Filed Subject to Approval
Region 9 Board of Education Meeting
January 26, 2017
Board of Education: D’Agostino, Gombos, Hancock, Hocker, Coppinger, Johnston, Sobel
Administration: McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Pin, Desmarais, McTague, Roszko
Student Representative: Maha Ulhaq
Others: One member of the public
Mr. Hancock called the meeting to order at 7:39 p.m.
Maha Ulhaq reported on various accomplishments, upcoming events and awards received by Joel Barlow students including;
The student Coffee House to be held on February 3, 2017
Lia Spear, selected as the News 12 Scholar Athlete of the Week
Grades will be posted on January 27, 2017 on the Portal
Ms. Gombos suggested that in the future the Administration let students know the portal schedule prior to exams, to relieve unnecessary stress from checking the portal before grades are released.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education add item to approve the Minutes from December 15, 2016, meeting to section III of the agenda. Coppinger, D’Agostino. Approved. Sobel abstained.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the minutes of the regular meeting held on December 15, 2016, as submitted (with noted spelling changes). Gombos, D’Agostino. Approved. Sobel abstained.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the minutes of the special meeting held on December 15, 2016, as submitted (with notation that there was a discussion by the Board following applicant firms’ presentations). Gombos, Hocker. Approved. Sobel abstained.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Ms. Sobel was warmly welcomed to the Board by its members.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education add agenda item VI. D. Discussion of 2017/2018 School Calendar and Calendar Committee. D’Agostino, Coppinger. Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION
A. Possible New Programs/Initiatives:
Ms. Pin referenced a handout regarding 2017-2018 Initiatives and Possible Budget Impact as of January 17, 2017. She highlighted these five plans and their possible budget impact:
1. Summer Academy: Self-funding, no budgetary impact expected
2. Harvard Leadership Summer Institute: Approximately $6,500
3. SchoolDude Upgrade: As an add on to our current plan: Initial Setup fee of $30,000 and $1,000 yearly fee
4. Library/ Learning Commons Design Phase Two: Searching for grants and funding opportunities
5. Schedule Redesign Plan for 2018-2019 School Year: still in planning phase, if decided to proceed, BOE Curriculum Committee may meet in Spring for a first look at any changes to current schedule
Mr. Hocker thanked Ms. Pin for her foresight in the execution of this plan. Mr. Johnston asked for a sample Capital Plan. Ms. Gombos requested a list of efficiencies gained from the SchoolDude upgrade from other districts that have made the investment.
B. Update on Security Cameras, Developing RFP:
Mr. D’Agostino announced that an RFP is being discussed for updating the security cameras. The Facilities and Fields Committee is looking into replacing non-working cameras to upgrade the surveillance systems. The Committee recommends getting outside expert advice before moving forward with an actual design and RFP. This is not a full security review, but it will address surveillance issues.
Ms. Gombos relayed that the estimated expense is slated at $84,040, so someone with broader experience is worth bringing in to look at the expensive project.
C. Capital Plan Update:
Mr. D’Agostino asked that the Board reference the proposed Capital Plan handout. He noted that the plan is the same as the one previously presented to the Board in July of 2015, with the addition of the security improvements mentioned in above section B. In the future, all JBHS Capital Plans will include a column stating the Capital Reserve Fund Balance.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the Proposed Capital Plan as stated. D’Agostino, Gombos. Approved. Unanimous.
D. 2017/2018 School Calendar:
Mr. D’Agostino reported that the Calendar Committee had met and recommends for approval, the distributed 2017-2018 school year calendar (which closely mirrors the current 2016-2017 calendar). He mentioned that the State recommends that the Board follow the Regional School Calendar based off the CES Calendar. This allows our district five flex days that are independent from the Regional Calendar.
Mr. D’Agostino requested that in the future the Board have the opportunity to closely monitor any Professional Development half days, to best streamline the schedule to maximize cost savings. The Board discussed the current usage and frequency of the eight, half-a-day PD days. Dr. Pierson Ugol noted that no days have been added this year. There are no full day PD days in the Region 9 calendar. Staff-days are contractual, PD days are not. PD days are added to the calendar in the Spring. Ms. Pin said she would have dates to the Board by May. The Board requested that there be greater coordination for PD days to save on cost and reduce learning interruptions. Mr. D’Agostino asked for a report on the reasoning and frequencies of why teaches were pulled from classes, due by end of year.
Director of Finance & Operations: In Mr. Lagas’ absence, Ms. Pin presented the transfer report. The Board appreciated the additional detail added to this report as had requested at the last meeting. The total transferred was $3,250.00. Mr. Coppinger requested electronic copies moving forward. Ms. Pin stated that Mr. Lagas would field any specific questions at the next meeting. In Mr. Lagas’ absence, Dr. McMorran briefly reported that the health insurance claims as a total were down. The Reserve Fund Balance is currently $633,487, which is positive. There was a high rate of deposits in December due to retroactive retiree activity. Ms. Gombos requested that at the next meeting the Board be presented with the Central Office’s Health Insurance Analysis. Regarding the overall budget, Mr. Coppinger asked why student transportation was over-budget. Ms. Roszko replied that it was due to two additional students requiring outplacement.
Head of School: Ms. Pin asked the Board to refer to the circulated Administrative Report with special focus on updated Attendance Data. Mr. D’Agostino requested a current “Lewis Report” from Ms. Pin.
Special Services: Ms. Roszko referred to the handout she provided on student services update. She noted that outplacement was up by two students. Overall special education student numbers were down from 120 to 115. A total of 18 students with significant education needs would be entering the school next year, and finally she asked that the Board review the Age-Out Projections in the handout.
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 the time concerns in the area of Science were at the elementary level. There will be one upcoming year at JBHS where students are not tested in science by the State. Ms. Gombos noted that she felt it was unfair to test students in science late in their HS career because there was no opportunity for change or improvement. She said that those scores only aided the system and not the student.
Superintendent of Schools: Dr. McMorran brought to the Board’s attention a possible change in the educational requirements placed on the school upon student expulsion. Currently, if a student is expelled permanently, the school must provide two hours of off-site instruction per day. The state could potentially vote to change this to five hours per day in the upcoming school year. Dr. McMorran noted that this effort is being debated and lobbied at the State level. Due to the severe impact this could have fiscally, Dr. McMorran ask that the Board consider this when finalizing the budget this spring. Ms. Gombos asked the Administration if this was a surprise, because it was the first time the Board had heard of the proposed change.
BOARD OF EDUCATION COMMITTEE REPORTS
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Mr. Johnston asked Dr. Pierson Ugol for more information as to why the schools science scores are rather low.
Ms. Sobel commended the level of detailing in the Special Education Report.
Mr. Coppinger asked that the Administration review and improve the current Document Policy.
Mr. Hocker noted that he feels that State mandates do not often take into consideration the reality of the system and do not acknowledge and reward actions taken by the District.
Ms. Gombos expressed concern that pay level of the HR position at Central Office may be increased to the level of an Assistant Principal, but was not in tandem with the caliber of background requirements of such a post. She stated that the position requirements should be as equal as possible to that of an Assistant Principal position, if the intention is to level the salary of the HR position to the level of an Assistant Principal.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Hancock, Coppinger. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.
Catherine Gombos, Secretary