), Gaspar, Hoffman, Irwin, Sobel
Administration: McMorran, Sullivan, Pierson Ugol, Edwards, Freeston, Martin, Wessman Huber, Basta
Others: 15 members of the public
Dr. McMorran opened the meeting at 7:31 pm. He appointed Sara Sobel as temporary chairman to serve until the election of officers was completed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the October 6, 2015 meeting as submitted. Gaspar, Irwin. Approved. 3-0-2. Mr. Hoffman and Mrs. Denny abstained.
Mrs. Florkowski arrived, 7:35 pm
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mrs. Sobel restated her comments from the previous meeting that it is the Redding BOE’s custom during Public Comment to listen, but not immediately respond. She reinforced that all comments are noted and taken seriously by board members and that responses, where appropriate, may be provided by board members or administrative staff at a later date.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Nomination: Dr. Irwin nominated Sara Sobel for Chairman. The nomination was seconded by Mrs. Florkowski. There were no other nominations. Per Board policy, paper ballots were distributed to board members, collected and tabulated by Dr. McMorran. The vote for Mrs. Sobel was unanimously approved.
Nomination: Mrs. Denny nominated Melinda Irwin for Vice Chairman. The nomination was seconded by Mrs. Sobel and unanimously approved.
Nomination: Mrs. Sobel nominated Allyson Florkowski for Secretary. The nomination was seconded by Mrs. Denny and unanimously approved.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION ON 2016 BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING SCHEDULE
The listing of meeting dates for 2016 was reviewed.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the 2016 Meeting Schedule as amended, changing the March 1 meeting to March 2, 2016 (Wednesday). Florkowski, Hoffman – Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION OF DONATION
Dr. Pierson Ugol announced that an anonymous benefactor has offered a donation of golf equipment to the schools of ER9. The equipment would be used in conjunction with the existing “striking” unit on golf in the physical education program. She noted that there is no direct benefit of the donation to the benefactor and the equipment is not branded by any local company.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education accept the anonymous donation of $2,000 of physical education equipment for a golf unit to the Easton and Redding schools, with gratitude. Irwin, Denny – Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TERMINOLOGY
Special Services Director, Tracy Edwards, provided descriptions and information on the differences between Accommodations and Modifications in relation to special services. Accommodations are changes that help a student overcome or work around his/her disability and are a part of the student’s IEP. Modifications are changes in what is being taught to the student or what is expected of the student.
DISCUSSION OF 2016-17 BUDGET, PART 1
Dr. McMorran presented information/background of factors that impact the preparation of the budget. He stressed the importance of education, the relationship between education and student potential, and suggested a review of the strategic vision for education in Redding. Next month, Dr. McMorran will discuss how to continue the good work the schools are doing and what it will cost to continue that work.
Principals’ Report: Dr. Wessman Huber and Mrs. Martin described the music programs and opportunities at each of the schools. They highlighted the participation in the programs.
Dr. Wessman Huber reported that the issue of spring conference time has been resolved and coverage will be provided as needed. Several board members questioned why the fall conferences for the two schools were scheduled for two different weeks, making the minimum days for those with children in both schools difficult. Dr. Wessman Huber commented that she is working with Mrs. Martin to look at that scheduling issue for next year.
Mrs. Martin noted that JRMS teacher, Janet Rossi, was chosen as the CAS Middle Level Teacher of the Year. She was recognized at their ceremony earlier in the month.
Finance Director: Mrs. Sullivan noted that the Joint Meeting with the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen is December 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm in the Community Center. Health Insurance claims for October were just under the monthly budget and the Reserve Fund is in good shape. The Easton schools continue to have a difficult year and will be requesting additional funding from their Board of Finance. The Transfer Report was reviewed. Heating oil for next year has been locked in at $1.95/gal compared with the current $2.47/gal, and diesel fuel at $2.02 compared with the current $2.54.
The Facilities Committee met to review the planned work on the HVAC systems at both schools. The design work (approved for the current year) has been completed and preliminary cost estimates for the work to be done are being reviewed. This information will be presented as part of the budget process, to be included on the Town Capital List that will be presented to voters along with the Operating Budget.
Assistant Superintendent: Dr. Pierson Ugol reported that the State of Connecticut has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. Work is continuing on the district curriculum, instruction and professional development ramifications with the K-12 STEM leadership team. Elementary Social Studies curriculum revisions are in process for implementation in the 2016-17 school year. The Physical Education, Health & Wellness curriculum revisions have focused on grade level expectations and these are moving forward. Dr. Pierson Ugol noted that the second cycle of the World Language consultant coaching in the middle school classrooms has been completed, and there will be one more cycle this year.
Superintendent: Dr. McMorran commented that the CT Association of Superintendents is concerned about the state deficit, the potential reductions in Excess Cost for education, reduced support for the regional educational service centers, and reductions in municipal aid.
Dana Gray, Lamppost Drive: Mrs. Gray commented on the recognition of the Math Specialist Janet Rossi and the need for improvement in math progress at John Read Middle Schools. She asked that the school focus more on STEM education and suggested that students be encouraged to participate in the annual CT Science Fair.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Dr. Gaspar welcomed Gwen Denny and Mike Hoffman to the Redding Board of Education.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education recess to executive session to discuss the contract between the United Public Service Employees Union/UPSEU (custodians) and Redding Board of Education. Denny, Hoffman – Approved. Unanimous.
Dr. McMorran and Mrs. Sullivan were invited to be present.
The meeting recessed at 9:23 pm
The Chair reconvened the meeting in public session at 9:32 pm
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the 4 year contract – through June 30, 2019 between the United Public Service Employees Union/UPSEU and Redding Board of Education. Irwin, Sobel – Approved. Unanimous.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:36 pm
Submitted by Allyson Florkowski
Recorded by Mary Maday