APPROVED: September 17, 2008
Hollis-Brookline Cooperative School Board
August 13, 2008
Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Tom Enright, Chairperson
Dr. James O’Shea
Tom Solon, arrived at 7:25 p.m.
Susan Hodgdon, Superintendent of Schools
Tim Kelly, Principal, Hollis-Brookline High School
Pat Goyette, Principal, Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Betsy A. Packard, Recording Secretary
Others present included members of the Public.
Chairperson Tom Enright called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m.
1. UPDATE ON PHASE 2 OF THE FACILITIES SPACE NEEDS STUDY
Chair. Enright stated that as the Coop moves forward, determining which path the Coop should take would also involve both the Hollis and Brookline districts. He explained that Hollis had a study committee looking into the facilities space needs, and that the committee had been invited to the meeting to give a presentation and share information. Chair. Enright introduced Doug Cleveland, Chair. of the Hollis Facilities Space Needs Committee.
Mr. Cleveland stated that the Committee was made up of seven members, with Dan Peterson as the Coop District rep., and Jim Murphy as the Brookline rep.
Mr. Cleveland gave a brief history of the Committee. He explained that the Committee was the results of the Hollis Strategic Plan Report. The Committee was formed to study “build-out, “ which is the point that all buildable land in Hollis has been built on. The object is to then estimate how many students the town would be serving in their school districts. Some of the items the Committee has been charged with are:
1. Conduct meetings
2. Maintain files of the meetings
3. Elect officers
4. Work with governmental officials
5. Research NH law
6. Determine a timeline
7. Estimate the future through back-out
8. Prepare a report to present before October 15, 2008
Mr. Cleveland stated that the Committee meets every other Wednesday. He explained that the Committee has conducted extensive analysis of enrollment statistics. They have developed a series of 4 curves based on NSDEC numbers and formulas. They have expanded on the projected population numbers of the State and Hollis by going back to 1995 and using actuals. They then have gone forward to 2040-2050. The Committee has done analysis on the facilities, meeting with the Buildings & Grounds directors and the building principals. The Committee has looked at each building’s potential for expansion, water and septic systems, playing fields, parking, boilers, etc. They assessed the pros and cons of expansion at each building.
Mr. Cleveland reported that the Committee had been in touch with Sara Browning, Assistant Director of the Department of Education, regarding the process for splitting up the Coop. He explained that they had submitted a list of questions to which Ms. Browning had given lengthy responses. They received extensive information from Ms. Browning regarding withdrawal. Mr. Cleveland stated that the Committee had also talked to Mason, which has gone through this process.
Mr. Cleveland stated that the Committee has been doing an analysis of the financial aspect, which has been headed by Bill Matthews. They are now trying to go through facilities costs and operating costs.
Mr. Cleveland stated that the Committee was currently looking at other options, as well, such as reconfiguration of the Coop. He explained that the Committee was now starting to put everything together. He added that they were still analyzing information; therefore, they were not yet prepared to give any conclusions.
Chair. Enright asked if there was any reason that Supt. Hodgdon could not have access to the Committee’s raw data, such as answers to the legal questions, or expanding/contracting/dissolving of the Coop. Mr. Cleveland stated that the enrollment projections could be found in the Hollis State Planning report. He added that he saw no reason why the Committee could not share the information they have collected.
Ms. Tremblay informed the Board that Jim Murphy had presented some factual information to the Brookline Selectmen, adding that she has the information and could provide the rest of the Board with it. Ms. Tremblay pointed out that the anticipated time frame of build-out was 2030-2050. She asked that “build-out” be defined. Mr. Cleveland responded that build-out was if all the available land in Hollis that could be built on had been built, then what would the projected population for Hollis be. He stated that 12,000 is the projected build-out for Hollis.
Bill Beauregard, Chair. of Hollis School Board, stated that he had been on the build-out committee and explained that they had factored in the Hollis ordinances. They also factored in all the commercial parcels that could be sold. Mr. Hubert asked if the analysis was the maximum number. Mr. Beauregard responded that it was.
Chair. Enright stated that he wanted to kick around what the Coop’s roll was in this project. He felt that they should be looking at a K-12 education in both towns.
Mr. Hubert stated that he was on Brookline’s committee, which had been charged similar to the Hollis committee, except Brookline’s committee was also charged with looking at the educational aspect.
Chair. Enright stated that he had been emailed a copy of Jim Murphy’s report and was surprised at what he had read, adding that he had read the law and disagreed with Mr. Murphy’s conclusions. He stated that if the two towns were looking at the same things, yet there were differences in conclusions, he felt that the Coop needed to back-up what they would be presenting.
Mr. Beauregard asked it there was any significance with the October 15th presentation date. Mr. Cleveland felt that the date had been an arbitrary date that the Selectmen had chosen. He added that they plan on giving a PowerPoint presentation summarizing their findings on that date. He did not know what the Selectmen plan on doing with the report. He explained that the study involved all the schools in Hollis, as well as Brookline.
Chair. Enright felt that it was an SAU decision, rather than a Coop decision.
Mr. Beauregard pointed out that the Study Committee was a public committee and that the public was privy to everything that was going on in the Committee. He felt that they should listen to everything being analyzed so that they can have some input and prepare additional analysis when the study is presented.
Chair. Enright felt that they should have an attorney present who is prepared to speak on the issue, and able to give historical background, especially if it is felt that the committees are misspeaking on the legal end of it. Mr. Cleveland pointed out that all meeting minutes are available to the public. He added that everything the Committee had done to-date was basically the collection of factual information. There have been no opinions formed to-date. Only the last part of the presentation will be objective and they will state what the Committee feels the town should go. Chair. Enright felt that the two towns were now doing what the Coop should have done. Dr. O’Shea felt that if the Coop had done the study, voters may not have felt that the findings were objective.
Dr. O’Shea felt that there should be three pieces to the presentation to be given on October15th:
i. Financial - the cost for the two towns
iii. Educational – what it would look like if the Coop split
Dr. O’Shea felt that the whole discussion of what should happen with the Coop had gotten in the way of educating the Coop students.
Chair. Enright and Mr. Simons agreed with Dr. O’Shea’s assessment of three pieces to the presentation. Chair. Enright added that he had done an analysis, which he had given to Mr. Cleveland, and will be included in the report.
Mr. Cleveland stated that he had talked with Mr. Kelley regarding his feelings about the Coop splitting up. This will be Appendix IV of the presentation.
Ms. Goyette felt that the analysis that Forrest Milkowski and Julie Mook had done helped get the Middle School Bond passed. She pointed out that they represented each community. Mr. Beauregard felt that their report was a good starting place, but also felt that some assumptions that had been made were questionable.
Bill Matthews stated that the Committee had that piece of work, adding that the study was for the Middle School, and the current study is for the SAU. He pointed out that there are fixed costs, costs that vary as students vary, and some costs that do not fall into either category.
Mr. Hubert asked how many various scenarios the Committee was looking at. Mr. Cleveland responded that at the moment they were looking at three:
1. Status quo – leaving the schools and Coop as is.
2. Dissolution of the Coop – creating a K-12 Hollis School District.
Would need a new facility in Brookline for the Middle School and High School.
3. Reconfiguration of the Coop –
New school in Brookline instead of adding on to High School.
Sixth grade would move to Middle School.
Mr. Simons asked what other options were being considered. Mr. Cleveland responded that Mr. Murphy had brought up a K-12 Coop, so all six schools would be in a K-12 district. Mr. Cleveland stated that Mr. Matthews had presented an option where an additional classroom wing at the High School would carry the High School to the year 2030. The elementary school would not be able to handle K-6, so in 2015, the 6th grade would move to the Middle School, and would need to build a school in Brookline. In the year 2030, the Middle School would then change to 7-9.
Dr. O’Shea stated that he was unsettled and nervous with the aspect of shuffling students around. He felt that the educational concerns needed to be examined. He added that he was interested in a K-12, two-town Coop. He also questioned the need of having a voc tech school in one town or the other. He did have concerns regarding a two high school Coop. Mr. Cleveland stated that the Committee had discussed a high tech or voc tech school being added.
Chair. Enright felt that there perhaps should be a fourth area look at – that of projection. He was worried that build-out is projected for the year 2030 and they are currently at 2008. He pointed out that the Committee has looked forward, but wondered if they had looked at building from the past. No one is currently building. He added that it scares people to think that build-out is in 2030. He wondered if anyone had looked over the past decade. Mr. Cleveland explained that projections are fairly accurate for the first 5 years, then they get shaky. Thus, they are looking at both high and low curves, and feel that the numbers will fall somewhere between them. The farther the projection out, the more it becomes a guessing game. Build-out could be between 2030 to 2050.
Bill Matthews stated that there is a stress level, and it looks as if at 2015 all schools will be at or above capacity. Therefore, something will have to happen. They will want to build for a certain amount of time – probably about 15 years.
Mr. Cleveland pointed out that last year, enrollment at the High School was 931. This year, it is 926. Projections show that enrollment will go down for the next few years. However, as build-out approaches, enrollment will go up. He felt that they would not build for capacity, but rather add a small addition before larger steps need to be taken.
Chair. Enright questioned that in 2015, all schools will have to do something. He stated that since it was now 2008, they needed to start with strategic planning now.
Mr. Cleveland stated that if one looked at the NH Business article regarding New Hampshire schools, the numbers of the younger age groups were decreasing, while the older age groups (senior citizens) were increasing. He added that if one looked at past projections, they were usually on the high side. The actuals are at the high end of the range for the Middle School / High School.
Mr. Hubert wondered if during the Committee’s financial analysis for expansions, if they were factoring tax impact for the current population or if they were taking into consideration population growth and a bigger tax base. Mr. Matthews responded that currently they were just looking at costs and hadn’t done any tax impact calculations yet.
Mr. Hubert felt both towns would be better served by using the same data, and was a big supporter of a K-12 Coop as an option. He hoped that the Committee would give it a good look.
Supt. Hodgdon felt that the conversation had been very interesting. She stated that her previous union, which had four districts, had just voted to dissolve. She added that she had serious concerns regarding having students in a building for only two years. She stated that there was information showing that it was not healthy to transition students through buildings for only two years.
Mr. Beauregard thanked Mr. Cleveland for his committee and their work, and for the committee in Brookline.
Chair. Enright felt that the conversation would go on for a couple more years.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of June 18, 2008 as written. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 –1 (Solon abstained.)
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of July 10, 2008 as written. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried. 3 – 0 –3 (O’Shea, Hubert, Solon abstained.)
Supt. Hodgdon informed the Board that she had four pieces of correspondence:
§ A letter from the legal guardian of a former student requesting that the student be allowed to continue attending the High School. Discussion was held for non-public.
§ A letter from the Board’s attorney. Discussion was held for non-public.
§ A letter from Steve Pucci to Dawna Duhamel requesting information.
§ A letter from Ann Dumas, regarding language program and business courses.
Chair. Enright asked Mr. Kelley if he wanted to respond to the letter regarding the language program and Latin. Mr. Kelley stated that he was hesitant to put forth Latin due to lack of space. He added that if he had another teacher, he didn’t know where he would put him/her. In regards to business, there are plans to grow the course, but space is an issue. Mr. Kelley stated that currently, he was trying to complete the staffing for courses they already have.
Mr. Solon question since new students would not be brought in, wouldn’t it lower other classes, and just be a redistribution of students if they added more Latin/Business courses. Mr. Hubert pointed out that unless another class was cancelled, there was no classroom space for a new class. Mr. Kelley concurred and added that with 97% capacity, he did not feel confident that they would have the space. He stated that they could put forth the new class next year at course selection time.
Dr. O’Shea stated that his daughter would take four years of Latin if it was offered. He felt that if a language course is started, then it should be expanded to four years.
Supt. Hodgdon distributed a New Hire summary sheet and a cost comparison sheet. She then recommended the following candidates:
Patricia Marquette – Algebra (0.2 FTE) New position
Ms. Goyette stated that Ms. Marquette has been working in the building for two years. She knows the building, the school’s culture, and the students. She will remain in a para position, but her time will be reduced.
Michelle Sacco – Special Education – New position
Mr. Kelley stated that Ms. Sacco was on staff last year and also substituted in Brookline last year.
Diane Kramer – Computer-Math (replaces Quinn)
Mr. Kelley stated that Ms. Kramer was experienced in advance placement for computer science. The course she will be teaching is essentially a college class and has approximately 16 students. Ms. Kramer will also help with Algebra.
Trudi Thompson – Biology, One-year (replaces Connors)
Mr. Kelley stated that Ms. Thompson’s husband accepted a position as Dean of Students at Souhegan High School, so she was looking for a position in the area.
Celeste Wyrosdic – Art (0.4 FTE) New position
Mr. Kelley stated that he was pleased with the quality of the candidate. Ms. Wyrosdic will be teaching the Fundamentals of Art.
Kirstin Desborough – Job Developer (0.5 FTE) (replaces Futrell)
Mr. Kelley stated that Ms. Desborough came highly recommended.
Chair. Enright felt that the numbers on the cost comparison sheet were not right. He felt that the Middle School numbers ($66,000) were correct, but not the High School’s ($86,000). He felt that the High School was at $23,000.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had seen all the candidates, except for Art.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept Superintendent Hodgdon’s recommendations. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Enright asked if Mr. Kelley still had one more staff member to go. Mr. Kelley responded that as soon as he could schedule an interview for the candidate with the Superintendent, he’d be all set. He added that the remaining new hire is for a long-term substitute position, so the Board does not need to take action on it.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had received a letter of resignation from Scott Field, Tech Specialist. She stated that she had acknowledged the letter of resignation, but had not accepted it, as the Board needed to take action on it. She added that Mr. Kelley and Mr. Raymond had met to rewrite the job description for the Hardware Specialist, as it currently did not match what the person was doing. The new job description is for a Information Technology Specialist.
Mr. Simons pointed out that they needed to hire for the position, so he questioned if the new job description needed to be completed before the hiring. Supt. Hodgdon felt they could hire without a completed job description. However, she did feel that they needed to change the job title so they could advertise.
Chair. Enright asked if any Board member objected to the Superintendent taking charge of the issue. There was no objection.
Ms. Tremblay asked if the change in the job description would cause a change in the pay scale. Supt. Hodgdon felt that the pay caused the current person to leave. She added that the current person moved to a position of greater responsibility, so there was an increase in pay. Chair. Enright state that the Board had approved the new pay scale and vacation time at the last meeting.
Steve Simons moved that Supt. Hodgdon and Mr. Kelley develop a job description, job title, and hire for the new position as expeditiously as possible. Fred Hubert seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
6 – 0 – 0.
5. NEASC UPDATE
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that the District needed to correspond to the NEASC by October 1, 2008. He explained that there were 8 items that they needed to respond to. Four of the items are building/space related. Cutting transportation to Hudson and Milford was also another issue. The NEASC is not asking how the District is going to fix the problems, but rather, they are looking for a progress report as to how the District plans to fix them.
Mr. Kelley explained that the District usually has to write a report every 2 – 5 years. He stated that the District had to write a report the first year the NEASC came. Then they needed to write a 2-year report. They were then asked for another report the following year. Mr. Kelley pointed out that this could cause the District to be put on probation, which is not good for the students going on to college.
Dr. O’Shea asked if Mr. Kelley had any sense of what the NEASC would accept as concrete progress on fixing the problems. Mr. Kelley responded that the District would need to submit short and long range plans for space needs. They would need to reinstated funding for transportation, confirm resolution of no longer being in violation of fire code, and submit plans to resolve the over-crowding of the cafeteria.
Mr. Solon asked about the Strategic Plan being a solution for the problems. Chair. Enright felt that putting another bond issue forward would be a concrete plan.
Mr. Solon questioned if the NEASC would prefer an increase in classroom enrollment to open up space for the cafeteria. Mr. Kelley was not sure if that would satisfy the NEASC’s need.
Mr. Kelley felt that the Board got started too late last year with the bond. What they were proposing was a small addition for short-range (about 8 years). The bond failed by 17 votes. Chair. Enright pointed out that a bond had been put forward two years in a row and both lost by a small vote. He felt they were in a box. He felt that people don’t want to vote until they know what the strategic plan is. Mr. Solon felt that the Board needed to understand what the NEASC was looking for. Mr. Kelley responded that the Board needed to read the NEASC’s report and his response to it.
Mr. Hubert stated that the Brookline Finance Committee had a 7-0 vote against the bond because it had not been presented to them prior to the meeting.
Dr. O’Shea stated that he took the space issue seriously and asked that the Board members be prepared to take a vote at the next meeting as to whether they would present a bond at the District meeting. Mr. Hubert agreed with Dr. O’Shea. He added that the Budget Committee wanted to work with the Board this year, explaining that they wanted to work on specific items that are cost drivers.
Chair. Enright stated that they would have an agenda item to discuss the bond issue at the next meeting.
Dr. O’Shea asked if it would be possible to get the NEASC report to the elementary school parents. Mr. Kelley responded that the report was on the website.
6. COOP BUDGET COMMITTEE – REQUESTS OF THE SAU BUSINESS OFFICE
Supt. Hodgdon informed the Board that the Business Office had received a request for information from the Budget Committee. She explained the Business Office would need to hire another two people to comply with the Budget Committee’s request. Some of the requests are for information that goes back 10 years. It would take someone full-time to research and another person to input the data. She added that she would like to talk about how to have a dialog with the Budget Committee and get into the spirit of the request.
Mr. Solon asked if it would be possible to provide access to the data and the Budget Committee research it. Supt. Hodgdon stated that there were files in the attic and barn and they would still need to use one of their people to take the Budget Committee member around. She felt that they could comply with the Budget Committee’s request for three years back.
Chair. Enright pointed out that the Board analyzes their information one way. He felt that they should give the Budget Committee information for them to analyze their way. He added that the year-end budget and the audited statement should be given to the Budget Committee.
Chair. Enright pointed out that the Board has a budget process, which starts in September, and to which, the Budget Committee is always welcome to attend. Dr. O’Shea felt that the Budget Committee should commit a rep from their committee to come to the School Board’s meetings.
Ms. Tremblay questioned if the Budget Committee was trying to determine if a course should be eliminated or limited. She felt that the Budget Committee may be crossing over the line of curriculum, which is the Board’s job.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had attended a selectmen’s meeting, at which they discussed 0% budget. She felt it had been helpful. She added that starting at a 0% budget, one has to realize that with energy costs and contracts that the budget will increase.
Chair. Enright stated that the Business Administrator’s office was down two people, and he asked what the Board could do to help. Supt. Hodgdon responded that Ms. Duhamel has proposed that the office hire temps so they 1) won’t lose ground and 2) won’t overburden others in the office. The temp would be hired while they looked for new personnel. She stated that they were moving forward with hiring a temp, and she felt they were close to hiring someone for the Assistant Business Administrator’s position. Chair. Enright stated that the Business office has the Board’s support.
7. UPDATE ON THE WELL SITUATION
Mr. Kelley stated that they had no new information at that point in time. They were waiting for the test results. He added that they had gone through the hydrofracting process. Chair. Enright added that they had to take the well apart to hydrofract, now they were putting it back together. He explained that they had not had any success with drilling the current wells deeper, thus the hydrofracting.
Mr. Solon asked what the cost was so far. Chair. Enright responded that it was about $30,000. Mr. Hubert added that they had budgeted $50,000.
Mr. Kelley stated that the Board needed to think about what they will need to do if the hydrofracting is unsuccessful, such as tapping into the Middle School water system or drilling a new well. Drilling further into the two current wells is not recommended since the added drilling didn’t work.
9. PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS
Mr. Kelley reported that summer school was a success. One student received her diploma, and another will be getting it.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that John Gray was performing some cost saving measures with the third floor lobby. Mr. Gray had someone build a bench using the materials from an old oak door found in the storage barn.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that he had received several donations and gifts over the summer:
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the donations and gifts with the appraisal that thank you notes will be written. Fred Hubert seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Teacher contracts will be up for negotiations this year. Mr. Peterson will participate in the process. Chair. Enright is also willing to be on the negotiation committee, and Mr. Simons has volunteered. Ms. Tremblay stated that she would also like to participate. Mr. Kelley explained that only 3 people will be able to attend any one meeting.
At the next meeting, discussion will begin regarding what the goals should be. Health insurance and retirement will be major issues.
Mr. Solon wondered how they could get the Budget Committee to participate so that they felt invested. Mr. Hubert stated that he had talked with someone on the Budget Committee and they would be willing to sit in on the meetings and help run numbers. Chair. Enright pointed out that the negotiation committee could share goals and information with the Budget Committee, but once they were in negotiations, the negotiation committee cannot get into specifics.
Chair. Enright stated that the next Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17. However, if Mr. Peterson is traveling, he hoped that the Board would not object to finding a time when Mr. Peterson could be at the meeting.
Mr. Simons reported that Ms. Goyette, Mr. Kelley, Ms. Tremblay, Supt. Hodgdon, and he would be meeting the second Wednesday of each month to review policies and put together recommendations for the Board. If the Board doesn’t object, then they can pass the recommended policies.
Mr. Simons stated that in regards to policy JKB – Detention of Students, it is recommended to eliminate the last sentence.
Steve Simons moved that the last sentence in Policy JKB – Detention of Students, which reads “Detention in one day is to be limited to 60 minutes,” be eliminated. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried. 6 – 0 – 1. (Solon abstained.)
Mr. Simons informed the Board that the policy meetings will take on any hot issues, any legal issues, and will do updates. Their goal is to be done by December, after which, they will just have to deal with new policies that come up.
Mr. Simons stated that the following five policies needed to be removed, as they are covered in other policies:
CBB – Appointment of Superintendent
CBG – Supt’s Development Opportunities
GCCAE – Instructional Staff Conferences/Training/Workshops
ICA – School Calendar
IHBCA – Programs for Pregnant/Parenting Students
Steve Simons moved that the Board remove policies CBB – Appointment of Superintendent, CBG – Superintendent’s Development Opportunities, GCCAE, ICA – School Calendar, and IHBCA. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Steve Simons moved to change IC – School Calendar Year to eliminate the reference to ICA - , and JIE – Pregnant Students to eliminate the reference to IHBCA. Janice Tremblay seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Solon asked that a list of policies that are to be discussed in the policy meeting be sent out prior to the meeting so if someone want to add their comments or suggestions, they could either come to the meeting or email them prior to the meeting. Ms. Tremblay felt this was a good point.
11. BOARD PROTOCOL
Chair. Enright commented on the Board’s protocol in dealing with the Superintendent and the Principal. He stated that the previous year they had not followed proper protocol. He stated that the Board will continue to talk with the Principal, but the Board should do their business with the Superintendent.
Mr. Kelley stated that if a Board member talks with a parent, then he/she needs to ask the parent if they have talked with the principal. If the haven’t, then the Board member needs to direct the parent to the principal. Supt. Hodgdon stated that she preferred that if a parent comes to anyone of them, and the parent hasn’t talked to the principal, that they inform the parent that they need to start there.
Mr. Kelley added that if something happens at the school, he lets the Board Chair. and the Superintendent know.
Mr. Hubert stated that a parent had mentioned high speed driving in the school parking lot, especially at the end of the day. Mr. Kelley stated that no one had spoken to him about it in the past year. He added that this was a good example of referring the parent to the principal.
Steve Simons moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) reputation. Dr. James O’Shea 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 9:15 p.m.