HOLLIS SCHOOL BOARD

 

FEBRUARY 11, 2009

 

MEETING MINUTES

 

A regular meeting of the Hollis School Board was held on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 5:12 p.m. in the Community Room of Hollis Town Hall. 

 

Chairman Bill Beauregard presided:

 

Members of the Board Present:         Jim McCann, Vice Chair

Alison Haytayan, Board Secretary

Susan Benz

Maura Loftus

 

Members of the Board Absent:          

                                               

Also in Attendance:                             Susan Hodgdon, SAU41 Superintendent

Elizabeth Allen, Principal, HPS

Candice Fowler, Principal, HUES

Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator

Carol Mace, Dir. of Curriculum

 

 

AGENDA ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS

 

Ms. Loftus requested acceptance of the meeting minutes of January 14, 2009 be added to the agenda.

 

PUBLIC INPUT – None

 

APPROVAL OF SCHOOL BOARD MINUTES

                               

Hollis School Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 14, 2009

 

Mr. McCann made note of a typographical error in the motion to approve the requested leave of absence for Nichole Callier in that the motion was listed as being both made and seconded by member Benz.  The minutes should reflect the motion as being seconded by member McCann.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER MCCANN TO APPROVE AS AMENDED

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

Chairman Beauregard stated the meeting minutes of the non-public session conducted on January 14, 2009 would be tabled until such time as all board members are in receipt of the draft meetings for review.

 


CORRESPONDENCE

 

Chairman Beauregard informed the board and the public the start time of the annual meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. 

 

Chairman Beauregard brought to the board’s attention receipt of a communication from Linda Casazza requesting the board consider asking the unions to consider a wage freeze.  As a courtesy, he forwarded the communication to the presidents of both HEA and HESSA, and has received acknowledgment of receipt from both union presidents. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon remarked, due to the timing of the receipt of the communication, it did not appear on the agenda for a recent meeting with the Executive Board of HEA for Hollis and the COOP.  Also stated she has not had any contact from either association indicating they would like to enter into discussion.  Added a similar request has been made in Brookline

 

Informed the board of potential impact on the town meeting date as there is a process to be followed to hold discussions, open contracts, etc.  Again, reiterated she has not had any written response saying they are interested in sitting down to have that kind of discussion.  Reiterated to have such discussions and move forward to get the matter scheduled and ready for deliberation at the town meeting would be a very difficult task given the timeframe available.


Chairman Beauregard cited the response he received from David Olszewski that he appreciated all of the hard work the board has done to come in under last year’s budget, and is hopeful the community will be supportive of the Warrant Article for the second year of the contract.

 

Mr. McCann remarked the contracts are bilateral, and would have to be agreed to by both parties.  Understands the desire to save taxes, however, believes the issue would be the first one raised when negotiations resume next October as the unions would likely seek to be made whole.  Cited a similar instance that has occurred in the City of Nashua. 

 

Ms. Benz commented the risk always exists that the Warrant Article could be voted down at town meeting.  Ms. Haytayan cited the need for the public to be informed of the impact that could have in the following years’ budgets. 

 

Mr. McCann commented on his belief the only time it makes sense to re-open negotiations is if you are forced to make job cuts, and as an alternative you could have people take a zero percent increase to maintain positions. 

 

Chairman Beauregard touched on the board’s requirement to make a good faith effort to secure the funding necessary to implement contracts.   Contract language does address the instance of the Warrant Article being voted down (Article 2.4 in the HESSA contract, and Section 2.5 in the HEA contract), and would require negotiations to re-open according to RSA:273-A. 

 

Stated his belief the agreements with the unions are moderate and reasonable.  The average salary in the teachers’ contract is around $47,000 with an average increase of about $1,500 (approx. 3.3% with over half having a 2.5% increase). 

 

Ms. Casazza addressed the board stating her letter was meant as an advisory one to bring to the board’s attention that people in town are experiencing the same economic difficulties as the rest of the country.  It was not meant to be a reflection on the talented staff in the schools, but strictly resulting from current economic times.  Reiterated negotiations would be re-opened if the Warrant Article were to be voted down at town meeting.  Although the contracts were negotiated in good faith, they were negotiation prior to the current economic situation.

 

Suggested it may be better to freeze salaries for this year and extend the contract by a year.  By extending the contract by one year, individuals would simply be asked to take a zero percent increase for one year and then resume status quo.

 

Chairman Beauregard informed the board of the Budget Committee’s positive recommendation of the town budget, which is inclusive of a 1% increase for all non-union and executive staff.  Commented the situation is different in that union employees are not employees at will.  Ms. Benz questioned whether contracts could be re-opened for the purpose of freezing salaries.  Chairman Beauregard responded a sidebar agreement would have to be reached by both parties.  Added sidebar agreements are typically not one sided. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon commented she has spoken with Phil Pratt who is collecting budgeting information for the Statewide Association with regard to frozen wages, positions lost, etc. for use in their efforts to lobby for additional bailout funding for education. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board she is in receipt of a letter from Gail Rogers, technology teacher at HUES dated January 26th requesting a sabbatical for the 2009/2010 school year.  She has submitted a plan for professional growth and cited work products that will benefit not only her and the work she does as a staff member but the entire staff. 

 

Speaks specifically to her desire to help teachers incorporate technology into the curriculum for the ICT Digital Portfolios, develop a variety of projects and a list of internet sites that can be used by classroom teachers to further curriculum.  Stated her understanding, if granted, she would receive 50% of salary and full benefits for the year and that she would be required to provide the board with a guarantee that she will return and remain employed by the district for the following two-year period.

 

When asked, Principal Fowler stated her opinion the plan would benefit the teachers.  Each year teachers are charged with determining the projects they will do for the ICT Portfolios, and have to work on them on their own.  The proposed outline would include projects that have Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Inspiration; the four products students have to have in their portfolio before leaving for the COOP district.  The idea is to provide projects that would coordinate with teachings to incorporate the necessary technology skills. 

 

Requested is the opportunity to take the year off to work on those projects/outlines and provide a finished product in the form of a CD Rom.  Intends to perform teacher workshops upon completion/return.  Ms. Rogers identified the need for such a plan by the number of teachers that have approached her for assistance. 

 

Would also continue the Webmaster responsibilities as those tasks can be performed remotely.  When asked if she was looking to perform those duties for HUES alone or for the district as a whole, Principal Fowler responded she is currently performing those duties for grades 4, 5, and 6.

 

Mr. McCann questioned whether the willingness would be there to provide coverage at HPS as well.  Principal Fowler stated she has not raised that point.  She is unaware of the requirements of HPS

 

Superintendent Hodgdon commented, although she would typically make a resounding recommendation, given the current economic situation, she hesitates to consider carrying ½ of a salary, full benefits, and need to hire a replacement person, she is concerned about giving her full and unconditional support for the request.  Ms. Benz agreed the timing is unfortunate. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon suggested the request could be tabled to allow Principals Fowler and Allen the opportunity to discuss possible ways to incorporate the needs of both schools, and to do so without the need for sabbatical leave.

 

Chairman Beauregard recommended tabling the request.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board she is in receipt of a communication from Katherine McBride, Assistant Principal at HUES, containing a request for family leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.  She is expecting a child (due on August 9th) and is requesting 12 weeks’ leave from time of delivery. 

 

Chairman Beauregard questioned how the position would be filled.  Principal Fowler explained she would like to empower internal candidates with administration degrees to assist in the administrative process, which she views as a stipend position.  The individual would be needed for some of the summer months and would possibly have one day a week out of the classroom and in the office as well as providing assistance during after school hours.  Principal Fowler would step into the role of Special Education Coordinator, however, meeting days would necessitate an office presence. 

 

MOTION BY MEMBER MCCANN TO ACCEPT THE REQUEST FOR FAMILY LEAVE EFFECTIVE ON OR ABOUT AUGUST 9, 2009 WITH THE BOARD’S CONGRATULATIONS

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

Superintendent Hodgdon announced the selection of Mr. Christopher Siegfried as the Director of Maintenance.  Mr. Siegfried comes to the district with technical knowledge that is well praised, brings planning and organizational skills as well as a hands-on team approach.  Some former positions include that of Director of Facilities at the New Hampshire Institute for Art, worked in a lot of school and college facilities on HVAC systems, etc.  Tentative start date is February 24, 2009.

 

When asked about the contract language, Ms. Duhamel stated the level of the position does not match some of the package, therefore if the board wished to address the issue she was happy to do so.  Chairman Beauregard stated his expectation this position would be contracted similar to that of an Assistant Principal/Principal.  Principal Allen felt such an offering would lead to longevity in the position.  Ms. Benz asked for clarification of how the position was previously contracted to which Ms. Duhamel remarked the prior contract more closely mirrored that of administration staff contracts.

 

Ms. Haytayan questioned the financial impact of a change in contract terms, and was provided with a ballpark figure of $10,000 - $15,000. 

 

Mr. McCann commented on his belief all such positions should be brought before the board for approval as a matter of practice. 

 

A brief discussion ensued with regard to the level, duties and responsibilities of the position as well as benefits provided within various contracts. 

 

After receiving comments from board members with regard to what the contract for the position should include, Superintendent Hodgdon will prepare a draft contract for board consideration at a meeting scheduled for Monday, February 16, 2009 at 8:45 a.m. in the Office of the Superintendent.

 

Ms. Loftus questioned whether Superintendent Hodgdon had received confirmation of whether the district school year operates under 945 hours of instructional time or 180 days of instructional time.  That information is forthcoming.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER MCCANN THAT THE BOARD RECESS UNTIL AFTER THE BUDGET COMMITTEE’S PUBLIC HEARING ON THE BUDGET

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

           

The School Board recessed at 6:19 p.m.

 

The School Board resumed their meeting at 8:12 p.m.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 2

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 3

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 4

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 5

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 6

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 7

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 8

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 9

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE WARRANT ARTICLE 10

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

NON-PUBLIC SESSION

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ THAT THE BOARD GO INTO NON-PUBLIC SESSION PURSUANT TO RSA 91-A:3 II (c) TO DISCUSS A MATTER, WHICH IF DISCUSSED IN PUBLIC, WOULD LIKELY AFFECT ADVERSELY THE REPUTATION OF A PERSON, OTHER THAN A MEMBER OF THE BODY OR AGENCY ITSELF

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER LOFTUS

 

A Viva Voce roll call was conducted, which resulted as follows:

 

Yea:     Bill Beauregard, Jim McCann, Alison Haytayan, Susan Benz, Maura Loftus

                                                                                    5

Nay:                                                                                         0

MOTION CARRIED

 

The Board went into non-public session at 8:20 p.m.

 
 

Date __________________________      Signed       ________________________