Board of Education: Denny, Gaspar, Hoffman, Irwin, Sobel
Administration: McMorran, Sullivan, Pierson Ugol, Edwards, Freeston, Martin, Wallin, Wessman Huber, Basta
Others: nine members of the public and a representative of the Redding Pilot
Chairman Sobel called the February 2, 2016 meeting to order at 7:32 pm.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the January 3, 2016 meeting as submitted. Hoffman, Irwin. Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the January 5, 2016 meeting as amended. Hoffman, Irwin. Approved. Unanimous.
Amendment: The date of the second set of minutes approved was for December 3, 2015, not 2016.
Monica Letterman, Marchant Road: Mrs. Letterman read her letter to the Board of Education into the record. The letter highlighted the importance of creativity and the arts, and her support for the art and music programs in the schools.
Linda Mitchell, Huckleberry Lane: Mrs. Mitchell invited board members and those in the audience to the International Festival at Redding Elementary School on February 27, 2016.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mrs. Denny expressed her appreciation for the physical plant improvements at Redding Elementary School that have created a better learning environment.
DISCUSSION OF 2016-17 OPERATING BUDGET
Dr. McMorran began the discussion with a listing of potential reductions that would take the budget increase for 1.24% down to a zero % increase. Each of the reductions was explained and discussed.
Additional areas of additional discussion included:
- Adult Education: this mandated allocation provides service for Redding residents for GED and ESL. The program is provided through the Danbury school system.
- Late bus supervision (JRMS): explanation of the need to supervise students until the buses arrive.
- Chaperone expense (JRMS): explanation of the need for staff to chaperone, in addition to parent volunteers.
- Center for Children with Special Needs: Mr. Hoffman asked for further detail and discussion of the arrangement with the CCSN at Thursday’s workshop.
- Early Retirement Incentive: there is no incentive planned at this time.
- Enrollment data for Kindergarten: Dr. Wessman Huber reported that the Prowda projection is for 69 students, but after contacting parents, there is the potential of greater than 80 students.
- Math program: questions on what could be done to strengthen the math program and align the curriculum with the high school.
Dr. Gaspar expressed his concerns about the Joint Boards of Education meeting and decision on the Central Office budget. He was not pleased with the process and suggested that a better process for reviewing and approving the budget should be considered. He felt that the decision will result in a loss of valuable leadership resources.
The board will meet again on Thursday, February 4, 2016 for more discussion of the proposed budget.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION ON THE FIVE YEAR CAPITAL PLAN
Mrs. Sullivan presented a document that reviewed the work on the physical plants that was accomplished for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The work included design work for the HVAC at the two schools: electrical work at RES, sidewalk and security entrance at RES, parking lot & curbing at both schools, new bleachers & wall mats for the gym at JRMS, and new bleachers at JRMS, for a total of $1,945,481.
The updated 5-year Capital Plan was reviewed. The work planned for fiscal 2016-17 includes HVAC work at JRMS and preparation of construction documents for the HVAC work at RES. The plan is to have the HVAC work done at JRMS in the summer months of 2016, and at RES in the summer months of 2017. Mrs. Sullivan suggested that the board present the request for funding of the two years of work for approval with the May referendum. The estimated cost of the HVAC work is $2,500,000 at each school.
Mrs. Sullivan reported that a “walk-through” of both buildings and explanation of the HVAC work is planned for members of the Board of Finance. The date for the event is February 11, 2016.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the updated 5-year Capital Plan (2016-2021) as discussed. Gaspar, Denny. Approved. Unanimous.
The administrators submitted written reports.
A video prepared by 4th graders demonstrating positive behavior was shown to the group. This was a reflection of the work being done through the PBIS (Positive Behavior In School) program.
Laura Hoeing: Mrs. Hoeing asked if there was any way to solicit information from parents who plan to move away from the district. This information would be helpful in addressing enrollment issues.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mr. Hoffman noted that the Public Act 15-5 was signed, extending the security grant through June 2016 and asked that the opportunity be explored.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Irwin, Hoffman. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 9:42 pm
Reported by Mary Maday