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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education, 10/25/2016

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education

RECEIVED 11/02/2016 10:18am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

October 25, 2016

Attendance:  Region 9 Board of Education members – Coppinger, D’Agostino, Gombos, Hancock, Hocker, Lewis
Administration:  McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Sullivan, Pin, Desmarais, McTague, Roszko
Student Representative:  Maha Ulhaq
Others:  7 members of the public, students and staff, representatives of The Redding Pilot and Easton Courier, and the videographer.

Mr. Hancock called the meeting to order at 7:34 pm.

Motion: move to add an Executive Session for the Purpose of Evaluating an Employee, Superintendent Tom McMorran, at the end of the meeting following Public Comment.  Lewis, Hocker.  Approved.  Unanimous.

Motion:  Move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of the September 20, 2016 meeting as submitted.  Coppinger, D’Agostino.  Approved. 5-1.  Mr. Coppinger abstained.

Student representative, Maha Ulhaq, reported on the recent regional tournament for the Connecticut Debate Association which was hosted by Barlow on October 15, 2016.  Barlow sent two teams of four students each to compete at the 19th annual Yale Physics Olympics on October 15.  One of the Barlow teams won the event, “Ole Mississippi River”.  The other team placed third in the event “Hole in One”.  Barlow’s robotics team will be mentoring a new First Lego League team for ages 9-16.  Upcoming events include the dedication of the portrait of Joel Barlow by local artist Henry Egan on October 27, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., the Homecoming Game vs. Bunnell and the Homecoming dance on November 5, and the Veterans’ Day Celebration on November 11th.

Mrs. Pin introduced three Barlow students, Meghan Cormier and Riley D’Agostino, who represented a Barlow club which raises funds and donations for PAWS for a Cause, and Gabby Colangelo, who represented a community improv group, Troupe du Jour. They teamed to raise funds a for a Barlow student who was a member of both groups, Wyatt Hoover, who needs a kidney transplant.  All proceeds from the event called “Laugh Riot for Wyatt” were given to the Hoover family to help with his medical expenses.



A.  School District Cost Comparisons – discussion tabled because Board representative not present.

B.  Bond Counsel Request for Proposal Process: Sullivan provided the Board with a draft of the RFP for Bond Counsel, a list of Bond Counsels in State of CT, and best practices for selection of Bond Counsel.  She proposed a timeline to publish the RFP tomorrow, review the bids on November 11th, and present for approval at the next Board meeting.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the draft of the Request for Proposal for Bond Counsel and the process as presented.  Coppinger, Hocker.  Approved.  Unanimous. 

 There will be a two-person committee of the Board to review the bids and make a recommendation to the Board.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education establish a temporary sub-committee of two Board members to be named later to review the RFPs for Bond Counsel and work with the superintendent and/or his designee to make a recommendation on a new Bond Counsel to the Board.  Lewis, D’Agostino.  Approved.  Unanimous. 

C.  Report on End-of-Year Unspent Funding: Mrs. Sullivan reported on the $79,652 remaining balance in the 2015-2016 operating budget and her recommendation that it be transferred to the Capital Reserve Fund.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education transfer the $79,652 unspent funds from the 2015-2016 operating budget to the Capital Reserve Fund.  Hocker, Lewis.  Approved.  Unanimous.

D.  Transfer Request – Special Education: Sullivan explained that funds had been approved in the budget to hire an outside part-time nurse for Special Education in the Other Professional Services budget line (1200-330).  The services did not work out and the administration would like to hire a part-time nurse to service Special Education. She requested that funds be transferred from the Other Professional Services account to the Non-Certified Salary Account (1200-112).  Mrs. Gombos stated that the Board should first discuss and consider adding the position.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education add an employee position, a part-time nurse in the Special Education Department subject to consultation with the Non-Certified Bargaining Unit.  Lewis, Hocker.  Approved. 5-1.  Mrs. Gombos voted no.

Mrs. Roszko reported it is anticipated it will cost less to have someone on staff.  Anticipated salary will be ~$25,000 for a part-time nurse for 25 hours per week.  The position would not be eligible for benefits and is student-specific.  Mrs. Gombos expressed that the employee would be a member of the non-certified bargaining unit and there should be discussion with the collective bargaining unit.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the transfer of $25,514 from the Professional Services account to the Non-Certified Salary accounts.   Lewis, Hocker.  Approved.  5-1.  Mrs. Gombos voted no.

E.  2016 Student Performance Data, Part I: Pin gave a presentation on Student Performance Data relative to the following assessments:  the CAPT, the PSAT, the SAT, and the ACT.  The presentation will be posted on the Website.

Mr. D’Agostino expressed his concern about the math scores.  Mr. Lewis stated that he thought the SATs seem to reflect where Barlow has always been.  Mr. Hancock expressed his appreciation that administration is on top of this data, both the bad and the good.

F.  Policies for Review – First Reading: McMorran presented five policies to the Board members for first reading.  Some are the result of new state legislation.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the following five policies for first reading – 6153.1 Instructional – Education Tours; 5141.7, Students – Student Sports and Concussions; 3152 Business/Non-Instructional Operations – Spending Public Funds for Advocacy; 3520.11 Business/Non-Instructional Operations – Electronic Information Security; and 3520.12 Business/Non-Instructional Operations – Data-Based Information Management Systems.  Gombos, Coppinger.  Approved.  Unanimous.

Head of School: Mrs. Pin reported on teacher absences for August 30 through September 30, 2016.  She also reported that the Barlow leadership team attended a recent Tri-State consultancy visit at the Easton and Redding middle schools.  The National Wildlife Federation has recognized Barlow’s butterfly garden. This is the result of Dr. Nuzzo’s work with Barlow students. The garden is located on the path to the stadium.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction:  Dr. Pierson Ugol reported on the Tri-State Consortium’s three-day visit to the Easton and Redding middle schools in October. There was a Data Team for Learning in-district workshop for K-12 teachers today facilitated by the Leadership and Learning Center.  The grade 6 through 12 participants focused on math.  A follow-up session is scheduled for December.  Goal will be to form data teams in each school that will examine the performance and progress of all students.  There was discussion about building in common K-12 full-day professional development days in future calendars rather than pull teachers from the classroom.

Director of Finance & Operations:  Mrs. Sullivan reported on the recent bond sale.  Total bond issuance was $4,830,000.  The rate was 1.92%.  Costs totaled $46,950.44 broken down as follows:  $1,072 legal advertisement; $4,000 Union Savings Bank transfer agent; $11,000 S&P Global for analytical services; $18,250 Phoenix Advisors professional services; $12,628.44 Day Pitney legal services.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve a payment of  $46,950.44 to be allocated as indicated for bond sale.  Coppinger, Hocker.  Approved.  Unanimous.

Health insurance claims were $124,000 for the month of September.  Claims are also running low in Easton.  Apportionment for 2017-2018 budget will be 53.5% to Redding; 46.5 to Easton based on total number of students of 942.  Student count does not include non-resident students, Project Choice students, or out-placed students.  Mrs. Gombos stated that out-placed students should be counted because they are residents of either Easton or Redding.

Mrs. Sullivan also reported on the new state legislation pertaining to background checks on new employees and every five years on substitutes.

Superintendent of Schools:  Dr. McMorran reported on 38 state mandated training requirements enacted since 2010.  Educational groups such as CABE and CAPSS are approaching the state for relief from these mandates.  Regional superintendents are meeting with state legislators tomorrow to discuss other legislation that allows  the Bridgeport School District to charge the local school district for tuition costs for students who decide to attend their magnet schools (such as Fairchild Wheeler).

Special Education:  Mrs. Roszko discussed the data report on students receiving special education services.

Evaluation Committee:  Mr. Lewis stated that the Board would be discussing the evaluation of the superintendent during the Executive Session.

Insurance Committee:  Mrs. Gombos reported that the tri-district Insurance Committee had interviewed three firms and recommends that the Boards hire Brown & Brown.  Among other municipalities, Brown & Brown has been the Town of Easton’s advisor.  They offer a number of educational seminars and resources that will be helpful to the human resources department.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve, as recommended by the tri-district Insurance Committee, the hiring of Brown & Brown as insurance advisor for the next 18 months.  Gombos, D’Agostino.  Approved.  Unanimous.

Pension Committee:  Mr. Coppinger reported that the committee met last night for the quarterly review.

Financial Advisory Committee:  Mr. Coppinger recommends that the Financial Advisory Committee be ended.

Motion:  move that the Financial Advisory Committee be disbanded.  Coppinger, Lewis.  Motion was withdrawn.

Mr. Hocker stated that he felt this topic should be on a future agenda rather than be addressed in Board Committee Reports. Another committee that should be addressed is the Communications Committee which has not met in some time.

Mrs. Gombos explained that the committee had been formed at a time when there was very little trust among the public about this Board’s ability to handle its finances. There were criticisms from Easton and Redding’s Boards of Finance.  It was pointed out that there are some outstanding issues, especially the result of the state audit on the building project.  She stated she would not support disbanding the Financial Advisory Committee at this time.

Mr. Coppinger stated that he was also on the Board at the time the committee was formed and thought it was a terrible idea then.  He stated the Easton Board of Finance does not want any part of the committee.

It was decided to add this as an agenda item for the December Board meeting following receipt of the state audit report on the building project.

Mr. D’Agostino stated that there was not a quorum at the last Policy Committee meeting.

Mr. D’Agostino reported that the committee met prior to the Board meeting and received updates on the Capital Plan.  Administration is asking the Board to consider adding sidewalks to the paving project.  There was also a request from administration on an updated security system involving cameras for which the committee asked for greater detail.

Dana Grey, Lamppost Drive, Redding:  Commended Gina Pin on her data report.  She also asked a question on the bonding process.

Motion:  move to Executive Session to discuss the evaluation of the Superintendent of Schools, Tom McMorran.  Lewis, Hocker.  Approved. Unanimous.

Dr. McMorran waived his right to a public session and was asked to wait while the Board members met with the possibility that he would be invited into the session.

The meeting recessed at 9:49 pm.

The Chair reconvened the meeting to public session at 10:30 pm.

Motion:  move that the Board authorizes the chair to deliver the Board’s evaluation of the Superintendent of Schools as discussed in Executive Session via email and has extended the Superintendent’s contract by one year, resulting in a 3-year contract.  Lewis, Gombos, Approved. Unanimous. 

Motion:  move to adjourn the meeting.  Lewis, Hocker.  Approved.  Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 10:35 pm.

Submitted by Catherine Gombos, Region 9 Board of Education Secretary
Recorded by Vicki Cram