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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education, 12/15/2016

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education

RECEIVED 12/19/2016 4:56pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Region 9 Board of Education Meeting
December 15, 2016

Board of Education: D’Agostino, Gombos, Hancock, Hocker, King, Coppinger, Johnston
Administration: McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Sullivan, Pin
Student Representative: Nahah Ulhaq
Others: Approximately 4 staff and other members of the public.

Mr. Hancock called the meeting to order at 7:40 pm.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education move agenda item VI:E to before item VI:A and to add agenda item VI:H, regarding consideration and acceptance of a gift. Gombos, King. Approved. Unanimous.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the minutes of the regular meeting held on November 15, 2016, as submitted. Gombos, Coppinger. Approved. Johnston and Coppinger abstained.

Nahah Ulhaq reported on various accomplishments and awards received by Region 9 students including;
• 10 students selected for the Connecticut Music Educator’s Association Western Region Honor Ensembles (held 1/14/17): Allison Brown, Noah Sobel, Sophie Bacas, Nikolas Brannan, Riley D’Agostino, Alexander Darlington, Anastasia Koorn, Carly Monson, Nic Morris, Joseph Redmond
• Anatasia Koorn was selected for the National Association for Music Education’s All-Eastern Mixed Voice Honor Choir (to perform 4/8/17)
• On December 3, 2016, 11 students participated in the Connecticut Drama Association’s Monologue Competition under the direction of Ms. Canova. Barlow received 5 of the 12 awards given
• Poetry Out Loud semi-finalists are Heidi Hoffman, Madalyn Migliorino, Mackenzie Lynch, Nicole Kearney, Elizabeth Hayman and Tim Tamallanca. Finals will be held 12/20/16
• Additional Barlow athletes named to the All-State teams:
o Alana Foodman
o Monica Koubeck
o Lia Spear
o Kayla Crosby
• Briana Marcelino was News 12 Scholar Athlete of the Week
• Jack Powers’ poem “Perfectly Good Shoes” appears in the December issue of Verse-Virtual at

Dylan Tonken, Redding: Mr. Tonken, a current Barlow Senior, asked that the Board consider ways to insure a potential self-directed play he wishes to conduct at JBHS. Dylan would acquire the rights to the play “Almost Main” through donations, but would require an insurance policy for the production. He asked that the Board aid him in attaining the proper insurance to comply with regulations. Ms. Sullivan agreed to look into it.

Ms. Gombos requested that the Board actively pursue an answer for Dylan Tonken’s request and commended his pursuit. Mr. D’Agostino also advocated for him.
Mr. D’Agostino made a request, as he stated, for the fourth time, that the Honor Roll be published in the local newspaper as a means to support, recognize and encourage all student accomplishments. He noted that grades came out on November 10, 2016, and there has yet to be a mention of honor roll students in the paper. Ms. Pin stated that the grades were supplied to the paper and she will follow up on the process.

Mr. Coppinger asked that the Board receive notification on Mr. Tonken’s request before the Winter Break.

A. Writing Center Data and Initiatives
Ms. Pin introduced Mt. Tim Huminski, Director of the Writing Center. Mr. Huminski presented to the Board on the growth and accomplishments of the Writing Center. He noted:
• Attendance increases every year
• See up to 200 students per day
• Using a new online appointment platform
• Performing 8th grade early intervention strategies to assist students in transition to High School
• Added a Portfolio Specialist to supplement the center during peak times
• Seen growth in students who utilize the center
• Popularity of Summer Workshops

Going forward, the Writing Center will focus on extending interdisciplinary outreach and using curriculum time to build and develop writing rubrics for grades 9-12 across disciplines. Ms. Gombos requested that an early announcement of Summer Workshops be provided to the community.

B. Enrollment Projections 2017-2018:
Dr. Thomas McMorran gave a presentation on Region 9 Public Schools Enrollment Projections to 2026, a study by Peter M. Prowda, Ph.D. It is anticipated that the enrollment decline will eventually even off at approximately 800 students. It was noted that it may be necessary to move some current full time positions to part-time positions to accommodate the student population decrease. Dr. McMorran urged the Board to resist from tying any future budget directly to enrollment projections as they do not correlate in a manner that allows for the two figures to be unequivocally tied.

Evidence-Based Budgeting for Effective School Strategies:
Dr. McMorran discussed how the Administration will organize their budget presentation into the examination of six sections of the budgets. This will allow for greater understanding of each component. Dr. McMorran noted that this preliminary information is intended to serve as general information for the Board to reflect upon before a budget is reached. The six sections are as follows:
1. General Instruction
2. Special Education, Speech Services, Special Services and Psychological Services
3. Operations and Management of Physical Plant, Student Transportation, Technology Plan, Ed. Media Services, Health Services and Food Services
4. School Administration, Central Office Administration, Board of Education, Debt Service, Fund Transfers
5. Magnet School, Curriculum & Instruction, Humanities, STEM, Industrial Technology, Integrated Language Arts, PE/Health, Guidance, and Kindergarten
6. Student Activities Athletic and Student Activities Co-Curricular

Ms. Gombos requested more information on potential budgeting matters concerning incoming students with special needs. Mr. Johnston also requested this information, so that they may plan for any expenses early on. Ms. Gombos asked that for future consideration the budget be more specific so the Board can be certain that all transfers are discussed and approved accordingly.

C. 2017 Board of Education Meeting Schedule

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the 2017 Proposed Meeting Schedule with the following change:
• Addition of a Regular Meeting on August 31, 2017
D’Agostino, Coppinger. Approved. Unanimous.

D. Disbanding and/or changing the charge of the Financial Advisory Committee

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education disband the Financial Advisory Committee. Coppinger, King. Approved. 5-1-0. Gombos Against.

E. Request for Attendance of Non-AFS Foreign Exchange Students, Policy 5111(c) 3(b)

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept an exchange student from Germany for study at Joel Barlow during 2-17-18 school year per Policy 5111 (c) 3(b). Hancock, Coppinger. Approved. Unanimous.

F. Appointment of Bond Counsel

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the hiring of the firm Updike, Kelly & Splacy as Bond Counsel. Gombos, Johnston. Approved. Unanimous.

G. Acceptance of the June 30, 2016 Audited Financial Statements

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the June 30, 2016, Audited Financial Statements. King, Johnston. Approved. Unanimous.

H. Acceptance of Gift from Lockheed Martin

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept a $2000.00 USD donation from Lockheed Martin to the Robotics Team. Gombos, Coppinger. Approved. Unanimous.

Head of School: Ms. Pin reported on Joel Barlow High School’s NICHE Rating, which was positive. She then recognized the Barlow students who were honored by the Michaels’ Cup Sportsmanship Award. Ms. Pin also noted the popularity of the AP Environmental Science Class, and pointed out that it is the only AP class for 23 of the students enrolled in it.

Special Services: Ms. Pin referred to the handout on student services update. Mr. Hocker noted that it is much easier to understand than prior reports. Ms. Pin asked for suggestions from the Board on how to make the reports easier to follow.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction: Dr. Pierson Ugol referred the Board to her written report which includes information on Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. There are also tables with details about professional development and District meetings. She noted that they are in the process of revising 8th grade writing portfolio curriculum to allow for a smoother transition to High School. They are aiming to align the 8th grade standards more to the 11th grade standards to better prepare students.

Director of Finance & Operations: Ms. Sullivan stated that the health insurance claims as a total were down. She mentioned that she had met with the firm Brown & Brown to prepare for upcoming teacher negotiations. Ms. Sullivan noted that the calculations that have been historically used to determine apportionment were correct according to State Statute. The largest amount in the transfer report provided to the board was $9,500 for well repairs. In her Object Summary Sullivan noted that they had not overspent. The Building Project Audit has begun but is moving slower than anticipated. There is currently no timeline for completion.

Ms. Sullivan reported on her research of payroll outsourcing. She referred to the Memorandum distributed to the Board. She received quotes for services from three companies. She noted some potential complications with outsourcing such as a lack of interface between software, and the multitude of unseen costs not included in the quotes from Paychex, Ceridian or ADP. If outsourced, Region 9 would still need to employ a Payroll staffer, and it was noted that there are complexities to the Regions needs that may not be met with an outside company. Ms. Gombos stated that she still believes there is room for savings and that further investigation may be helpful.

Mr. D’Agostino asked for more detailed information on the budget transfer report.

Ms. Gombos asked that the Facility and Fields Committee review all Maintenance Contracts.

Superintendent of Schools: Dr. McMorran thanked Ms. Sullivan for her service, dedication and the high standards she brought to the School System. He then discussed the hiring of an interim Director of Finance. The process of hiring requires the formation of a committee, vetting finalists and deciding on a person to fill the position. Dr. McMorran has posted the job and has interviews scheduled. He is aiming to make a hire so he interim position will overlap with Ms. Sullivan for training purposes. The Board agreed that they do not need final approval on the hiring of the interim position.

Policy Committee: Mr. D’Agostino noted that the committee is looking to review policies in sequential order in the future. They are planning on developing a cycle plan to prevent a log jam. During Budget Season the Committee aims to focus solely on Budget, and to put Policy on hold. Ms. Gombos suggested consideration of a Special Board Meeting to get caught up on review of policy to prevent further delay.

Calendar Committee: Mr. D’Agostino reported on a new proposed calendar presented at the Tri-Board meeting. The committee is working on solutions to aim to further comply with the Unified State Calendar.


Mr. Hancock and Mr. King thanked Ms. Sullivan for her dedicated service.

Mr. Coppinger thanked Ms. Sullivan and Mr. Lewis for their service.

The regular meeting was recessed at 10:20 p.m. to Executive Session.

Dr. McMorran and Mrs. Pin were invited into the Executive Session.

The Chair reconvened the meeting to public session at 10:58pm.

Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Coppinger, Johnston. Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 10:59 pm.

Submitted by Catherine Gombos, Secretary
Recorded by Elise Cavanaugh