BROOKLINE SCHOOL BOARD
Captain Samuel Douglass Academy
May 24, 2005
Michael Molkentine, Chair
David Partridge, Vice-Chair
Michael Dreyer, Secretary
Ernest Hudziec (6:30)
Elizabeth Eaton, Co-Principal
Lorraine Wenger, Co-Principal
Kevin Stone, Assistant Principal
Kenneth DeBenedictis, Superintendent of Schools
Lee Ann Blastos, Business Administrator (7:15)
Carol Mace, Curriculum Director
Bob Kelly, Director of Special Education
Ruth Bobich, Recording Secretary
Chairperson Mike Molkentine called the meeting to order at 6:07 PM.
The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
There was nothing for Open Forum tonight.
Dave motioned to approve the minutes of the April 19, 2005 BSB minutes as written. Mike D. seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-0. (Ernie was not present).
State Funding Issues
Three of our State Representatives, Carolyn Gargasz, Donald Ryder and Richard Drisko, were present to update the District on current funding issues. The cigarette tax bill has passed the House, but it is doubtful that it will pass in the Senate. An amendment to it has been offered that includes Special Ed. They see it likely that the property tax will remain in effect, probably with the same town funding. A State sales tax will not likely be passed. Something must be adopted by June 30th. There is still the chance that Brookline will not receive any State funding. The Board stated to the Representatives that this lack of State funding would need to be planned and budgeted for. There has been discussion of having the effective date of the new bill changed to 2006 so that the budgets that were just passed will not be affected. The Board thanked all three Representatives for coming to the meeting.
Julie Anderson, 3rd Grade teacher, has requested a one year leave of absence to spend the year home with her newborn son and his brother. This would be a leave without pay, and she will return in one year. Ken recommends approving this request.Dave motioned to approve Julie Anderson’s request for a one year leave of absence. Ernie seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
It was noted that there are two open 3rd grade positions at the moment, one permanent and one interim. Interviews are scheduled to begin tomorrow for both positions. The interim position will be posted for ten days, and no decision can be made for that position until the ten days have passed. The permanent position can be filled.
Second interviews are being held this week for the 5th grade position, and the hope is to have a candidate to recommend to the Board at the next meeting.
The position for the part-time Reading Specialist is being advertised for again.
Dave motioned to give the Superintendent of Schools authorization to offer a letter of hire, contingent upon final approval of the Board. Clay seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
The calendar was reviewed. Highlights include: 1) Grade 6 step-up day is May 25th. The 6th grade students will visit the Middle School. 2) RMMS Art Show May 25th at 6:30 PM. 3) The Memorial Day program will be May 26th at CSDA, beginning at 10:00 am. The students will be singing patriotic and service songs. 4) The last delayed opening workshop day of the year will be Friday May 27th. 5) June 1st will be Grade 4 step-up day. The 4th grade students will visit CSDA. 6) June 2nd is the 6th Grade Ancient Exposition and the Grade 5 & 6 Art Show. 7) Incoming kindergarten students visit RMMS June 3rd at 9:00 am. 8) Grade 6 will go to Canobie Lake June 6th. 9) June 10th is Field Day, with the 15th set as a rain date. 10) 6th Grade Graduation will be June 16th. 11) June 20th is the kick-off of the summer reading program at the Town Library from 5 – 7 PM. 12) Next School Board meeting will be June 21st. 13) June 20th is the last day of school!
Curriculum and Instruction review:
1. Staff development opportunities include: the May 27th delayed opening workshop, at which the new regulations for Special Education will be discussed; the Summer Institute will be June 28 & 29, and the subject will be Guided Reading; Summer Technology workshops are being offered through the SAU; a data collection workshop will be held August 24th, plans for which are still being developed.
2. Assessment: a NECAP Workshop is being prepared for this new testing. More details will be provided as it gets closer. It was noted that there was no State testing this year, as the transition is made to this new testing.
3. Summer Reading Program: This is done jointly with the Town Library, and it is the second year for this program. There are various parts to it, such as a calendar of activities, book clubs, and a weekly language-based program.
4. Sixth Grade camp: A survey of both parents and students is being done, to be assured that the purpose of the camp is being met. As the number of students is growing, different options are being explored.
Staff: 1) Nicole Bedard has received an award as the "Walmart Teacher of the Year" for our area. She received a blue Walmart vest and a gift card. The school received a $1,000 grant. An application has also been submitted for her to become the State Walmart teacher. Mike D. will send a letter to her from the Board. 2) Tammy Cargill received the Rotary grant this year for a geography program she developed. The grant will be presented on Friday.
Pam Shaw was present tonight to give an update on Technology in the District. Pam is the Technology Specialist for grades 3-6, and also offers technical support in the afternoons. The goals and objectives of the technology program are skills mastery, content integration, information literacy, and use of technology as a tool.
Currently RMMS is using MAC’s. The students use Appleworks for drawing and painting. They learn keyboarding, opening dual documents, word processing and spreadsheets (also using Appleworks), and Internet safety.
At CSDA there is a transition to using Word and Excel. Database applications are introduced. The students also learn responsible use of the Internet, drawing and painting applications to enhance school projects, and the use of Power Point for presentations. Pam gave examples of how technology has been integrated into Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, and Math. School-wide, all students coordinated technology into their Earth Day projects during the month of April.
Pam talked about the school-wide technology uses, which include report cards and progress reports, attendance reporting, lunch count, the morning notices, the budget, purchasing and the library on-line cataloging system (OPAC), among others. Teachers are expected to reach a certain proficiency, and there are summer technology workshops offered to help accomplish this.
A transition in technology in the District is beginning. At CSDA, 30 PC’s will be put into the computer lab in place of the MAC’s currently there. Another PC will be put into each classroom, as well as into the library. The MAC’s removed from CSDA will be brought to RMMS. The oldest 19 classroom computers will be replaced with the newer ones from CSDA.
Pam said that currently our Technology curriculum meets or exceeds all SAU curriculum requirements. Tentative additions being planned include basic web design, organizational skills, brochure and document design, and a new typing program for CSSDA. More school-wide collaborative research projects are also in the planning stages.
Pam was thanked for her presentation.
Memorial for Linda Bradbury
The Board expressed their desire to do something in memory of Linda Bradbury, and they asked for advice from the Administration. Liz told the Board what has been done already: 1) Donations have been made to a local hospice. 2) The 3rd grade has planted a tree. A plaque for the tree is also in the planning stages. 3) Donation to the school library have been made for books to be purchased in her name. Liz suggested that the Board might want to add to either #1 or #3. Clay thanked Liz and the school for how well they have handled this. Ken did so also, stating everything has been done professionally, and with sensitivity.
Business Administrator’s Report
Lee Ann gave out copies of this month’s Expenditure Report. She stated that there are no significant changes since the last report. The section reviews of the budget that the Board has requested will probably begin in August.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction’s Report
Curriculum Council: The Curriculum Council is being expanded to include a representative from each Board in the District. They meet once a month, 3:15 – 4:30. The Board will discuss this, and get back to Carol with their representative.
Curriculum Task Committees: Carol included in her handout tonight copies of two proposed policies, for the purpose of consistency between the districts within the SAU. The policies are "K-6th Grade Academic Integrity Policy" (to deal with cheating, copying, plagiarizing or other examples of academic dishonesty) and "Community Use of the K-12 Library Media Centers". These were given out tonight for the Board to review, and will be discussed at the next meeting.
Summer Technology Workshops: There are 37 workshops being offered this summer. Registration forms are available on-line at the SAU website. These workshops are no cost to employees. This year they have also been opened up to friends and family of SAU 41 employees, with a $50.00 charge per workshop.
Director of Special Education’s Report
Medicaid Update: Service delivery data continues to be documented. It is submitted to Granite State Billing every two weeks, and they submit the information to Medicaid. As of December 1, 2004 the District had 60 IDEA students. Of these 60, approximately 50% receive Medicaid eligible services. Of that 50%, only 8 are actually eligible for Medicaid. Data is collected on all Medicaid eligible cases so as not to discriminate. It was noted that academic alone programs are not eligible for Medicaid, just services such as Sp/L, OT, PT. Significant time is spent by staff completing data forms and submitting the data. Granite State’s billing projection is $12,000, based on the NH State average of $1,500 per student. Since Granite State Billings’ fiscal year ends October 1st, we won’t have a final number until then. Ken spoke of the fact that it takes thousands of man-hours to collect and report all of the required data, and when that is taken into consideration, the net return to the district is minimal. So the reporting that was done in the past that we were losing millions of dollars per year is inaccurate, and Brookline will probably see a maximum of $10,000 returned to the District. Again, the only Special Ed services that are eligible for reimbursement are those that are medically related. In the future it will have to be evaluated to see if the time it takes to collect and report the data is worth what we get in return. Bob said that currently data is not submitted electronically due to security concerns. The data is mailed every two weeks.
New Federal Special Education Regulations: New Federal Special Education regulations will take effect July 1, 2005. The Federal Regulations Publication is projected for December 2005. NH regulations will be updated. Staff in-service training for these new regulations will be ongoing throughout 2005-06.
For the Board’s review, Bob included in his handout a copy of a letter of commendation for staff members who have worked on a recent NH DOE due process case, thanking them for their conscientiousness and professionalism.
A copy of the calendar for the Brookline School District 2005-06 school year was included in Ken’s packet tonight. Ken stated that this calendar is the best-aligned with the SAU calendar ever. The first day of school will be August 31st. The traditional December, February and April vacation dates are included. The calendar lists all holidays, delayed openings, workshop days, report cars and progress reports and vacations.Ernie motioned to approve the 2005-06 calendar as presented. Clay seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Tonight is the First Reading for policy sections C and D.
Ernie requested that each policy should be titled and listed on the agenda. It was agreed that this can be done for future meetings, and tonight they will work with the policies as is. Ernie also requested copies of existing policies and the new ones with changes. It was agreed that this could also be done.
Discussion followed about First readings. Should policies be read out-loud to the public at First Readings? Could a copy of the original policy and the changed policy be placed in each school’s Media Center for public review? Could the information be placed in several places where the public can review it and have input for the next meeting? Clay felt that the policies need to be accessible to the public. The following decision was made: at a First Reading the policies will be made available to the public at both school Media Centers, the Town Library, cable TV and the Town website. Public input can be taken before or at the Second Reading. Policies do not have to be adopted at a Second Reading, so changes can be made at that time, if necessary. Dave will post Policies C and D as a First Reading.
Board Member Committee Update
Long Range Planning: Ernie is the Board member on this committee. He asked Ken when the latest set of projections will be available. Ken replied that they are having difficulty obtaining live birth data due to under-staffing in State personnel. This information is used in projecting K-1 registration. It was suggested to use estimated numbers to get started, and when the actual numbers become available updates can be made.
Network Administrator Search Committee: Mike D. was the Board representative on this 9 member committee. There were 15 – 20 initial candidates. This was narrowed down to six, of which four were interviewed. It was a unanimous decision of the committee to offer the position of Network Administrator to Richard Raymond. A contract has been drawn up for him, and he will begin in this position on July 1, 2005.
Formation of Insurance Committee
Mike M. spoke about the formation of an insurance study committee. This was suggested during the past budget season by Jack Flanagan.
Mike M. motioned to form an insurance study committee.The following was proposed by Mike M.:
Charge of the committee: The committee’s charge will be to look into ways to reduce the cost of insurance on the Brookline School District. They should look at existing programs, deductibles, coverage and potential self insurance, all of which affect the cost. The committee should have a report to the Board by late summer or early fall. We will begin negotiations on the teachers’ contracts at about that time and this could come into play. Because of all the technical issues involved the committee shall be allowed to discuss/contact any outside sources including potential vendors. They will take minutes of their meetings and provide them to the school board for their review and input.
Make-up of the committee: The committee shall be composed of 9 members consisting of 1 school board member, 1 administrator (from any level), 1 support staff member, 1 teacher’s union member, 1 Finance committee member and 4 members at large. This would keep us from a tie vote and should be adequate to do all of the research needed.
Discussion followed. Lee Ann said that the actual health insurance rate has been received. 14.4% is the amount that was budgeted for – the actual rate will be 4.9% for 2005-06 (the guaranteed maximum rate is set in November, and the actual rate received in May). Lee Ann has also talked with the representative from LGC. She noted that the committee will not be able to obtain any quotes from Anthem Blue Cross. A representative from LGC is willing to talk to the Board at their June meeting about what they would be up against in changing insurance. Mike M. will get back to Lee Ann on this. Lee Ann told the Board that if the current health insurance was opted out of, they could not get back in for two years. Mike M. stated that this issue needs to be investigated.
At the conclusion of discussion,Ernie seconded the motion to form the insurance committee. The motion carried 5-0.
Reimbursement for FY 2005 Adequacy Aid
Due to the use of incorrect data, the State distribution of funding in FY 2004 caused some towns to be overpaid and others underpaid. Brookline was underpaid $32,168. Mike M. would like to write a letter to Lionel Tracey, the Commissioner of Education, reminding him that Brookline was underpaid $32,168. Lee Ann said she has looked into this, and there is no time frame in which the State must pay Brookline the funds, and it may never happen. The Board would like to write the letter anyway.Dave motioned to authorize Mike M. to write a letter to the Commissioner of Education regarding the funds owed to Brookline for FY 2004. Ernie seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Mike M. motioned to remove "Co" from the titles "Co-Principal" of both RMMS and CSDA effective July 1, 2005. Ernie seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Dave motioned for the Board to enter into non-public session as per RSA 91-A:3II(c),"Matters, which if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person". Mike D. seconded the motion. By a roll call vote, the motion carried 5-0. The Board adjourned into non-public session at 9:18 PM.