November 14, 2007
Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Tom Enright, Chairperson
James O’Shea, MD (arrived at 6:29 p.m.)
Tom Solon (arrived at 6:28 p.m.)
Richard Pike, Superintendent of Schools
Tim Kelley, Principal, Hollis-Brookline High School
Pat Goyette, Principal, Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator
Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum
Robert Kelly, Director of Special Education
Lauren Jacobi, Student Representative
Betsy A. Packard, Recording Secretary
Others present included members of the Public.
Chairperson Tom Enright called the meeting to order at 6:14 p.m.
1. PUBLIC FORUM
Kathy Lewis addressed the Board, asking that they consider a possible increase in teacher’s pay for one particular substitute. She explained that she also substitutes and after taxes, she receives $60.03 per day, which translates to $8.50 per hour. She stated that she could go work at McDonald’s as a maintenance person and receive $0.25 per hour more than what she makes substituting. She could work as a Pizza Hut driver and make $14.00 per hour plus tips. Working five days a week, she has the potential of making $333.15. In her case, she has the luxury of saying she doesn’t want to work a particular day, but in the case of Mr. Gershgoria, he is committed to five days a week, yet makes the same amount as a day substitute. She felt that the District would be able to keep substitutes better if they raised the pay. She pointed out that Mr. Jean is constantly shifting gears, teaching English one period and science the next. She felt that he should be salaried and receive benefits. In closing, she added that she wouldn’t mind a raise, as there has not been on in the past six years.
Chair. Enright thanked Ms. Lewis for her input.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of October 17, 2007 as written. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried. 3 – 0 – 1 (Peterson abstained.)
Supt. Pike informed the Board that he had received letters notifying him of retirement at the end of the school year from Carolyn Cicciu, Jacquelyn Lucas, and Brian Maynard.
Supt. Pike reported that he had been in Concord to revisit the crosswalk issue. He stated that they had had a meeting on October 22 and conducted a walk-thru of the crossway. He added that he had a letter from William Lambert, Traffic Engineer, stating that if they are interested in pursuing the crosswalk there are some other things they must do. He added that he would be writing formal letters of request to initiate the issue again.
Dan Peterson moved that the Board accept the letters of resignation from Carolyn Cicciu, Jacquelyn Lucas, and Brian Maynard with great appreciation for their service. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 4 – 0 – 0.
4. CURRICULUM DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Ms. Mace stated that the Board has received her Curriculum update in their packets. She then highlighted the three items in the report:
1. SAU 41 Professional Development Master Plan
Ms. Mace reported that on September 24, 2007, the Department of Education approved their new 5-year plan. It is now in effect and will be in effect until June 30, 2012. She stated that the new Master Plan emphasized learning for individual and organizational improvement; learning through job-embedded activities; applying knowledge and skills meaningfully to support student learning; and evaluating professional development on the basis of what participants learn.
Goal setting will be done in administrator-teacher conferences and will include three options for developing comprehensive plans:
· The development of a portfolio documenting professional development.
· An accumulation of a minimum of 75 Continuing Education Units.
· A combination of less than 75 clock hours and a portfolio that together document professional development addressing school or district goals and content areas.
Ms. Mace stated that they will be putting the Master Plan online and developing a handout. Ms. Lindgren and Ms. Mace will do a presentation in December.
2. Professional Staff Evaluation Plan Update
Ms. Mace reported that the full committee has been broken up into sub-committees. They hope to have a draft ready for review by the full committee in December.
3. Fordham Foundation/Institute
Ms. Mace explained that the Fordham Foundation, a conservative think tank, had recently been in the news regarding assessment. She stated that the Foundation had put out three reports of interest and she had provided a brief synopsis of each report and a link to the Foundation’s website in her report.
5. PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS
Ms. Goyette stated that she wanted to update the Board on a couple of items that were not in her report.
Ms. Goyette reported that Rick Melillo and Christy Grieff were the school’s guidance counselors. She stated that last year Mr. Melillo got invested in a handful of students that do not fit the school’s model, that are not identified as special needs, but are a different layer of students; students, who in future years, the school may be concerned with dropping out. Ms. Goyette stated that Mr. Melillo and she, along with the 8th grade teachers, started working last year on developing a competency that the teachers felt should be mastered before it could be said that the student belongs at the High School. It is a different way of demonstrating that mastery. Mr. Melillo is now working on the 7th grade and they feel they will be able to identify students much earlier than in the past.
Mr. Melillo has developed a program called C.A.R.E. – Cultivating Academic Responsibility and Excellence. He is working with the 7th grade teams. He has made personal contact with the parents of students who have failed even one class in the first quarter. The program offers 10 sessions of after-school support. He is working with the teachers to get assignments of what’s ahead. Students are not able to make-up what they did not get in the first quarter, but the program is proactive. Today was the first session. Nine students were invited and eight attended. Students are not obligated to come. The 10 sessions are only counted if the student completes his/her work. If a student comes and doesn’t do anything, it is not counted as one of their 10 sessions. Ms. Goyette was encouraged and felt it would give them some good data.
Chair. Enright questioned Mr. Melillo’s time spent on this program. Ms. Goyette responded that Mr. Melillo had approached her about the program last year. Guidance counselors have an extra 10 days in their contracts. He proposed that five of the paid days he would get over the summer he would equate to the after-school program. Ms. Goyette felt that this was a very creative use of funds, and it fulfilled a need. She added that she would keep the Board updated.
Mr. Kelley reported that they had 300 students participating in fall sports. He felt that this was an outstanding number for the size school they have.
Mr. Kelley stated that there had been a typo regarding the dates of the Parent-Teachers Conferences. They had listed the days as Tuesday and Wednesday, but had the wrong dates. They have been updating it on the web.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that they had a meeting regarding the cafeteria/classroom expansion. He stated that they have parking issues that will be addressed with some of their parking funds. They will be increasing the parking area by 7500 square feet, which will accommodate an additional 15 cars.
Mr. Kelley reported that the Guidance Department had sent out 495 packets for students applying to colleges for the December deadline. He pointed out the incredible amount of work this is for the Guidance Department.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that Cindy Matt was in an exploratory phase of the possibility of conducting summer school at the High School. Such a school should be self-sufficient.
Dr. O’Shea asked if there were any word on the freshman basketball issue. Mr. Kelley responded that they were moving ahead. They had interviewed for Freshman Girls’ coach. Boy’s tryouts are next week.
Student Representative’s Report
Ms. Jacobi stated that there wasn’t much going on currently. Students are all looking forward to Thanksgiving.
Mr. Simons asked what the school thought about JP Gorham being named as one of six national male finalists in the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. Mr. Kelley stated that everyone was excited. He added that the Heisman ceremony, which is associated with the colligate award, given by the New York Athletic Club, will be shown on December 10th on ESPN. There will be 12 young men and women finalists from high school. Supt. Pike stated that the finalists would be receiving their awards from Archie Griffin.
Dr. O’Shea felt it was a great school ceremony, that there was a genuine feeling of affection from the students.
6. 2008-2009 PROPOSED BUDGET
Supt. Pike stated that during a final scrubbing of the budget, some redundancies were found which brought the numbers down some.
Ms. Duhamel stated that she had broken the budget up in a couple of different ways. She reported that the budget is at a 4.53% increase with teacher contracts and Special Education included. She stated that 68% of the accounts have either decreased or show no change. Some causes for the increase are due to new positions at the High School, insurance, and salting and sanding, which the school now has to pay for.
Ms. Duhamel reported on the District-wide budget. She informed the Board that negotiated salaries is the big driver, coming in at $364,434. Chair. Enright asked if the support staff salaries were in the budget, or if it was the only thing not included in the budget. Ms. Duhamel responded that they were not.
Ms. Duhamel explained that the maintenance budget had increased slightly because they changed the way John Gray is budgeted. He is now put in the District-wide account instead of being split up amongst the schools.
Chair. Enright asked about health benefits. Mr. Duhamel responded that the maximum guaranteed rate given by LGC is a 13.6% increase. She added that they wouldn’t know the actual rate until May. She explained that they have a little cushion from last year’s budget. She stated that our experience rate wasn’t that great, and that is why the increase is higher than other districts. She added that LGC is supposed to give her a report to explain some of the drivers for the increase. Chair. Enright stated that this was the second year in a row that the District’s increase was high. He explained that there are about a hundred different groups, and each group gets a different rate. The increase for the hundred groups was about 9.8% and the Coop’s was 13.5%. Somehow, the District’s experience is not very good compared to everybody else’s in NH. He stated that he would like to get LGC to come and explain to the Board why the District’s experience is so high. He pointed out that the difference is not a half percent or one percent, but rather a lot.
Mr. Peterson asked how they get the rates. Chair. Enright stated that he could explain since he sits on the board, which is a non-profit organization made up of school board representatives, superintendents, selectmen, and other elected officials. They talk to Blue Cross and they have actuarial evidence of where we have been, what the trends are, and where they think we will be in 12 months. Because LGC has a surplus now, the Board has been cutting back on the rates. The overall average increase is 9.8%, while the industry increases 12%.
Mr. Peterson stated that he had been looking at his company’s health plans. He has found that the school’s plan is much higher. If the premium for a family is $1200 in industry, then it is $1600 at the school district. Supt. Pike asked what the level of deductible was. Mr. Peterson said there were different levels. Supt. Pike pointed out that deductibles were big drivers. Mr. Peterson felt that the District’s health plans were very rich. Chair. Enright stated that the LGC Board has voted twice this year to increase benefits, which will come back to the district. They voted to increase dental cleanings from twice a year to four times a year. He stated that he spoke and vote against it. Chair. Enright added that they now cover children to 26 years of age. Mr. Simons stated that he didn’t think that was mandated. Chair. Enright responded that it was mandated for the District.
Mr. Peterson asked if they were Blue Cross plans. Chair. Enright responded that they were. Ms. Duhamel suggested that Mr. Peterson stop by the SAU office to look at the District’s plans. Mr. Peterson felt that the District’s plans were drastically higher than industry’s plans.
Chair. Enright asked if anyone would be interested in having LGC come in and speak to the Board. Mr. Peterson stated that he would be. Ms. Tremblay was also interested. She stated that she would like to see what was mandated and what was not. Chair. Enright pointed out that the health insurance was grouped with the Hollis School District and the Brookline School District. He felt that they should be extended an invitation to hear what LGC has to say.
Chair. Enright stated that two years ago, the District had to increase the co-pay. He explained that it saved the District a lot of money, and he felt it also invested the employee more into what they are doing.
Dr. O’Shea felt it would be helpful to have an explanation of the nuances of the health plan options that the School Board has in approaching negotiations, such as level of deductibles, co-pays, and flexible savings.
Mr. Solon pointed out that insurance is gambling. One is gambling whether something is going to go wrong or not. He stated that if they had the opportunity to free up money, it could be used to help staff in other areas.
Mr. Peterson stated that he would also like to talk about flexible savings plans. Ms. Duhamel asked if Mr. Peterson was talking about Medical Savings Accounts, which is different from flexible savings plans. A Medical Savings Account is where the District would set up an Account and apply it to the medical plan, which helps to maintain costs. She stated that she was looking into this. Mr. Solon stated that his company has a high deductible, but there is an account that helps the employee pay for that. It saves the company a fair amount of money.
Chair. Enright asked that Supt. Pike and Ms. Duhamel invite LGC to come talk to the Board. He added that he wanted them to bring specific data.
Chair. Enright stated that he would also like to get quotes on liability insurance. Ms. Duhamel stated that that was in the works.
Mr. Simons asked if the retiree line item reflected the three requests they voted on that night. Ms. Duhamel stated that two were in the budget, so she needed to add the third. She added that it runs about $19,000 with benefits.
Dr. O’Shea asked to be familiarized with the Attendance Bonus. Mr. Kelley responded that it was part of negotiated agreement with the staff. Chair. Enright thought that a staff member could get an additional
1 ½ days pay for perfect attendance. He added that it used to be 3 days. Mr. Kelley thought it might be two days pay.
Middle School Budget
Ms. Goyette stated that she would like to present her budget in two ways.
Ms. Goyette first presented the budget without Special Education. She stated that the budget was basically up $46,000 over last year’s budget. She added that 90% of the increase was due to maintenance. Utility lights are up $26,000. Snow removal/sanding is up $9,000 (15 storms at $600/storm). Staff development and professional books are also up. They plan on using the Danielson model for staff development next year.
Mr. Solon asked if the utility lighting being up $26,000 was due to increase in charges or underestimate from last year. Ms. Goyette explained that they had underestimated last year. They budgeted $54,000 for the 06-07 and actually spent $73,000. This year they are budgeting $80,000. Ms. Duhamel added that PSNH has told them to expect a 1.5% increase in rates. Chair. Enright explained that they had a new building last year, now they have data from it, so they are trying to catch up.
Mr. Solon asked if Ms. Duhamel felt they would run short on heating fuel. Ms. Duhamel responded that she did think they would run short on heating fuel and transportation fuel. Mr. Solon asked if the Budget Committee would change their guidance number due to rising fuel costs. Mr. Peterson responded that the Budget Committee had no plans on changing their guidance number.
Dr. O’Shea questioned the 2152 account. Ms. Goyette explained that that was Special Education.
Ms. Goyette distributed a Staffing Proposal for the Middle School. Ms. Goyette explained that there was an incoming 6th grade student who currently requires a one-on-one teacher. In order to accommodate the student’s needs, she proposed the following:
Currently, staffing includes:
FT Special Ed. $50,000
FT Reading (retirement) $64,700
ICT/Eng (retirement) $68,500
Proposed staffing for 2008-2009
FT Special Ed becomes:
0.5 FTE Coordinator $35,000
0.5 FTE Special Ed $27,336
FT Reading $46,782 (new at M 5)
FT Special Ed $46,782 (new at M 5)
Total positions $155,900
$16,175 (retirement benefit)
$17,121 (retirement benefit)
Total positions and Ret. Benefits $189,196
This leaves a shortfall of $5,996.
Ms. Goyette felt that this would meet the needs of the incoming student.
Dr. O’Shea asked if the reading teachers were part of a team. Ms. Goyette explained that they were not part of a team. There are two reading teachers; one teaches 7th grade, and the other teaches 8th grade. Reading replaces foreign language for students that take reading. There are two levels of reading. Dr. O’Shea asked if there were about 60 students in reading. Ms. Goyette responded that there were. Dr. O’Shea wondered if the numbers were growing. Ms. Mace responded that she couldn’t talk specific numbers, but hoped it was decreasing. Ms. Goyette stated that she didn’t see the levels rising, but the levels have big discrepancy. Mr. Kelly added that it has been a significant impact for students with needs.
Mr. Peterson asked that the ICT/Eng position be explained. Ms. Goyette stated that the Middle School has four teams. Each team has a Special Education case manager assigned to it. She would like to keep it that way. If she took the Special Education teacher that she would like to transfer to 0.5 FTE Coordinator and 0.5 FTE Special Education teacher for the one-on-one teacher needed for the incoming student, then the integrity of the teams would be compromised. Therefore, she would like to add a Special Education teacher in place of the ICT/Eng position.
Mr. Solon stated that they had talked somewhat about the Masters +5 as a placeholder for new positions. He wondered what Ms. Goyette felt about it. Ms. Goyette responded that she had concerns; however, she has been able to find good, younger staff that she feels compliments the veteran staff.
Chair. Enright stated that for the Special Education position, Ms. Goyette had someone in mind. He wondered about the Reading position. Ms. Goyette responded that she wasn’t sure what she will find.
Mr. Solon asked if the $6,000 shortfall had been addressed in the budget. Ms. Duhamel responded that it had not, and added that they hoped to address that with new hires.
Dr. O’Shea asked what the overall increase without Special Education was. Ms. Duhamel responded that the increase was 1.4% without Special Education.
Chair. Enright stated that the budget without Special Education is increased 1.4%. When Special Education is added in, the budget is decreased 5.62%. This is due to Special Education being down from last year.
Mr. Simons questioned the budget being up $46,000 without Special Education, which is 1.4%. Ms. Goyette concurred. Chair. Enright pointed out that maintenance was up $32,700, which is more than half of the total increase.
Mr. Peterson asked if Technology was in the budget. Ms. Goyette responded that it was. Chair. Enright asked about textbooks being in the budget. Ms. Goyette explained that she had budgeted for Spanish textbooks, which is all she needs.
High School Budget
Mr. Kelley reported that the High School’s proposed budget had a total budget increase of $460,000. Of that, $360,000 was for Special Education; therefore, the operating budget was only up $100,000. Of that $100,000, maintenance was up $39,000, and new positions were up $61,000.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that in the 1400 accounts – Extra-curricular, he instructed the Athletic Director to include freshman sports and coaches, but the bottom line could not go up. Mr. Rupp’s budget came in under last year’s. Mr. Kelley pointed out that they cannot control the dues. Mr. Kelley stated that he commends the Athletic Department for doing what they had been asked. He added that the budget also includes clubs and advisors.
Mr. Kelley reported that textbooks went up $227.00 from last year’s budget. It just naturally happened that way. Four departments went up, while five departments went down.
In regards to New Positions, Mr. Kelley stated that a strong request came out of a Leadership Team meeting. The Team requested that help be provided for the School Nurse. Mr. Kelley stated that he had put in for 0.5 FTE nurse.
Mr. Kelley reported that he is requesting two other new positions, as follows:
· School to Careers: moving position from 0.75 FTE to 1.00 FTE for a total increase of 0.25 FTE
· 504 Coordinator: moving position from 0.50 FTE to 0.75 FTE for a total increase of 0.25 FTE
Mr. Kelley stated that in the 2600 – Maintenance accounts, the budget was up $39,000. He explained that a salary change had been made. They moved the head custodian to Director of Maintenance, and put his salary in the District-wide account. With this move, they had to add a custodian.
Mr. Kelley explained that they had to add $13,000 for snow removal/sanding. There is an increase of $10,000 for lighting, as PSNH has informed them that there will be a 1.5% increase.
Mr. Kelley stated that there is one retirement in the budget, but there may be another one coming.
Mr. Solon asked if the change in Utility Oil Services was actual, or if it was a pre-buy. Ms. Duhamel stated that it was a pre-buy. She hoped that it will carry them through the winter. She added that they had paid last year, but got some credit back, and that is reflected in this budget. She stated that the pre-buy price is $2.24/gal. Chair. Enright questioned if they still had “downside protection.” Ms. Duhamel stated that she would look into it.
Ms. Tremblay questioned the increase in Fire/Alarm Services. Ms. Duhamel explained that they had to get a whole new panel. She added that it has to be tested twice a year. She added that they now know the actual of what they need to pay, and that John Gray was working on a new contract with the people who installed the new panel.
Mr. Simons asked what the student population projection was. Mr. Kelley responded that they project 215 out-going students and 240 incoming. He added that the NESDEC numbers show that they will be over 900 students for the next seven years.
Chair. Enright asked what the average increase for coaches was and wondered if it was between $50 and $100. Mr. Kelley felt it was between that, but needed to check it out.
Dr. O’Shea asked what was happening with the hockey team, if it was still self-funded. Mr. Kelley responded that he would have to get back to him. He added that it wasn’t showing anything for hockey.
Mr. Peterson pointed out that last year there was a separate warrant article for Technology. He wondered if there was anything budgeted for Technology in the proposed budget. Mr. Kelley explained that there was an $81,000 deduction from last year. He added that he had put in $20,000 to replace equipment. Mr. Peterson stated that he understood that $81,000 included replacing a lab. Mr. Kelley responded that he needed to define how much of the $81,000 was a one-time event. Mr. Peterson stated that he would like to see a break-up of how much of the Technology budget was standing, and how much was incremental purchases.
Chair. Enright stated that there was $8,500 in the Academic Competition account. He wondered if that included $5,000 for FIRST. Mr. Peterson responded that FIRST is $6,000. Mr. Kelley felt the money was in the budget.
Mr. Peterson questioned that the total High School budget without Special Education was up 1.81%, which is $106,893. Mr. Kelley concurred.
Special Education Budget
Mr. Kelly stated that he would give the Board a brief synopsis of the budget, but then needed to go into non-public for a brief meeting.
Mr. Kelly reported that there were very few changes. He stated that there were three points he wanted to mention:
1. Overall change across the entire Coop, grades 7 through 12, is a $73,128 increase, which is 2.7%.
Mr. Kelly reported that the two main drivers were tuition and transportation. He explained the following:
Tuition: Account # 1200 560 03 ~ Middle School decreased ($200,000)
Account # 1200 560 04 ~ High School increased $207,000
Transportation: Account # 2722 510 03 ~ Middle School decreased ($98,000)
Account # 2722 510 04 ~ High School increased $140,000
Mr. Kelly stated that Tuition and Transportation combined is up $56,000. He added that the transportation account is inclusive of known transportation needs, plus some potential increases.
2. Account 2152 390 ~ Contracted /Speech and Language Services
Mr. Kelly explained that these are not employees or in-district services. These are for out-of-district related services to go with the out-of-district program. He reported that:
Middle School: increased $5,500
High School: increased $3,500
Total increase $9,000 (129.33% increase)
Dr. O’Shea asked if these services involved expertise that in-house doesn’t have, or if it was overflow. Mr. Kelly responded that in-house had the services, but it was in locations that it was not conducive of them getting there. He added that some of it is increase of current services, but most is new services.
Mr. Solon asked if the cost of services not being serviced within the school going up. Mr. Kelly responded that:
1) There has been good consistency among related services, such as OC and speech, through the Consortium. The related services have been quite stable, 3% - 5% increase.
2) The budget in terms of tuition, (Account #1200 560) includes, to the best of their knowledge, all the tuition rate increases of out-of-district placements, which are typically mandated and must be state approved, which includes outside of the State of New Hampshire. He added that they had received a tuition increase from Massachusetts of 17% increase, which was due to a lag in the amount of the State increases over a number of years.
3) Account #1200 115 ~ Extended School Year Program (ESY)
Mr. Kelly reported that the ESY account was up $10,947, and that the actuals were higher than that. The increase is due to three factors:
a) Increasing the provision of Extended School Year programming somewhat from the regulations.
b) Being able to provide some increased ESY programming within the District as opposed to a specialized day program.
c) Changing from SPEDIS (Special Education Information System) to NHSEIS (New Hampshire Special Education Information System) this past year. There were a number of technical complications, including CAT, that didn’t get in place until June of 2007, so they had to utilize staff to come in to input data to get them up to speed. That’s why it is not fully carried forward.
Mr. Peterson asked for the number of students being serviced. Mr. Kelly responded as follows:
November 2006: 145 IDEA and 15 OOD = 160
November 2007: 155 IDEA and 17 OOD = 172
Mr. Peterson asked if those students were budgeted in the budget. Mr. Kelly responded that they were. Chair. Enright asked if that included transportation. Mr. Kelly stated that it did.
Chair. Enright pointed out that the Middle School was down in out-of-district placements. He asked if that correlated to the number of students (number dropped off), or if it was due to more out-of-district students coming back to the Middle School. Mr. Kelly explained that it was due to students moving up to the High School. Chair. Enright stated that if there were only two out-of-district students, he felt the District was doing well. Supt. Pike pointed out that what happens between now and the end of the year is a wild card. Mr. Kelly agreed, explaining that there was not one hypothetical cost in the budget. The budget reflected what they know as of that day. Chair. Enright added that during the budget cycle, it typically moves. Mr. Kelly agreed, adding that there had not been a year without a handful of changes, but they always budgeted what they knew.
Dr. O’Shea asked if there were any new unfunded mandates from the state or feds. Mr. Kelly responded that there were none since 2004, which came in affect in 2006. He stated that there has been some reviewing of federal statues of Medicaid funding for schools. They are looking at reducing Medicaid funding. Mr. Kelly stated that they increased Account # 2180 301 ~ Medicaid Billing by $1,600, due to billing. He added that he would update the Board next month and will continue to research. He stated that the federal changes will not go into affect until October 2008.
Mr. Peterson thanked Ms. Duhamel and the Administrators for all the hard work they had put into developing the budget. Chair. Enright felt it was the best budget that he had seen for this point of the budget process. Mr. Simons felt that the order of magnitude was much better. Chair. Enright asked if people felt better with the format of this budget than with the budget notebooks. It was felt that the format of this budget was much better.
Ms. Duhamel stated that the Coop budget was up 4.53% with Special Education included. The District-wide account is up 10.05%. Chair. Enright pointed out that they have a 3% contract cost.
Chair. Enright stated that the total increase presented was 4.5%. The increase will be about 5% with the support staff added in. Of the 5%, 3% is due to two contracts. Therefore, 2% increase is for everything else. Of the 2%, 50% of that is for benefits.
Chair. Enright stated that in moving forward, Ms. Duhamel did not have to give new sheets, just a running page of changes, then at the end of the budget cycle, a final proposed budget could be printed off.
Dr. O’Shea asked if the Budget Committee were present, what would they hear for a total budget increase? Chair. Enright responded 5%. Mr. Peterson added that it is 1.5% without Special Education and Debt Service. Mr. Kelly stated that the Special Education budget was up $73,000, or 2.7%. Chair. Enright pointed out that that was about 0.5% of the total budget. He added that they were about 0.5% off what the Budget Committee wants.
7. BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Ms. Duhamel stated that at the last meeting, the Board had asked about the impact on insurance to add freshmen teams. Ms. Duhamel reported that there was no impact.
Ms. Duhamel informed the Board that she had received a letter of resignation yesterday from the new Human Resources person. They will now have to start the process over again.
James O’Shea moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) reputation. Janice Tremblay seconded. A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in the affirmative. 6 - 0 - 0.
The Board entered non-public session at 8:05 p.m.
The Board re-entered public session at 8:18 p.m.
Chair. Enright stated that the Board had been given a presentation on the 2008-2009 Proposed Budget. He felt that the Board now needed to give feedback on the presentation. He explained that the Budget Committee had given guidelines of a 1.5% increase. The proposed budget is currently at 5%. Dr. O’Shea confirmed that Special Education was outside of the 1.5% increase. Mr. Peterson agreed. Dr. O’Shea pointed out that the budget was then at a 4.5% increase. Chair. Enright stated that they were essentially 3% over guidance, which is due to contracts.
Mr. Solon stated that he was impressed with the way the Administrators managed their budgets. However, he was concerned with oil, electricity, and transportation fuel. He felt to budget these items flat was kidding themselves. By budgeting them flat, there was no cushion for variables. Chair. Enright asked if Mr. Solon felt they should go up. Mr. Solon responded that he felt certain portions were under budgeted.
Chair. Enright understood what the Budget Committee was attempting to do, but stated he was not willing to disassemble programs to get to their number. One way to get to the Budget Committee’s number was to cut co-curricular. He was not willing to do that. Chair. Enright felt that they were not yet finished with the budget, but added he was not going to instruct the Administrators to take out another 3%. He felt the proposals of both principals were reasonable, and supported them.
Mr. Simons felt that the Budget Committee was not giving allowances for oil, gas, and electricity was unreasonable. These items are out of the District’s control.
Dr. O’Shea agreed with Chair. Enright. He felt the 1.5% increase guidance was unrealistic. He was not in favor of cutting programs and/or co-curricular. Those were off the table for him.
Ms. Tremblay stated that as a new member of the Board, she had a great deal of respect for Mr. Kelley, Ms. Goyette, and Ms. Duhamel for what they have done to bring the budget in. She felt they should address the areas of insurance. She felt that everyone needed to keep an open mind, including the Budget Committee. She added that she felt it was important to keep the current school spirit going.
Mr. Peterson felt the proposed budget was a good starting point. He felt there were still areas to look at, adjust, and squeeze. If they got to the best number they can, and they still are not at the guidance number, then they need to articulate to the District what will need to come out. He felt they needed to provide an informed position.
Ms. Goyette stated that she heard what Mr. Peterson was saying, and that she understood the position he was in, being the Board representative to the Budget Committee. She explained that last year they first came in much higher. If one looked at her budget line items, she is down in almost every line. She added that if she had to set priorities and decrease a large number, then it will have to come from after school programs. She stated that she didn’t know how to address rising fuel costs.
Mr. Peterson agreed that fuel costs were going up 1.5%, so the budget will be up, and nothing can be done about those rising costs. Thus, they will need to make programmatic cuts.
Mr. Solon felt that they needed to identify specifically what the taxpayer is buying, and state that by not cutting, this is what they will be able to keep. He felt it was just a different approach.
Mr. Solon stated that he got the sense that some Budget Committee members felt that labor contracts were renegotiable. They must be voted on at the District Meeting, so voters have the chance of not approving them. Mr. Peterson responded that he did not feel that the Budget Committee had taken that position, and added that the contracts do have to be approved.
Supt. Pike stated that the CPI does not accurately reflect what the District is about. He pointed out that retirement and health benefits are the two largest drivers of the budget, and retirement will go much higher next year. He added that the CPI seems to be a different number different for uses. He stated that the Hollis School District’s CPI number is different from the Coop’s, and the CPI used for transportation is another number. He felt this was troubling. He added that they cannot dismantle programs and expect the same quality.
Mr. Peterson stated that the Budget Committee felt that the increase cost of education was not sustainable for the taxpayer. He added that industry is measured on its productivity. Every industry is making strides in its productivity. One cannot say that about education. The cost/student is not improving. They need to educate students in a more cost effective way. Supt. Pike pointed out that the District was not putting out widgets, but rather, putting out students. The quality of education (the product) speaks for itself. He added that the District’s product is there. He felt they perhaps needed a better way of selling it. Mr. Peterson stated that the increase to sustain that product was unsustainable to the taxpayer. Supt. Pike stated that he could not see how a quality product (education of the student) translates to CPI.
Dr. O’Shea stated that it troubles him how the State chooses to fund education, that is, through property tax. He felt this was not sustainable. He felt that the State chooses the most regressive way to pay for education. Dr. O’Shea felt that this issue needs to be part of the conversation. He felt it was disingenuous to talk about the changes without talking about taxes.
Mr. Solon did not feel that they would get to the Budget Committee’s guideline. He felt that the Board needed to discuss what they are trying to accomplish and research what tools/techniques are out there that are the best way to accomplish it. He wondered if they should be taking winter vacation and having school in the summer to cut the cost of heating.
Mr. Peterson stated that they would not solve the issue that night. He felt that as long as education was fixated around a teacher with a certain number of students, there would not be a significant change in the cost/per student. He felt they needed to get out of the paradigm of cost/student.
Chair. Enright stated that the Board needed to be prepared to show the difference between a 1.5% and a 4.5% increased budget. He then charged Supt. Pike to present a budget at next month’s meeting that shows what cuts would have to be made to take $500,000 out of the budget. He suggested such things as cutting maintenance repairs and co-curricular.
Mr. Solon stated that it may be way too late to look at the number of students in a classroom. He wondered if there was any thought of having seminar classes for core curriculum classes. Ms. Goyette responded that there was new research out that shows building relationships, building confidence, and building skills improves a student’s quality of writing. She added that there are times that the teams get together for group instruction, such as a movie, and then break up for follow-up instruction.
Mr. Kelley stated that he agreed with Ms. Goyette. He pointed out that there is a writing requirement for graduation. He felt that the quality of writing would go down if class sizes had to increase. He stated that labor was the big driving cost of the budget. He pointed out that they have crowding at the High School, but they have reasonable classroom sizes. They have a quality teaching staff because they have a good labor contract. He added that they have teachers that care about the students. He stated that they could go to 25-30 students per classroom; however, any student with “needs” will not do well. Mr. Kelley pointed out that they were in a people industry.
Chair. Enright felt that everyone could go through the budget and try to find areas for it to come down, and it would come down some, but not 3%.
Ms. Goyette questioned the $500,000 cut being 3%. She thought that it was $100,000 for each percent. Mr. Peterson responded that 3% should be about $450,000.
Mr. Peterson stated that the Board needed to know what was being taken out so they could defend it. Mr. Kelley pointed out that extra-curricular at the High School and Middle School is approximately $400,000. Mr. Peterson stated that it has been clear for a while that they needed to hone into 1.5%; therefore, they will have to make programmatic cuts. Chair. Enright felt that maintenance could come down.
Ms. Goyette asked if there had been any discussion of the SAU going first. She pointed out that they always go first, and then the Coop has to go from there. She added that there was no budget committee oversight for the SAU. If one was going to talk about a paradigm shift, she felt they should look at the SAU budget.
8. POLICY – FIRST REVIEW
Ms. Goyette stated that she had a request of the Board. She explained that she had a new nurse and would like to postpone reviewing the policies for one month so that the nurse can review them. She added that she and Mr. Kelley would meet with Mr. Simons to go over them.
Mr. Kelley suggested that they do more policies at the next meeting than was listed on the agenda. Mr. Simons responded that they still had the Ks and Ls left.
9. HESSA SIDEBAR AGREEMENT
Dr. O’Shea asked if the Board reached the goal that was talked about in the non-public session. Chair. Enright stated that they did, so the Board could move to ratify the sidebar.
Dan Peterson moved that the Board ratify the Sidebar Agreement as currently written. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Simons pointed out that the Sidebar Agreement references Policy GDQA. He stated it essentially does what the Board talked about. The only Special Ed para that is now excluded from the RIF policy is the personal care para. He felt that the Board should approve it.
Steve Simons moved that the Board approve Policy GDQA – Reduction in Support Staff Work Force as amended for final acceptance. James O’Shea seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Simons informed the Board that they were trying to get Policy GCPA for instructional staff done. He stated that they did not get it back to him in time, but felt they would have it for next month.
Mr. Kelley stated that as part of the process to get the Sidebar Agreement, there were title changes along with job description changes. He questioned if the Board needed to approve the job description changes. Chair. Enright stated that he didn’t remember the Board approving job descriptions. Mr. Simons agreed. Mr. Kelley stated that he had found some job descriptions that had been approved by the Board. Dr. O’Shea questioned if the Board did approve job descriptions, would it decrease Mr. Kelley’s ability to run the building. Chair. Enright did not feel the Board needed to approve job descriptions.
The Board decided that they did not need to approve job descriptions, but had the right to ask to see them.
10. HIGH SCHOOL ADDITION
Mr. Simons reported that a meeting was held and Ted Karwoski agreed to be involved. Mr. Simons explained that Mr. Karwoski was a Hollis resident who was the chair of the building committees for the Middle School and High School projects. He added that Mr. Karwoski loves doing it, and does a good job. Mr. Simons stated that with the Board’s approval, he and Mr. Karwoski will be the co-chairs of the new proposed addition.
Mr. Simons stated that Hutter Construction, Lavallee Brensinger Architects, Mr. Kelley, Supt. Pike, Dr. O’Shea, Mr. Karwoski, and he met. He added that Mr. Karwoski already had some ideas. He explained that last year they proposed extending the building to the south by 40’ with classrooms upstairs. Mr. Karwoski suggested that they put the addition between the cafeteria wing and the wing in the front. This would extend the cafeteria to the east rather than to the south. Chair. Enright asked if the architects felt it could be done. Mr. Simons responded that they did, and that they were going back to work on it.
Mr. Solon asked how many floors there would be below the cafeteria. Mr. Peterson responded that there would be one. Dr. O’Shea responded that it would be storage. Mr. Solon asked if they would lose classrooms by connecting the new space. Mr. Simons responded that they wouldn’t lose classrooms, but they would lose windows. He added that the next step was for Lavallee Brensinger to come back with sketches and an estimate.
Dr. O’Shea asked how many classrooms the architects felt they could get. Mr. Kelley responded that he was not sure, but he was more interested in the hallways. He felt that was going to be the biggest challenge, that is, how to access the rooms.
Mr. Solon asked where the classrooms would be. Dr. O’Shea responded that the third floor would be for classrooms, the second floor would be cafeteria, and the first floor would be storage.
Mr. Solon asked if the primary objective of the project was the classrooms? Mr. Kelley responded that it was, that they needed at least four classrooms.
11. SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH COMMITTEE
Mr. Solon stated that at the end of this month they needed to provide the District with names of people to participate in the superintendent search committee.
Dr. James O’Shea nominated Tim Kelley as the administrative representative for the superintendent search committee. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Solon asked about the community member that is also needed. Ms. Goyette suggested that if Mr. Kelley is the administrative representative, who is at the high school level, perhaps the community representative could be from the middle school level. She added that she had a PTSA meeting the next day, so she could speak to them, and then get a list of names to the Board. Chair. Enright asked if it could wait until the December 19th meeting. Mr. Solon stated that it couldn’t. Chair. Enright suggested that they delegate people to choose a representative. Mr. Solon felt that since Mr. Kelley is from Brookline, then the community representative should be from Hollis.
James O’Shea moved that the Board authorize Tom Enright and Pat Goyette to chose a representative from the Hollis Brookline Cooperative Middle School Community from Hollis. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
James O’Shea moved that the Board adjourn. Tom Solon seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.