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Minutes of Redding Board of Education Special Meeting, 08/25/2020

AGENDA: Redding Board of Education Special Meeting

RECEIVED 08/31/2020 8:30am
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk


Held Remotely Pursuant to Executive Order No. 7B
Meeting ID: 512 827 8190
Passcode: 06896

August 25, 2020– 5:00 p.m.


Board members:  Parkin, Pilato, Hocker, Hoffman, Oulton, Reilly, Whaley
Administration:  Pierson Ugol, Reiss, Del Conte, Amori, Hammond, Amodio, Wallin
Others:  85+ members of the public and staff
C. Parkin called the meeting to order at 5:02 p.m.


C. Parkin announced that a number of emails had been received from third grade families and they were shared with the Board and the Board has been made aware of these comments.

Mary Urban, Pickett’s Ridge, Redding:  as a JRMS staff member and registered nurse, she feels it is of vital importance that we provide social and emotional support to students and staff.  She thanked the Administration for allowing staff the extra time to prepare and learn the new protocols and safety precautions.

Dana Schmidt, Gallows Hill, Redding: as a third grade parent she asked what was the nature of the emails C. Parkin referenced at the opening of Public Comment.  C. Parkin replied that the emails were in support of adding an additional section of third grade.

Seana Bedard, Winding Brook Lane, Redding: she also asked for another section of third grade to be added given the most recent information about enrollment and pandemic learning.

Molly Kreitz, Beauiles Lane, Redding:  as a teacher that has already returned to school, she can attest to the challenges of setting up classrooms with proper distancing and maintaining that distance.  She said after 1-week of teaching like this, she recommends adding another section of third grade.


C. Pilato thanked the families that took the time to reach out and share their perspectives with the Board.


C. Parkin summarized what had transpired as far as 2020-2021 budgeting and class-size determinations.  He also reviewed the current enrollment information that may impact the Board’s thinking about the number of sections in each grade.

N. Hammond presented the most current enrollment, class-section and class-size data.  A lengthy conversation took place with Board members asking many questions about the impact of: the optional temporary learn from home model, student withdrawals, the Hybrid model, the alpha split, the commitment time-frame, the future outlook, school-classroom layout and size, funding and trade-offs.

N. Hammond and Dr. Pierson Ugol reminded the Board that in a year with so many uncertainties, it is difficult to make a firm recommendation regarding adding a section of third grade.  The current enrollment of 22-23 students per section is higher than ideal, but not unrealistic in a normal school year, but it is very difficult to predict what the needs will be given the highly unusual spring and the coming fall.  Dr. Pierson Ugol pointed out that there is not yet data available to drive this decision.

S. Reiss said it is too early to tell if the current budget will be able to afford adding a section, but given so many uncertainties and the known additional costs associated with preparing the school for a Hybrid re-opening, his conservative financial view is that he is less confident there will be a return of funds at the end of the year, as there has been in recent years.

The Board asked for other options that would allow the additional section.  N. Hammond said that internal candidates are properly certified to take on the role, but that would impact Programming such as Gifted & Talented or Intervention.  Other options such as long-term subs, a mid-year hire, and a mid-year class re-shuffle were reviewed.

C. Hocker stated that he was looking for ways to justify adding the section to third grade, and although it is a hard call, he was not hearing a compelling request from Administration.

C. Parkin chose to open the meeting for Public Comment before the Board vote.

Kelly La Valle, Lonetown Rd, Redding:  shared that the additional section will help with the social and emotional aspects of returning to school.

Seana Bedard, Winding Brook Lane, Redding: suggested that, if the Board decline adding the additional section, consider the status in the DRG and place the highest performing teachers in third grade to support the largest class sizes in the school.  She reminded the Board that this is not a normal time.

Dana Schmidt, Gallows Hill Road, Redding: stated she supports Seana’s comments.

Dan Sokal, Lamppost Drive, Redding:  things have been chaotic and the additional section to assist social and emotional health is never a bad thing.

C. Parkin ended Public Comment and called for class-size guidelines to be established at a point in the near future.

M. Hoffman asked about the potential impact to Gifted and Talented and pointed out that adding a section of third grade may put the G&T program at risk.

Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education authorize the Administration to hire up to an additional 1.0 certified FTE, at an expense not to exceed $80,000 to be funded from the approved 2020-21 operating budget, and to increase the number of third grade sections from four to five for 2020-21.  Pilato. Reilly.  5 – 2, Hoffman, Hocker opposed.


Pina Jabbari, Wood Rd, Redding:  thanked the Board and Administrators for their work and acknowledged that it isn’t easy.


C. Pilato said she looks forward to transitioning back to meetings in person.


Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education meeting be adjourned. Reilly, Hoffman.  Approved.  Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:51PM

Submitted by Colleen Pilato
Redding Board of Education Secretary

Recorded by Colleen Pilato

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