Board of Education: Denny, Florkowski, Gaspar, Hoffman, Irwin, Miller, Sobel
Administration: McMorran, Sullivan (8:00 pm), Pierson Ugol, Edwards, Freeston, Martin, Wessman Huber, Basta
Others: 17 members of the public
Chairman Sobel called the January 5, 2016 meeting to order at 7:31 pm.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: Move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the December 1, 2015 meeting as submitted. Florkowski, Denny. Approved. 6-0-1. Mr. Miller abstained.
Motion: Move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the December 3, 2016 meeting as amended. Florkowski, Denny. Approved. Unanimous.
Amendment: Mr. Hoffman’s request was that information be provided in advance of discussion of contracts.
Motion: Move that the Redding board of Education approve the minutes of the December 14, 2016 meeting as submitted. Hoffman, Denny. Approved. 5-0-2. Dr. Gaspar & Mrs. Florkowski abstained.
Chris Parkin, Indian Hill Rd: Mr. Parkin read a statement which outlined his views of the budget process over the past two years, the relationship between the Board of Education (BOE) and the Board of Finance (BOF), and the lack of proactive long-term planning on the part of the BOE in light of the decline in enrollment.
Adam Schwartz, Giles Hill Road: Mr. Schwartz asked how the administration communicates all the work being done to educate Redding’s children. He stated there is a need to show the benefits of what is currently being done educationally.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Dr. Gaspar commented that it is not the policy of the Board to respond to comments from the public, but to listen. He added that someone from the Board or administration would respond to comments and questions where appropriate at a later date.
Mrs. Sobel read a statement from the CABE publication regarding the role of BOEs and budget planning.
DISCUSSION OF 2016-17 OPERATING BUDGET
Dr. McMorran presented the administration’s proposed operating budget for 2016-17. The presentation included information on enrollment, Pre-K, staffing at both schools, budget history, areas of increase and decrease, educational mandates, comparisons with other area towns and DRG A schools, and addressed some anticipated budgetary questions. The Redding school administrations proposed budget is an increase of 1.98% over the current year.
A summary of revenue to the town (Grant and Special Revenue) was provided by Mrs. Sullivan. In addition, an explanation of the various “object” codes used in the budget was provided. The Five-Year Long Range Capital Plan will be provided at the first Budget Workshop scheduled for Thursday, January 7, 2016, where the initial budget will be reviewed and discussed in detail.
Principals’ Report: Dr. Wessman Huber and Mrs. Martin provided written reports.
Special Services: Ms. Edwards reported that PPT meetings are ongoing, and transition activities have begun.
Assistant Superintendent: Dr. Pierson Ugol also reported that work on transition, particularly for students from grade 8 to the high school, has begun.
Dana Gray, Lamppost Drive: Mrs. Gray asked when the full budget proposal would be posted on the education website. Mrs. Sullivan responded that it would be on the website the next day (Wednesday).
Brenda Phelps, Indian Hill Road: Mrs. Phelps asked for information on the number of students that have enrolled since the beginning of the school year, especially in RES. She asked that the Pre-school program be expanded and that the enrollment deadlines/acceptances be aligned with the other area private pre-school programs.
Adam Schwartz, Giles Hill Road: Mr. Schwartz asked about the format the budget would be presented in. Mrs. Sullivan responded that it will be uploaded as a pdf file.
Keith Rich, Putnam Park Road: Mr. Rich commented that he is certain the BOF will want a lower increase and that the BOE should be prepared for that request. He asked if consideration has been given to moving the Central Office to Redding to save the cost of renting from Easton.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mr. Miller commented that the questions regarding the Pre-school program expansion are good and should be discussed further. He asked for information regarding programs in neighboring towns and private schools. Ms. Edwards commented that an additional section of Pre-school is planned and included in the proposed budget. She will address the issue further at the Thursday Budget Workshop.
Dr. Gaspar cautioned that, given the limited number of administrators, the Board should focus on a limited number of projects to be pursued and explored.
Mrs. Florkowski asked Mrs. Sullivan that information, requested at the meeting with the BOF, on the number of homeschooled students and the number of students in private schools be presented at the workshop on Thursday. She also asked when the calendar for next year would be available. Mrs. Sobel responded that the calendar would be presented and voted on at the Tri-Board meeting on January 27, 2016.
Motion: Move to adjourn the meeting. Denny, Florkowski. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm
Submitted by Allyson Florkowski, Board of Education Secretary
Recorded by Mary Maday