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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education, 10/20/2015

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education

RECEIVED 10/21/2015 4:01pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Attendance: Region 9 Board of Education members: Colangelo, D’Agostino, Gombos, Hancock, Hocker, Johnston (7:51 pm), King, Lewis
Administration: McMorran, Sullivan, Pin, Pierson Ugol, Sheehy, Geraghty, and members of the Leadership team
Student Representative: Sarah Ferguson
Others: 15 members of the public and staff, representatives of the Redding Pilot/Easton Courier and Hello Redding, and the videographer

Mr. Hocker called the meeting of the Region 9 Board of Education to order at 7:30 pm in the Joel Barlow Media Center.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of the October 5, 2015 meeting as submitted. Approved. 6-0-1 abstained.  Mrs. Gombos abstained

Student Representative, Sarah Jorgensen, reported on student activities, athletic teams and school events. She noted that the Transition Dance for 8th graders was very well attended. Mr. Geraghty report 100 students attended the event.  The school musical, Shrek, is scheduled for November 19-21, and the Homecoming Dance is November 13, 2015.

Alexis Schachter, Barlow student: Ms. Schachter shared her experiences with travel agency Rustic Pathways, and added support for the proposed Spanish Immersion trip to Costa Rica.

Jeanne Wendschuh, Redding: Mrs. Wendschuh thanked the members of the Wrestling team who volunteered to help move books for the Mark Twain Library Book Fair.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education add to the agenda “Discussion and Possible Action on Head of School Search”, and move the Report from the Curriculum Committee to follow the Discussion of Draft June 30, 2015, Financial Statements. Gombos, Hancock. Approved. Unanimous.

Mr. Johnston arrived, 7:51 pm, during the discussion below.

Jennifer Mazzuoccolo of McGladrey presented the draft financial statements for review. She provided detail on the various statements and responded to questions.  The audit will be finalized and presented for acceptance at the November or December meetings.  Mr. King posed a number of questions and added that the Audit Committee is looking at the Student Activity Fund.

Mr. Lewis presented several items for review and action by the Board of Education.

  1. Course addition: Comparative World Religions: The course curriculum was described and board members expressed their concerns. There was some support for the course that would provide students the opportunity to look closely at religions of the world in the sophomore year. There was also concern about the teaching of the subject in a public school.
    Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve Comparative World Religions to the Barlow Program of Studies. Hancock, Colangelo. Motion failed on a tie vote: Voting for; King, Colangelo, Hancock, Hocker. Voting against; Lewis, Gombos, D’Agostino, Johnston.

  2. AP US Government & Politics: Mr. Lewis noted that the Curriculum Committee unanimously approved the addition of this course.
    Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the addition of AP US Government & Politics to the Barlow Program of Studies pending approval of the text book. Lewis, Gombos. Approved. Unanimous.
  3. Statistics & Probability:  this is a full year course for grades 10-12.
    Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the addition of Statistics & Probability to the Barlow Program of Studies. Lewis, Gombos. Approved. Unanimous.
  4. AP Computer Science Principles:  The curriculum for this course is still being developed.
    Motion: move that he Region 9 Board of Education approve the addition of AP Computer Science Principles, pending completion of curriculum and approval of the text book.  Lewis, Colangelo. Approved. Unanimous.

  5. AP Environmental Science:
    Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the addition of AP Environmental Science to the Barlow Program of Studies pending text book approval. Gombos, D’Agostino. Approved. Unanimous.

  6. Change in description of program, Computer Course: the addition of “coding” in the description of the course.
    Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the addition of “coding” to the description of the Computer course. Lewis, Hancock. Approved. Unanimous.
  7. Alternate high school concept: Mr. Lewis reported the Curriculum Committee discussed the proposal of an alternate high school concept and questioned where further review and discussion of the concept should be placed. Mrs. Pin noted that the proposal if for a cost effective alternative program that would provide more intensive support with an in-district program. There will be further information and presentation at the next meeting.


1.  Disney trip for Music program: This item was withdrawn.

2.  Costa Rica, Spanish Immersion trip: Teacher Andrea Rowland presented information on the trip to Costa Rica.       The trip, planned for April vacation, includes a language and cultural immersion for students studying Spanish. Rustic Pathways is coordinating the trip.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the Spanish Immersion Trip to Costa Rica as presented. Hancock, Lewis. Approved. 7-1. Mrs. Gombos voted against the motion.

Mrs. Pin presented an outline of strategies and steps to keep the school dances (Homecoming Dance, Prom, and Banquet) safe. The Easton Police Chief, Tim Shaw, and Redding Police Chief, Doug Fuchs, were both present for the discussion.  The Safe Dance Protocol included moving the Homecoming Dance to Friday, November 13, the night prior to the Homecoming Football Game, the sale of tickets to the event in advance, the hiring of an outside security company to monitor the restrooms for the duration of the event, an increase in faculty and staff chaperones, and an increase in education of students and parents on the importance of making good decisions, the safety of students and the ramifications of hosting a party when alcohol is present.  Mrs. Pin noted that use of a breathalyzer will be used if use is suspected.

Mrs. Pin presented the student performance data from the CAPT Test, Smarter Balanced Assessment, PSAT, ACT, and other tests. She explained how the data is analyzed and used to improve student performance.  The second part of the presentation will be made at the next board meeting.

Mrs. Sullivan provided information on the Region 9 Long Term Debt and Outstanding Short Term Notes. The current Short term note balance is $5,081,000, the anticipated pay down of 336,000, and the projected January 2016 balance of $4,745,000. Matt Spoerndle, the financing consultant, met prior to the meeting those present for the Financial Advisory Committee, and recommended short term financing for a 9-month period. This will allow time for the close out of the Roof Replacement Project.  At that point, the Board of Education can decide on how to proceed with the financing of the short term notes.   No action was taken at this time.

The Building Committee met prior to the meeting and approved the September invoice from Imperial Roofing. The only remaining work is a punchlist of five items. The Redding Building Inspector is scheduled to be onsite on Wednesday and Tremco will do an inspection next week.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the invoice from Imperial Roofing for September work for $16,510,000. Hancock, Colangelo. Approved. Unanimous.

Special Education Director, Patti Roszko, provided “A Guide to Special Education Terminology” and she highlighted the various acronyms used.

Mrs. Gombos requested additional annual financial information for outplacements over the past five years.

Principal’s Report: Mrs. Pin and members of the Leadership Team report on the following:

  • National Merit Scholarship Program: 8 students qualified for the honor
  • PSAT Testing, administered this week
  • New Choral teacher, Gwynne Wittmann
  • Tri-M Induction Ceremony, 14 students inducted
  • Senior Parent Coffee and discussion of college admission process
  • Fundraiser updates
  • Athletic update
  • Student Services update
  • Noteworthy News

Financials and Operation: Mrs. Sullivan reported on the following items:

  • Transfer Report for review
  • Snow removal contract, the bids for service have been received and will be reviewed with Mr. Czudak
  • Statewide Tabletop Emergency Exercise, Mrs. Sullivan is participant in this exercise on Wednesday.
  • Health Insurance Reserve:       Region 9 claims for September were down from July/August. The Easton Board of Education health claims have been unusually high and they are currently operating with a deficit and borrowing against the reserve funds of Region 9 and Redding. The Easton Board of Finance has been alerted of the condition.
  • Old Building Project closeout:       Mrs. Gombos asked about the final closeout of the old building project. Mrs. Sullivan reported that the final change orders have been submitted and she is waiting for a response from the State on those. The work on the closeout has been difficult due to the ever changing staff doing the work at the State level.

Assistant Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Pierson Ugol submitted a written report and highlighted the K-8 Professional Development Day on Singapore math by Dr. Yeap Ban Har. The parent presentation was videotaped and is available on the website for viewing. Dr. Yeap Ban Har will return to the district in April for a follow-up session.

Dr. Pierson Ugol also reported on two large study groups: one is a grading study at the middle school level with a goal of aligning the grading standards. The other is a K-12 SRBI study to review how support is being provided to students at every level.

Superintendent’s Report: Dr. McMorran commented on the amount and complexity of work being done by staff at the Central Office.  Much of the work is the result of additional demands by the State for reports, accounting, etc.  He recognized Mrs. Sullivan and Vicki Cram for their diligence and efforts to keep things moving, adding that Mrs. Cram frequently puts in 10-12 hours per day to accomplish the required work.

Policy Committee: Mr. Hancock reported the Policy Committee has just begun work on a number of policies that are being revised to meet State standards.

Pension Committee: Mr. King reported that the next meeting has been scheduled for October 26, 2015.

Technology: Mr. Johnston reported the Technology Plan has been updated and will be shared with the board at the next meeting.

Kate Fletcher, Redding: Mrs. Fletcher asked the Board of Education to look further at the number of outplacements and due process filings.  She suggested the Board review the report Dr. Pitkoff did for Redding’s special education program.  She also questioned why an alternative high school was being considered, and asked that the root cause for the number of students being outplaced be examined.

Jeanne Wendschuh, Redding: Mrs. Wendschuh expressed concern for the number of hours being worked by Mrs. Cram, suggested a look at the work load and capacity, and a way to avoid burn-out.

The Region 9 Board of Education recessed to discuss the Head of School Search process. Dr. McMorran and Dr. Pierson Ugol were invited to be present.

The meeting recessed at 10:19 pm.

Motion: move that the meeting be adjourned. D’Agostino, King. Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55pm.


Submitted by Catherine Gombos, Region 9 Board of Education Secretary


Recorded by Mary Maday

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