Approved:  10/28/08

Brookline School Board

CSDA Media Room

September 29, 2008


Dave Partridge, Chair

Marcia Farwell

Beth Lukovits

Wanda Meagher

Jim Murphy


Susan Hodgdon, Superintendent of Schools

Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator absent

Lorraine Wenger, Principal, CSDA

Lidia Desrochers, Principal, RMMS

Kristina Henry, Assistant Principal


Members of the press and public.


Open Forum


Letter from Basket Ball Club Requesting Extending Hours:  Club Representatives Damon Swift and Carl Darling were present to discuss the request for additional hours on Saturdays and the possibility of adding Sunday mornings.  Mr. Swift asked the Board if the custodial staff was willing to be available, the club could help with funding.  He added that the club could provide a pool of volunteers to help secure the building.


Beth Lukovits asked if the janitors would be available and Wanda Meagher responded that it would cost the school additional money for overtime.   Lorraine Wenger further explained typically they have three custodians M-F and they have shifted to two M-F thereby allowing one for Saturday coverage without having to pay overtime.


Marcia Farwell asked the overtime cost and was told it would be 1.5 times the hourly rate of the custodian.


Discussion ensued with the board in agreement that a custodian would have to be present to secure the building and not to use the volunteer option as this is not allowed by policy.  It was agreed the Business Administrator would determine a cost for coverage of every Saturday all day and four hours on Sunday (including the Christmas Break, if possible).  The other issue would be to look at the schedule of the custodians as currently the school is down a custodian.  Cost information would be available in two weeks.  Jim Murphy reiterated the board would look at the needs of the District and any incremental costs should be borne by the organization.  Both sides agreed scheduling information would be a critical need to prevent “no show” situations on both sides.  Lorraine Wenger agreed to follow-up with Dawna Duhamel.

Life Threatening Allergy Policy (appended to the file copy of the minutes):  Dave Partridge explained the Policy has two aspects 1) how the issue is dealt with and 2) the procedures which involve the particular needs of a particular student at a particular school at a particular time.  Chairman Partridge stated that the Board had received a petition to become part of the minutes which asks for lunch/snack checks to be ceased.  He then read the draft policy aloud.  Marcia Farwell moved to accept the policy as read and amended.  Beth Lukovits seconded the motion.  The motion carried by unanimous vote 5 yes, 0 no.


Discussion ensued regarding the annual review of the procedures.  Chairman Partridge stressed that given the submission of the petition, he wanted to ensure this process was clear.  Lorraine Wenger explained, and Denise Curtis later concurred, that the 504’s are reviewed prior to the start of the school year and this data would support the policy review.


Chairman Partridge questioned if, given the petitioned request, had the required review been completed and Lorraine Wenger responded that as conveyed by the school nurse the answer was yes.


Discussion ensued relative to balanced risk and Superintendent Hodgdon commented legal counsel had been included in discussions and review.  Chairman Partridge opened up the floor for questions/comments.


Angela O’Connor asked if a snack had to be replaced, would the parent be contacted and was informed yes.


Andy McFarlane asked if students are declaring their items peanut free or getting verification.    Lorraine Wenger explained the process which involves the students displaying their items for the teachers to view and make the determination.  Teachers were given lists of known items last January as well.


Sue Hay commented the policy states “least restrictive to students” but that she believes the policy to be restrictive to students for snack choice for the general population.


There was discussion regarding the policy, review of the restrictions necessary for the current needs and the physician recommendations resulting in the current procedures. Angela O’Connor (?) questioned if the procedures could change with a change in the student body and was told, yes, that the policy is based on the needs at the time.


Lynn Giblin commented this information should be better communicated to those who use the school after hours.  She explained she is involved with a group that uses the school after hours and she received notification last Spring but did not get new information this Fall.  The Board took this information under advisement.


Andy MacFarlane asked if the adults’ lunches were evaluated and was told by Lorraine Wenger that adults are held to the same standards and check their own foods.  Mr. MacFarlane commented that he understood the school board broke policy.  Chairman Partridge explained there had been a mistake with the menu of the annual luncheon put on for the teachers by the Board.  He stated the menu from the previous year had been such a hit, it had been repeated and it wasn’t until after the food arrived that it was realized the dessert, carrot cake, had nuts.  Beth Lukovits explained they went into lock down, wipes came out, etc.  No one left with out wiping hands.  It was dealt with at that moment in time even though no students were in the school.


Angela O’Connor asked if the teachers did or did not get training and was told by Lorraine Wenger that they were given lists of foods with peanut/peanut products last January. 


The discussion closed with comments regarding the fact that students be may returning home with nut foods in prepackaging as they are in factory sealed packaging and that is why parents may see these foods returning home.  Chairman Partridge stressed parents are checking at home and teachers are double-checking at school. 


Discussion of Wiring Library for Cable Broadcast Coverage:  Chairman Partridge explained the taping of meetings depends on 2 volunteers and then there are the logistical issues of taping then showing the meetings.  He explained the alternative is to hold meetings in a room hard wired for cable broadcast and invited discussion from the Board members.  It was the general consensus that to hold meetings in a room hard wired for broad cast would be best, however, scheduling would be an issue.  After some further discussion it was agreed Dave Partridge would follow-up to identify needs to get the Library hard wired and Jim Murphy would follow-up to identify installation options.  Both will report back at the next meeting.


Brookline Afterschool Program:  Chairman Partridge opened a discussion regarding letters/rumors of the Brookline Afterschool Program.  He stressed that the school board has never question the programs quality, etc. and that it is not a school program and therefore, not the business of the school board.  Chairman Partridge explained that the Board has raised two issues concerning the program as follows:


1)      Last year Dr. Luzetti requested to install a new camera system and it was a concern of the Board that if the back door was “open” it was not the time to install the camera system.  The back door has a key pad combination that was widely distributed.  The combination was changed and once again, it was distributed. (This issue is not due to the program)

2)      Overtime hours for janitors in general has been reviewed by the school department.  Chairman Partridge noted the Brookline Afterschool Program is a for profit program.


The Chairman explained there have been a number of issues that have arisen beyond those named (i.e. where students are in the school, etc.).  Mr. Partridge stressed these issues should not be aired in a public meeting but rather the Superintendant and the parties involved should sit down and discuss the needs of the program and the needs of the school.  Wanda Meagher concurred.


Dave Beauchamp spoke regarding an issue of something the may have been said recently and he stated if what he heard had transpired, he had a problem with the issue.


The Chairman reiterated the need to get to the bottom of the issue by getting all of the parties together in one room to avoid the “he said, she said”.


Dave Beauchamp commented he has a son that benefits greatly from the program through friendship and guidance.  Mr. Beauchamp stressed his support of the program.


Melanie Levesque, parent and State Representative, commented what is important is the children in the program for 15 years.  She stressed they are only in the gym and the students need quiet time for homework at 5 pm and this cannot be achieved in a loud gym.  She noted other programs in other towns/districts that operate in more that a gym. Ms. Levee asked there be a slot on the next agenda to address the issue.  The Board agreed this would be possible.


Jim Murphy clarified the Board does not consider the program a threat to security but rather there is a security issue.  He also stated the school board is here for the community and the first point of the contact is the administration/superintendent   Mr. Murphy stated he did not receive a call or an e-mail of a concern or request for agenda time nor did other members.   


Wanda Meager added the first contact should be to the Principal.


Silvia Mansfield stated she has spent 5 weeks dealing with Susan and Lidia in the chain of command.  David Partridge commented that she did not come to the school board.  He added that individuals can make an appointment with the school board and be put on the agenda to discuss an issue.  He added that individuals do not have to bring a support group to school board meetings.


________  Comments muffled.  Spoke of confusion and 21st Century grants and that she believed this is something that could be worked on together.


Marcia Farwell moved Susan Hodgdon, Lidia Desrochers, Sylvia Mansfield along with a school board representative attend a meeting to address the Brookline Afterschool Program Issues previously discussed.  Jim Murphy Seconded and the motion carried 5-0-0.  Marcia Farwell and Beth Lukovits volunteer to sit in on the meeting.  Susan Hodgdon agreed to schedule the meeting as soon as possible and the public will be informed as to the results at the next scheduled school board meeting on October 28, 2008.


Minutes:  Tabled until the next meeting to allow the Board time to review.


Financial Report:  Dawna Duhamel was absent due to illness and the board tabled the item until the next meeting.


The Board discussed the $12K overrun on the portables and how this will impact the budget.  Chairman Partridge asked the Superintendent to have the Business Administrator run a report on over runs and get a snapshot of where we are going in the budget as compared to a typical year.  Jim Murphy asked if the Board could get a September year over year and October year over year report to review.


Cafeteria Feedback:  Lorraine Wenger reported the food looks great and feedback from students and parents is good.


Beth Lukovits comments she was surprised at the 4.9% fee for the online purchase.  Discussion ensured relative to the ability to view student purchases online with paying on line.  It was agreed to have the Business Administrator follow-up on this item.


Superintendent’s Report (appended to the file copy of the minutes):  Susan Hodgdon invited questions from the board.  Beth Lukovits commented she attended open house at CSDA and RMMS and both went extremely well. She added that she liked Lidia’s presentation and would like to request funding in the budget for speakers or sound system improvements as it is difficult to hear the speaker.  Beth Lukovits added the same problem occurs at the spring concert and with the effort that goes into the performance and to open house the system needs improvement.


Principals’ Report (appended to the file copy of the minutes):  The Board review the report and discussed the request to have the company logo on school website as an Ecosystem Partner in Education under the Xilinx Grant.  Beth Lukovits moved to allow the company logo to be displayed on the school website as an Ecosystem Partner in Education as requested.  Wanda Meager seconded the motion.  The motion carried 5-0-0.


Marcia Farwell asked about the Digital camera grants and was told that Lidia Desrochers would be attending a Rotary breakfast this month where the school would be awarded digital cameras for classroom use.  Lidia Desrochers will report back to the Rotary how the classrooms used the cameras in the curriculum. 


Request from Hattie Bernstein:  The Board agreed that local reporter Hattie Bernstein could observe a lunch check with no camera, no names for the purpose of separating fact from fiction on the subject.


Agreeing Memorandum of Understanding dated 5/18/08:  Superintendent Hodgdon distributed copies and the board review the document.  Discussion ensued relative no language in the document to ensure this would not be precedent setting.  The Superintendent agreed to go back and get the proper language inserted with fresh signatures.


Science NCAPS Results:  Chairman Partridge read aloud the results of the Science NCAPS and commented that Brookline looked good as compared to the state results.  The Board discussed the newness of the test/results and it was agreed there is good information to go work forward.


Status of Maintenance:  Lorraine Wenger reported the roof repair had been delayed due to rain.  The Board was updated on notification of a letter received from the Brookline Fire Department regarding false alarms due to the portable classrooms.  The cost of the false alarms will be billed at $500. /each with right to appeal which Ms. Wenger did so the day after the letter was received.   


Lorraine Wenger reported the insurance on the roof damage is over $1,000 and there is a 1K deductable.  Chairman Partridge explained that during the summer vandals had climbed on the roof, stomped on the vents and damaged shingles.  Since the incident, the Principal has had a light installed on the back part of the building.


FY10 Budget Priorities:  Superintendent Hodgdon asked the Board for budget priorities.  Beth Lukovits stated she had mentioned the sound system needs for RMMS earlier.  The Board agreed 1) Look at Maintenance Issues (i.e., finish gym floor every 2 years versus every) 2) get better picture of SPED budget to see if we can do some of those services in house  3)  Share services – provide better services across SAU 4) energy efficiencies


Brookline Board Representative for SAU 41 Superintendent Evaluation:    Marcia Farwell volunteered to be the Board Representative.


Non-Public Session


Marcia Farwell moved that the Board go into non-public under RSA 91A:3II (c) Litigation.  Beth Lukovits seconded the motion.  The motion carried by unanimous roll call vote 5 yes, 0 no, and the Board entered non-public session at 8:57 PMAt        PM, the Board returned to public session to adjourn the meeting. 






Date     __________________________        Signed  ________________________