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Minutes of Redding Board of Education Special Meeting, 03/18/2019

AGENDA: Redding Board of Education Special Meeting

RECEIVED 03/19/2019 1:56pm
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION
Special Meeting Minutes
John Read Middle School Community Room
March 18, 2019

ATTENDANCE
Board of Education:  Irwin, Hoffman, Parkin, Pilato, Reilly, Whaley, Hoeing (by phone until 7:17)
Administration:  McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Hammond, Martin
Others: 9­ members of the public

CALL TO ORDER
Dr. Irwin called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the March 4, 2019 Special Board of Education Meeting. Reilly, Whaley, 5-0-2 (Hoffman, Hoeing, Abstain).

Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the March 5, 2019 Regular Board of Education Meeting. Reilly, Whaley, 7-0.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Jeanne Wendschuh, Deer Spring Rd., asked the Board to listen to the public comment at the March 14, 2019 public hearing and reinstate programmatic cuts.

Seana Bedard, Winding Brook Lane, echoed J. Wendschuh’s comments and advocated for small class sizes.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT

C. Pilato thanked. M. Irwin for the work that went into the public hearing presentation and expressed appreciation for incorporating her feedback.

H. Whaley noted that she heard a lot of fear on Thursday night and wants the public to know that the budget is not irresponsible and it is not a doomsday budget as written. She noted that no matter what happens tonight, Redding students will still receive an excellent education next year.

BUILDING ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
None.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION:  2019-2020 BUDGET

Dr. McMorran walked the Board through a proposal to use the $112,076 of unallocated funds to restore Spanish and one of the Redding Elementary School sections removed from the original proposal.  He also demonstrated a path to restoring both classroom sections that had been removed. (L. Hoeing arrived in person during the discussion at 7:17).

A lengthy discussion followed with the focus on acceptable class sizes, the efficacy of the Spanish program at Redding Elementary School, and the effect of various programmatic choices on the budget.

M. Irwin invited additional public comment:

Mike D’Agostino, Glen Hill Rd., commented about the history of Spanish at Redding Elementary School and suggested that if the program is saved that some benchmarks be established or reviewed to assess the extent to which it is meeting its original goals.

Steven Whittle, Overlook Lane, asked the Board to listen to the Superintendent and restore Spanish.  He referred to the Board’s mission statement and suggested that the original budget did not live up to that mission.  Moreover, he commented on the effect of letting materials reach and surpass their useable lifespan and the impact of ongoing deferment.

Chris Racette, Drummer Lane, encouraged the Board to reinvest the $112,000 back into programs.

Seana Bedard, Winding Brook Lane, commented on the value of Spanish at Redding Elementary School and the impact it has had on her first grader and even preschooler.  She again asked to keep classes small and expressed concern that issues in the BOS budget might contribute to problems getting the Board of Education budget passed.

Kristen Anstett, Whortleberry Rd., asked that the Board stay at a 4.69% increase, keep Spanish, and use any excess to reinvest in professional development or otherwise.  She noted that gifted and talented has been lost at John Read Middle School a number of years ago and was never restored, highlighting how hard it is to bring something back to life.

Motion: to recess for three minutes. Parkin, Whaley. Unanimous.

M. Irwin reconvened the meeting.

Additional discussion on the budget followed.

Motion: Move to amend the budget to be an increase of 4.44% ($22,067,447) and restore Spanish at Redding Elementary School. Whaley, Hoeing.

Additional brief discussion followed.

The question was called and the motion carried. Unanimous.

DISTRICT ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
None.

COMMITTEE REPORTS
None.

PUBLIC COMMENT
None.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT

L. Hoeing expressed concern regarding communicating the budget to the public. She also recounted a recent meeting with the founder of project adventure in Redding.

Dr. McMorran asked that as a community we bring out our best selves in discussion of the budget and keep the focus on the issues.

C. Parkin thanked the public who attended this meeting and the public hearing, especially the new faces.  He noted that an engaged community generally leads to the best outcomes.

L. Hoeing suggested a mailing to disseminate factual information about the budget.

C. Pilato noted that the Mark Twain Library will not take a position on the budget.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Hoffman, Reilly. Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.

Recorded and Submitted by
Chris Parkin, Redding Board of Education Secretary

 

 

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