BROOKLINE SCHOOL BOARD
Captain Samuel Douglass Academy
January 25, 2005
Susan Heard, Chair
Michael Molkentine, Vice-Chair
Elizabeth Eaton, Co-Principal
Lorraine Wenger, Co-Principal
Kevin Stone, Assistant Principal
Kenneth DeBenedictis, Superintendent of Schools
Lee Ann Blastos, Business Administrator
Carol Mace, Curriculum Director
Ruth Bobich, Recording Secretary
Chairperson Susan Heard called the meeting to order at 5:50 PM.
In attendance tonight are Sue Heard, Mike Molkentine, Ken DeBenedictis, Liz Eaton, Laurie Wenger and Lee Ann Blastos.
Interview of Candidates
Two letters were received by the Board from people interested in the interim Board position. Letters of interest were received from David Partridge and Mike Dreyer. A second letter from Mike Dreyer was received by the Board last Friday. In this letter he withdrew his name from consideration due to the fact he would be out of town and unavailable to be interviewed for the interim Board position. David Partridge is the sole candidate for this interim Board position.Mike motioned to appoint David Partridge to the interim position on the Brookline School Board, effective until March 14, 2005 elections. Sue seconded the motion. The motion carried 2-0. At this point, Dave has been appointed to the Board, but he has not yet been sworn in. He will participate in discussions, but will not be able to vote until he is sworn in.
Mike motioned to approve the minutes of the December 14, 2004 Brookline School Board workshop minutes. Sue seconded the motion. The motion carried 2-0.
Mike motioned to accept the minutes of the December 21, 2004 Brookline School Board meeting as written. Sue seconded the motion. The motion carried 2-0.
At this point it was stated that the position of Brookline School Board secretary was open.Mike motioned to appoint Dave Partridge to the position of secretary for the Board. Sue seconded the motion. The motion carried 2-0.
School Board Updates
Mike:Mike updated everyone present on the Superintendent Search Committee. The search has now been narrowed down to three candidates. Next week the committee will be going on site visits of the three finalists. The final interviews will be held on Wednesday February 9th at 5:00 PM in the Music Room at Hollis Brookline High School. After the final interviews, it is the intent to nominate and hire a candidate that night. The SAU Board will be doing the nominating/hiring. As an FYI: at the beginning of the search there were 25 inquiries, and 18 applications. The 18 were narrowed down to 8, and 1 withdrew. 7 candidates were interviewed, which the committee then narrowed down to the final 3.
Sue:1) Curriculum Council: Sue has notified Carol Mace that she will be stepping down from this committee. She has also notified the SAU Board that this seat is available, but so far it has not been filled by another SAU Board member. Dave will look into this position to see if he can do it. 2) Middle School Building Committee: Work is proceeding well, in spite of the wintry conditions. Job requirements are all being met. Right now it looks like the completion date will be in the early fall, if there are no "winter" obstructions. The date will be able to be projected better in the spring. The portables were leased for two years, and they will still be in place and be needed next year.
At this point,Mike 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". Sue seconded the motion. By a roll call vote, the motion carried 2-0. The Board adjourned into non-public session at 6:20 PM.
At 6:35 PM the Board returned to Public session.
There was nothing for Open Forum tonight.
The upcoming calendar was reviewed. Dates were listed through March. Highlights reviewed included the following: 1) A Differentiated Instruction presentation by Kevin Stone will be held tomorrow night, January 26th, at RMMS. A second one will be held Feb. 9th.2) Report Cards go home Friday. 3) The Artist in Residence performance will be Feb. 3rd at 7 PM at CSDA. 4) On Feb. 16th there will be a NHPTV Family Literacy Night at RMMS at 6:30 PM. A Family Math Night will be held on March 15th. A Science one will also be held. 5) Feb. 28 – March 4 is Winter Vacation.
A Goals update was given. 1) Reader’s Digest Word Power Challenge was held for 4th grade. 2) A Spelling Bee will be held in February. 3) Betsy Black presented a reading support workshop January 19th during the delayed opening time. 4) Math assessment is being refined at the SAU level. Karen Pillion is a member of this committee. 5) Ginny Toupin received wellness two grants – health screenings and a "Smart Steps" program. 6) Grade level retreats continue, and are well received by the Staff. 7) The Library has a pre-school outreach program ongoing. 8) Senior luncheons continue. There is one this Thursday at RMMS. 9) A one-week Tsunami Relief Fund Drive was held January 10-14th. The goal was to collect $600.00, or approximately $1.00 per student. A total of $3,762.18 was collected from students, parents and Staff! It was presented to the Red Cross last week. 10) All buildings are running smoothly.
Class totals and projections: Liz Eaton distributed a handout with two different student number projections for the school year 2005-06 (copy available). The first set of numbers and classrooms needed is based on projections provided by Dexter Decker. This projection shows 435 students, and a need for 21 classrooms. The second set of numbers and classrooms needed was done using the current school population with a projection for kindergarten and readiness. This projection shows 415 students, but still 21 classrooms needed. Both sets of numbers show that no changes are needed for the upcoming school year.
A letter of resignation was received from Ann Kline, Occupational Therapist. Her last day of work will be February 10, 2005.Mike motioned to accept the resignation of Ann Kline, effective February 10, 2005. Sue seconded the motion. The motion carried 2-0.
Sue introduced Peter Webb and Jim Murphy to everyone present. She stated that they were both at the meeting tonight because they are both candidates for the position of School Board Moderator, and also for the Town of Brookline Moderator. Sue said that at the beginning of the School District meeting in March the School District Clerk, Kathy O’Sullivan, will nominate one of these two candidates as an interim Moderator to run the District Meeting.
Lee Ann told the Board members that the IRS is now mandating that school board members be employees of their school district, and as such need to claim their income. Lee Ann gave each Board member a W-4 form to be filled out and returned to her by March 9, 2005. The Board members will then be paid by March 29, 2005.
Food Service Update
Lee Ann said that Food Services are doing very well, especially compared to last year. Changing the milk supplier saved a lot of money. Right now there is a deficit of approximately $3,100.00. Last year at this same time the deficit was approximately $12.000.00. The prices charged for meals and for milk are going to be examined. Those prices have not been increased at all in about ten years.
Principal Search Committee
Ken stated that the search for a Principal to replace Liz Eaton needs to begin. He asked the Board what they want advertised for the position. Ken’s recommendation, as the Superintendent, is to search for a replacement for Liz at RMMS, to be a co-Principal. Laurie was asked her opinion. She stated that she felt it was to the children’s benefit to have a Principal in each building with a shared Assistant Principal as things are now, as opposed to one Principal and two Assistant Principals.Mike motioned for Ken to put together a package to search for a new Co-Principal for RMMS ASAP. Sue seconded the motion. Discussion followed the motion.
Ken will get a package together that he will give to Sue tomorrow. It will include an advertisement, his recommendation for the composition of the Search Committee. And his recommendation for the charge of the Search Committee. After reviewing this package, the Board will be able to vote on it at the next meeting, February 8th. Ads would be ready to place for February 13, 2005. This schedule should provide candidates to be considered by the end of March. Ken stated to the Board that at this point in time the market is very tight. There are many similar openings in New Hampshire and in Massachusetts.
The make up of the Principal Search committee will be decided at the next Board meeting. Amy Fessenden requested that a member from the Support Staff be on this committee.
The motion carried 2-0.
Town of Brookline Finance Committee members Jack Flanagan, James McElroy and Betty Hall were present for this discussion.
Lee Ann distributed the latest change sheet to the budget. Changes listed on the first sheet correlate with the "yellow sheet" in the original budget. The total after the Budget Workshop held 1/11/05 is $6,011,040, which is a 5.3% change from the budget for FY 2004-05. Next the negotiated Professional Staff salary increases were listed, bringing the total, prior to interfund transfers, to $6,149,389, a 7.7% change. There are two warrants listed – a Safety Warrant, for $50,691 and a Technology Warrant, for $16,000. With interfund transfers, TOTAL APPROPRIATIONS are $6,360,66, which is an 8.6% change from the budget for FY 2004-05. Still not included are the Support Staff salary increases, since negotiations have not yet been completed.
Finance Committee questions:
James McElroy said that two years ago it was indicated on the CIP that the gym floor at RMMS needed to be replaced, and that since that time this item has been dropped from the CIP. Liz replied that this item was not a request by Administration, but is something that was brought up during the renovations of RMMS. It has since been determined that it is not necessary to replace the gym floor.
Jack asked if other insurance providers had been checked into, as he had suggested at the last meeting. The Board replied to Jack that they had decided not to direct Lee Ann to do that at this time. Jack said that he will look into this himself.
Jack asked if all paraprofessional positions were being increased from 5.5 hours to 6.0 hours. The response was that only the hours of the Special Education paraprofessionals are being increased.
Warrant Articles Discussion:
Safety Warrant Article: Jim Murphy recommended that the three items on the safety warrant for RMMS (phones, bell system and smoke detectors) be three separate warrant articles as opposed to one "Safety" warrant article. His concern is that people might vote it down because they don’t want one part of it. These items will be spoken about at the District meeting. There is still the possibility that this warrant could be split into three at the District meeting. This warrant is proposed for a total of $50,691.
Technology Warrant: Laurie distributed a copy of the "Brookline Technology Plan 1005-06". It shows the plan for the purchase of refurbished PC’s and the transfer of the Macs to RMMS. This warrant is proposed for $16,000.
The Budget Hearing will be held on Tuesday February 8, 2005 at 6:00 PM at CSDA. Ken asked the Finance Committee f they could have a decision on their support shortly after that, so it could be posted with the budget.
Review of Warrant Articles
A draft of the "Brookline School District Warrant" was distributed. Ken explained that this was given out tonight for the Board’s review. The warrants listed were reviewed.
Items 1-5 are standard.
Item one is for election to offices.
Item two is for the budget.
Item three is for the Teachers Association recommendations.
Number four is for the Support Staff Association recommendations.
Number 5 is for catastrophic aid funds.
Item #6 is for the Safety Warrant. The wording of this article has been changed from what was given out, based on the recommendations from the Attorney. Ken read the new wording to the Board. Item #7 is the Technology Warrant.
Ken asked the Board if the warrants represent what they wanted. After agreement by the Board members, Ken said that he will have the warrants all reviewed by the attorney so that they are ready for posting.
School Board Policies
At their last meeting the Board approved the funds for the NHSBA to update our policies. Sue quickly reviewed for Dave what has transpired up to now.
All three school boards in the SAU have approved the NHSBA to update policies. Kathy O’Sullivan is an employee of the NHSBA, and she will be updating the policies SAU-wide. Kathy would like to have an SAU-wide meeting by the beginning of February to develop a schedule and a plan. Kathy is recommending that the policies get approved as they are updated, and then do any changes as found necessary, as this will speed up the process.
There are three specific policies to be worked on tonight.
Early Retirement Policy: This should not be a policy, but should be part of the teachers’ contract. Kathy recommends rescinding the policy from the manual and adding the information to the contract.
Board member Conflict of Interest Policy BCB: Mike distributed a copy of a policy from the Lyme School Board for a first reading for a policy for Brookline.
Fundraiser Policy: This policy was originally approved in September 2004. Since then a situation arose that wasn’t covered clearly by the policy, and the Principal was left to make a final decision. Sue gave the Board her recommended changes to the wording of this policy, and proposed it for a first reading tonight.
Superintendent search: Each of the three School Boards in the SAU will submit their questions for the candidates to the other Boards in advance, so all are aware of what questions everyone will be asking. Sue gave Dave a copy of the Brookline School Board questions for his review and to add his thoughts.
Mike motioned for the Board to enter into non-public session as per RSA 91-A:3II (e),consideration or negotiation of pending claims or litigation". Sue seconded the motion. By a roll call vote, the motion carried 2-0. The Board adjourned into non-public session at 9:10 PM.