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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education Emergency Meeting, 03/20/2020

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education Emergency Meeting

RECEIVED 03/24/2020 10:25am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Virtual Meeting via Zoom
March 20, 2020 – 5:00 p.m.

Board members: T. Johnston, C. Graziano, M. D’Agostino, J. Berry, K. O’Brien, M. Pampel,
M. Williams
Administration: T. McMorran, G. Pin
Member of Public: Christine DiDomenico

T. Johnston called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.


Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the Memorandum of Agreement with the Joel Barlow Education Association regarding distance learning during the COVID-19 emergency (Graziano, O’Brien). Approved. Unanimous.

Dr. McMorran discussed that our lawyers prepared the language in the MOA. The initial draft was with language from JBEA. The one prepared by our lawyers was the counter due to the fact that the closure may extend for a longer duration than initially proposed.

Dr. McMorran discussed item 10 which pertained to paid coaches and extracurricular supervisors. If the position was long standing or in progress, then stipend will be paid. If the position is not filled yet, it will not be posted. The stipend will be for a service and those people will be expected to provide a virtual service such as videos for conditioning or strategies for sports.

Dr. McMorran discussed extraordinary circumstances that may require additional pay. This would be if a teacher needed to be paid to cover a 6th class if another teacher needs to take an extended leave.

Ms. Graziano inquired about IEP coverage and zoom technology. Dr. McMorran replied that during the first week of online learning, teachers would not be using live video platforms. He said that perhaps teachers would incorporate this later.

Dr. McMorran advised that IEP’s would need to be checked and that the current agreement allows us to operationalize as needed. We would need state guidance on IEP services. As right now, we have concerns about how to handle situations such as sending an OT to a student’s house. These concerns have been brought to the state.

Mr. D’Agostino voiced his concerns about the following issues:
● Will the online learning platform anticipate any extra costs?
● Will the coaches be giving services for paid time?
● Did our attorney approve the final MOA?

Dr. McMorran advised that the Attorneys have seen the final document but did not comment on it and that 95% of the language in the contract was written by our attorneys.

Extraordinary services can’t be compelled, they must be agreed upon. As such, there will be no school plays and maybe no sporting events for the season. Teams can do online conditioning and strategizing. The funding for these services only applies to those employees who are members of the JBEA.

Dr. Pin stated that our advisors play a critical role for isolated students. She said that the yearbook would still be produced and students could work on that from home. Dr. McMorran stated that there was no obligation to extend stipends to those outside of the JBEA.

Mr. D’Agostino commented that there should be savings in substitute funding. He inquired about the chance that the distance learning would have a cost increase and that in these difficult times this would be a hardship on the community.

Dr. McMorran agreed that this was a good question and that he did not anticipate a cost increase. He stated that the budget allows for 180 days of pay and there should be extra money from the substitute budget, unless a teacher needed a long term medical leave.

Dr. McMorran said he was not ready to speak to this but raised the question of the contract with First Student for the buses. He said there was also the Special Education that may need to be addressed with additional services offered to those students in the summer, which may incur an additional cost. He also stated the MOA does not include a 1:1 device ratio for the students. At this time, he predicts we will break even or have a decrease in budget expenses.

Mr. Johnston recommended checking in monthly with Mr. Reiss on the object summary report.

Mr. Johnston questioned if this was the final MOA ready for signature from the board.

Dr. McMorran confirmed this was the final version. JBEA agreed to the language and the R9 Board should sign the agreement, if approved.

Ms. Graziano amended her original motion to include the Region 9 board chair shall sign the agreement.

Ms. O’Brien asked how the distribution of meals and chromebook devices went this week. Dr. McMorran commented that both were successful. Any school student, regardless of free and reduced lunch status, is eligible to receive food. He thanked IT for setting up the device pick up. Ms. O’Brien asked how many devices were given out. Dr. McMorran estimated between 30-50 devices per district.

Motion with Amendment: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the Memorandum of Agreement with the Joel Barlow Education Association regarding distance learning during the COVID-19 emergency and allow board chairman to sign the MOA (Graziano, O’Brien). Approved. Unanimous.

T. Johnston advised that the Region 9 Board of Education had to hold this meeting pursuant to state guidelines for the purpose of continuing education in light of the COVID-19 emergency.


Motion: move that the meeting be adjourned (D’Agostino, O’Brien). Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:21 p.m.

Recorded and Submitted by,
Juliette Berry, Region 9 Board of Education Secretary

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