BROOKLINE SCHOOL BOARD

 

AUGUST 25, 2009

 

MEETING MINUTES

 

A regular meeting of the Brookline School Board was held on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 6:09 p.m. at the Captain Samuel Douglass Academy.

 

Chairman Dave Partridge presided:

 

Members of the Board Present:               Beth Lukovits, Vice-Chair

Marcia Farwell, Secretary

Wanda Meagher                                                       

Forrest Milkowski

 

Members of the Board Absent:                 

 

Also in Attendance:                                Susan Hodgdon, SAU41 Superintendent

Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator

Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum

Bob Kelly, Director of Special Education

Lidia Desrochers, Principal, Richard Maghakian Memorial School

Lorraine Wenger, Principal, Captain Samuel Douglass Academy

Jim Doig, Assistant Principal/Special Ed Coordinator, RMMS

                                                            Kristina Henry, Assistant Principal, CSDA

 

 

 

 

AGENDA ADJUSTMENTS – None

 

PUBLIC INPUT

 

Ms. Ryherd, 34 Wellsbrook Road

 

Spoke of no-overhead fundraising.  She had inquired of Principals Desrochers and Wenger and learned Artists in Residence is an earmarked program, as grants are no longer written for that program.  Remarked she understands the PTO has been providing some funding for that program over the past few years. 

 

She has also contacted Ms. Tomlinson, high school drama teacher, and questioned whether she would be interested in her Improv group performing at CSDA.  That would enable the elementary school children to see what the program is all about.  Believes it would be beneficial to conduct a show, the profits of which could be split between the group and the district.  Principal Wenger suggested the jazz band as another group that she may consider contacting.

 

Another idea was a calendar funded by advertisements for local businesses.  She believes local business owners would be receptive to the idea of donating for the sake of recognition.  If each child were to sell one calendar a large amount of funds could be gained with no overhead.  A flea market could also be conducted where participants rented space on the school grounds. 

 

Ms. Lukovits questioned whether Ms. Ryherd had spoken with the PTO as they are responsible for fundraising and work within the confines of established Bylaws such as a limit on the number of fundraisers conducted per year.  Principal Wenger informed the board she raised the ideas with the PTO and they were very interested in having someone who would take on fundraising under the umbrella of the PTO. 

 

Ms. Meagher commented she liked the idea of the jazz band and the Improv group especially if fundraising efforts specifically benefit the Artists in Residence.  She stated yard sales have proven to be work intensive with little revenue.  She also mentioned the need to avoid conflicting with the fundraising calendar done in April.

 

Chairman Partridge commented the PTO has a certain set of people who participate all the time, and he felt an addition to that group would be welcome.  He expressed his opinion the ideas of the jazz band and the Improv group performing are wonderful.  However, as far as raising money and funneling that money to programs, the PTO is the right umbrella for that to be done under. 

 

Ms. Ryherd remarked she has brought her ideas to the PTO for 6 straight years (prior to the last two) and been turned down.  Ms. Lukovits suggested she try again as it is a different group of individuals.  Principal Wenger reiterated there was a discussion at the PTO meeting earlier in the day and they are interested.  They meet on the 1st Wednesday of each month. 

 

Ms. Ryherd stated she is aware there is $200,000 missing from the budget because it couldn’t be voted in and there are obviously programs that have been cut.  She was frustrated to be feeling as though the board was turning down a private citizen who wished to volunteer.  She re-stated $200,000 was cut from the budget meaning we are operating on a zero budget.  Mr. Milkowski explained nothing was cut.  Ms. Meagher clarified by stating the proposed budget was cut.  Ms. Ryherd felt children were going into school with a lot less than last year.  Ms. Lukovits explained they are not as a number of people have given up salaries, raises, and all sorts of things so that they are not going in with a whole lot less than they did last year.  Ms. Ryherd asked if that equals $200,0000, and was told it does.

 

Chairman Partridge explained nobody was suggesting the board turn down her offer to volunteer.  Positive comments have been made on the ideas presented.  The board simply suggests she speak with the PTO.  He stated if she attends the next PTO meeting and is turned down, she should come back before the board and they will look at another avenue.

 

Ms. Ryherd remarked the PTO is only allowed to conduct a certain number of fundraisers each year and they are likely already set up for the coming school year.  Ms. Lukovits replied it is likely the one that starts in the fall is coordinated, but they have tried other types of fundraising over the last couple of years.  The proposal would have to fall within their guidelines or they would have to find a way to work around it.  Chairman Partridge stated he is not familiar with the Bylaws, but sees a difference between a performance and a fundraiser so perhaps performances would not fall under the restriction of number of fundraisers.

 

Ms. Ryherd asked for the opinion of the Superintendent.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated she would only echo the comments of the board.  She commented if Ms. Ryherd wished for her to provide more in-depth input on any issue brought before the board, she should contact her ahead of the board meeting so that they may set aside time on the agenda and so that she is provided with enough lead time to be prepared. 

 

Ms. Ryherd stated she wished to make a donation towards library books.  She wants to be able to work with both librarians to go over a list and she will make a private donation for books.  Principal Wenger stated all donations are welcome and would be put into a separate library account in student activities.

 

ADMINISTRATOR REPORTS

 

Principals

 

Principal Desrochers informed the board enrollment numbers continue to change.  The most recent report was provided (copy attached). 

 

Mr. Ernie Pistor questioned where bus routes and stop times could be found.  Principal Desrochers remarked they should have been published in the newspaper by now.  The information is available on the web site.  Will also be posted on the building doors as is done at CSDA.  Ms. Ryherd questioned whether stops are done for one child.  Chairman Partridge’s response was that bus routes are the decision of the bus company.

 

Principal Desrochers highlighted her report (copy attached).  Director Kelley remarked, of the 3 special education students in the Pre-K program, 2 are in the Sunrise Program (1 may be for the first half of the year only) and 1 in an alternative program.  In terms of the Early Intervention 0-3 referrals, there are no dates of birth of people turning 3 at this time.

 

Principal Wenger remarked she is pleased with the work done on the building entrance.  More rot was uncovered than had been anticipated.  It has been photographed and cleaned out.  Chairman Partridge asked if it is the intended that someone be charged with looking at the rest of the building for similar problems.  Ms. Duhamel informed the board a claim has been filed with LDC and discussions are taking place.  The roof remains under discussion.


Principal Desrochers stated they are keeping an eye on the area where water damage was experienced at RMMS.    The builder believes it was due to the porous block used.  It was necessary to wait until the block was dry before it could be treated and painted over (has to be done yearly).  In the past, it has been re-flashed and re-shingled, which addressed the problem for quite a while.  The area has been repaired twice and water is still penetrating.  There is no visible mold as there is no insulation or heat in the area.  The next step would be to acquire quotes on addressing the problem.  Chairman Partridge stated if the problem is that of runoff, efforts should be taken to divert the runoff. 

 

Ms. Meagher questioned the use of the portable classrooms, and was told they are being used for Foreign Language and Response to Intervention (set up as reading and math labs for remediation).

 

Principal Wenger informed the board the School in Need of Improvement (SINI) plan that was provided to them was being presented to the faculty the following day (copy attached).  The District in Need of Improvement plan (also provided and attached) requires additional work, and is not due until September.  Director Mace informed the board the SINI plan has been assigned to a reviewer and that a meeting was scheduled for the following day to provide a status update on where plans stand in the review process.  There are checkpoints throughout the year that have to be reported on. 

 

In that regard, one of the things changing at CSDA is that faculty meetings will be held once a month on an afternoon to work on lessons, data collection, etc. for all teachers.  Chairman Partridge commented his first impression was great.  He believes the plan outlines measures that are positive for any school regardless of SINI status.

 

Principal Wenger remarked when they went through training in May, their focus was not to overwhelm with number of goals.  There were two goals; assessment and language.  Chairman Partridge found it is interesting they located and identified the real problem to be with language in that reading and understanding word problems is the stumbling block rather than the math itself.  With regard to capacity building, Principal Wenger informed the board the facilitator used previously is returning for 3-4 workshops with the teachers in the classrooms.  The workshops will be funded through professional development monies.  When asked Principal Wenger stated SINI funds couldn’t be obtained for professional development unless you are a Title 1 school.

 

Ms. Farwell questioned the $104,000 stimulus money stated in the newspaper to be earmarked for Brookline.  Director Kelly replied there are a lot of restrictions attached to stimulus funding, and they have neither applied for or accepting any funding at this point.

 

Principal Wenger informed the board Assistant Fire Chief Scott Knowles provided the school with the permit to operate a place of assembly.  We are required to notify the Fire Department of any and all exhibits or displays that take place in the gymnasium.  She is looking into crowd control classes for staff.  Another bill has been received for graduation coverage.  The Permit indicates “authorized capacity in person, excluding employees to be 1,695 exiting capacity” and “authorized capacity with the use of chairs, risor, and bleachers to be 492.”

 

When asked, Principal Wenger stated it is required that the fire department be notified of an event, and until staff has received crowd control training, they will attend each event.  Chairman Partridge suggested staff go on line and read the PowerPoint, and unless the State gets back to her with further details, consider them trained.  Mr. Milkowski questioned the attendance number for graduation.  Principal Wenger replied, at the time, the fire department was saying anything over 300 required crowd control, and the numbers were higher than that.  Ms. Meagher added State RSA requires crown control when attendance exceeds 250.

 

Principal Desrochers informed the board two different approaches are being utilized to organize 504 caseloads; CSDA caseloads will be with the Assistant Principal and RMMS’ caseloads will be with a councilor.  Meetings will be ongoing to determine effectiveness, efficiency, and what the differences are in terms of servicing students and ensuring 504s are being implemented.  Ms. Lukovits asked if a school psychologist had been hired.  She remarked last year during budget season she became aware some of the testing the psychologist was qualified to perform was outsourced because time did not allow for her to conduct them.  The psychologist had been doing some of the work the guidance councilor did not have adequate time to complete.

 

Director Kelly responded, the psychologist does do behavioral consultations.  The consulting fees are utilized at both schools for testing such as neurological psychological evaluations, which the psychologist is not qualified to perform.  There are also requests for independent evaluations.


Ms. Meagher questioned the choice of utilizing a guidance councilor for 504 caseloads and how that person’s time would be balanced.  Principal Desrochers replied she looked at the SAU, and others are using either a councilor or nurse for 504s.  The decision was made to utilize both models and review periodically throughout the year.  Ms. Lukovits questioned the timing of the testing and whether the guidance councilor (not a full time position) would need to be compensated for additional hours.

 

Ms. Henry remarked the practice has been that students with severe medical conditions are scheduled for their 504s a week or so before the start of school so that the teacher will be part of the meeting and familiar with the student.  All other 504s (ADHD, anxiety, etc.) are updated through September and October or within the time period of when updated last (before year end) or at parent request.  Principal Desrochers added most reviews are done in the spring to be ready for transition to the new school year.

 

Principal Desrochers informed the board a portion of the science coordinator’s time would be applied to early intervention.  She will be working with math and reading specialists to ensure NWEA testing time is taken care of. 

 

She also commented she is moving forward with forming committees on: playground procedures, report card, and behavior.

 

Director of Curriculum

 

Director Mace informed the board Danielson training for new staff was completed on August 20th.  Fourteen teachers and administrators from across the SAU participated.  Danielson consultant, Bernie Cleland, presented an overview of Charlotte Danielson’s framework for teaching and then connected it to our locally developed professional growth model.  Positive feedback was received from both staff and presenter.

 

She spoke of the SAU administrative evaluation committee.  They met over the summer and developed a model based on Doug Reeves’.  She believes this program will do for administrative evaluation what Danielson does for teachers.  Superintendent Hodgdon presented the program at the leadership retreat and it was well received.  Superintendent Hodgdon will present to the SAU Board at a later date.

 

Director Mace informed the board the Leadership Team made the decision to move forward with a different protocol for substitute teachers.  This year they will have a SAU-wide caller rather than substitutes being handled at each building level.  She and Pat Goyette interviewed several candidates for the position.  Charlene Levey has been selected.  A consistent process to be used SAU wide is being developed.

 

Chairman Partridge questioned how the position would be funded and was told every school has a per diem amount they pay a substitute caller.  They have pooled money across the SAU with the high school, middle school, Hollis and Brookline schools.  The individual will be compensated at the exact amount of available funds and no benefits.

 

Director of Special Education

 

Director Kelly informed the board the legal notices required for FERPA, IDA and Section 504 have been updated and posted on the web sites.  They have conducted some training on the state IEP and data system, and will continue with that.  Next week they will be conducting training on Medicaid data procedures with coordinators and administrators.  Staff will be trained at a later time.  An additional step with administration will be reviewing remedial reading programs and practices that might be adjusted as well as staff development focus within the department.

 

Ms. Lukovits questioned whether every budgeted out of district placement will occur and was told they will.

 

Business Administrator – Food Service

 

Ms. Duhamel informed the board the 4 former district employees will be returning.  The district hit 71% of the marker for the year, as they could not make up for the loss at the beginning of the school year.  The district hit 98% of the marker for subsidized meals.

 

Operating costs were broken into two sections; Café Services and district services (district maintained employees and overhead).  Although they did not sell as much food as was anticipated, they did a fantastic job keeping food expenses down.  Expect to have another great year as staff familiar with the program is returning and breakfast is in place. 

Ms. Lukovits stated her belief the changes in food, etc. were too complicated for 1st graders.  It was suggested Café Services participate in 1st grade orientation.  Ms. Meagher stated a concern with project revenues going forward especially given the lower percentage of students at CSDA next year.  Ms. Duhamel believes the projections to be more conservative than those of last year.

 

Chairman Partridge informed the members of the public, food service has been a loss for years.  The district transfers monies out of the general fund to cover the expenses every year.  A company was brought in to rectify and lessen the loss.  It simply did not reach the projected numbers in the first year. 

 

Ms. Duhamel has spoken with Café’ Services about monthly reports.  She will use their monthly format and add district costs (propane and equipment).  Ms. Meagher stated the contract with Café Services includes a commitment to pick up $5,000 of total loss.  Ms. Duhamel did not believe that to be the case.  Chairman Partridge and Ms. Lukovits also recalled language concerning absorbing a portion of the loss.  Ms. Duhamel believed the statement may have been included in the initial presentation but not in the contract.   She will arrange for Café Services to come before the board in September.

 

Pat Lynch commented on the timing of lunch where children are going to lunch wearing coats and snow pants.  Principal Desrochers stated the schedule has been changed so that children will go out to recess and return their extra clothing before going to lunch.

 

Superintendent – Staffing

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board of a resignation received on August 4, 2009 dated July 31, 2009 from Stephanie Langer, the Special Education Case Manager at RMMS.  She has been offered a teaching position closer to her residence and her Son’s childcare provider. 

 

Ms. Lukovits commented Ms. Langer had been verbal about her new position and her rationale for not posting her resignation was that the Town of Hudson had not had their school board meeting and she had to wait until her position was approved.  However, she clearly signed an employment contract with the Brookline district in April.  Although Ms. Lukovits did not agree with keeping a staff member on board that did not want to be in the district, she questioned whether a practice was in place to address such a situation.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon responded the way the situation was handled was not professional, but unfortunately is a standard of operation in this business at all levels of the system.  She stated there are two schools of thought.  She has been through both schools of thought as a building administrator and the school of thought that is most damaging to kids is to hold people against their will.  There is not a lot of mileage in holding people to their contracts if you are able to conduct a search and find a quality replacement.  The other school of thought is that you hold them to their contract because you want to show the contract has teeth.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER FARWELL TO ACCEPT THE RESIGNATION OF STEPHANIE LANGER WITH REGRET

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MILKOWSKI

MOTION CARRIED

12//0

 

Superintendent Hodgdon noted receipt of a resignation letter dated August 12, 2009 from Samantha Boudreau, a .5 Special Education Para-Professional. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board Sharyn Matthews has re-applied for her position as the School Psychologist at CSDA.  She proposed Ms. Matthews be re-elected to her former position.  Ms. Matthews brings to the district a Bachelor in Psychology from Boston University gained in ’90, an MSW from Boston College gained in ’95, a PhD from Northeastern University gained in ’09, and 9 years’ experience.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon explained she left this position.  Her resignation was accepted last month.  It is very good news for the school as they were concerned about filling this position.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER LUKOVITS TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION OF SHARYN MATTHEWS AS THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST FOR CAPTAIN SAMUEL DOUGLASS ACADEMY AT MASTERS PLUS 45, STEP 10 WITH A SALARY OF $59,617 

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MEAGHER


ON THE QUESTION

 

Mr. Milkowski asked for Director’s Kelly’s thoughts on the situation.  Chairman Partridge questioned whether a non-public session was desired.

MOTION TABLED

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board the Special Education Case Manager at RMMS candidate is Caitlin Silveria.  Ms. Silveria brings with her a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Fitchburg, gained in 2007, Master of Education with two areas; general special education and elementary education from Rivier College gained in ’09, and one year of experience.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER LUKOVITS TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION OF CAITLIN SILVERIA AS THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CASE MANAGER AT RMMS AT MASTERS, STEP 2 WITH A SALARY OF $41,152

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MILKOWSKI

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board the Speech Pathologist .9 candidate is Deborah Enright.  Ms. Enright comes to the district with a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Maine gained in ’75, a Master in Education with focus on deaf and blind from Boston College gained in ’77, and 6 years’ experience.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER LUKOVITS TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION OF DEBORAH ENRIGHT AS THE SPEECH PATHOLOGIST .9 AT A PRO-RATED SALARY OF $43,776

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MILKOWSKI

 

ON THE QUESTION

 

When asked, Director Kelly explained the contract would be through Brookline, but would be a 50/50 split with the COOP.  The business office is reimbursed monthly for the expenses.  Ms. Meagher brought up the issue of having to raise and appropriate funds for the amount of the full contract.  Director Kelley commented the board budgeted for the new position back in December at approximately a .6 position. 

 

Mr. Milkowski questioned whether the co-sharing percentage includes the cost of benefits.  Ms. Duhamel responded that has not been the case in the past, although she believes the total amount should be shown.  Several positions are shared between districts.

 

Ms. Farwell questioned whether Ms. Enright’s experience is recent.  Director Kelly explained she has been doing consulting for Brookline as well as another district in the SAU.

 

Ms. Lukovits stated her understanding of the staffing for pre-school to be; a Special Education Coordinator/Case Manager and a full-time Special Education Teacher.   A .5 position is available should the numbers increase.

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

Other

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board she had an hour-long conference call with the State Public Health Department in Concord.   They are gearing up for the start of the school year with regard to H1N1.  They will be working with school principals and nurses.  The state is taking a strong stance that they do not want to close schools, and will only do so if the need is dire.

 

APPROVAL OF SCHOOL BOARD MINUTES

                        

Brookline School Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 28, 2009

 
The following corrections were noted:

-                      Page 8, last paragraph, third sentence should read “Ms. Farwell expressed her strong opposition”

-                      Page 10 first sentence “acceptable” should be replaced with “agreeable”

 

MOTION BY MEMBER MILKOWSKI TO ACCEPT AND PLACE ON FILE AS AMENDED

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LUKOVITS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

Brookline School Board – Non Public  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 28, 2009

 
The following corrections were noted:
            -           Date and Adjournment to be amended

 

MOTION BY MEMBER MILKOWSKI TO ACCEPT AND PLACE ON FILE AS AMENDED

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MEAGHER

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

Brookline School Board – Non Public  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 23, 2009

           Tabled 7-28-09

           Tabled 08-25-09

 

      NON-PUBLIC SESSION

 

MOTION BY MEMBER LUKOVITS THAT THE BOARD GO INTO NON-PUBLIC SESSION PURSUANT TO RSA 91-A:3 II (c) TO DISCUSS A MATTER, WHICH IF DISCUSSED IN PUBLIC, WOULD LIKELY AFFECT ADVERSELY THE REPUTATION OF A PERSON, OTHER THAN A MEMBER OF THE  BODY OR AGENCY ITSELF

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MEAGHER

 

A Viva Voce Roll Call was conducted, which resulted as follows:

 

Yea:     Dave Partridge, Beth Lukovits, Marcia Farwell, Wanda Meagher, Forrest Milkowski

                                                                                                            5

Nay:                                                                                                     0         

MOTION CARRIED

 

The Board went into non-public session at 8:17 p.m.

 

The Board came out of non-public session at 8:26 p.m.

 

Yea:     Dave Partridge, Beth Lukovits, Marcia Farwell, Wanda Meagher, Forrest Milkowski

                                                                                                            5

Nay:                                                                                                     0         

MOTION CARRIED

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

MOTION BY MEMBER    Farwell     TO ADJOURN
MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER    Lukovits         .
MOTION CARRIED
 
The Brookline School Board meeting of August 25, 2009 was adjourned at   9:36    p.m.

 

 

Date ______9/22/09_____________      Signed     ______Signature on File Copy at SAU Office____