APPROVED: 3/16/05 Hollis-Brookline Cooperative School Board

Regular Meeting

January 19, 2005

Hollis-Brookline High School

 

Pam Kirby, Chairperson

Tim Bevins

Anne Dumas

Tom Enright

Betty Hall

Jim McBride

Steve Simons

 

Ken DeBenedictis, Superintendent of Schools

Charles Flahive, Principal, Hollis-Brookline High School

Pat Goyette, Principal, Hollis-Brookline Middle School

Lee-Ann Blastos, Business Administrator

Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Betsy A, Bowen, Recording Secretary

 

The following members of the Coop Budget Committee joined the members of the Coop Board: Forrest Milkowski, Lorin Rydstrom, Ray Vallee, Tim Hale, and Greg D’Arbonne.

Others present included members of the Public.

Chairperson Pam Kirby called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.

1. OPEN FORUM

Marcia Comradrie addressed the Board informing them that she had a student that graduated from the High School last year, and also has children in 10th grade, and 8th grade. She stated that she was upset with the Board’s decision to drop the 8-period schedule to a 7-period schedule. She felt that this decision was not advantageous for her children, and would be taking away from students on the upper end of the bell curve. She pointed out that students will have to drop such things as band, drama, second foreign languages, and computer in order to get in all their academic classes, and they may have to drop more because the school will only be offering one section of certain classes. Ms. Comradrie stated that her 10th grader was currently taking 7 ½ periods, plus was doing a course on his own. Next year he will only be able to do 6 classes. She stated that the new schedule was not good for him. Ms. Comradrie added that students who participate in sports need the extra study, as they don’t have time at the end of the day to get all their homework done. She felt that the 7-period schedule was not good for the upper students. She added that her college student was an engineering student at Tufts. Last year, he took a math course at Rivier. Students would no longer be able to have this option with the 8th period being removed. She pointed out that the Board never got parent input regarding this issue.

Supt. DeBenedictis responded that Mr. Flahive, Mr. Manley, and Mr. Ouellette would be giving a PowerPoint presentation regarding the change to a 7-period schedule later in the meeting. He added that the Board conceptually accepted a 7-period day with no change in quality or rigor of the program. He added that at this point, it was a conceptual overview. He added that there was still lots of data to be gathered, and lots of information to be digested before the Board is satisfied with a 7-period program.

Ms. Comradrie stated that she was under the impression that the Board had taken a vote in favor of the 7-period day. Mr. Enright responded that the Board had taken a vote, but is aware of these issues that have been raised, therefore they asked Mr. Flahive to address several questions that they had. He added that some of what Ms. Comradrie stated will occur, but he felt there was also a positive side to the 7-period day. He stated that the Board was still gathering information and would look at what is best.

Mr. D’Arbonne asked if all Board members voted to change from an 8-period day to a 7-period day? Mr. Enright responded that they did. Mr. D’Arbonne asked if the Board was now going to change back to an 8-period day? He stated that he had asked at the time the vote was about to be taken if the Board had gotten feedback from teachers and students regarding the change. The Board had told him that they had. Mr. D’Arbonne felt that that the Board had voted "yes" and was now going to address the issues. He stated that one usually looks at the issues, addresses them, then takes a vote.

Ms. Dumas stated that the Board made the change based on a number of items, now they were looking to Mr. Flahive to address the issues.

Ms. Comradrie stated that students taking a full load will have to drop classes. She felt that the upper students weren’t getting as much as they should be, and now the Board was taking more away. She added that her 8th grade student needs a study each day. With the 7-period day, she felt that he will have to drop band.

Marie Kopf addressed that Board next. She stated that she had written a letter to the Telegraph, which appeared in that day’s paper. She informed the Board that she was disappointed that they had decided to go from an 8-period day to a 7-period day. She asked how many members of the School Board had students in the High School and/or Middle School? She also asked what the issue was that made the Board vote for a 7-period day?

Mr. Bevins stated that he had a sophomore, and that he had read Ms. Kopf’s letter in the Telegraph. He pointed out that nine 40-minute periods is 360 contact minutes per day. Mr. Flahive added that by shortening the day, they get rid of travel time between periods. He added that they will be offering more challenging programs. Mr. Bevins stated that he checked on a high school in Minnesota. They had changed their schedule from 8:30 to 3:10. They have 335 contacts minutes per day. They ranked 76th in the country. They are 30-40 minutes per day less than the Coop. He pointed out that reducing the amount of time doesn’t necessarily mean that the level of education is reduced. He added that the Board had charged the administrators with a lot of difficult questions, pointing out to them that the Board needed the answers to these questions in order to know how to go forward, and not to reduce rigor.

Mary Gillis addressed the Board stating that she had an 8th grader, and has an issue regarding a coach in the Middle School. She requested that the Board enter non-public as the issue pertained to reputation. She added that she had written several letters and information had been passed on, but she wanted to have a person-to-person meeting regarding the issue. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he was familiar with the issue, as was Ms. Goyette. He added that he was confident with Ms. Goyette’s handling of the issue, and knew that Ms. Goyette would take whatever action needed. Ms. Gillis stated that she had not had any feedback from her letters.

Mr. Enright stated that he was wiling to give Ms. Gillis an audience, however, the Board had other items on the agenda that needed to be addressed. He suggested that the Board hear Ms. Gillis at the end of the meeting.

Chair. Kirby stated that the Board would go into non-public at 9:00 p.m. to hear Ms. Gillis’ issue.

2. BUDGET

Ms. Blastos distributed an updated report on the proposed 2005-2006 budget. She stated that it was the typical document.

Ms. Blastos explained the Budget Changes sheet. She pointed out that

As of As of

District 12-15-04 1-6-05

District Wide reductions $15,256.00 $17,143.00

Middle School reductions $4,167.00 $59,919.00

High School reductions (new positions) $36,457.00

High School reductions (SPED tuition) $43,150.00

High School reductions (SPED transportation) $44,105.00

Ms. Blastos pointed out that the Coop was still in negotiations with support and professional staff.

Ms. Blastos explained that at the Middle School, they deleted 2 full-time positions at the January 6th meeting, and added a 0.6 FTE math to the existing 0.4 FTE.

Mr. Vallee asked if the reductions were to the new requests and not to the current staff? Ms. Blastos stated that he was correct.

Ms. Blastos stated that the High School changes were made at the December 15th meeting.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Mr. Kelly would go over the Special Education requests so that he can make sure that the Board is satisfied with the requests.

Mr. Enright informed the Budget Committee members that Ms. Goyette had reduced her request to make the 5th team a full team.

3. SPECIAL EDUCATION

Mr. Kelly stated that from the December 15th presentation that there were some new personnel issues that he had requested. He had originally requested 1 FTE teacher at the High School and 1 FTE teacher at the Middle School, and originally requested 4 paraprofessionals, but it got reduced to 3. He explained that they have a known entity of 4 one-on-one assignments coming into grade 7 next year, and 4 known one-on-one assignments going from grade 8 to grade 9. Therefore, the 4 new para positions were at the High School. However, it was a very tentative situation when he built the budget. When he prepared the budget in the fall, there was some question as to whether the student would graduate, but in December he was confident that the student will graduate, thus reducing the requests for paras from 4 to 3, and a second individual has moved out-of-state, therefore the budget has been reduced by $87,255.00.

Mr. Enright stated that the Board would like to hear an explanation of the Middle School teacher going full-time and the addition of a full-time teacher at the High School. Mr. Kelly responded that the Middle School position is currently a 0.4 FTE, which had been established a couple of years ago. At the High School the request is for a new full-time position. He explained that there are five case managers, one of which is in the alternative program, and has low ratio of students. Thus, the Special Education students and 504 students are being dispersed amongst 4 case managers. The case managers are at their max. Last year he requested a Special Education building coordinator, as well as a Special Education teacher. They hired a SPED coordinator, but delayed the hiring of a teacher.

Mr. Kelly explained that there are 20 students under IDEA and 504 that will be graduating from grade 12. There are 45 students coming into the 9th grade. Therefore, they will be adding 25 students to the 4 case managers’ load, which is already max’ed out. He stated that he asked for a full-time position for two reasons:

0.6 FTE to address the increase in population.

0.4 FTE to expand Life Skills.

Mr. Kelly explained that they have a significant number of students at the High School who have a significant profile that require a curriculum that is remarkably different from the existing classes. This is called Life Skills. It is basic math, language, orientation to community services, and transition services that typically start at 16 years of age.

Mr. Kelly went on to explain that Life Skills need to start early on, so they began this year with two periods of Life Skills for about 8 students. He stated that there is a need to expand Life Skills from 2 to 4 periods per day.

Mr. Kelly stated that at the Middle School they are looking for 0.4 FTE position to address the development of a specialized curriculum in math and language. It is remarkably different from the current curriculum. Students need to be provided a completely different curriculum. He added that there are a couple students coming into the 7th grade with a significant profile. These profiles are not just math and language, but every piece of curriculum that they have throughout the day, which needs to be eliminated and replaced with an alternative curriculum.

Mr. Kelly stated that a one-on-one should not stay with a student all day and provide instruction. They should be providing support, not direct instruction without contact with a professional service provider. In addition to that, a paraprofessional cannot create, design, and adjust curriculum. A para’s job is to execute, and the design/adjustments to curriculum needs to be done by a professional. It would be too much for the current case managers to create/design these alternative curriculums. He stated that he had looked at other alternatives and determined that they need all day programming for these students.

Supt. DeBenedictis asked Mr. Kelly to explain the increase in occupational therapy from 0.4 FTE to 0.6 FTE. Mr. Kelly explained that the Coop used to contract out the occupational therapy services when they had low numbers, but now the have higher numbers and have hired a part-time occupational therapist. He added that the increase in occupational therapy is also contributed to Life Skills.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that the District was in compliance with what they need to do. He added that it was not negotiable. Students are coming into the District and the District must provide for them whatever they need.

Mr. Kelly added that the requests were potentially only needed for two years.

Ms. Goyette stated that the Board had provided a model over the past years, in that they had had one case manager for each team. They will no longer be able to do that, and the case managers will have to cross over teams. Mr. Kelly added that at the Middle School, the case managers have to go out into the classrooms, therefore, they can’t handle as many students. At the High School, students go to the resource room for directed study and support, thus the case managers can handle more.

Mr. Vallee pointed out that a reduction of $27,000 is reflected on the New Position sheet, but the Budget Changes page shows a reduction of $36,000. He questioned where the $9,000 difference came from? Mr. Kelly responded that the $36,000 included other positions.

4. PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS

High School

Mr. Flahive reported that the High School was in the middle of mid-years, and everything was going well.

Mr. Flahive informed the Board that the NEASC committee had finished their work. The visiting committee will be at the school from March 13 – 16, 2005. The Board is invited to a welcoming gathering on Sunday, March 13th.

Mr. Flahive reported that they have started 8th grade transition planning. On the delayed opening morning, Ms. Goyette came and met with math department, and he went to the Middle School and met with the science department.

Mr. Flahive stated that the Board had given his administrators 11 questions to answer. He reported that they had met with teachers and department heads to review these questions, and a PowerPoint presentation would be given that night to respond to the questions.

Mr. Flahive stated that the vocational students would not be impacted by the 7-period day, nor would the Special Education students.

5. 7-PERIOD DAY PRESENTATION

Mr. Manley addressed that Board, stating that in the year 2002, an Ad Hoc Committee of the faculty had determined that it would behoove both students and faculty to go to a 7-period day. It was put on the back burner. Dr. Auerbach had pointed out that in the survey results this was a goal of the faculty. The reason for this is the frenetic pace that the 8-period creates, and a few minutes added onto the schedule can allow the teacher to reach that "teachable moment" that is some times missed.

Mr. Manley reported that the presentation about to be given would cover the following:

Important considerations and overarching goals.

Typical student schedule.

Schedule modifications.

Recommendations.

Mr. Manley pointed out that going from a 7-period to an 8-period day will have some impact. Thus, they are committed to maximizing the opportunities that are currently available to the students, including minimizing scheduling conflicts.

Important considerations and overarching goals:

Preserve performing arts & visual arts.

Support vocational students attending off-site programs.

Increase instructional time.

Maintain the requirement of 23 credits to graduate.

Faculty strong preference for 7 periods.

Increase unity and equity in learning and teaching.

Typical student schedule

Grade 9

Required:

English 9

Cultural Geography

Physical Science

Mathematics

PE/Wellness

Two electives:

Foreign Language

Elective (such as music)

Study/Directed study (IEP/504’s get credit)

Grade 10

Required:

English 10

Western History/Humanities

Biological Science

Math – Geometry, Algebra II, other

Writing / PE

Two electives:

Foreign Language

Elective

Study/Directed study

Grade 11

Required:

US Literature

US History, AP History, or American Studies

Electives

Math

Science – Honors chemistry

Foreign Language

Art

 

Grade 12

Required:

English

Restrictive and Free Electives

Schedule modifications

Schedule Option 1

Keep the schedule as presently constructed. Students complete studies in 7-periods, not 8. This will present conflicts.

Schedule Option 2

Science labs are incorporated into the class schedule. This enables students to enroll in lab sciences. It increases flexibility in the schedule. This schedule will cause an decrease in instructional time in the lab sciences; however, it will increase instructional time in the other sciences.

Schedule Option 3

7-period day. Six classes are 47 minutes long. One class is 88 minutes, and would float and extend in all discipline areas. This option gives the minimal amount of impact on vocational students, and allows for labs.

Schedule Option 3A

Extended period/variable schedule. This is a variation of Option 3 giving the faculty, administration, Superintendent and School Board gives them some flex on what the variable block should be, how it should be structured, and how it should be accommodated.

Impact of the various options

Option 1

This would have the most conflicts for the students, and some students would not be able to take all the courses they would like.

Option 2

This would allow flexibility, and a student would no longer have to consume two blocks for science instruction. Hanover presently uses this type of scheduling. Kearsarge also uses this.

Present instruction time for 2004-2005 is:

235 minutes per week for non-lab sections

329 minutes per week for lab sections

With a 7-period day, there would be 260 minutes per week for all classes.

Mr. D’Arbonne asked how much a reduction in instructional time it would be for lab classes? Mr. Enright responded that it would be about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or the difference between 329 and 260. Supt. DeBenedictis added that the labs would be conducted in the class, not as a separate section.

Option 3

In this option, the first day they meet the class could be a regular 50 minute class, and the next day an 88 minutes class, so they would conduct a lab. All other classes would have that same amount of instructional time.

Mr. Ouellette stated that one of the compounding factors that they currently have, is students having a 5-day science class, with one day per week an additional lab class. Thus, they can’t schedule another class, so students lose course selection, due to that one day per week. That is why other schools have embedded labs into the classes.

Option 3A

This option has the extended period that would float through all curriculum areas. It increases instruction time in non-lab sciences. It allows faculty to innovate, explore block scheduling, and have special projects they cannot normally complete. However, it decreases instructional time in the lab.

Mr. Milkowski stated that in talking about increasing the time for a class period, that if they increase the time for science, then English, math, and all classes also increase. The catalyst is the reduction of lab classes by incorporating them into regular classes so can have flexibility in other classes. Mr. Manley responded that that was well stated.

Recommendations

Semesterize courses.

It will be necessary to semesterize courses that normally meet every other day. These courses present scheduling conflicts. By semesterizing these courses, the student would take these courses every day for one semester, then would be free to take another course the next semester.

Semesterize PE/Wellness in Grade 9

This will reduce conflict in scheduling and help reduce large fluxuations in class size. It will also allow upper classmen to take the class.

Writing will be required in Grade 10.

Students are required to take one year of PE. They would take ½ year in 9th grade and ½ year in 10th grade. Students would then be required to take a writing class in 10th grade. This is good preparation for the high stakes tests – PSAT’s, SAT’s, etc. The writing classes would be offered opposite the semesterized PE classes in the students’ schedules.

Unity and equity.

All students would have some semblance of program, especially in grades 9 and 10. There will be some variances. Unity and equity are pre-cursors for differentiated instruction.

Unity and equity are philosophical guiding benchmarks of what the school should be achieving. Unity would be the school’s common sense of purpose. Equity is that all students, from the very high to those who are struggling have access to these programs, they're designed to meet their needs, and there is some commonality.

Required Biological Science

This would be a requirement to be completed by Grade 10. This would create a more common experience for sophomores.

Required Western History/Humanities in Grade 10.

Currently most students are schedule for this by Grade 10, but it is not required. This would give commonality to students.

Semesterize music/band.

Some of the music classes that have been put every other day would be semesterized, in hopes that they would mesh with science labs.

Band, instructional music, Honor Choirs cannot be semesterized. They perform throughout the year, and therefore must remain as is.

Consolidate course electives where possible.

Strengthen core curriculum.

Offer some electives on an every other year basis.

Mr. Enright stated that he did not hear a recommendation on science labs. Mr. Manley stated that they did have a recommendation, and they should be accommodated in some kind of extended period. In addition, they recommend that whether it is 50 minutes or 88 minutes, to have the faculty have an opportunity to determine what configuration of that would best serve them.

Mr. Flahive stated that the longer period floating through the schedule is recommended.

Mr. Enright wondered if they did the extended period and incorporate the science lab into that period, what is the impact on the number of teachers needed to run the curriculum? What is the range of that difference? Mr. Flahive responded that they could reduce staff size. Some courses could be merged, such as the two law courses now offered being merged into a course called legal studies.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that they were looking at reducing a full-time science position to part-time (0.6 or 0.8 FTE), and reducing one full-time history position.

Mr. Enright stated that if they changed the structure of labs, the fact is that science teachers don’t teach 5 courses. They teach either teach 3 courses and certain labs, or 4 courses and certain labs. If labs are incorporated into regular day curriculum, you will have a surplus of science teachers. Mr. Manley responded that they would have 1.8 FTE extra teachers. Mr. Flahive stated that the Board should keep in mind the additional students that will entering the school next year, and all of them will be taking science.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that at the last meeting they were still at 2 additional full-time positions. Now they are recommending a reduction in a full-time position in social studies, and a reduction of a piece in science.

Mr. D’Arbonne asked if in the 9th grade the core requirement was for students was to take 1 elective? Mr. Manley responded that 9th graders would take two of the three electives. Mr. Flahive added that a student can take 7 courses if he wants. He added that they had looked at several schools, and they had not had a problem with labs being incorporated into classes.

Mr. D’Arbonne asked how often band and chorus meets? Mr. Manley responded that they meet every other day.

Mr. Ouellette stated that Hollis-Brookline is one of very few schools in the State that still have an 8-period day. He added that things like Advisory and Senior Projects can’t be done in an 8-period day.

Mr. D’Arbonne asked why they can’t do an 8-peroid day with embedded labs? He felt that the 8-period day gives students more options to choose from. He also felt that study halls help students that play sports. He stated that he was concerned about study halls being eliminated for students who want to take as many courses as they can possibly take.

Mr. Ouellette responded that Mr. D’Arbonne had a valid point, however, the trend seems to be moving away from unstructured study halls. He added that it becomes a logistical problem for seniors when they only are required to take five courses, so that means three periods a day that they need to find space and teachers to cover the study halls. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that in Massachusetts, unstructured study halls are no longer allowed.

Mr. Flahive stated that there were two issues that he would like to see go through:

Mandate a writing course. He would like to see it in the 9th grade and be for a full year. He felt that every student should be required to take a writing course along with regular English course.

Increase the role of the department heads.

Chris Peterson, a senior at the High School, stated that he would like to raise some issues regarding the change from 8 periods to 7 periods. Chair. Kirby stated that the Board would listen to his issues after they finished going through the budget.

Mr. Enright asked if the Board needed to make a motion to reduce the staff from 2 FTE to 0.6 or 0.8 FTE? Supt. DeBenedictis responded that they didn’t need to. He explained that they would be reducing the original request by 2 FTE, and then adding 0.8 FTE.

Mr. Vallee wanted to confirm that as of the current staff, they would have a net increase of 0.8 FTE, which would be a cost of approximately $49,000.

Mr. Enright pointed out that the Board had received resignations from two teachers who are at maximum pay. The District has the potential of replacing these positions at a lower level, thus saving money. Supt. DeBenedictis pointed out that they must take into account the retirement bonus, so they will have a more significant savings in year two.

Mr. Ouellette reminded the Board that the program of study and scheduling needs to be done by February.

Mr. Enright stated that he had also asked another question, that being the Middle School budget be reduced by $25,000. He felt that there was $25,000 worth of equipment costs that could fall under the bond. Ms. Goyette stated that she had come up with $4,500 that she could comfortably reduce the budget and put under the bond. Mr. Enright stated that he could see $9,000 for computer requests. Ms. Goyette stated that the two computer requests were one for hardware, and one for software. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that if the software was to go on new hardware, then it could go into the bond. Ms. Blastos stated that the software was for upgrades.

Mr. Enright stated that he had gone through the budget and he felt there was $25,000 worth of equipment that could be put into the bond, and therefore reduce the budget. Supt. DeBenedictis added that they would also get 40% return on the bond. He added that equipment budget for bonds is a fluid number. If the construction comes in on or under budget, then there is money for equipment. If it runs over, then the money for equipment is tight.

Mr. Simons asked where they stood regarding textbooks? Ms. Blastos stated that they are not in the budget yet, that they are still on the "yellow" pages. Mr. Simons stated that he wanted to make sure that the "yellow" pages get addressed. He pointed out that textbooks needed to be upgraded each year instead of waiting and having it end up being costly.

Mr. Milkowski stated that at the last Budget Committee meeting a vote was taken regarding the numbers passed out on December 15th meeting. He stated that they are looking at an increase of at least $1 million before negotiated salaries. Thus, the Board voted unanimously for no new hires for the High School or the Middle School (non SPED).

Mr. Milkowski stated that as the Budget Committee had previously said, they were looking for a flat budget not counting the increase in debt service, the increase in SPED, and negotiated salaries. He stated that the Budget Committee understands the following increases:

SPED $250,000.00

Debt Service $390,000.00

Negotiated salaries $400,000.00 to $500,000.00

Adding those figures up, the increase is over $1 million.

Ms. Blastos stated that looking at the Budget Committee’s reduction sheet, it differed from her reduction sheet. Ms. Blastos stated that the reductions are currently at $291,697.00. It was decided that Mr. Milkowski and Ms. Blastos will get together to make sure that they are looking at the budget the same way.

Mr. Bevins stated that they were looking at $820,000 difference between last year’s budget and the proposed budget. What the Budget Committee would like is for the Board to get to that number. He added that in addition, Ms. Blastos and Mr. Milkowski needed to get together to make sure what the Board can and cannot do to get to that number.

Supt. DeBenedictis announced that the Coop Budget Committee Hearing would be February 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the High School. He stated that the budget must be available that day. Ms. Blastos stated that she needed the budget to be completed prior to that so she can prepare hand-outs.

Chair. Kirby recognized Chris Peterson.

Mr. Peterson stated that the 7-period day was the subject of his editorial for the school newspaper. He informed the Board that he first learned of it when the Nashua Telegraph asked students for quotes for the newspaper. He stated that he felt the day being shorter, and school starting later would be good for him. However, he felt there were other trappings. He felt that he was a fairly competitive student, and that it seemed to him that the importance of studies and electives are extremely important. He stated that as a student who has done many extra curriculum activities and some sports, he rarely has time to do academic things for school right after school. Getting rid of study halls means he will lose out on study time. It also poses a problem in making up quizzes. He stated there are plenty of students he knows that have 3 senior options. With the 7-period day, freshmen are given the choice of choosing 2 electives out of three. Actually, they will only get one elective, as many colleges won’t look at you if you don’t have three years of Foreign Language. This leaves freshmen with the choice of one elective or a study. Mr. Peterson stated that if he had had a 7-period day, he wouldn’t have been able to have taken many of the electives he has taken. He also questioned how a 7-period day gains transit time as only one period is being cut out. As far as the "teachable moment", he felt that it was his experience that teachers reach that moment at the middle of the class and 5 minutes extra won’t make a difference. In regards to vocational programs, a friend of his had to take more senior options because of the vocational class and needed transit time.

Mr. Peterson felt that the increase in instruction time is negligible and the decrease is dramatic. He is losing one class per day, and only gaining a few minutes per class per day.

Mr. Peterson wondered why science labs couldn’t be scheduled opposite band/chorus every other day?

Mr. Peterson agreed that a writing course should be standardized at the 10th grade, but he felt that the curriculum needs to be standardized, as there is a difference between teachers. He also felt that electives being offered every other year would pose problems, especially if there were pre-requisites.

In regards to equity and unity, Mr. Peterson wondered why math was given such a wide range as to when a student can take it, when there isn’t that range in other disciplines? He felt that in regards to unity/equity, the school should not go halfway and only do it for one discipline.

Mr. Peterson stated that he had repeatedly read that they were going to 7 periods because teachers were worried about the hectic pace. He wondered how adding 5 minutes to each class, and losing a prep time for the teachers made it a less hectic pace,

Lynn Goldberg addressed the Board. She stated that she had a son at Georgia Tech, as well as a senior, a freshman, a 6th and 2nd grader. After listening to panels of alumni, she felt that students attending schools such as UNH were well prepared. However, students attending higher tier schools were not so well prepared. Her son at Georgia Tech felt that he was prepared in math, but not in science. Based upon her children, she felt that their options will be limited by the 7-period day, especially in science. She stated that students can fulfill the exit requirements for high school, but can’t fulfill the entrance requirements for colleges. She felt that the 7-period day would be a big issue with students having to sign up for courses in February. Ms. Goldberg felt that going to a 7-period day was a budget issue, and the Board was doing it because of cost.

Mr. Enright responded that with the 7-period day, contact time with teachers will be up 10%. He stated that the budget had nothing to do with it. He stated that it was a question of a bigger school, and a schedule that works well with a larger number of students. He added that he recognizes that the selection of courses for students becomes more difficult.

Chair Kirby stated that as far as the Board goes, they are looking at trying to add more AP courses.

Mr. Bevins stated that when the Board talked about this several years ago, they never talked about it in terms of budget. He added that they have been adding AP courses and need more. He felt that this will make course selection hard, but he pointed out that his daughter who graduated couldn’t take all the courses she wanted. He added that they were doing this for management issues. He added that they can’t eliminate band/music, whereas Proposition 2 ½ in California caused the elimination of arts, but they have sports.

Ms. Goldberg stated that Special Education students with IEP’s get their needs met, but the higher echelon students’ needs are not being met. She felt that unity and equity was making one pot of students.

Mr. Bevins responded that they had been working on differentiated instruction for the last two years, which means individualized curriculum. Mr. Flahive added that they won’t compromise the upper students, that they have introduced more rigorous courses. He added that it was his dream to see more students going to higher quality colleges.

Mr. Goldberg pointed out that with a 7-period schedule, they are taking 4 class periods away. Mr. Flahive responded that they won’t compromise curriculum. He felt that the 7-period day was a plus – improving curriculum. Ms. Goldberg stated that she would like to see an optional 9th period per day. Mr. Flahive stated that they had talked about having such a period, with some staff coming in earlier and leaving earlier, while others would come in late and leave late, however, he felt this was a discussion for another time.

Mr. Bevins asked the administrators if they needed a decision of the Board for them to move forward? Mr. Manley responded that it would be beneficial to have s decision as soon as possible.

The Board agreed to hold a meeting on Wednesday, January 26 at 8:30 a.m.

6. CORRESPONDENCE

Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that they had received a couple of notes from NEAS&C regarding the visiting team.

Copies of the letters are available.

7. STAFFING

Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Midge Kelley, Guidance at the High School, stating her intentions to retire at the end of the school year. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Ms. Kelley had been with the school for 25 years, and it was with significant emotions and regrets that he was seeing her leave.

Tim Bevins moved that the Board accept the retirement request of Midge Kelley with deepest regret and sincere appreciation. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.

Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Joel Mitchell, History at the High School, stating his intentions to retire at the end of the school year.

Mr. Bevins asked Supt. DeBenedictis to explain Mr. Mitchell’s second paragraph in the letter. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that they send contracts out, and teachers are required to return them within 10 days.

Mr. Simons asked if someone retires if a contract is sent to them? Supt. DeBenedictis responded that a letter is sent to the person stating that the Board accepted their request. He added that he could send a letter to Mr. Mitchell stating that the terminology is questionable, and ask him what he means.

Mr. Enright stated that he could not accept paragraph 2.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Mr. Mitchell had met the requirements for the retirement bonus - that he has sent a letter of notification by January 1. He added that the State must be notified of the retirement one month prior to the date of retirement, or June 1.

Mr. Simons stated that the Board needed to be on the record that paragraph 2 in Mr. Mitchell’s letter was not acceptable. Mr. McBride felt that saying "plan" to retire says he may change his mind.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he would contact Mr. Mitchell and find out what his intentions are. Mr. Bevins stated that if Mr. Mitchell wants his retirement bonus by July 1, he must retire.

Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Jennifer Given requesting a maternity leaves as of March 2005, along with an additional 4 weeks without pay. He stated that the request was in accordance the negotiated contract, and recommended the request.

Anne Dumas moved that the Board accept Jennifer Given’s maternity leave request and the extension as stated in her letter. Jim McBride seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.

Mr. Flahive addressed the Board stating that he came three years ago as an interim principal, then the Board asked him to stay on.. He stated that there wasn’t a day that he didn’t enjoy. He stated that he enjoyed working with the Board, and that it was the best Board to work with. He added that during his tenure test scores had improved, more students had gotten into better schools, new personnel were brought in, and they had done a good job in preparing for the NEAS&C accreditation team. Mr. Flahive went on to say that he was not a person to be at the school for 5, 15, 20 years. He stated that if the Board decides to move forward, he would accept that, that he will do what the Board wishes him to do. He pointed out that there were some decision made that weren’t popular, however, all decisions were made with the students in mind.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Mr. Flahive had come to the District in a short period of time, and did such a good job, that the Board offered him a 2-year contract.

Mr. Bevins stated that the Board wasn’t looking for a caretaker when they hired Mr. Flahive, but they didn’t expect the caring, leadership, student involvement, creativity, innovation, and dedication they received from Mr. Flahive.

Mr. Simons thanked Mr. Flahive for all he had done, and stated his appreciation. He added that it was a difficult time for the Coop, and he appreciated what Mr. Flahive did.

Chair. Kirby stated that on behalf of the Board she wanted to thank Mr. Flahive for his incredible dedication to the students, for his vision, and for his continued raising of the bar.

Mr. Enright stated that he supported everything that Mr. Flahive had done, and that the Board would not let it go, but continue it on.

Steve Simons moved that the Board accept Charles Flahive’s resignation as of June 30, 2005, with extreme regret. Anne Dumas seconded.

Mr. McBride thanked Mr. Flahive for his 3 years of service.

Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.

Copies of the letters are available.

8. NON-PUBLIC SESSION

Tim Bevins moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) reputation. Anne Dumas seconded. A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in the affirmative. 7 - 0 - 0. Mr. Flahive and Ms. Goyette were invited to stay.

 

The Board entered non-public session at 9:10 p.m.

The Board reconvened public session at 9:30 p.m.

Mr. Flahive addressed the Board stating that they currently have a writing course, but he would like to make it a requirement for every student. Chair. Kirby asked what the current writing course requirement was? Mr. Enright responded that there is a ½ year of writing required. Mr. Bevins confirmed from the Student Handbook that ½ year of writing is required, and may be taken at anytime. Mr. Flahive stated that he would like the course to be required to be taken either in the 9th or 10th grade, and for it to be a year long.

Mr. Flahive stated that he would also like to look at the department coordinator’s position. He added that music and PE teachers don’t report to anyone, as there are not that many teachers for their disciplines. He felt it would be beneficial if they reported to someone.

9. MIDDLE SCHOOL SECURITY SYSTEM

Ms. Goyette stated that parents had expressed their concern about a security system at the Middle School. Parents did not want to have to "buzz in." They want to keep the welcoming aspect of the school. Ms. Goyette stated that she was not in favor of a lock-down system.

Mr. Simons explained that security system(s) in the Middle School came up in the Building Committee. He added that something needs to be done. He went on to explain the following types of available security:

Motion Sensors – located in the corridors. This what they currently have in the school (no detectors in the classrooms). Approximately $14,000.00.

Exterior Security – Closed-circuit cameras that can be programmed to pan the view of the area. Approximately $73,000.00

Lock-Down System – Card access versus key access. The card access is more expensive. Approximately $36,000.

Buzzer – At the backdoor for deliveries to the kitchen, and an intercom at the front door for reception to hear. Approximately $2,000.00.

Mr. Simons further explained that with a card access system there are maintenance costs – people loose the cards, others leave. Keys would be much cheaper.

Mr. Simons stated that for $1,000 - $2,000 the new building can be wired for card access. The old part will have to have external wiring.

Ms. Goyette stated that to follow safety up, she would like to have all doors locked except the front door. However, she would also like teachers to be able to get into the building easily. She added that parents are leery of a buzzer system, which they are currently using in Farley. Parents felt that a buzzer system would be in conflict with "who we are," and with wanting parents in the building. Ms. Goyette stated that she was not opposed to swipe cards. She added that when she first came to the District she had to get new locks because too many people in the community had keys.

Mr. Simons stated that card access is nice, but wondered if they wanted to spend the money. He felt that they should at least wire for them. He also felt they should have motion detectors in the corridors, but wasn’t sure they needed the exterior security system.

Ms. Goyette stated that she was not that worried about students doing something to the building, but was more worried about people entering the building.

Mr. McBride asked about students propping doors open? Mr. Simons responded that there would be a control panel that would show a door open. Ms. Goyette stated that she was only worried about people coming into the school, not about students leaving. Mr. McBride stated that he would like to see a buzzer go off if a door was open. Ms. Goyette stated that she would like that also.

Ms. Dumas asked what the difference was between a card and code? Mr. Enright responded that it was easier to give out a code number than it was to give a card to someone else.

Mr. Enright stated that Mr. Simons and Ms. Goyette should get together and make a decision regarding security.

Ms. Goyette felt that they should put wiring in for everything – cameras, buzzers, etc., because if was cheaper to do it now, that later.

Mr. Simons wondered if that would send a signal the they care more about the Middle School than the High School. Ms. Goyette responded that parents felt that having a lock-down would send a message that they were having a problem.

10. NHSBA POLICY DEVELOPMENT

Chair. Kirby informed the Board that they needed to make a decision on the NHSBA policies.

Betty Hall moved that the Board accept the NHSBA policy procedure as recommended by Kathy O’Sullivan.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he had talked with Ted Comstock, and told him that they would pay $1,000 down and the other $4,000 between now and June. The total cost would be $15,000.0 0 divided between 3 districts.

Ms. Hall stated that she would like to work closely with Kathy O’Sullivan and report to the Board.

Ms. Goyette stated that they will need a small amount of money the following year for maintenance. Mr. Enright asked if the Coop would have a contract with NHSBA? Supt. DeBenedictis responded that they would, and it will be for the $5,000.

Jim McBride seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.

Betty Hall moved to postpone the second reading of policies BFE, BGA, BGB, and BGC. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried. 6 – 0 – 1 (Simons abstained.)

11. HOLLIS BROOKLINE COMMUNITY EDUCATION PROGRAM

Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Danielle Beaudette, Director of the Hollis Brookline Community Education Program, stating that she had chosen to resign her position for personnel reasons. Ms. Beaudette has a business that is taking off, and she needs to devote her time to that.

Supt. DeBenedictis stated that the work for the spring semester needed to be done 3 weeks ago, therefore, they will have to withdraw the spring semester. He added that Doris Lindgren had stated that she would work with Ms. Beaudette to get this spring semester going, but Ms. Beaudette was not able to do that. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Ms. Lindgren may be willing to take the program over next year.

A copy of the letter is available.

12. STAFFING

Supt. DeBenedictis recommended Chris Cieto to the Board to replace Holly Maher (English), who is taking a leave of absence. Mr. Cieto graduated from Ohio University with a B.A. in English. Recommendation: B, Step 1, Interim Position. Salary: $19,624.80 (Pro-rated to 1-3-15 date of hire.

Tim Bevins moved that the Board appoint Christopher Cieto to replace Holly Maher. Jim McBride seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.

Tim Bevins moved that the Board adjourn. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

7 - 0 - 0.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.