Pam Kirby, Chairperson
Betty Hall, arrived at
Bill Cudney, Student Representative
Ken DeBenedictis, Superintendent of Schools
Lee-Ann Blastos, Business Administrator
Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, arrived at
Betsy A, Bowen, Recording Secretary
Others present included members of the Public.
Chairperson Pam Kirby called the meeting to order at
1. OPEN FORUM
Ruth Bobich of
First, Ms. Bobich asked
that the Board consider the RSA that prohibits smoking on all school
fields. She stated that the RSA is
posted at the
Ms. Blastos stated that
she would have some signs made up and posted at all the fields. Ms. Bobich gave Ms. Blastos a copy of the
wording on the
Ms. Bobich then stated
that she wanted to discuss the policy that pertains to usage of the Coop’s
fields. She felt that the people in
charge don’t know that this policy exists, and/or follow it. She stated that there is a new American
Legion Baseball team, which her husband coordinates, she is the secretary, and
they have a coach. She explained that
they had talked with Kim Smith to set up times to use the baseball field for
practices and games. She stated that
they have been told by the Hollis Recreation Commission that they (
Ms. Blastos read from the policy the following:
priority for all facility, grounds, and field use will be given to all
Ms. Bobich stated that this was the third season for the American Legion team.
Mr. Flahive stated that Tim Bevins had worked out the schedule with Kim Smith. He added that there were some glitches, but he thought it had all been worked out, and they were all set. Ms. Bobich responded that they were “all set” because they gave up their field times.
Mr. Murphy felt that once a commitment was made, they should stick with it.
Mr. Murphy asked if there were any timelines. Ms. Blastos responded that there weren’t.
Ms. Bobich pointed out
that they have to get their schedule done by the end of February, the beginning
of March, yet the fields don’t get scheduled until the spring. She added that Hollis had a game with
Ms. Bobich then asked the Board that she be notified when Policy Community Use of School Facilities, KG comes up for review and the first reading, as she would like to be present.
Chair. Kirby presented
the workshop minutes of
Steve Simons moved
that the Board accept the workshop minutes of
Chair. Kirby presented
the regular meeting minutes of
Mr. Simons stated that on Page 16, under the section “Administrative Representatives,” it states that Carol Mace and Tim Bevins are the Administrative representatives, and it should read Tim Kelley.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the minutes of
Supt. DeBenedictis informed the Board that he had received a letter of resignation from Tim Hildreth. Mr. Hildreth has decided that he must focus on his other career while he waits to find a full-time teaching position.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept Tim Hildreth’s letter of resignation. Anne Dumas seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
New Staff Nominations
Supt. DeBenedictis presented the following nominations:
Linda Ravenelle, French
Experience: 32 years Recommendation: M, Step 14 Salary: $8,616.00
Ms. Ravenelle is currently a paraprofessional at the Middle School.
Kevin Leonard Life Skills, New Position
Experience: 30 years Recommendation: M, Step 14 Salary: to be paid per diem based on $56,008
Mr. Leonard is retiring from
Deborah White Special Education (replaces Coutu)
Experience: 11 years Recommendation: M+30, Step 12 Salary: $54,435.00
Ms. White will be replacing Ms. Coutu, who will be taking over the English position vacated by Ms. Corliss.
Gina Bergshaug Chemistry (4.5 classes) New position
Experience: 7 years Recommendation: M+15, Step 8 Salary: $39,946.00
Very qualified candidate. She will be teaching 5 sections one semester, and 4 sections the next semester.
Kathleen Kirby Social Studies (replaces Cannon)
Experience: 1 year Recommendations: M+30, Step 2 Salary: $39,921.00
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he was very impressed with this candidate.
Ann Melim English, New Position
Experience: 6 years Recommendations: M, Step 7 Salary: $44,631.00
Mr. Flahive informed the Board that he had one more position to be filled, which is Social Studies for the AP class.
Mr. Enright asked if Ms. Blastos had done a budget analysis in regards to where the District was with the proposed budget vs. the new hires. Ms. Blastos responded that this was the first time that she had heard about such a request, and therefore had nothing prepared.
Supt. DeBenedictis felt that they had the funding to hire the nominated candidates, pointing out that they have hired many new “entry-level” candidates.
Ms. Goyette stated that she had one position left to hire. She added that two of the candidates that have been hired are approximately $9,000 below what had been budgeted.
Mr. Flahive felt that they were ahead in regards to the salary budget because of the long-term retirees.
Mr. Murphy felt that such an analysis would be important in the future.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept all recommendations presented. Jim Murphy seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 0. (Enright out of the room.)
A copy of the letter and recommendation list is available.
4. TRACK EQUIPMENT
Chair. Kirby recognized Joyce O’Connor from the Hollis Brookline Booster Club.
Ms. O’Connor stated that she was present that night to talk about the storage building for the track. She then introduced Dick Lasalle, volunteer architect, and Debbie Reed.
Ms. O’Connor stated that the original plans were for a 24’ x 52’ storage facility. She then presented drawings and site plans for the facility. It was felt that this would be large enough to store all the equipment, and would give the athletes a place to get off the field when needed. Ms. O’Connor reported that they had walked the site, and they were well within 100’ of the wetlands. She stated that the Club still needed to meet with the Historic District Committee. She added that they have a lot of volunteers to build the building, and that the goal was to keep it looking like a barn. She stated that they had been in contact with Hutter Construction, who has agreed to advise them.
Mr. Lasalle stated that he had contacted Dream Barns and asked for their help. Ms. O’Connor added that Fimbel Door will be donating doors for them. She added that Keith Adamyk will be the foreman.
Mr. Lasalle stated that the initial program was for the 24’ x 52’ facility, but they have now shrunk it to 24’ x 40’ due to lack of funding. However, if they get donations, such as the doors, and can get more money in, they will go back to the original 24’ x 52’ plan.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that the Club needed to check with the Building Inspector. Mr. Lasalle responded that he had met with him that morning.
Ms. Reed added that the facility would also contain a snack bar area, and stated that over 600 hotdogs and hamburgers had been sold during the State track meet.
Ms. Blastos pointed out that even though the facility would be built by volunteers, they would need to get her a Certificate of Insurance. Ms. O’Connor stated that she would look into it.
Ms. Blastos asked if the new facility would replace the temporary sheds. Ms. O’Connor responded that it would.
Mr. Enright moved that the Board authorize the Hollis Brookline Booster Club to proceed with design and permitting of a storage shed at the track, coordinating with Ms. Blastos, and once permitted, notify the School Board prior to construction. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Rupp, High School Athletic Director, addressed the Board stating that he had talked a lot with Mr. Enright regarding the track facility. He stated that they would like to request use of the field inside the track for home football games this fall. He stated that they have goal posts being donated, and have scheduled maintenance to put them in.
Mr. Simons asked who was donating the goal posts. Mr. Rupp stated it was a gentleman who worked at Edgecomb Steel.
Mr. Peterson asked what would happen with the other field. Mr. Rupp responded that it would be used as a practice field and for JV home games.
Mr. Rupp stated that he also needed to ask about the area above the track where the discus is located. He stated that it was a good area, but not level. He informed the Board that Mr. Jennings was willing to level it at no cost, then this could become a practice field.
Ms. Blastos stated that if Mr. Jennings brings heavy equipment onto the property, she will need to get a Certificate of Insurance.
Mr. Peterson stated that if the inner field of the track becomes the football game field, it will probably need other things, such as a tower for video, scoreboard, bleaches, etc. Mr. Rupp agreed that they would need more bleachers; a real set that would seat 300-400 people, which would include a press box.
Mr. Murphy suggested that a master plan be put together as to where the track should be with the additional supporting items, and have time frames.
Mr. Enright pointed out that when they went to the Planning Board originally to get approval for the track, the following commitments were made:
1. No lighting.
2. The only facility would be a storage shed.
3. Electricity for timing – is already there.
4. Fencing – is completed.
Mr. Rupp stated that they were looking into a portable scoreboard for next year. He added that it wasn’t too big, and could be used at other fields. This would be a short-term solution.
6. No permanent restrooms would be put on the facility, as septic and water would be needed.
Mr. Peterson asked if the smaller size of the storage facility included storage of all the football equipment. Mr. Rupp responded that he and Mike Cullinan had talked about the size of the storage facility, and because of football, they felt they needed the 24’ x 52’ size. However, Mr. Rupp stated that they were not greedy, and that they would take the 24’ x 40’ shed and make it work. Mr. Enright pointed out that some portable equipment, such as hurdles, could be stored at the High School.
Ms. Blastos stated that in regards to the field maintenance budget, they are significantly running over, and therefore, she felt they needed to set up a field maintenance department budget, instead of having just the one line item, that way they can better track how the money is being spent.
Mr. Peterson asked if the maintenance department felt that the turf inside the track was mature enough to have football games on it. He felt that perhaps Mr. Dutton (lawn maintenance) could give them that information. Mr. Murphy added that the field might be able to handle the games now, but wondered if it could handle sustained use. Mr. Enright responded that it had been 2 years since the field inside the track had been seeded. He added that they used a strong grass seed, and pointed out that they would only be playing 5 games per season on the field.
Mr. Peterson asked if re-leveling of the discus area would mean reseeding. Mr. Rupp responded that it would.
Mr. Enright moved that the Board authorize the Athletic Department, in concert with Ms. Blastos, to accept the donation of the goal posts, erect the goal posts, and use the field inside the track for home football games only. Dan Peterson seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Kirby stated that the Board would like to get the name and address of the person donating the goal posts so a thank you note could be sent.
Mr. Simons moved that the Board accept the donation of Jennings Excavation to level the field above the track, working in concert with Ms. Blastos. Anne Dumas seconded.
Mr. Peterson pointed out that someone would have to reseed the area. Ms. Blastos stated that if no one comes forward and volunteers to do it, the District could do it through field maintenance. Mr. Enright pointed out that half of the field is seeded already for the discus area. He added that they would only be expanding the area.
Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Murphy asked that the names and addresses of both donors be given to the Board so thank you notes could be sent. Mr. Rupp will get the names to the Board.
5. PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS
Ms. Goyette reported that as of Monday, placements for next year will be complete.
Ms. Goyette reminded the Board about the changes to the math program. She stated that she felt everything was now settled. She reported that 24 students will be taking Algebra.
Ms. Goyette stated that Rick Melillo had been working with Mr. Ouellette to improve the 8th to 9th grade transition. She stated that a team from the High School had come down to the Middle School six times to meet with the Advisory Groups. She added that Mr. Melillo had created a guide for the students. She stated that it cost a small fortune to get it printed, but she felt it was worth it, and was pleased with the way it turned out. She added that Kelly had asked if she should do such a guide, and Ms. Goyette told Kelly they had done it, and that Kelly could have the disk and be the owner of if.
Ms. Goyette reported that Mr. DePine, who will be full-time next year, had, on his own time, put together a jazz band that had been practicing twice a week for the last six months. The band is really good, and they have been trying to find times for them to play. The band will be playing at the beginning of the final Awards Assembly.
Ms. Goyette stated that she wanted to publicly compliment her staff for their professionalism in carrying out their duties during the construction of the new addition. She pointed out that there have been times when the water was turned off, not to mention the noise, smells, etc. She added that they have worked through managing the traffic flow. She stated that they have run a lot of tours in the new addition, and everyone is excited about it. She stated that the multi-purpose room is extraordinary.
Ms. Goyette informed the Board that they will be packed and moved into the trailers as of June 23rd. The first trailer has been delivered and is filled with the library. The second trailer will arrive shortly, and it will be filled with technology equipment.
Ms. Goyette stated that the Secretary will be in Portable #1. Kimberly and she will be in Portable #2. Summer school will be held in Portable #6. She added that the staff has done a good job in packing.
Goyette reported that only four teachers will be temporarily relocated in the
fall. Only the downstairs of the
The parents have put together the 8th grade celebration, which will be held on Friday. They are going to have a Mississippi Boat theme, with a Dixieland Band, and all the fixin’s.
Ms. Hall asked about plans for the transition of the 6th graders. Ms. Goyette responded that they started on the plans in January. The students have been up to the building, they have had a parent’s night, math nights, and class assignments are done.
Mr. Murphy asked how many students were in summer school. Ms. Goyette explained that it was an extended school for Special Education students so they won’t lose skills over the summer.
Mr. Flahive reported that Graduation will be on Saturday at There will be 176 graduating. The PTSA is putting on the Boston Harbor Cruise trip that evening. Mr. Flahive stated that by having the graduation earlier, they hoped to give students some time to spend with their families.
The Senior Breakfast will be tomorrow, and the students will get their yearbooks.
Mr. Peterson asked when they would commit to having the graduation ceremonies inside or outside. Mr. Flahive responded that they would make the decision 2 hours prior to graduation. He added that they would have everything set up in the gym, as well as outside. He pointed out that holding it in the gym limits the number of people, and guests would have to have tickets.
Mr. Flahive reported that the dedication of Nick Jennings’ tree and bench will be tomorrow. It stated that the tree is in, and it is a beautiful sugar maple. The footings for the bench are also in, and the bench will be delivered tomorrow. Rev. Terry will be there to say a few words.
Make-up day for exams is Wednesday.
Mr. Flahive reported that the senior class went on their trip last week. He then asked Bill Cudney to give a report.
Mr. Cudney stated that he had signed up to be a chaperone for next year. He reported that the trip was awesome. The crew was professional and all guides were experienced. He added that he really hoped that next year’s senior class would do the same trip, as he really wanted to chaperone.
Mr. Flahive stated that they should thank Ms. Blastos, Supt. DeBenedictis, and Nancy Orde for transportation arrangements. He pointed out that all year long the buses take the students to many places, and they always seem to work it out.
Mr. Simons stated that the students were great on the trip, and that there was not one problem. Mr. Flahive added that the same held true for the senior class trip the year before when they went to the Seacrest.
Flahive reported that in regards to the
Mr. Flahive stated that they have many retirees this year (and have had many retirement parties), including Ginny Grady.
Mr. Flahive reported that they have a much better inventory process, thus things are going well in that department. He added that the teachers should have their master schedule on Friday.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that he wanted to publicly acknowledge the work Mr. Flahive had done for the Coop over the past 3 years. He explained how Mr. Flahive had stepped into some big shoes, and on short notice.
Mr. Flahive responded that it had been a good 3 years, and he felt that he was leaving the school in good shape. He then complimented the Board, stated that he had worked with many school boards in the past, and found this Board great to work with. He added that he will have a “State of the School” report prepared before he leaves. He also added that he would be available for consulting.
Mr. Murphy asked if of the 176 students graduating, if there were any not making it. Mr. Flahive responded that there were two students that may not graduate, and two students on the fence, depending on their exams.
Mr. Murphy asked what happens to those students? Mr. Flahive responded that Special Education students are at the school until they turn 21 or get their diploma. He then explained that there is a 5-year course for others, but he did not feel that that was always the best solution, as quite often the student only has one or two courses left, and this means they have a lot of free time on their hands during the school day. He felt it was better if, for instance, a student who lacked an English credit take a course at the local community college, or if it was a Physical Education credit they lacked, that they develop a program and complete it at one of the local gyms.
6. BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Ms. Blastos distributed her report. She explained that this was the time of year that the expense report is as complete as it can be made as of that day. She stated that a final check run would take place next Tuesday. She pointed out that there were benefits and stipends, as well as salaries to come out of that run.
Ms. Blastos reported that the District will have less than $100,000 remaining in the budget. That money is due to IDEA, but they can’t spend it.
Ms. Blastos stated that the Board had directed that if there were funds left over, she was to look at textbooks. $21,000 has been taken out for High School textbooks, and $16,000 for Middle School textbooks.
Ms. Blastos informed the Board that this was the first time that she had ever seen a memo from the Department of Revenue Administration, which reminded districts that “ spending” was not allowed. In other words, a district can’t spend the money because they have it left over. She added that the State is really coming down on that. She explained that money could only be spent if it was a safety issue, or an enrollment issue.
Ms. Blastos reported that in regards to the Middle School budget, there currently is a shortfall due to salaries. In regards to the High School budget, she stated that there was a critical need to be careful and watch the field maintenance. She stated again, that there was a need to set up a budget for field maintenance, instead of having just a simple line item, so they can better monitor how the money is being spent, and how they can better take care of them in the future.
Ms. Blastos reported that in regards to heat, lights, and power, they are not budgeting to the need of what they are actually using. She felt that the Board needed to know this. She pointed out that electricity was becoming a huge expense because the building is being used so much after school hours. She added that she will make a list of the items she feels the Board needs to look at and give more attention to.
Ms. Blastos reported that the original bond was for $7,980,000.00
They have earned in interest $102,998.51
For a total revenue of $8,082,998.51
Expenditure and Encumbrance Total is ($7,685,001.42)
For a Fund Balance of $397,997.09
Ms. Blastos stated that she was pleased with the amount remaining. She pointed out that they have taken great care in awarding contracts and sub-contracts.
Supt. DeBenedictis asked Ms. Blastos how long the account could be kept open. She responded that the account can be left open for 2 years once it is closed in September.
Mr. Simons questioned why there was a $17,000 shortfall in the Middle School Health budget (Function 1107). Ms. Blastos responded that they had brought in an individual, therefore the $17,000.
Mr. Murphy asked about the $12,000 for advertising in the 2310 – School Board account in the District-wide budget. Ms. Blastos explained that this was advertising for all the teaching positions, as well as for the superintendent’s position. She added that advertising in the Boston Globe is very expensive.
Mr. Murphy asked about District-wide Function 2210 – Improvement of Instruction Services. Ms. Blastos responded that they had contracted Sue Auerbach’s services.
Mr. Enright asked about fuel oil, pointing out that they knew it would be a problem. He wondered how much Ms. Blastos had increased the account. Ms. Blastos responded that she didn’t increase the account. She added that she used the history of last year and got a guarantee of $1.19 per gallon from their supplier. Mr. Enright felt that they will be running a big deficit in oil next year.
Ms. Hall asked who signs the manifests now. Ms. Blastos responded that she needed a vote from the Board for two people to sign the manifest, and one alternate. Currently, it is Ms. Hall, Mr. Enright, and Mr. Simons.
Mr. Flahive stated that he had neglected to say how much Ms. Blastos has done. He added that her budgets are the clearest and easiest budget to read that he has ever seen. He also gave a thank you to Ms. Mace for all the work she has done.
Ms. Blastos reported that the SAU District has a mowing contract with Bill Dutton. She stated that Mr. Dutton had brought to her attention that since they had signed the contract that the fence had been put around the track, and the discus area had been added. He stated that this posed more of a challenge to maintain. Ms. Blastos explained that the SAU-wide contract was for $33,000, with the Coop’s portion totaling $19,710.00. She stated that Mr. Dutton was asking for an additional $8,640 for the period of May ’05 to October ’05, and an additional $10,080 for the period of April ’06 to October ’06. This is calculated as one position at $45/hr. x 8 hrs./day = $360 x 28 mows.
Ms. Blastos stated that she has had many discussions with Mr. Dutton regarding this issue. The additional $10,000 is a 75%-80% increase. She added that she told Mr. Dutton she would have to go to the Board, and that she knew the Board was not going to be pleased. Ms. Blastos stated that she was now asking for some direction from the Board.
Ms. Dumas asked if the additional amount of money was because they would now need to use a weed whacker around the fence. Ms. Blastos responded that it was. Ms. Dumas asked if they could go back out to bid? Ms. Blastos responded that they couldn’t because they had already awarded the contract to Mr. Dutton. She added that she did feel that Mr. Dutton should get some additional fees; she just felt that he was asking too much.
Mr. Enright suggested that the number of mows be reduced to 14 mows. He felt that it should look good for track meets, but in the summer months, they could just mow once a month. He pointed out that it was simply and aesthetic issue. He also suggested that they didn’t need to trim around the fence every time they mowed, that perhaps they could trim every third mow.
Mr. Peterson asked what the 28 mows represented. Ms. Blastos responded that that covered from April – October. Mr. Enright added that because of field usage in the spring, they sometimes needed to mow twice a week.
Ms. Hall asked when would the contract with the addendum expire, and if it would be possible to keep a record so they would have better information as to what was needed when they go to negotiate a new contract. Ms. Blastos responded that the contract with the addendum covered from May – October ’05 and from April – October ’06. It was a two-year contract. She added that the original bid was very favorable, as quotes from other contractors ranged from $35,000 to $75,000 for one year.
Mr. Peterson asked if there were limitations to the District in using other labor. Ms. Blastos stated that she wouldn’t advise doing that. She felt going back and stating that they wanted to reduce the number of mows to 14 was reasonable, pointing out that the District had put up a fence and bleachers since the contract was signed.
Mr. Peterson pointed out that the bleachers existed at a different field that they simply had been moved to the track site; therefore, shouldn’t mean additional time. Mr. Simons stated that the smaller bleacher may have been on gravel, not grass. Mr. Peterson felt that trimming around the fence one time per month was adequate, which would mean 6 trims. He added that they would have had to mow that area, but now it was a walk around with a smaller mower rather than a rider mower. He felt the amount of additional money should be incremental, not $45.00 per hour.
Ms. Blastos stated that she would go back to Mr. Dutton with the Board’s suggestions and wishes.
Ms. Blastos reported that she had received a letter from Equipment Environments protesting the awarding of the bid to another company. She stated that Barry Kaplan was disappointed that the bid went to a company that was some $30,000 higher. She added that she was merely bringing this to the Board’s attention as a matter of record.
Ms. Blastos stated that they had already awarded the bid and ordered the furniture. She pointed out that they had a specific RFP, and it was felt that Criteria met the RFP, and therefore was awarded the bid.
Ms. Blastos informed
the Board that there was a need to look at the Food Service department in the
Ms. Blastos stated that State Law allows for a district to carry the fund balance for three months. Currently, Hollis has $30,000 and the Coop has $70,000 in their fund balances. She stated that she would be looking at staffing and how to reorganize to make Food Service more effective.
added that they had increased the hours of two people. Ms. Blastos confirmed that they had increased
the hours of one person at the Middle School and one person at the High School. She added that they had also increased the
hours of one person in the
Mr. Simons asked if this was implying that there would be a break-up, that Ms. O’Donnell would no longer be the manager for both districts. Ms. Blastos responded that she wasn’t sure at this point in time. Mr. Simons asked if the Middle School needs were unknown at this time. Ms. Blastos concurred.
Ms. Hall asked if Anita Moynihan’s concerns about nutrition were being addressed. Ms. Blastos responded that they had been talking with the Hollis School Board about nutrition, and what was changed at Hollis has also been changed at the Coop. They have already started introducing less fat content items, buying baked chips instead of fried, and having better snacks in the machines. She added that the schools fall under the National School Lunch Program, and therefore must go by the food pyramid.
Ms. Blastos informed the Board that Ms. O’Donnell would come and do a food presentation if the Board so desired.
Supt. DeBenedictis pointed out that the District was audited by the Department of Food and Nutrition, and they have always had very successful reports. He added that Ms. O’Donnell had gone through training, and was very knowledgeable on everything.
Ms. Dumas asked about the pricing of the meals. Ms. Blastos responded that the meal price had not been raised throughout the entire SAU for 10 years. She added that she had done a survey of surrounding districts, and she felt it was time to look at the price of the meals.
Mr. Murphy stated that as they are looking at the food service department, he would be interested in input on facility issues, that is, the physical plant, such as long lunch lines, seating, etc. Ms. Blastos stated that she would have Ms. O’Donnell come in in September to give a report. Ms. Dumas asked if for September there could be a change in serving lines to better accommodate the students. Mr. Flahive stated that they had opened up a third line for drinks and chips only. He added that as the school gets larger, they will need to look at this issue. He stated that the third line helps, but it issue still needs work.
Ms. Blastos reminded the Board that at the March School District Meeting, a warrant article had been passed to appropriate $13,357 for a softball field. This money is to come from the Athletic Fee account.
Ms. Blastos reported that she had gotten the following quotes for the work needed:
Site work (Hollis Construction) $11,000.00
8” of clay mix, labor and materials (Bill Dutton Landscaping) $9,000.00
Backstop and sideline fence behind High School (Gate City Fence) $6,950.00
Ms. Blastos pointed out that an additional $13,593 is needed to complete the field. She reported that there is approximately $18,000 from gate receipts. She suggested that they take the additional $13,593 needed from the gate receipts.
Ms. Blastos informed the Board that they would need to waive Policy DJC regarding bidding on jobs over $4,000.
Mr. Enright pointed out that the warrant article has already been approve, and Ms. Blastos can use the gate receipt money, as it is for athletics, so the Board merely needed to vote to waive the bidding policy.
Ms. Hall stated that when the Board walked the field, they had made a commitment to look at the whole picture. She noted that they have a parking problem. She thought that the Board was committed to look at the whole picture before going ahead with the field.
Ms. Dumas asked if the money voted on in March on the warrant article was to come from Student Athletic Fees. Ms. Blastos stated that it was. Ms. Dumas agreed with Ms. Hall. She felt that they needed a bigger plan and more parking. She stated that she didn’t know that the softball field could go on independently.
Mr. Enright stated that it was his understanding that the Board did agree to having a bigger plan, but he didn’t know it was connected to the softball field project. He agreed that there was a need for a larger plan, but he felt they should go forward with the softball field.
Mr. Murphy felt that they should get a more formal master plan, and look at what they wanted to do within the whole campus, one year, two years, or five years from now.
Ms. Blastos stated that she had a hard time to get people to quote on this project. Mr. Enright added that Gate City Fence, who did the track, quoted this project at the same time. As for the site work, the original quote came back at $18,000. When Mr. Enright informed Hollis Construction that they only had $11,000, they took some of the scope of the work out. He felt that if they put this project out to bid, the numbers would come in significantly higher.
Mr. Murphy asked what the mowing implications would be. Mr. Enright felt that Mr. Dutton’s bill should go down as there would be the backstop and one fence, and the infield will be dirt.
Ms. Hall stated that she had a concern that there may not be enough parking and that was why she felt it was important to do master planning before committing to a softball field. Mr. Enright wondered how the softball field would impact the ability to expand parking. Ms. Dumas responded that that was why they needed a 5-year plan. She felt they should have a list of things that needed to be done. Mr. Enright pointed out that the funds being used for the softball field were athletic funds and could not be used for parking. Mr. Murphy stated that it was a timing issue. Ms. Dumas stated that she was not saying the funds should be used for another project, and added that she supported the field.
Mr. Peterson stated that he saw a lot of activity going on without bids. He felt they should be careful when they decide not to bid. He also felt it was important to have a plan as Ms. Dumas and Mr. Murphy had stated. He stated that with a master plan it may show that it makes sense to put the softball field somewhere else.
Mr. Enright stated that the Board walked over every piece of the school property, and had discussed plans, but didn’t have a physical plan, as that would cost money. He stated that they talked about tennis courts, what could be done and couldn’t be done out back, as well as set backs that would be needed down front. They just never put it down on paper.
Mr. Murphy stated that there was a continuum between walked the property, talked about it, and will cost money to put on paper. He felt that putting it on paper didn’t need to be very expensive.
Supt. DeBenedictis pointed out that the District had a warrant article appropriating a sum of $13,000. He wondered how long the District had before they needed to spend the money, or it would have to be returned. Ms. Blastos responded that she didn’t know, but would find out. Supt. DeBenedictis pointed out that if the money is not spent by the end of the fiscal year (June 30), it may have to go back to the general fund. Ms. Blastos stated that the money was coming from the Athletic Fund, not from tax money, but added there were parameters on the fund, in that money removed must be voted on by warrant article. She stated that she needed to check with the State.
Mr. Simons stated that the softball field would not affect parking, as the field wouldn’t be used when the parking lot is full (during the day).
Steve Simons moved that the Board waive Bid Policy DJC in regards to the softball field. Tom Enright seconded.
Mr. Peterson asked what would happen if they didn’t waive the bid policy. Ms. Blastos responded that it would take another month to six weeks to get quotes. She pointed out that they would first have to develop RFPs, then advertise, do a walk-around, review the bids, then finally award the bids.
Ms. Dumas stated that they had been discussing changing the bid policy. She asked what that was. Ms. Blastos stated that the bid policy currently states that any work required that is over $4,000 has to go out to bid. She added that they are looking to change that amount to $25,000.
Ms. Hall stated that she was going to vote against the motion, as she wanted to wait until there was a master plan.
Mr. Murphy stated that he was opposed to waiving the bid policy. Mr. Simons responded that they were already discussing changing the bid policy from $4,000 to $25,000, so they would be well within those parameters, as it would be three different bids.
Ms. Dumas asked what happens with the site work. Do they spend up to $11,000 then step away from it if costs more. She stated that she was not opposed to it going to bid.
Motion carried. 4 – 3 – 0 . (Peterson, Hall, Murphy against.)
Ms. Blastos stated that Mr. Peterson had made a comment regarding there being a lot of waiving Policy DJC. She asked what bids he was talking about. Mr. Murphy stated that they had waived the policy last week in regards to technology, and they had waived it for the mowing contract.
Mr. Peterson stated that he was not questioning the legitimacy of waiving the policy, he just felt they should take care when they do it.
Mr. Peterson stated that he was concerned about emergency access to the softball field if they do move forward with the project. Mr. Enright stated that they were going to try to get an emergency access road up there, but added it would cost more money. He added that they can get a vehicle up there even now.
Ms. Hall asked about getting permits for this project. Mr. Enright responded that they didn’t need any permits to move their own earth. He stated there are no excavation permits.
Mr. Peterson asked how the Board goes about getting a master plan. Chair. Kirby stated that they should first start with a workshop.
Copies of the reports are available.
7. SPECIAL EDUCATION
Mr. Kelly introduced Jeannie Hayes, Building Coordinator for grades 7 – 12. He then distributed a handout regarding the Coop and the Law. He explained that these laws go out in public notifications. He stated that they had been upgraded since a year ago and that the next version would be going into the ‘05-‘06 publications.
Mr. Kelly quickly reviewed the following:
· Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Child Find Notice: Children with Disabilities Under IDEA or
Section 504 and the
· Statute of Limitations
· Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
· Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
· Section 504/Title II Grievance Procedure
Procedural Safeguards Under Section 504 and the
· Nondiscrimination and Notification of Grievance Procedures
· Child Neglect and Abuse
Mr. Kelly then stated that the above get published in the student handbook, annually in the newspapers, to home school families, resident addresses of students who dropped out of school (until the student is 21 years of age), and private school of out-of-district students.
Mr. Kelly then reviewed the following student data:
Total Student Body as of September 2004 1273
IDEA students grades 7 – 12 144 (11.3%)
Section 504 grades 7 – 12 70
Referrals In-Process 9
Subtotal 223 Students
Mr. Kelly stated that there are several meetings required for each student, such as referral, pre-evaluation, evaluation, IEP development, and placement.
Mr. Kelly stated that he has been working with Ms. Goyette and Ms. Hayes to try to alleviate some of this from the Special Education staff so they can spend more time on service delivery.
Mr. Peterson asked if there was any technology
(software) that would support this. Mr.
Kelly responded that there are some “canned” programs for writing IEPs where
you take out items not needed for the individual student, but he felt these
were not successful. Mr. Peterson stated
that he was talking more about some kind of automative process to make sure the
Ms. Hall asked if there were ways to help the regular classroom teacher to coordinate with the Special Education teacher. Mr. Kelly responded that one of the most difficult things in coordinating between the two is the student’s assignment. He pointed out that email has helped this out greatly. He added that having the Special Education teacher pre-teach a key concept helps the student greatly when it is taught in the classroom.
Ms. Hall asked how the
Mr. Kelly informed the Board that all Special Education personnel has been retained. He added that they have added a Life Skills program at the Middle School and have expanded the program at the High School.
Mr. Kelly stated that due to a recent analysis done in the spring, there may be a need for a remedial reading teacher for a few students. He added that he wasn’t sure yet.
Ms. Hayes stated that they had hired a Life Skill teach with lots of experience for the Middle School. The teacher will also serve as a mentor for the High School. She stated that there are 6 High School students and 2 Middle School students for a total of 8 students needing Life Skills.
Ms. Hayes explained that Life Skills covers skills such as living skills, independent skills, putting together a grocery list, going grocery shopping, cooking a meal, cleaning up afterwards, personal hygiene, use of the phone, etc.
Ms. Hayes reported that some students are
participating in the vocational programs at surrounding schools, such as the
building trade school in
Ms. Hayes reported that they have done many field trips this year, such as to the grocery store, bowling (totaling the score), lunches out (figuring out the tip and tax), Fisher Cats game, etc.
Ms. Hayes stated that some of the students have inter-school jobs, such as delivering the mail and sorting mail.
Mr. Kelly stated that for Special Education students with such profiles, they need to develop transition plans, that is, what the student will do post high school. He added that they need to start working on it right away.
Mr. Enright asked what they were doing before the
Life Skills program. Mr. Kelly responded
that the students were supported by a 0.6
Mr. Murphy asked what the point in time was when a traditional curriculum is no longer meeting the student’s needs and they need to go to Life Skills. He also asked if these students get a diploma, and how does one know when they are done and have met their goals. Mr. Kelly responded that they do get diplomas. He added that modifications can be made to a student’s IEP, but there must be full agreement of team members and parents. Thus, the student receives his credits.
Mr. Kelly felt that it wasn’t advisable to have alternate diplomas. It is in agreement with all concerned that “this is what so-and-so will do to get his math credit.”
Mr. Peterson stated that some students have disability in some areas, but great skills in other areas. He asked how that was addressed. Mr. Kelly stated that every student’s IEP is based on the least restrictive program. They always look at what areas a student gets the most out of, be it band, or chorus, or art. He added that they were out of the dark ages of self-contained classrooms. They now get the students out into the mainstream of the school to maximize their time with the regular curriculum. This also includes extra-curricular activities.
Ms. Dumas asked what preparation the regular classroom teacher gets when they are getting a Special Education student in their classroom. She added that it can be a big stretch for some teachers, so she wondered what training they get. Mr. Kelly responded that Middle School and High School are different. He stated that team teaching is the most conducive for Special Education students because there is a caseworker with students all day. Prep time is a collaborative effort, so the Special Education teacher knows what to pre-teach. Mr. Kelly added that this can’t be done at the High School. The vast majority of directed study is done in study halls, in Special Education rooms. Mr. Kelly stated that every teacher a student has gets a copy of the student’s IEP. He added that the Special Education staff also talk with the teachers.
Ms. Goyette stated that she relies on the caseworkers. She added that in August they will be holding two workshop days in which ½ day will be spent on Special Education. She added that at the Middle School, each caseworker gives a “snapshot” of each student, which includes a picture of the student, and what the modifications are. She added that teachers will come to her and ask for training on such things as ADD. She then will schedule a staff development workshop.
Mr. Flahive stated that at the High School, every teacher who has an IEP student must read and sign the IEP. He added that three administrators and the case manager decide the best place for the student.
Ms. Hayes stated that PPT (pupil personnel team) meetings are held weekly between the case manager and the teachers.
Chair. Kirby asked if there was any training on how to read an IEP. Mr. Kelly responded that they have had some, and they will try to get some workshops in. He added that they try to do an abbreviated page of what the student’s IEP is, instead of having the teacher read through 21 pages.
Mr. Peterson stated that Special Education is complex and controversial. He felt that they should establish metrics so they can communicate to parents and the community what is expected. Ms. Goyette responded that every IEP is individualized, so expectations are different, and the measurements are different. Mr. Peterson asked how they measure to assure the success of progress.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that Special Education is not a curriculum, but rather it is a process, and the District must follow the process to the letter of the law. Every IEP incorporates a curriculum and measurements.
Mr. Peterson stated that if they just have an IEP and follow it, but it is not successful and the student is not making process, and parents are not happy, then the District is not meeting goals.
Mr. Murphy felt that Special Education was controversial because it is mandated and it is expensive. Supt. DeBenedictis stated that the largest degree of individuals with angst is parents because they have to advocate for their student. He added that the District follows FAE – free and appropriate education. He stated that some parents are anxious because they feel their child’s needs would best be met by out-of-district placement. He stated that the District then has to show that the student’s needs would be best met by mainstreaming with additional services.
Mr. Peterson stated that he was pleased that the District has an infrastructure. He challenged the team to see if there was some way to articulate back to the Board their success. Mr. Enright felt that Mr. Peterson’s request would be answered when the Board entered non-public to find out what was going on in the more complicated cases.
Mr. Kelly stated that Special Education is complicated by definition of emotions. He stated that they had a case where every one of the team members was concerned about the child’s placement and progress. It took a lot of emotions to get through before the student was placed out-of-district. The student is now doing much better.
Mr. Kelly pointed out that legal procedures require mutual agreement of all parties. He added that the IEP does not just state what’s going to be done, but how it will be tested. He added that the IEP is looked at every three years at a minimum.
Supt. DeBenedictis stated that 10 years ago, 5% of the Special Education students were out-of-district placements. Mr. Kelly added that they currently have only 5 out-of-district placements, with two others attending Westford. Supt. DeBenedictis added that students are being better served today. He stated that some nearby school districts have 35 out-of-district placements and it costs them a lot of money.
Mr. Peterson stated that he didn’t see that as a metric of goodness. Supt. DeBenedictis felt it was a metric of goodness. Mainstreaming gives the student a sense of belonging to a peer group.
Ms. Hall pointed out that for one family, happiness is having their child mainstreamed in every classroom. For another family, happiness is Life Skills, and teaching their child how to tie their shoes and handle money.
Steve Simons moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) reputation. Tom Enright seconded. A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in the affirmative. 6 - 1 - 0. (Hall against.)
The Board entered non-public session at