Approved: April 8, 2008
February 7, 2008
Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Tom Enright, Chairperson
James O’Shea, MD
Richard Pike, Superintendent of Schools
Tim Kelley, Principal, Hollis-Brookline High School
Betsy A. Packard, Recording Secretary
Others present included members of the Public.
Chairperson Tom Enright called the meeting to order at 10:40 p.m.
Chair. Enright felt that the Board members should state their position on Warrant Article II.
Mr. Solon did not see any chance of the Article passing. He was not sure if he could support it based on what the community was asking. If they talked about the immediate need, and the cafeteria were expanded to match and support the current student population, and they could regain the areas they had to take over, then it would be acceptable for the short term, depending on strategic plans for the future.
Mr. Scales did not feel that the proposed addition was well received. He felt the public saw the numbers as flat, yet the numbers are above current capacity.
Mr. Kelley pointed out that two years ago, the proposal was for four classrooms, and the voters didn’t pass that. Last year, when they asked for portables, they needed four classrooms to make the school run smoothly, and they did not pass that. He added that the students do not see the impact of the numbers yet, but they will soon.
Mr. Simons stated that his position has not changed. He added that when the wing was added five years ago, the cafeteria was too small. They ended up taking classrooms to accommodate seating for lunches. They made the library bigger so the core would accommodate 600 – 900 students. Now they have had to take library space for classes.
Mr. Solon asked what they needed to do to get back on track. Mr. Kelley responded that with this addition, the school would have the capacity for 900. He added that they knew the cafeteria was too small.
Mr. Scales wondered why the school did not fit 900 students. Mr. Kelley responded that he wasn’t sure, adding that the District’s curriculum does not fit the formula.
Supt. Pike stated that last time they presented an addition, they focused on the cafeteria and it did not pass. This time they are focusing on classrooms, and the voters are saying to focus on the cafeteria.
Chair. Enright felt that the presentation did not make it clear enough to the voters that the addition would not be increasing capacity, but rather, completing the school.
Mr. Simons stated that the PTSA wants to hear about the addition. Mr. Kelley stated that he was booked for the next several weeks in selling the proposed addition.
Mr. Scales stated that it was his experience that in the past it has taken three years to get a bond passed. He felt that the Board blew it by not putting a proposed addition on the warrant last year. He was worried that they were now starting from square one again.
Chair. Enright stated that what he heard at the Bond Hearing was that voters want to know what the School Board is doing about strategic planning and looking to the future.
Mr. Solon felt that the expectations were that if you expand the High School capacity, you would pull 9th grade down to the Middle School.
Chair. Enright felt that the Board needed to address long-range planning.
Mr. Scales pointed out that if they just built cafeteria space, the question remains whether they would they have enough classroom space or not. He believed that the answer was no.
Mr. Solon felt that they needed to explain to the voters what has changed from what was expected and what is exactly happening.
Mr. Scales felt that they needed to demonstrate that the proposed added space is not excessive. Mr. Solon added that it is not even excessive for 10 years from now.
Mr. Kelley pointed out that the cost of the proposed addition two years ago would be much more expensive now.
Mr. Solon asked what would happen if the proposed addition was not passed. Mr. Kelley responded that they would lose staff.
Mr. Scales suggested that the Board vote on the other warrant articles then come back to Article II.
Chair. Enright stated that the Board’s proposed operating budget comes to $18,470,500. He pointed out that if the Board supports this figure, then they don’t support the Budget Committee’s. He added that the biggest increase in the budget comes from benefits, transportation, SAU assessment, fuel/oil, and part-time nurse.
Dr. O’Shea asked if anything had been changed since the last time they looked at the budget other than it being tweaked. Chair. Enright responded that it was at 1.99% increase and is now at 1.88%.
James O’Shea moved that the Board support the proposed budget of $18,470,500 for a 1.88% increase. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
It was felt that Mr. Peterson should present the budget at the District Meeting because he represents the Board on the Budget Committee, and is good at presenting. Chair. Enright stated that he would like to present the two negotiated contracts at the District Meeting unless someone else wanted to. The Board agreed that Chair. Enright should present the contracts.
Warrant Article IV
Steve Simons moved that the Board support Warrant Article IV – Professional Staff Salaries and Benefits, for the amount of $366,242. Webb Scales seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
6 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Enright questioned whether the Board supported Warrant Article V, which calls for a special meeting if Article IV is defeated.
Mr. Scales was not sure that the Board needed to take a position on Article V.
Chair. Enright felt if the professional staff contract was voted down, then the Board needed to go to the negotiation table and negotiate in good faith.
Webb Scales moved that Article V be on the Warrant. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
James O’Shea moved that the Board support Article V. Steve Simons seconded.
Mr. Solon questioned if Article V should be on the warrant as it may appear as anticipating failure. Mr. Scales pointed out that Article V was written conditionally. Dr. O’Shea viewed Article V as the District being willing to bend over backwards to negotiate a contract.
Chair. Enright explained that without Article V, the District would have to go to a judge to get a special meeting.
Mr. Scales pointed out that the Board had just voted to put Article V on the Warrant; therefore, they were now voting as to whether they supported it or not.
Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Warrant Article VI
James O’Shea moved that the Board support Warrant Article VI – Support Staff Salaries and Benefits, for the amount of $39,053. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
6 – 0 – 0.
Warrant Article VII
Steve Simons moved that the Board put Article VII on the Warrant and that the Board support it. James O’Shea seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Warrant Article VIII
Webb Scales moved that the Board support Article VIII. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Warrant Article II
Steve Simons moved that the Board approve Article II with a 15-year bond. James O’Shea seconded.
Chair. Enright stated that the Board will need to hammer home that the proposed addition is not about adding capacity, but rather about meeting the High School’s present needs.
Ms. Tremblay felt that they needed more teachers like the one who spoke at the Bond Hearing to speak about space issues at the High School.
Mr. Solon felt that the Board also needed to make a statement that the voters should not plan on seeing a strategic plan that goes out 20-30 years, but rather 10-15 years.
Mr. Scales felt that they needed to show the number of classrooms they currently have vs. the number of classrooms needed, as well as show how many students they can accommodate.
Mr. Solon felt that the presentation for the District Meeting needed to have more detail. Mr. Kelley stated that he realized that.
Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Kelley stated that he would like to keep the Board informed as to what was happening with the course of study, and could do this by email.
Chair. Enright wondered if the Board wanted a March meeting. Mr. Scales felt they should have a meeting to do a dry run of the presentations. Mr. Simons wondered about strategic planning. Mr. Scales felt that the Board was not the right body to do strategic planning.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that the Hollis Planning Committee has something to present. He stated that they were picking up where Julie Fougaard left off. They contacted him, as they wanted to know who the contacts are.
Mr. Kelley felt that the District needed a strategic plan for education.
Mr. Solon stated that the Board needed to show that the numbers and formula are not meeting the actual needs. Mr. Kelley stated that he didn’t know why the building was rated for 900 students, yet it felt like it was rated for 800.
It was agreed that Dr. O’Shea and Mr. Simons would present Article II. Mr. Peterson would present Article III, and Chair. Enright would present Articles IV, V, and VI.
Mr. Solon felt that a note of thanks should be sent to the Superintendent Search Steering Committee. Mr. Simons suggested that Mr. Solon write a letter to the editor.
Next Meeting: Monday, March 3, 2008 in the Middle School library at 7:00 p.m.
Steve Simons moved that the Board adjourn. Webb Scales seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
The meeting adjourned at 11:40 p.m.