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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education, 02/18/2020

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education

RECEIVED 02/25/2020 2:35pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

REGION 9 BOARD OF EDUCATION
Regular Meeting
Joel Barlow High School – Library Learning Commons
February 18, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.
Minutes

ATTENDANCE
Board members: Johnston, Graziano, Berry, D’Agostino, Denny, Pampel, Williams
Absent: O’Brien
Administration: McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Reiss
Others: 17 members of the staff and public, recording secretary and the videographer.

T. Johnston called the meeting to order at 8:03 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of January 28, 2020, Regular meeting (D’Agostino, Graziano). Approved. Unanimous.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of January 30, 2020, Special meeting (D’Agostino, Graziano). Approved. Unanimous.

STUDENT COMMENT
M. Monson reported that JBHS hosted a STEM Festival on February 8 with student participants from all over New England. There were 260 projects presented and JBHS student Emily Larkin received recognition in the Health & Medical category. JBHS faculty member, Dr. Nuzzo, was recognized for her dedication to students. Two JBHS students received Key Awards at the Scholastic art competition.

PUBLIC COMMENT
John Reilly, Drummer Lane, Redding, said he hoped BOE members will take a long view of the enrollment number and be mindful of the investors — meaning the families of Redding and Easton — who move to Redding and Easton because JBHS is such a great school.

Amy Arnold, Werf Drive, Redding, said that current middle school students were not given the same opportunities as previous middle school students. She said that some of the classes being considered to be taken away at JBHS are the ones that colleges want students to take.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
M. D’Agostino and T. Johnston both thanked the public for coming to the meeting and giving feedback to the BOE.

ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
Joel Barlow High School Head of School: Dr. Gina Pin spoke about the new newsletter “Inside the Nest: A bird’s eye view of teaching and learning at Barlow.” The newsletter serves to inform the larger Barlow community of the teaching and learning going on at Barlow. The newsletter will also be sent to the on-line versions of the Redding Pilot and the Easton Courier.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction: Dr. Pierson Ugol submitted an outline for Curriculum Revision and Professional Learning within the context of a three-year plan and the plan’s implication to the 2020-2021 budget.

Director of Finance & Operations: Scott Reiss reported on a completed door project and the need to decrease the capital plan reserve in the amount of this project.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the capital plan with a new amount of $832,749.09 and striking the amount of $22,000 for the completed door project (D’Agostino, Denny). Approved. Unanimous.

S. Reiss reported that he had no concerns about the budget object summary and that the health insurance reserve is strong due to low claims so far this year.

BOARD OF EDUCATION COMMITTEE REPORTS
Facility & Fields: There is a possibility of a project at the stadium; the committee will keep everyone informed as the project develops. There is some improvement needed to the ventilation system and gym; the committee will keep everyone informed.
Pension: The District’s plan performed very well with a 23% return for the year; this beats the benchmark amount for the year.
Policy: Committee continues to meet almost every Friday and is working diligently.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: CAMPUS IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT UPDATE AND INVOICE APPROVAL
S. Reiss said that there was one last progress payment that needed BOE authorization.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education grant authorization to the Director of Finance & Operations to pay invoice of $5,130.00 to A & J Contracting (D’Agostino, Johnston). Approved. Unanimous.

S. Reiss also said that they are working on a date to meet and go through the punch list for the campus improvements project.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: REGION 9 COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
T. Johnston said a chart of updated Region 9 Committee assignments had been distributed, but should include subsequent changes as follows: C. Graziano from Superintendent Evaluation Committee to Pension Committee; M. D’Agostino to Superintendent Evaluation Committee; and, C. Hocker to CES.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
T. Johnston said that he believes Region 9 needs a social media policy and that work on such a policy should begin within the Technology and/or Policy Committees. He said the other two boards have sent him their social media guidelines. M. D’Agostino said that having a policy is a good place to start, but he would also like a discussion on this issue before a vote.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: THE SEAL OF BILITERACY
Dr. Pin explained that since June, 2017 the State of Connecticut has offered a “Seal of Biliteracy,” for qualifying students, on their high school diplomas. Students must take a language assessment in a language that is not their first spoken language in order to qualify. Dr. Pin said that all DRG A high schools are participating in this program, and that there will be a cost for the assessments which is built into the 2020-2021 budget. Dr. Pierson Ugol added that English and American Sign Language are included in the languages offered in the proficiency assessments.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: SPECIAL SERVICES REORGANIZATION
T. Johnston said that this item would be stricken from the agenda since the topic was covered during the Tri-Boards of Education Special Meeting at 7:00 p.m. this evening.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: 2020-2021 BUDGET
T. Johnston said that all questions from BOE members about the budget presentation should be for clarifying purposes only. T. Johnston said that further questions should be sent to him and he would then pass on these questions to Dr. McMorran. Dr. McMorran will then direct the questions to the appropriate administrative and/or staff members. Dr. Pin thanked the many JBHS staff members who were present at the meeting for their input and work on the proposed budget; she also said that the JBHS mission statement guided every decision they made. Dr. Pin presented the 2020-2021 budget for JBHS which included: reduction of FTEs for certified staff; increase of FTEs for certified staff; increase of FTEs in classified staff; new substitute teacher plan; reduction of Latin program; reduction of athletic coaching; reduction of freshman basketball teams; and, reduction of planning and college visit days for counseling department. The increase in the 2020-2021 budget would be $236,423. Dr. McMorran said that the proposed budget was a great effort on the part of the JBHS staff and that they kept right-sizing in mind.

S. Reiss gave a presentation of 2020-2021 Budget Offset Considerations that was divided into the three sections of: 1) Pension; 2) Health Insurance Reserve; and, 3) Debt Service.

PUBLIC COMMENT
Chris Parkin, Indian Hill Road, Redding, said that his perspective as a middle school parent is that he has heard about things that have been cut over the years and these are things on which his children have missed out. He said he thinks the REBA numbers cited earlier in the budget discussion were an under count and he encourages the BOE to find the $18,000 to keep the freshman basketball program.

Carol Murray, Sport Hill Road, Redding, said “thank you” to all the people who worked on the proposed budget; she said adding the Biliteracy Certificate, but at the same time, cutting the language program doesn’t mesh. C. Murray said that after looking at the recommendations for the Latin program, she wonders how it would be taught and wonders if a teacher would stay in the new model.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
None.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education meeting be adjourned (Pampel, Graziano). Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:26 p.m.

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

Recorded by,
Sarah Ota

 

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