APPROVED: JUNE 15, 2005 Hollis-Brookline Cooperative School Board
May 18, 2005
Hollis-Brookline High School
Pam Kirby, Chairperson
Bill Cudney, Student Representative
Ken DeBenedictis, Superintendent of Schools
Charles Flahive, Principal, Hollis-Brookline High School
Pat Goyette, Principal, Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Bob Kelly, Director of Special Education
Bob Ouellette, Assistant Principal
Betsy A, Bowen, Recording Secretary
Others present included members of the Public.
Chairperson Pam Kirby called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
1. OPEN FORUM
Rev. Mike Rattin spoke to raise concerns about statements made in the latest article in the HB Journal regarding Sex Education.
Dr. DeBenedictis first pointed out that the headlines are often incorrect, as in this case. The headline wasn’t even about the article.
Carol Mace pointed out that abstinence is an important part of our curriculum. The word "Purity", she points out, for most is the same as abstinence. However, she feels that some people find that a choice of abstinence, or lack thereof, is not the same as being pure or un-pure.
Ms. Mace said the speaker was from Students Taking On Purity (S.T.O.P.). One piece of material in her package referenced abortion, and she felt that stepped over the line. She also reports that a new curriculum from this organization is being developed by STOP and she is looking forward to seeing it and reviewing it.
Denise Cattiaux, a resident, asked how only three parents could change a curriculum.
Ms. Mace pointed out that a process is in place for reviewing and evaluating materials, and these three parents simply brought this to the attention of the committee. It wasn’t the parents that made the decision.
Mr. Jacques Cattiaux, also a resident, said the newspaper characterized the use of the word "purity" as the reason the material was excluded. Supt. DeBenedictis said that was not the reason; it was that the material went beyond fact presentation and was advocating a position.
Jim Murphy pointed out that the specific issue raised by the parents at last month’s meeting has not been officially addressed by the Board, but has been adequately handled by the administration.
Anne Dumas moved that the Board accept the minutes of April 7, 2005. Jim Murphy seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Anne Dumas moved that the Board accept the minutes of the May 4, 2005 workshop meeting. Jim Murphy seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 1 (Enright abstained.)
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of the April 27, 2005 workshop meeting as written. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 1 (Kirby abstained.)
Chair. Kirby stated that regarding the minutes of the regular meeting held on April 20, 2005, Mr. Simons had submitted the following revision to paragraphs 2 and 3 on page 2:
Mr. Simons continued to explain that the Department of Safety in Concord must give approval. The Fire Marshal Department has had a lot of reduction in personnel, and consequently is having a hard time keeping up with the work. Therefore, the sprinkler system design hasn’t been approved, as a result of an issue with the stage in the existing building. This has posed a problem, as the sub-contractor had planned on doing the work at night and on the weekends during the winter.
Hutter has been moving along with the work, and the system has been redesigned and the drawings/specs have gone to Concord. Some phone calls have been made, and the drawings have been moved to the top of the list and should be approved by May 1. There is a tacit approval that building can continue.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of the April 20, 2005 regular meeting as amended. Jim Murphy seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 - 0 – 0.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of the March 16, 2005 regular meeting. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 1. (Murphy abstained.)
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of the March 31, 2005 workshop meeting. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 1. (Hall abstained.)
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of the April 20, 2005 non-public session as written. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 1. (Hall abstained.)
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of the April 14, 2005 workshop meeting as written. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
3. SPECIAL RECOGNITION
Chair. Kirby announced that the Board would like to give special recognition to Betsy Bowen for serving 10 years as the Board’s recording secretary. She thanked Ms. Bowen for those 10 years, adding that she was a critical part of the Board. Chair. Kirby then presented Ms. Bowen with a bouquet of flowers.
4. BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that Ms. Blastos was not present that night, as she was attending the Tri-State meeting as President of the NH School Business Administrator Association.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Bob Ouellette would be reporting to the Board regarding the Summer Camp that will be using the High School facilities in mid-July. He stated that he had met with Rev. John Terry and Chris Hyde about 8 or 9 months ago when they came to see if the Board would let them hold a summer camp at the High School. He added that the campers come for a week, using the High School’s facilities, with the purpose of helping the elderly and handicapped in the area with their homes by doing such things as house painting, repairs, building handicap ramps, etc. He stated that the Board liked the presentation made to them, decided to pursue it, and granted the group permission to use the High School’s facilities.
Mr. Ouellette reported that there had been four meetings with various members of the committee. He explained that the Group Work Camps Foundation is a national foundation based out of Colorado. They put on about 60 of these work camps. It is a non-denominational organization, and the students raise their own funds to have the opportunity to come to these camps. There will be about 350 students ranging from 7th – 12th grade, and they will be accompanied by their own chaperones.
Mr. Ouellette stated that the camp would take place from July 17th to July 23rd. The High School will be responsible for housing, food, and bathing facilities, and will help them get off to their work sites. They will be working in the surrounding towns, such as Nashua, Pepperell, Hollis, and Brookline. The students will be fed in the morning, then their vans will pull up the mini-gym storage facilities to be loaded with equipment, and they will go off to their assigned work sites, with a chaperone, as well as a contractor to assist them. They will provide all their own tools and materials needed for the projects. They will be using the classrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors for sleeping.
Mr. Ouellette reported that the site manager for this work camp is Henry Goodwin, who lives in Milford and works at Nashua Corporation. Mr. Goodwin has been the site manager for about 10 different work camps throughout the country. He stated that he had done a walk-thru with Mr. Goodwin and Chris Hyde. Sheila O’Donnell and six of her crew will be responsible for the meals. He stated that there had been some problems in being able to provide the menus that Colorado wanted due to lack of equipment needed, such as warning ovens. However, Ms. O’Donnell has worked everything out with them. The group will bring a refrigerated truck with the food needed.
Mr. Ouellette stated that there will be 15 – 20 students in each classroom, along with a chaperone. The students will leave at 7:30 in the morning, and return back to the school at 4:30 p.m. Ms. O’Donnell’s crew will make up the lunches. An ice chest will be put outside, as they go through about 100 bags of ice a day. When they arrive back at the building, they will have the opportunity to shower, and then have dinner. Evening activities will be held in the gym. The gym floor was scheduled to be resurfaced prior to their arrival, but this has been changed to after the work camp has gone. The gym floor will be covered with tarps and the bleaches will be out.
Mr. Ouellette stated that they wanted keys to the building, but after thinking long and hard about it, they decided not to give them keys. Instead, a custodian will be on site from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. They will bring their own stand-alone computers. An office space will be set up with a direct line so they can be in contact with Colorado. The voice mail will be changed.
Mr. Ouellette stated that they had had 3 meetings in which they simply tried to identify potential problems. He stated that the work camps had only been held at schools with public water systems. They have decided to have the septic system pumped prior to their arrival, and after they leave if it is necessary. The Group Work Camp Foundation will be bearing all costs, salaries, etc.
Mr. Ouellette stated that they had talked to Skillings regarding the water situation. Skillings advised them that under heavy demand for water, one pump gets air bound, which will cause an alarm to go off in the pump room requiring it to be reset. Skillings has agreed to have a water truck available if they run out of water. There will be about 350 students, and a total of 400 or so adding in the adults/volunteers.
Mr. Ouellette reported that the teachers will move things out of the classrooms, if needed.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked if the group carried insurance. Mr. Ouellette responded that they did, and that the committee had talked with the Fire Chief, Rick Towne, to see if there was any special rider needed. He added that work camps had been held in Portsmouth and at the Milford Middle School, so they have been in contact with them.
Mr. Enright questioned that the 350 number being just students. Mr. Ouellette responded that that was correct. Mr. Enright stated that it had initially been represented to the Board that there would be about 250 students. He added that with the water issue, he was not happy with the 350 figure. He stated that he would like the line drawn at 350. Mr. Ouellette stated that he would like let Group Work Camps in Colorado know. He added that they are intending to set up showers outside the building, and thought that the Board may want to designate where they should be set up. These showers will be hose fed.
Ms. Hall asked if Mr. Ouellette had done anything to prepare the public about this. Mr. Ouellette responded that they would like to run an article in the local paper. Ms. Hall felt that the Board should put out a press release so that the community will be aware of what is going on. Mr. Simons suggested that the Board get with Chris Hyde and do a joint press release.
5. STATE EDUCATION FUNDING
Chair. Kirby advised the Board that State Representatives, Dick Drisko and Don Ryder, were present that night to report on the State Education Funding issue.
Mr. Drisko advised the Board that the House had passed HB 616. He stated that Ms. Hall had come to the Board meeting the night it passed and had advised the Board what had happened that day in the Legislature. He added that he go a call from Mr. Enright the next day. He stated that 10% per year for 10 years is a pain, but it is manageable. HB 616 was presented and Mr. Drisko felt it was not greeted with any kind of thought, simply because of the transition. Transition for SAU #41 will be 48% less money in State Funds than they currently get. He stated that State Education Funding is a constantly moving target. Mr. Drisko stated that it was his understanding that the Senate President and the Senate Majority Leader may block the bill, so they would be back at 302. He stated that 302 was a big problem. He stated that the complaint about the first one was that all the budgets of all the districts in the State are the same. Mr. Drisko added that funding plans are murder on the budgets, and that they need a soft landing and an effective date.
Mr. Drisko informed the Board that an amendment had been presented by Senator Lou D’Allesandro and Senator O’Dell. The good thing about the amendment is that it is bipartisan. Senator O’Dell is Republican, and Senator D’Allesandro has always been a champion for education. The amendment is 15%. He added that there may be other plans coming. Mr. Drisko stated that his concern was that they would be faced with this problem every two years until they solve the problem. He stated that they have people who want to do away with the property tax, and he felt it would happen and that would lay the burden on the towns. Mr. Drisko felt that there would be another mandate, which would go back to the House and the House won’t confer with the Senate, so there will be a committee of conference. He felt that the message on transition would be soften. If they go back to 302, that would mean they would have to come up with a difference between $465 million +/- and $508 million.
Mr. Ryder stated that about 50% of the people who spoke at the Senate Hearing complained that budgets are going through the roof, and they felt it was unfair to cut State funding. He personally felt that the property tax would stay intact.
Ms. Hall felt that they were no further along than a couple of weeks ago. She stated that what happened two years ago put them in a huge hole. She added that they were all in agreement that they need to do something different from two years ago, but nobody knows what it is going to be, or how to cope with the huge gap.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that until the State decides to take on the responsibility of executing a permanent tax revenue program, they are going to continue to experience these problems. He added that between Hollis and Brookline, they stand to lose about $4 million if Ed Funding is gutted, and that is a substantial amount. Unfortunately, it is expected that the school districts will take the hit.
Mr. Drisko pointed out that this is the third term in a row that they have had this problem. He added that Mr. Augenblick’s formula was working well, except the Legislature never funded it. The one year that the State tried to fund it, Governor Steve Merrill vetoed it, and that caused the Claremont situation.
Ms. Hall felt that the major single event that messed this up was after Claremont 2 they had a decree from the Court, and agreed to fund the Augenblick’s formula, and then they blew it. She felt that was the most serious mistake that had been made over the past 20 years.
6. MEDICAID UPDATE – BOB KELLY
Mr. Kelly gave the Board a Medicaid Funding update. He reported that they have done training, and all personnel continue to collect data for all students receiving Medicaid eligible services. This data is submitted to Granite State Billing, who in turns submits the data to the State. Mr. Kelly stated that the IDEA count was 132 as of December 1, 2004. He added that data is not collected on all 132 students, but it is collected on over 50% of the students. He pointed out that not all of the students are qualified. Of the 66 plus students they are collecting data on only 22 are Medicaid registered. Thus, for privacy issues, they collect data on all students who receive Medicaid services. Mr. Kelly also explained that if a para is in the category of rehab therapy (speech, OT, or physical) that is a Medicaid eligible service, they need a certified person to "ok" those services. It is difficult for the certified person to sign-off on the para, if the para is working in another building.
Mr. Kelly informed the Board that the NH State average is $1500 per student, so for the 22 students who are eligible, the District will only see approximately $33,000 in revenue. He added that the program runs from Oct. 1 to Oct. 1, so the District won’t know the final bottom line until October 1, 2005. He stated that it is forecasted that it will be $33,000 minus the 10% for Granite State Billing. Therefore, the District will only see $30,000 maximum if everyone identified is eligible.
Mr. Murphy questioned that there were 132 IDEA students, of which 66 are receiving Medicaid eligible services, but only get reimbursement on 22 students. He wondered if there was more that the District could be doing to be sure that all qualified students are identified. Mr. Kelly explained that 66 students are receiving services that qualify for Medicaid, but that does not mean that all 66 students are eligible. Only 22 students qualify for Medicaid. He added that the District submits a list of the students receiving Medicaid eligible services to the NH State Department – IDEA, and they come back to the District with a list of the families that are on Medicaid.
Ms. Dumas felt that what Mr. Murphy wanted to know was if of the 66 students receiving Medicaid services are there more that could be eligible, and are there things that the Board can do? Mr. Kelly explained that they have a number of students taking speech therapy, which is an eligible service for Medicaid; however, not all the students taking speech therapy are on Medicaid. For privacy reasons, the District is collecting data on students taking speech therapy. He added that they are looking into sending a letter to all parents asking them to notify the child’s caseworker if the child is on Medicaid.
Supt. DeBenedictis pointed out that it takes the staff considerable amount of time to collect and record the data. Mr. Simons asked if the District had any idea how much time the staff is putting into data collection? Mr. Kelly stated that he was not sure how much time it took the staff. Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that SAU had hired three additional para clerks (one in each district) where part of their job will be dedicated to the data collection process. Mr. Kelly stated that he could ask his staff to start a log as to the amount of time they spend collecting the data.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that different superintendent friends have told him that the amount of money received will be low. He added that they won’t have the final numbers until October 1. He pointed out that it takes a long time to do and is time consuming. The amount of money they will receive is a fraction of what had been broadcasted.
Mr. Drisko felt that all the initial catch-up the staff was doing was costly, but once they get the data, he felt that the cost should taper off. He added that the State average is 30% of identified students, so of 132, this would translate into 39 students. He stated that he was encouraged with the information given that night.
Ms. Hall asked if the parents had been involved with this information, if Mr. Kelly had discussed it with the parent groups that have been formed, and wondered how the parent relationships were. Mr. Kelly felt that parent relationships were very good. He added that they had had 4 public forums, but unfortunately, they were not as well attended as they had hoped they would be. He added that there had been no direct groups to notify.
Mr. Kelly stated that he also wanted to advise the Board of a couple of other issues regarding Special Education. He stated that effective July 1, 2005 there are new Federal Special Education Regulations. They are looking at the Federal Regulations to be published by the end of this year. He added that they don’t know when the State Regulations will be updated. In the meantime, the staff will have on-going, in-service training throughout 2005/06. He added that until New Hampshire has their Regulations updated, the staff will need to try to following both the new Federal Regulations and the State Regulations.
Mr. Murphy asked if there were any significant changes, such as cost or change of program. Mr. Kelly responded that there weren’t at all, but there were things that he was not pleased with, such as things they no longer will be required to do, but he is not going to throw them out. For example, eliminating the writing of Special Education objectives and benchmarks for a student. These are the milestones that are used to measure a student’s progress.
Mr. Kelly stated that another change was if the parent and team agrees that a teacher is no longer needed at the meeting, or doesn’t have to be at the meeting, then the teacher must be submitted their comments in writing, which takes longer than attending the meeting.
Mr. Kelly stated that all of them are concerned about intervention with the "peer research base," as there is no definition of "peer research base.’ He pointed out that this could result in big discussions, and any research has two sides.
Mr. Drisko stated that regarding parent advisory councils, there is HB 301 that went through the Education Committee, which has the requirement that a parent advisory council could be set up anywhere. It was unanimously passed by the House Committee, and went to the Senate Committee and voted 6 – 0 to submit it to the floor. It will go to the Senate floor tomorrow, but will die, as there is already legislation in place that allows for a parent advisory committee to be set up, however, it can only be set up if the school board invites them. He added that this District is one of the few that hasn’t set such a council up. Supt. DeBenedictis responded that he thought they had two. Mr. Kelly stated that at the SAU meeting, parents wanted to set up such a council, and there was a lengthy discussion about the relationship and the support of it. Supt. DeBenedictis added that the parents wanted to organize it themselves, which they did do, and the SAU endorsed it. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that is what they welcome. Mr. Drisko responded that he would pass that along.
Mr. Kelly informed the Board that he had had a request for a yellow vehicle to be utilized to transport a student. He explained that the District is liable to transport a student, if needed. The request for the yellow vehicle was for safety reasons. Mr. Kelly stated that he had looked into the RSAs and a multi-purpose vehicle for less than 10 students doesn’t have to be yellow. However, to transport students in such vehicle, the driver must be school bus certified (which is an 8-hour class). Mr. Kelly informed the Board that they have trouble getting qualified drivers. Last year they had a wheelchair bound student, and never could find a qualified driver. Fortunately, the parents provided transportation and the District reimbursed the parents. He stated that sometimes they need more than one vehicle at a time to go to different places, so they have used taxis. That worked out well, but again the driver is not certified. Mr. Kelly stated that he had gotten the name of a trainer from the NH Transportation Association, but had been having trouble setting up a time.
Mr. Murphy wondered if the District could send someone to the trainer’s training course, so then we would have our own trainer. Mr. Kelly stated that he would look into it, but he felt that if that was possible, then the taxi company should get a representative to get trained, due to liability within that organization.
Mr. Kelly informed the Board that this year’s budget is going very well. He stated that in October 2003 there were two existing out-of-district placements and an anticipated one that he has moved up for this fiscal year of ’04-’05, so there was substantial savings. He added that he sees them being on mark next year, ’05-’06.
Mr. Enright stated that he thought he had asked for a Special Education review for this meeting. He asked that at next month’s meeting, an hour be set aside so that Mr. Kelly can give a comprehensive report as to what is going on with Special Education. Supt. DeBenedictis responded that they would put it on the June agenda.
A copy of the report is available.
7. SPECIAL HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTATION: RECYCLING – B. NELLER’S CLASSES
Chair. Kirby informed the Board that they had some students along with Mr. Neller, who wanted to talk to the Board about a recycling program.
Dave Etlinger introduced himself and Erin Flaherty, Jessica Cockerham, Jen Veino, and Sakhi Despande. He stated that they were members of the Green Group, a club at the High School that consisted of 12 – 15 students, and whose purpose was about improving and protecting the environment. He stated that a few years ago there was a group called SCAE – Students Concerned About the Environment. SCAE ended up disbanding for one reason or another. This is the first year for the Green Group, and they have revived SCAE’s ideas. They have already done some work at Beaver Brook on animal tracking and water testing, and they plan on getting into vernal pool research in the next month or so. Mr. Effinger stated that they had talked to Art LeBlanc at the Hollis Transfer Station about setting up a recycling system at the High School. They have also talked to Wayne Zold, Buildings & Grounds, about switching from Browning Ferris to a whole town oriented system. They have talked to the Middle School, and Kenny Fowler at the elementary school, and both are very enthusiastic, and are willing to put their support behind the Green Group. He added that they have talked to everyone and have unified them, so they would like to start mandatory recycling program at the school.
Mr. Effinger stated that there are three major component aspects that warrant this mandatory program:
Ms. Veino stated that it was everyone’s moral obligation to be recycling. According to Weyerhaeuser Corporation, the District could save 508 trees this year, just from the amount of paper the District bought. Recycling saves 17 trees per ton. Recycling saves water, reduces air pollution, and conserves oil resources. Ms. Valito pointed out that the U.S. is near the bottom of the list of developed countries, environmentally. She stated that it is up to the schools as educators to lead this change. She added that the Hollis and Brookline communities have been recycling for about 15 years; however, the schools have just barely begun, and thus, they need to catch up.
Ms. Cockerham reported that the school and the surrounding communities could benefit economically by recycling. She pointed out that the school pays Browning Ferris to recycle the high quality paper that is used at the school. The Green Group felt that Browning Ferris should be paying the school, and that they would prefer to see the communities of Hollis and Brookline benefiting from the recycling, rather than a private company. Recycling would help reduce the dumpster fees. Currently, cans, plastic and bottles, paper and cardboard are the bulk of the school’s trash.
Ms. Flaherty stated that another important aspect is education. The Green Group felt that currently, the SAU was neglecting an important social need. By not recycling, the schools are demonstrating bad social patterns. Schools need to be a positive role model.
Ms. Flaherty stated that the Green Group was coming to the Board to ask for their support on recycling. She pointed out that recycling will create an immediate and lasting effect. She added that they felt it was an important issue that could not be neglected any longer.
Mr. Neller stated how proud he was of the Green Group students. He advised the Board that the students came to him this year and asked if they could reinstate the club. Mr. Neller stated that the Coop was the only school that has any kind of recycling, but they are skeptical how it works. He stated that they are now asking for the Board’s advice as to where they should go from here.
Supt. DeBenedictis responded that there is some recycling at the Hollis and Brookline schools. Mr. Neller pointed out that it was merely voluntary. He added that some years there are students that are very interested in the environment and recycling, and other years there aren’t, so that is why they feel it should be a mandatory program.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked about the cost. Mr. Neller responded that Art LeBlanc at the Hollis Transfer Station said that he would be willing to take the paper and cardboard. He added that the two towns need to work together, and that they would need a truck to get the material to the Hollis Transfer Station. He stated that he hadn’t talked to Brookline yet. He pointed out that there were issues of jurisdiction, who has a truck, who loads it, etc.
Mr. Murphy felt that these issues should be in the category of solvable problems. He stated that in Brookline, if the school can collect the recyclables, the town is willing to get it to the transfer station. Mr. Murphy asked how much the District was paying the contractor.
Mr. Neller stated that they felt it was bad modeling not to be recycling at the school.
Ms. Goyette stated that Mr. Neller had spoken to the Middle School staff, and she felt that the timing was good, especially with the renovation/addition coming to an end. She added that Dave Bond has done some recycling, but he felt that it should be owned by the custodians. Ms. Goyette felt that it should be owned by everyone.
Mr. Flahive stated that Mr. Neller had made a presentation to the High School faculty. He added that his son works for a paper mill, and had told him that to make recycled paper is so easy.
Mr. Neller advised the Board that Mr. LeBlanc was not willing to take the bottles and cans, but was willing to take the high grade paper and cardboard. He felt that it was unacceptable not to recycle any more. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that they would look to Mr. Neller to provide leadership with the staff.
Ms. Hall stated that she serves on the Environmental and Agricultural Committee in the NH Legislature, as well as on the Recycling Committee. She stated that she went looking for resources and found that the recycling program has disappeared, as the State did not fund it. She pointed out that this was not just Hollis and Brookline, but rather the whole state. She stated that she took a couple of people and met with the Governor the previous day regarding this issue. She added that she has been in contact with the person heading "NH the Beautiful" program, who goes to the municipal waste facilities, and with the person heading the NH Resource Recovery Association, who is suppose to develop markets for recycled paper, bottles, etc., and is suppose to work with schools. She stated that she would like to bring these people down to meet with the Green Group, as they have had enormous experience in setting up recycling programs. She added that she would also like to work with the Green Group. Mr. Neller and the Green Group stated that they would be very excited to meet with these people.
Mr. Neller added that the Group would be working with Beaver Brook to plot environmentally sensitive areas on maps, which would then be given to the towns, so the towns would have that information readily available when land issues came up.
Betty Hall moved that the Board endorse the efforts of the Green Group, and asked that they move forward with plans for a recycling program and report back to the Board with a specific proposal.
Ms. Dumas suggested that the Green Group come to the SAU Board meeting to make their presentation to all Board members, and they could then find out whom they need through town selectmen, and what needs to be done through help with Ms. Hall’s contacts.
Mr. Enright felt that the School Board endorsing the Group’s endeavors didn’t do anything. He felt that the Business Administrator needed to take charge, get more information, and get costs from Browning Ferris. He added that he was not happy that the town would only take the paper and cardboard, and not the cans, bottles and plastic. Mr. Neller agreed. He felt that if the Town Transfer were going to get 20% off from the refuge the school creates, they could also take the other recyclables. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Ms. Blastos had looked into this somewhat.
Mr. Enright stated that he would like to charge Ms. Blastos to form a group with the Green Group and Board members, and whoever else is needed to look into this issue.
Ms. Hall stated that she would like to amend her motion to add the resources from the school into the motion. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Ms. Blastos needed to be involved in this as well as Mr. Neller, and Ms. Hall.
Mr. Simons pointed out that they also needed to coordinate this with the towns.
Betty Hall withdrew her first motion, then moved that the Board endorse the Green Group project, and that the Board charge Ms. Blastos to look into this issue and involve the Green Group. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Ryder thanked the Board for getting Mr. Drisko and him on the agenda, and added that he hoped to come back with some good news.
Supt. DeBenedictis announced that Ms. Goyette had received notification from the New England League of Middle Schools that Hollis Brookline Middle School had been chosen as a 2005 NELMS Spotlight School. He explained that they had been selected because of their record of creating an excellent learning environment for young adolescents and for their observances of middle school best practices. He then congratulated Ms. Goyette and her staff.
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Krista Whalen asking the Board to support two teams that had won the opportunity to go to Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, TN from May 25-29. He stated that the fourth grade team had finished first in the Nashua Regional tournament and second in the NH State finals. The 7th-8th grade team had also won the Nashua Regional and second in the NH State finals. Supt. DeBenedictis explained that it costs $3,000 for registration fee for each team, as well as plane fares and room and board.
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that the Hollis Board had also been approached for a donation and they voted unanimously not to contribute, as they had no money in the budget, and if they granted money to this organization, they would have to fund similar groups.
Ms. Hall asked if they had raised any money themselves. Supt. DeBenedictis responded that they had raised $2,900, and hoped to raise another $3,000 with their goal being $10,000 by May 20th. Ms. Goyette stated that they had had an on-line auction.
Jim Murphy moved that the Board decline the request of Krista Whalen with regret and the Board’s best wishes for their success, on the grounds that the Board doesn’t have a budget item for this kind of activity, as well as their concerns that they wouldn’t be able to afford this as requested going forward and setting a precedent for other activities. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 1 – 0. (Enright against.)
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from the National Council of Teachers of English advising him that Mark Holding had written an article entitled "Liberating the Student’s Voice: A Teacher’s Story of the College Essay," which appeared in the March 2005 issue of English Journal, the official journal of the Secondary Section of the National Council of Teachers of English. He pointed out what a prestigious honor this was, and expressed his congratulations to Mr. Holding.
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Linda Casazza recognizing Glenn DePine for all his support for the band students who attended the All-District Music Festival held at the Merrimack Middle School. It was noted that Mr. DePine had spent several weeks working with the students after school on Mondays and Fridays.
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from the Hollis Education Association requesting their desire to bargain a master contract for the school year 2006-2007. The notification is in accordance with RSA 273-A:3.
Mr. Enright asked if the Board could delay setting up a date until after the court hearing. The Board agreed the date should be delayed.
Mr. Murphy asked if the Board needed to formally respond to the request. Mr. Enright stated that he had emailed the Association. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he would send a letter to the Association formalizing the email and asking to delay the meeting until after the court hearing.
Copies of the letters are available.
9. BROOKLINE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE
It was decided to gather information and make a presentation at the next Board meeting.
10. SCHOOL CALENDAR
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that there was a copy of the 2005-06 School Calendar in their packets. The last day of school will be June 22, and graduation will be June 18 at 11:00 a.m. He stated that the leadership team had spent a lot of time coordinating the calendar. School will start before Labor Day. He added that all Teacher Workshop days and delayed openings are coordinated throughout all three districts. There are 182 scheduled days, with 5 snow days, and 5 professional development workshops.
Mr. Murphy asked if the reason graduation is not set is due to snow days? Supt. DeBenedictis responded that that was correct, and that they like to get through the snow days, then set graduation.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the 2005-06 Coop Calendar as presented. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
A copy of the calendar is available.
11. MIDDLE SCHOOL PROJECT
Mr. Simons reported that the next Middle School Project meeting would be on Thursday.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that they had received a copy of the ICC review, and that Barbara Chalmers, the architect, had responded to every question they had posed. They were all quite minor and easily taken care of.
Mr. Simons stated that in regards to the article in the Telegraph regarding egress, they had talked to the to the Fire Marshal, and the Coop has been talking to the Deputy Fire Marshall. He was not really sure about the issue. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Ms. Chalmers had indicated that there had been a question about the width of the driveway and compaction of material for emergency vehicles. Mr. Simons stated that the Fire Chief had already authorized it.
Ms. Goyette reported that on a lighter note, they had had their first conflict with the Building Project. One of the sub-contractors had put a large sign up on the side of the building facing the track that said, "Go Timberlane." This was during a track meet and the students weren’t too pleased about it. She added that she did talk to the contractor about it.
Ms. Goyette reported that the staff had finally gotten out into the new addition for the first time, and they were in awe. She added that she has been making plans on what to do with the main building, as everything has to come out so the contractors can go through and do the renovations. They will set up offices in the portables for the summer.
Mr. Simons explained that the goal is to renovate everything from the north end (Farley end) of the building to the 2-story part before school starts in the fall. Then only the lower level will be left to do after the start of school.
Mr. Murphy mentioned that the Board had been given a 2-week reprieve from the Selectmen, and he wondered if anyone had talked to them in the last two weeks. Mr. Simons stated that the Selectmen have heard by letter, as Ms. Chalmers has copied them. He added that he personally had gone to see the Selectmen. He felt they were in the loop. Mr. Murphy felt it was important for someone to go give them face time. Mr. Simons stated that he would do that.
12. SPECIAL DISTRICT MEETING
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Atty. Drescher, acknowledging that the fully executed petition to the Superior Court is done, and he will submit it to the Superior Court on Monday, May 23rd, as the RSAs don’t allow him to submit it any sooner.
Supt. DeBenedictis reported that the Budget Committee will be meeting on May 19th with Atty. Drescher to go over everything with him, and get any questions answered that they may have. The next step will be the Superior Court’s decision.
13. PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS
Ms. Goyette reported that Peggy Archambeau had offered the use of Alpine Grove for any end of year activities the Middle School may be having. She stated that she declined the use of the facility for the 8th grade dance, as she felt it would seem too much like a prom; however, she did accept the offer for the 7th grade BBQ. They will be able to use all the facilities, such as the mini-golf, volleyball courts, and inside for movies.
Ms. Goyette gave an update on the Math issue. She stated that the had held a meeting for the sixth grade parents and approximately 80 parents attended. Rich Nagy also came to the meeting. They explained what they have been doing in light of No Child Left Behind, the NEAIP and GLE testing, as well as the history of what they have done with the accelerated program in her 8 years. She stated that parents wanted a name for it. She stated that they could call it what they wanted, but it would still be the same skill set and content.
Ms. Goyette stated that they had held a meeting at the High School regarding Math for the 8th graders. She added that what they had left out was the 7th grade, and she had run a meeting that day. It too had been well received. She explained that students will have the choice of the Power-Packed Algebra course developed by Ms. Mezzocchi, or Advanced Geometry. She added that it will be the parent’s choice for this one year only. About 98% of the parents decided to go with the staff choice of the Power-Packed Algebra.
Ms. Dumas stated that she felt the meeting had been handled very well the night she attended. Ms. Goyette added that Ms. Mezzocchi did a great job.
Ms. Goyette stated that she couldn’t say enough about Katrina Hall and Paula Fordin, as they had contacted every parent personally, mostly at night, and held long conversations with them.
Ms. Goyette praised Glenn DePine for the work he has done with the Jazz Band, on his own time with no stipend. She added that they have been invited to play for the public.
Ms. Goyette reported that they are planning a ceremony with banner for being named a Spotlight school. This will be held off until next year so they can do it in the new gym.
Mr. Enright stated that he hoped Mr. DePine would be supported for instruments in the highest amount possible.
Mr. Flahive reported that Prom night was May 6that Castleton, and was well attended.
The Track Dedication was on May 11th. It was a super ceremony, and the students were tremendous.
Mr. Flahive informed the Board that when Nick Jennings passed away, it was agreed that a tree would be planted in his memory, and also a bench would be erected. They have decided to do this outside of the cafeteria door, by the patio, on the left where it slants down. He added that Mr. Jennings has an excavation business, so he will take care of everything.
Mr. Simons moved that the Board accept the donation from the Jennings for a bench and a tree in memory of their son, Nick. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Flahive reported that 26 students had participated in "Music in the Park." They won two first places – in Jazz Choir and Jazz Ensemble.
Mr. Flahive stated that the NEIAP testing had taken place. AP testing was May 2nd – 9th.
Mr. Flahive informed the Board that he would be meeting with the Substance Abuse people the next day. It is felt that they could fill the SAP void. If they could come 3 days a week it would be about the same cost.
The Board asked that Mr. Flahive put together a Department Head job description before he left. Mr. Flahive had already worked on this, so he distributed the job description he had revised. He explained that the italicized copy was what had been revised as of April 2003, and that the all-caps copy was the new revisions. He added that the salary range and class load was listed on the third page.
As for the salary range, Mr. Flahive explained that each department head currently makes $2600 regardless of the number of faculty in their department. Mr. Flahive stated that for the core courses they would like to change the stipend to a base of $2,000 and then an additional $100 for each member of their department, not including themselves, and will have one less class than the regular teaching load. Thus, the department heads in the core courses would receive the following:
English 7 teachers $2700
Science 8 teachers $2800
Foreign Language 6 teachers $2600
Social Studies 7 teachers $2700
Mathematics 8 teachers $2800
For department heads in the non-core courses, they will receive a $2000 base, and $100 for each member of their department, not including themselves, and will teach a full schedule. The non-core course department heads would receive the following:
Allied Arts 4 teachers $2400
(Visual Arts, Music, and Theater)
Computer, Media, Technology 3 teachers $2300
Wellness, PE, Family & Consumer Science 5 teachers $2500
It was pointed out that Item #17 stated that the department heads would teacher 5 classes per semester. Mr. Flahive responded that it should be 4 classes per semester for the core course department heads (Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Foreign Language).
Chair. Kirby asked that Mr. Flahive write a "State of the School" report, stating what the school is doing right, things that need improvement, and things he would like to see continue, or be added. Mr. Flahive agreed to do so for the next meeting.
A copy of the job description is available.
14. SCHOOL BOARD POSITION INTERVIEWS
Chair. Kirby informed the candidates that one of the candidates, Garry Henkel, couldn’t be there that night, so the Board would be interviewing him the next morning, and would then be making their decision.
The Board invited the first candidate, Eve Aretakis, to address the Board. Ms. Aretakis stated that she currently was President/CEO of the telecom group of Seimens. She explained that this was a voice switching technology, and stated that they were developing the next phone service for houses, which would be over the Internet. She stated that she was responsible for a group in New England, Boca Raton, Portugal, and Greece. She added that she is responsible to bring technology to sales groups.
Ms. Aretakis stated that she had served on many board positions for Seimens, but that she had been winding down these positions over the past year. She added that she leads a number of communication programs into the Seimens market. She stated that she had mostly been an engineer, and that she had moved to Hollis 3 years ago.
Mr. Simons pointed out that the Board often has one meeting a week, and often during the day. He asked Ms. Aretakis how she would be able work such meetings into her schedule? Ms. Aretakis responded that because some of her work is international, she can plan 5:00 a.m. phone conference meetings. She added that she can plan meetings if she has some notice. Ms. Aretakis stated that she had never signed up for something if she felt she couldn’t follow through with the commitment.
Mr. Murphy asked if Ms. Aretakis had any questions for the Board. Ms. Aretakis asked what the Board’s needs were, and what could they get from her? Ms. Dumas responded that the Board could use better communications. Ms. Aretakis stated that her group has less than 1% attrition of employees. She felt that a lot of this had to do with her communication skills.
Mr. Simons asked what grades her children were in. Ms. Aretakis responded that she had children in the 7th and 9th grades.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked Ms. Aretakis to describe her decision-making skills. Ms. Aretakis stated that her process is to solicit input, specific expertise and information, then bring about a common decision. She felt that if the goal was clear, and everyone agreed on the goals, then people can usually come to a common final agreement, hopefully avoiding conflict, as conflict slows the decision-making process down.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked how Ms. Aretakis would value someone’s opinion when their opinion is not used. Ms. Aretakis responded that she would do it through communications, adding that she can usually bring them around if they feel they have been heard.
The Board thanked Ms. Aretakis for coming and stated that someone would be contacting her the next day with their decision.
The Board invited the next candidate, Dan Peterson, to address the Board. Mr. Peterson stated that he had lived in Hollis for 4 years, moving from Vermont. He stated that they chose to move to Hollis because of the atmosphere of the town and because of the school system. He stated that he had an English degree fro the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. He added that he had spent most of his career in sales and marketing, and general management. He informed the Board that he had no experience in the public arena, and had never run for public office; however, he felt that he had a lot to contribute.
Ms. Hall asked Mr. Peterson how he thought the Board could get better communications between the people of Brookline and Hollis and the Board. Mr. Peterson responded that he felt the use of the Internet, Cable TV with perhaps the students filming the meetings, would help get the word out. He also suggested using the media, where they would have allotted space to publish the Board’s views and get the public involved. He also felt forming an advisory board to help get the word out would be beneficial.
Ms. Hall stated that when they were working on the bond issue for the Middle School, they had a plethora of committees, and a lot of people helping to get the word out, but when it came down to the end regarding the 8-peroid day, there was still a disconnect. Mr. Peterson responded that the world we live in is dynamic, and he felt that the Middle School bond was dynamic. It took three years until it got passed. He felt that if a sub-committee had been formed earlier, they perhaps could have gotten to the end earlier. He felt that the dynamics kept changing, and the longer they took, the more the dynamics changed. The committees did do their jobs, but it took time because of dynamics.
Mr. Simons stated that the Board meets frequently, probably once a week, and things come up at the last minute, perhaps with only a couple of days notice, and quite often meetings are held during the day. He asked if Mr. Peterson would be available for such meetings. Mr. Peterson responded that in general, his schedule is flexible, adding that he works from home 50% of the time. He stated that there would be times when he wouldn’t be available. He added that he works for Cadence Design Systems in Chelmsford, and has a couple of key accounts.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked Mr. Peterson what approach he would use to bring a diverse people to consensus, common ground and decision-making? Mr. Peterson stated that he had been doing that for the last 20 years. He stated that his role at work involves understanding issues of the client and their needs. He added that he works with the client to solve their issues, by asking the right questions. He felt that one must get away from the emotional issues and get to the crux of the matter.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked Mr. Peterson how he saw himself as a Board member involving leaders of the school. Mr. Peterson responded that he saw himself helping to facilitate conversation with as many stakeholders as possible. He felt he could help the stakeholders feel they have been listened to, as well as help gather data and information.
Mr. Enright stated that it is a seven-member board, and they often have situations where they spend a lot of time discussing an issue, then a vote is taken, which could end up 4-3. He asked Mr. Peterson how he would handle it if he was one of the "3." Mr. Peterson felt that there was a reason for a the Board being comprised of 7 members, but he also felt it was important that once the Board made its decision, that everyone backs that decision as a team.
Mr. Murphy pointed out that it was a public board, where compromise and collaboration are called upon, but they must also listen to public opinion. He asked Mr. Peterson what the litmus would be where one must dig his/her heels in and take a stand vs. going along with the consensus? Mr. Peterson responded that there are always 2 sides to each story. He felt it was important to listen more, speak less, until it comes to a point where one must speak up.
Ms. Dumas asked what grades his children were in. Mr. Peterson stated that he has a senior and junior in High School, and an 8th grader.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked Mr. Peterson what his belief was about the Coop District, if it was something to support and maintain, or if it was something that should break-up in the future. Mr. Peterson responded that his gut said that they will come to a point where the High School will need to be disbanded. He felt that the Middle School brought those issues up. He was not sure that Brookline would have the critical mass to go out on their own. He felt that Hollis could probably handle it, but he wasn’t sure that it would be good for Hollis. He did, however, feel that it would probably come to that.
The Board thanked Mr. Peterson for his time, and advised him that they would let him know their decision the next day.
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter of resignation from Stacey Sawyer, who is going to explore other avenues, and a letter of resignation from Lauren Corliss, whose husband took a job in southeastern Massachusetts.
Tom Enright moved that the Board accept the letters of resignation from Stacey Sawyer and Lauren Corliss with regret. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Holly Maher requesting an extension to her maternity leave, returning in the fall of 2006. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he had no objections.
Chair. Kirby asked how many times a teacher can ask for a maternity extension? Supt. DeBenedictis responded that there was no policy for that. Chair. Kirby wondered what happens if they find someone who is qualified and the District wants to keep them?
Mr. Murphy asked if there would be any encumbrances on the District due to the request. Supt. DeBenedictis responded that it would be an unpaid leave.
Mr. Enright moved that the Board accept the request of Holly Maher to extend her family leave for the 2005-06 year, with notification be made by March 15, 2006 regarding her intent to return. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter from Jennifer Christman requesting maternity leave starting September 23, 2005, one week before her due date of September 30, 2005. She will return to work on January 2, 2006. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that the Board can’t deny the request.
Mr. Enright asked how having Ms. Christman come in for a short period help the student? Supt. DeBenedictis responded that she would be able to help identify students’ needs and get them going in the fall.
Mr. Simons pointed out that Ms. Christman is entitled to start her leave on the 15th of September, but she is giving the District an extra week. Mr. Enright wondered if it was beneficial to the student to have her come in for only 3 weeks. Supt. DeBenedictis pointed out that it is not up to the Board, but the policy says they can take it. He then read the policy, which stated ". . . shall be granted leave of absence up to 4 grading periods."
Mr. Enright stated that if Supt. DeBenedictis could state that this was in the best interest of the students, then he would be all for it. Supt. DeBenedictis responded that he never could say that, as the best thing for the students would be for the teacher to start day 1 and go through to the end of school.
Ms. Dumas suggested that if the District could afford it, perhaps they could have a week or so of overlap with the teacher that will be filling in.
Jim Murphy moved that the Board approve Jennifer Chrisman’s request for family leave. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Copies of the letters are available.
Supt. DeBenedictis recommended the following candidates:
Teresa Rossetti, Mathematics at the Middle School to full-time.
Experience: 3 years Recommendation: M, Step 3 Salary: $39,025
Cora Beaudry, Special Education at the High School
Experience: 1 year Recommendation: M, Step 2 Salary: $37,707
Brenda Poznanski, Guidance Director at the High School
Experience: 20+ years Recommendation: M, Step 14 Salary: $56,008, plus15 days per diem ($4,492.62)
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that the new principal, Tim Kelley, was excited that Ms. Poznanski, had accepted the position, as he had tried to get her for Nashua. Supt. DeBenedictis added that the money was the exact amount budgeted.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept Teresa Rossetti, Cora Beaudry, and Brenda Poznanski for the positions indicated. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
17. HIGH SCHOOL INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES COMMITTEE
Chair. Kirby explained that the Board needed to appoint committee members. Per the charge, membership is to be distributed as follows:
2 Coop School Board members (1 Hollis, 1 Brookline)
3 Faculty members selected by the School Board
1 Faculty Union Representative
1 Budget Committee member
2 High School Students
3 Community members (1 Hollis, 1 Brookline, 1 at-large)
Chair. Kirby stated that the Board had received letters of interest from the following staff members:
Stacey Plummer – Math
Amy Koslowski – Guidance
Rebecca Balfour – Social Studies
Mike Tenters – French
Bonnie Del Signore – Math
Steve Simons moved that the Board appoint Mike Tenters, Stacey Plummer, and Amy Koslowski to be the faculty representatives to the High School Instructional Practices Committee. Betty Hall seconded.
Ms. Hall asked if the Board should ask that the Union have their representative be elected, not appointed? Supt. DeBenedictis responded that the Board cannot tell the Union how to choose their representative, but the Board could suggest that the Association participate in the selection.
Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Kirby stated that the Board had received letters of interest from the following Brookline residents:
Betty Hall moved that the Board appoint Jane Quigley as the Brookline representative to the High School Instructional Practices Committee. Jim Murphy seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Kirby stated that the Board had received letters of interest from the following Hollis residents:
Steve Simons moved that the Board appoint Chris Hyde as the Hollis representative to the High School Instructional Practices Committee. Betty Hall seconded.
Steve Simons amended his motion to appoint Chris Hyde as the At-large representative to the High School Instructional Practices Committee. Betty Hall seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Kirby thanked everyone who submitted their names.
Ms. Hall stated that she was not sure how the student representatives were going to be chosen. It was decided that Bill Cudney will get with Mr. Flahive and get two names, one from Hollis and one from Brooklime, who are current sophomores.
Board representatives are Tom Enright and Betty Hall.
Mr. Enright wondered since five community members came forward, should the Board appoint them all the to committee? Ms. Hall stated that the Board had already voted on what they wanted, and she felt that they should stick to it. Chair. Kirby pointed out that adding the extra people would make the committee 16 members.
Carol Mace and Tim Bevins are the Administrative representatives.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he had talked with Mr. Bevins, who felt that for the committee to be a success, he needed to take the leadership, but couldn’t start until July 1. Ms. Hall stated that she also talked to Mr. Bevins, and she felt that the sooner they got started the better. She felt they should get the committee together as soon as possible to get the logistics and mechanics taken care of.
Mr. Murphy felt that the Board didn’t need to get hung up with the October 1 deadline.
Ms. Dumas felt the committee should get together for a start-up meeting.
Ms. Hall stated that she didn’t have anything for the Board regarding policies, as she hadn’t gotten anything from Mr. Bevins.
Steve Simons moved that the Board recess until the next morning at 8:00 a.m. in the High School Library. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
6 - 0 - 0.
The meeting recessed at 9:50 p.m.