REGION 9 BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
June 22, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Held Remotely Pursuant to Executive Order No. 7B
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Meeting ID: 95507548885 – Passcode: 740833
Board members: Johnston, Graziano, D’Agostino, Denny, O’Brien, Pampel, Williams
Administration: Harrison, Pierson Ugol, Zachery
Others: 14 members of the staff and public, and the recording secretary.
CALL TO ORDER
T. Johnston called the Region 9 Board of Education Regular meeting to order at 7:38 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of the Region 9 Annual District Meeting on May 3, 2021, the Region 9 Regular Meeting on May 18, 2021, the ER9 Joint Boards of Education Regular Meeting on May 25, 2021, and the ER9 Joint Boards of Education Special Meeting on June 1, 2021 meeting with the two revisions of: the May 18, 2021 meeting, page 3, should read “DBT,” and the May 25, 2021 meeting, pages 5 and 6, the spelling should read “Maryann Carman,” and “Agnes Bebon.” (O’Brien, Williams). Approved. 7-0.
Dana Benson, Pond Road, Easton, said he strongly suggests that Central Office find a different methodology to put out the DEI survey so that the integrity of the data is not destroyed.
Suzanne Krivit, Blackrock Turnpike, Redding, said that the June 16 graduation was the most lovely, beautiful graduation she’s ever seen. She said that she watched the recordings of the Tri-Board meetings and that she was impressed by the elected BOE members.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
M. Williams said she agrees wholeheartedly about the graduation. She said that these BOEs work well together and make decisions together, and even if they don’t always agree with one another, they all get behind decisions that the BOEs have made.
C. Graziano said she echoes what M. Williams said, and that the public can always get in touch with any BOE member with their questions and concerns.
M. D’Agostino thanked M. Williams and C. Graziano for their comments and said that he agrees with what they said.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Rydell Harrison, introduced consultants Kerry Lord and Patrice Nelson, from the Connecticut Center for School Change, who shared a lengthy report on their preliminary results of the Equity Audit. They explained what an equity audit entails and what data is included in the audit, saying that their equity audit focused on school and district policies and practices, and the high school curriculum and program participation. Their report included key findings related to achievement, participation, attendance and discipline among the demographics at JBHS. Both consultants said that there are wonderful opportunities for success at JBHS and that the District has a lot with which to work.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education add Agenda Item VII. A. Equity Audit and move existing Agenda Items down in the Agenda. (D’Agostino, Graziano). Approved. 7-0.
Director of Finance & Operations, Clarence Zachery, said that his Budget Object Summary and Health Reserve Fund reports will be saved for later in the meeting. C. Zachery reported on transfers, saying that there was nothing out of the norm.
Curriculum Committee: C. Graziano reported that the administration had updated the summer reading list for students and that it is a larger list that provides a great amount of choice for students. She said that this list is posted on the JBHS website.
Audit Committee: C. Graziano reported that the Committee met in May, and as a result, there is an agenda item on tonight’s agenda.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: EQUITY AUDIT
Several BOE members asked questions of K. Lord and P. Nelson, and an extended conversation followed that included: the Asian student population numbers and participation; why use student government numbers as they are small; the National Honor Society numbers; processes; the separation of categories; data received from JBHS to the consultants; and, next steps and timetable. K. Lord and P. Nelson said that the next part of their work will be completed on June 30, 2021.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: RECOGNITION OF RETIRING FACULTY
Agenda item was tabled until the next Region 9 BOE meeting.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: APPROVAL OF CHEMISTRY TEXTBOOK
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education adopt the textbook Introduction Chemistry (Tro, Sixth Edition) as recommended by the administration. (Graziano, O’Brien). Approved. 7-0.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: POSSIBLE SOLAR MAP PROJECT FOR JBHS
Representatives from Connecticut Green Bank, Emily Basham, Mackey Dykes and Allen Sabins, presented a plan for JBHS to participate in the Solar Map Municipal Assistance Program. E. Basham said that the Town of Redding is behind the project and that agreeing to move forward tonight does not mean that the District is committed to the project. M. Dykes showed a map of the JBHS building with solar panels and said that 85% of annual usage would be covered with the solar panels. BOE members commented on the failing condition of the roof on the building and questioned whether this project is suitable for the current moment in time.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education move forward with the inspection of the roof and move forward with the project with CT Green Bank. (O’Brien, Graziano). Failed. 2-4.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: SUMMER CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS AND GOVERNANCE
M. D’Agostino reported that the JBHS HVAC and Gym Safety Project is moving forward and on schedule. He said that equipment has been ordered, the town has been notified, for a two-to-three week period there will be no air conditioning in the building. M. D’Agostino said that there will be a Building Committee formed which will meet weekly.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: START OF SCHOOL YEAR PREPARATIONS AND POTENTIAL PURCHASES
C. Zachery said that he had not been notified by the school of anything for this topic.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: FINALIZE 2020-2021 UNEXPENDED FUNDS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR
C. Zachery reported that it had been a fantastic year in terms of healthcare claims and that there is currently $238K in the reserve fund. He said that if funds are moved over from the 270-271 lines, then the reserve fund will be at where it was at the beginning of the year. C. Zachery reported that after contractual obligations, payroll, payouts, food services, transportation and professional services, there is $593,063.16 in unspent funds for the year. A lengthy discussion followed concerning: the Health Reserve Fund, with consideration given to outstanding claims and an acceptable balance to maintain; Capital Reserve Fund, with consideration given to maximum amount of allocation allowed and balance after summer projects; and, Pension Fund, with consideration given to possible allocation, current stock market performance and historical allocations to this fund.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education allocate from 2020-2021 unspent funds: $100,000 to the Pension Fund and 10% of the 2019-2020 operating budget (approximately $241,331) to the Capital Reserve Fund. (D’Agostino, Graziano). Approved. 6-0.
It was concluded that once all final invoices and health claims are paid, then an amount to be returned to the towns and an amount to be transferred to the health reserve fund can be decided upon.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: RETURN OF 2019-2020 FUNDS TO TOWNS
C. Graziano said that a recent audit by the State discovered that $93,230.37 needed to go back to the towns and that there was no other option for these funds.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education return $93,230.37 of unspent funds from 2019-2020 fiscal year to the Towns of Easton and Redding, and instruct the Director of Finance & Operations to return the funds using the enrollment figures of 2018-2019 to determine the allocation to the towns. (D’Agostino, Denny). Approved. 6-0.
Dana Benson, Pond Road, Easton, said that it is remarkably complex what you go through and that some of the results of the Equity Audit are common sense. He said that he strongly urges that the survey holes be fixed so that the methodology is not attacked.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education Regular meeting be adjourned. (D’Agostino, O’Brien). Approved. 6-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:53 p.m.
Todd Johnston, Region 9 Board of Education Chairman