HOLLIS SCHOOL BOARD

 

 JUNE 10, 2009

 

MEETING MINUTES

 

A regular meeting of the Hollis School Board was held on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:40 p.m. in the Community Room of Hollis Town Hall. 

 

Chairman Jim McCann presided:

 

Members of the Board Present:         Bill Beauregard, Vice-Chairman

Alison Haytayan, Board Secretary

Susan Benz

Rich Manley (8:21 p.m.)

 

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

Bob Kelly, Dir. of Special Education

Christopher Siegfried, Director of Maintenance

Lauren Heiter, Data Consultant

 

 

AGENDA ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS

 

Mr. Beauregard informed the board the Budget Committee would like to have an inter-board working group to coordinate financial priorities related to the FY11 budget.  The request is for two members of the Hollis School Board to participate in the working group (member/alternate member).  Mr. Beauregard will be the Hollis School Board member.  An alternate will be chosen.

 

PUBLIC COMMENTARY

 

Jennifer MacLeod, Mooar Hill Road

 

Stated she wished to praise Cheri Birch, the Environmental Science Teacher at HPS for the tremendous job in overseeing the garden project.  This is a brand new initiative for the school community, has been over a year in the making, and is a complex and multi-task faceted project. 

 

Ms. Birch started with the grant writing, moved into the project management phase, and has overseen the donation solicitation of money and materials as well as over 100 community volunteers.  Ms. Birch has coordinated the student involvement from grades K-3, managed the consultant affiliated with the project, and put in a lot of physical labor all as while being a part-time employee of the school district.

 

Knowing this time of year the Hollis School Board has historically reviewed possible stipend or bonus opportunities for staff members that have gone above and beyond, Ms. MacLeod stated her wish for Ms. Birch to receive some type of stipend or bonus.

 

In closing, commented the garden project is an outstanding addition to the Hollis Community.  The dedication ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.

 

Ms. Benz expressed appreciation for the efforts of Ms. Bernstein and was happy to see her publicly praised.

Janet Merrithew

 

Informed the board this would be the last regular meeting she would be attending as her child is transitioning into the middle school.  Remarked over the last seven years there have been; 3 Superintendents, 5 Principals, 2 Associated Principals, 4 Assistant Principals, 4 Chairs of the School Board, 12 School Board members, and 1 Special Education Director.

 

She commented, although she has had the honor of representing her child at these meetings, she rarely spoke, and now regrets that.  Pleaded with the viewing audience and parents of children in the school system to attend and participate in the meetings stating the knowledge received is priceless and that democracy does not work without all three branches represented.

 

APPROVAL OF SCHOOL BOARD MINUTES

 

Hollis School Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 13, 2009

 

The following corrections were noted:

 

Page 5, Line 26 “sequel” should read “sql”.

Page 16, Line 31 “non-days for Hollis” should be replaced with “two of the 186 contracted teacher days”

 

A brief discussion ensued with regard to the Action Items.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO APPROVE AS AMENDED

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD

MOTION CARRIED

3/0

 

ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS

 

Principals

 

With regard to the possibility of transportation for kindergarten students, Principal Allen informed the board she has had a conversation with Nancy Orde who indicated she is not anticipating any difficulty including the children on the buses at 8:15 a.m. and 3:05 p.m.  It is also believed some buses could be consolidated perhaps allowing the Hollis route to be reduced by one or two buses.  There is no anticipated cost increase.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon remarked the SAU-wide busing contract does specify the representative wards, and she believes an addendum states the grade range of students.  She will re-visit the contract.

 

Principal Allen touched on the ribbon cutting ceremony for the outdoor classroom, and commented on the community volunteers and thousands of dollars in donations.

 

On June 3rd, three hundred plus HPS students walked in honor of “Walk New Hampshire”, a program endorsed by Dr. Lynch to get children out realizing the benefits of exercise.  This was viewed as one of the best activities done all year. 

 

Principal Allen requested the board consider moving up the official start time to 8:23 a.m. at HPS and 8:30 a.m. at HUES.  The 7 minutes would allow for the Pledge of Allegiance, morning announcements, and getting students back to their classrooms for 8:30 a.m.  There would be no impact on teachers as they are contractually already in the building and no impact on buses as they are typically arriving earlier than the set start time.  However, there could be an impact on parents that drive their students to school, as the drop off time would be moved up by 7-8 minutes.  Principal Fowler cited an informal study that indicated there are approximately 7-10 students that are dropped off after 8:30 a.m. 

 

When asked if that would leave the teachers with less time for impromptu questions, Principal Fowler responded she has had informal discussions with teachers, and they are all in agreement with the earlier start time and that there would still be time for informal conversations. 

 

Principal Fowler is looking at next year’s specialists’ schedule to have a start time of 9:00 a.m. to allow for morning work/meetings.  With regard to support staff, their schedules consist of 5.8 hours and are modeled after the needs of individual students, therefore, there would be no impact.

 

Ms. Benz remarked as long as it is felt there are no teacher issues or busing changes she is acceptable to the change of start time.  Superintendent Hodgdon provided her recommendation to adjust the start time.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO MOVE AHEAD WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION TO ALTER THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL DAY FOR THE HOLLIS PRIMARY SCHOOL AND THE HOLLIS UPPER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AS MENTIONED

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

 

ON THE QUESTION

 

Chairman McCann asked for and received assurance parents would be notified before the end of the school year and again as appropriate.

MOTION CARRIED

4/0

 

Ms. Benz questioned the kindergarten number, and was told one additional student has been added since the last update.  When asked if the music teacher would be returning, Principal Allen remarked teachers have until June 12th to return their contracts.

 

Principal Fowler provided the board with updated data regarding the early intervening program of Power Reading: in the 6th grade, 73% of our students who started the year in Power Reading are now exiting and are able to show they can read on grade level not only through the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) but also from the more formal DAR, which is the Diagnostic Assessment of Reading.    

 

Mr. Beauregard asked if students would be going home with their Lexal scores, an explanation for how to use them, where parents can go to help students with their summer reading list, etc.  Remarked Lexal.com will generate a reading list for you if you plug in your range and interest.  Principal Fowler responded a cover letter sent home with the report cards and the NWEA reports touches on Lexal.com.  What the web site will not do is look at the content for appropriateness. 

 

Mr. Beauregard brought up the idea of a contest for summer reading and asked if the schools support or would be willing to support such a program.  Both principals agreed to look into the idea.

 

Chairman McCann commented on the tremendous progress resulting from the Power Reading program in that the 10-20% range is up to 50-70%.  Questioned if this should be viewed as doing what we expected it to do, and for the 50% that are not achieving grade level, will more of that program help or are there other issues that need to be addressed?

 

Principal Fowler responded the Power Reading Program services all of the students who qualify for early intervening plus all of the special education students.  Some of the students you see (10 out of the 20 in the 5th grade) started at 2nd to 4th grade levels and moved up.  There are several students who have gone up 2-3 grades.  They are still below grade level, but they have moved up in those separate categories.  Looking at an individual student level, she believes there was only one student in one sub-section that went down. 

 

Mr. Beauregard asked if this information could be used to forecast where we might be with AYP next year, and was told there is no way to know how much slippage will occur over the summer.  Some extended school year services are being done as appropriate and the reading specialists are working this summer to provide services. 

 

Principal Fowler informed the board the average percentile rating for our students relative to our national norms for NWEA has increased in percentile ranking.  In reading, the second graders went from 60 to 74% and sixth graders from 72 to 78%.  In math, second graders went from 67 to 82% and sixth graders from 72 to 76%.  Mr. Beauregard questioned where they stood with regard to writing.  Principal Fowler stated she just received advance notice of what is happening for NECAP in the state for next year.  They are changing the format of writing.  A written test will be taken next year, but none of the scores will be reported.  When changing the format they don’t report scores.  They are changing the prompt and the way it looks.  They are going to implement the language usage test, which looks at the mechanics of writing.

 

Principal Fowler informed the board of receipt of the Assistant Principal, Katherine McBride’s proposal for maternity leave.  Principal Fowler would step back into the Special Education role and perform case management in Ms. McBride’s absence.  She would like to utilize two current staff members to assist in the office on days such as Special Education Thursdays.  The staff members would work 7 hours a week beginning at the end of July in order to work with Ms. McBride until her departure. 

 

Once the school year begins, each staff member would work up to an additional 7 hours past their regular school hours.  Each teacher would have a week where they were responsible for covering the office on Thursday (a sub would be hired for the room) as the Assistant Principal.  During that same week that individual would also come to the office at the end of their school day.  They would also have the opportunity to work on their skills in observation and assist the Principal with that, as there would be four observations to complete in the fall.  The individual would attend leadership meetings in the alternate week.

 

Mr. Beauregard stated he would defer to the administration on such an issue, but questioned whether consideration had been given to utilizing the Assistant Principal at HPS and having that person go back and forth between schools.  Superintendent Hodgdon responded that was not considered for two reasons; it would be the first year for someone coming in and there would be a lot to learn in terms of culture.  The second reason is that it is always tricky in administration to know when needs or crises are going to occur.  For that person to be able to be at a specific school at a specific time on a specific day would be difficult when it is so difficult to predict what the needs would be.

 

Principal Fowler remarked she feels comfortable in her role, and, in a pinch, could probably ask any staff member to help out.  Superintendent Hodgdon touched on the benefits of promoting leadership development within staff and cited this as a nice opportunity for that, i.e., having the substitute administrators engaged in staff evaluations, etc.  She has had discussions with the Association to ensure confidentiality.  Also noted the two individuals being considered have the confidence of the staff where someone else might not.

 

Ms. Haytayan thanked Principal Fowler for taking on the role of the special education aspects as that is a huge commitment of her time.  She questioned the grade level the administrators are coming out of and was told they are both coming from the sixth grade level.

 

Chairman McCann suggested the alterative of hiring a short-term assistant principal would likely be at a larger expense.  Principal Fowler stated the stipend is calculated at the per diem rate.  She also remarked the individuals, although not required to, have administrative degrees; one holds a certification and the other is in the process of certification.  One of the individuals did a yearlong internship with her and one worked as an administrator.  Another ease to the transition is that she would not have to acclimate a new teacher to the climate of the school, create connections with colleagues, etc.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon stated her endorsement of the recommended arrangement.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION FOR THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL SUBSTITUTION PROPOSAL OF JUNE 4TH FOR THE UPPER ELEMENTARY

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER HAYTAYAN

MOTION CARRIED

4/0

 

Director of Curriculum

 

Math Curriculum Update

 

Director Mace commented last fall the SAU 41 Mathematics Task Force reviewed the Hollis Math Plan Report and spent this year aligning local curriculum with Massachusetts’s standards and the National Math Advisory Panel Report recommendations. 

 

The task force is going to revisit the report and look at some of the additional findings and recommendations to begin to address things such as vertical acceleration protocol, using technology as an instructional tool, and data analysis as well as looking at any professional development needs we might have.

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned whether there is a prioritization to the implementation of recommendations.  Director Mace remarked that would be worked out by the committee this fall.  Mr. Beauregard stated he believed it would be helpful for the board if a status update were provided indicating what has been implemented to date and a prioritization for implementing additional recommendations.  Principal Fowler agreed to work with Director Mace on the prioritization over the summer months.  Chairman McCann stated a desire to receive an update of the plan and review the prioritized list.

 

The textbook selection committee continues to meet regarding the implementation planning of enVision Math.  Principal Fowler informed the board she has been working with Ms. Duhamel and all materials have been ordered.  After working with the consultant, we are receiving $11,000 worth of materials at no cost.  With regard to digital licensing, it is close to the same price as the textbooks, but for six years of digital licensing.  The cost of materials was $74,000, which represents; teacher editions, K-2 consumables, textbooks, digital upgrade, homework books, manipulative kits, overhead kits, interactive books, visual learning books, transparencies, and professional development for all teachers.  Teachers also have access to online seminars.  The cost per student is believed to be $51 for a six-year license and $60 per student for the textbook.

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned whether the budget could take the hit for re-licensing in the 7th year.   Principal Fowler responded if, at that time, it is still an appropriate program, depending on the cycle of review, they would have to decide whether or not to continue to purchase the digital package.  However, there will always be a cost associated with the program because K-2 will always need consumables.  There are also copying costs.

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned whether funding should be put aside in each year’s budget in anticipation of the re-licensing.  Principal Fowler will ascertain whether the licensing can be purchased on a yearly basis.

 

Director Mace informed the board 46 states including New Hampshire are going to be involved in developing a set of internationally competitive benchmarks in English language arts and mathematics for students from kindergarten through high school.  The DOE has signed on and will be involved in developing the standards described as a state initiative with federal support.  The DOE has stated nothing is binding until after the standards are finalized.  The State can then decide whether they want to implement.  There are differing opinions on whether we should have local or national standards, but the standards they are describing creating are very exciting and will align with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and skills, and be internationally benchmarked.  Remarked it would be phenomenal if we could get the work of national and international experts and use it as a foundational piece for the work we do.  None of the states would have standards that would be lower than the ones currently in place.  It would be raising the standards of all states.

 

Director of Maintenance

 

When asked, Ms. Duhamel stated the water report would be presented next month. 

 

Chairman McCann remarked he recently discovered Director Siegfried has no documentation on the water system.  It was suggested he contact John Grey, Doug Cleveland, Mike McNulty and others who are familiar with the system.  Mr. Beauregard will send an electronic copy of the Skillings Report to Director Siegfried.  Hutter should also be able to provide an electronic copy of plans, maps, etc. 

 

Ms. Duhamel commented, even if the plans are located, we will remain uncertain about the condition of the system.  She recommended an encumbrance of $10,000 - $15,000 for the snaking of the lines.  Reiterated the need for a true evaluation of the system.

 

Mr. Beauregard stated there would be one additional Budget Committee meeting before the end of FY09, which should allow ample time to gain their approval to encumber the funds from the current fiscal year.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ENCUMBER UP TO THE SUM OF FIFTEEN THOUSAND ($15,000) DOLLARS, SUBJECT TO BUDGET COMMITTEE APPROVAL, SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATING THE WATER SYSTEM

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

4/0

 

Mr. Beauregard asked Ms. Duhamel to provide a ballpark figure in time for the Budget Committee meeting.

 

Director Siegfried informed the board the T-111 project would start the week after the conclusion of the school year.  Although originally quoted at $11,000, the current quote is $4,500 as “There are some parts that absolutely do not need replacement.”

 

Business Administrator

 

Maintenance Fund Update

 

With regard to the replacement of bathroom partitions at HUES (every partition), the low price quote (out of three comparable quotes) is $12,000 for painted metal, with a one-year warrantee on parts and labor.  Another option is to utilize a hard plastic material, which would be easily maintained, stain resistant, and come with a ten-year warranty at a cost of $22,000.   The cost would be similar to replace the partitions at HPS.  The amount placed in the expendable trust fund for replacement at HUES was $7,000. 

 

When asked if Budget Committee approval would be required, Mr. Beauregard stated Budget Committee approval is needed for expenditures from the expandable trust fund, however, if there are funds within the operational budget, we feel this is a safety concern, and we can afford it, then it is worth considering.

Director Siegfried described the current partitions as being ready to come out of the walls.  Metal doors are broken at the latch and have bare torn metal.  Plastic would be lighter and have larger hardware and anchoring points.  Ms. Haytayan expressed a concern with plastic as the chemicals emit odors.  Perhaps a low VOC plastic could be utilized. 

 

Director Siegfried was asked to:

-                      Obtain the names of local schools that utilize the plastic to question the odor issue

-                      Look in to industry plastic standards, i.e., low VOC

-                      Ventilation time

-                      Longevity of metal versus plastic

 

Mr. Beauregard remarked what has been spoken of is a function of the quality of the hinges not of the material.  If the option is $12,000 per building for metal versus $22,000, there is a difference of $20,000 of taxpayer money.  Would like what is gained by the expenditure of additional funds to be clearly identified.  Director Siegfried discussed the possibility of stainless steel hinges, hardware, and mounting. 

 

Mr. Beauregard remarked as we would be taking forward funds that would otherwise be used to offset the tax rate, he would feel more comfortable if the research were done in time for a decision to be made at the SAU meeting scheduled for June 18th.  Suggested encumbering up to $24,000 to address the immediate safety issue.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ENCUMBER A SUM UP TO TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS ($24,000) TO REPLACE ALL OF THE METAL PARTITIONS AT BOTH SCHOOLS SUBJECT TO FURTHER RESEARCH AND A FOLLOW-UP DISCUSSION AT THE SAU MEETING SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 18, 2009

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

4/0

 

Expendable Trust Fund

 

Ms. Duhamel informed the board information will come forth within the next few meetings to arrange for a public hearing to authorize the projects listed.

 

Director Siegfried informed the board the concrete access ramp at the north side of HPS is deteriorating and has become a safety issue.  Believes if it were to be patched moisture would penetrate, freeze, and the ramp would crack again.  Estimate for full replacement is $5,500.  Resurfacing with a sealer would not penetrate the concrete.  If it were to be patched, moisture from rain, snow, etc. would cause the resurfaced area to pop up.  Mr. Beauregard suggested the first attempt be to patch and seal the ramp and see what happens after the winter months.  Ms. Haytayan was in agreement.

 

Ms. Benz referred to the opinion expressed by the Director of Maintenance that this would not work.  Director Siegfried suggested they could try cutting that half of the ramp out and re-pour half of it with a splice joint.  Then you have two pieces of concrete floating.  Although that would likely be a smaller cost, his recommendation was to replace the ramp in its entirety.  It is believed hardtop would cause an issue with the door jam.  Ms. Duhamel stated the maintenance budget itself cannot support this, which is why the expenditure is before the board.  Mr. Beauregard commented the crack is recent and a reason for it has not been identified.  He is hesitant to pour an entire slab when whatever caused the situation could occur again.

 

Chairman McCann suggested the ramp be sealed (water plug leveler) and watched for effectiveness over the winter.  This issue can be reviewed during the budget process.

 

Director Siegfried informed the board the tile on ½ to ¾ of the floor in the gym/cafe is peeling up (2,100 sq. ft.).  Moisture tests have been done and the floor core has been tested and came back within the limits of humidity of the floor manufacturer.  Obtaining pricing for replacement.  Options are going back to a tile floor or a rubber floor; poured rubber (least expensive) or square rubber interlocking mats.  Chairman McCann suggested looking into a floor similar to the one in the multi-purpose room of the middle school, which seems to be holding up well.

 

Mr. Beauregard was hesitant to place new flooring when the cause of the peeling has not been determined.  Director Siegfried stated the need to get a materials engineer in to look at it.  The item will appear on the June 18th agenda.  In the meantime the tiles will continue to be glued in place.  Mr. Beauregard commented this item might be one to discuss with the inter-board committee as a significant capital expense. 

 

SAU Lease


Chairman McCann expressed he had some concerns with the language in the SAU lease.  Having looked through the language and understanding the parameters of it, he determined, although we cooperate with other districts on 99.9% of SAU-wide issues, in this case, Hollis has the financial responsibility of that building and the other districts do not.  Hollis would have every incentive to maximize the value of that property as that building will eventually be sold, and the district will reap the benefits of that.  The other two districts are renting.  As part of that, they have every incentive not to spend, as it is not their asset.

 

The wording in the lease talks about the Lessee (SAU) being responsible for maintenance when it is actually the Lessor.  As any landlord, we should be responsible for all maintenance issues and incorporate that into the lease payment to the SAU as a whole.  Some changes have been made to the draft lease.  It will be sent to council for review.  Then the board will be in a position to sign off on it and present it to the SAU.  Although a lease will not be in place, nothing would change, and the SAU has already encumbered the funding. 

 

Mr. Beauregard remarked we should have final resolution in time for the SAU budget season on whether or not other corporations would pay for some of the issues with regard to energy efficiencies.   Superintendent Hodgdon is not sure there would be energy savings available.  She mentioned the efforts of the energy group in looking to hire a consultant for grant writing and contract evaluation, and funding that position out of the anticipated energy savings ($40,000 - $70,000).

 

Chairman McCann remarked the suggested changes he has made do not preclude the board from presenting the lease to the SAU, they simply clarify that concurrence is not required.  Superintendent Hodgdon is not sure there would be energy savings available.  She mentioned the efforts of the energy group in looking to hire a consultant for grant writing and evaluating contracts, and paying for that out of the anticipated energy savings  ($40,000 - $70,000).

 

Budget Year End Status

 

Ms. Duhamel provided the board with a handout (copy attached) of where the budget stands; we are sitting on 7% or approximately $700,000.  Part of the reason for such a large surplus is due to wages we did not need to pay out, and didn’t budget for next year (those monies will stay as part of this budget).  This was complicated by unpaid leaves, long-term disabilities, etc.  It was a very strange year with wage-type items.  Those items actually trickled down to benefits.  As shown on page 3, in the wage account summary, we are sitting on a balance of about $384,500.  Ms. Duhamel remarked there are outstanding items to be calculated.

 

Mr. Beauregard stated the need to document the big-ticket items.  Concerned the surplus could be interpreted the wrong way.

 

Some of the items that created the surplus were:

 

-                      Special Education did not have to expend what was anticipated for services and tuition,

-                      New administration looking at operations differently, and realizing efficiency savings,  

-                      Support staff attendance due to the ice storm,

-                      Hiring incoming personnel lower on the wage scale than the outgoing personnel; and

-                      Health insurance savings for those on unpaid leave. 

 

Ms. Duhamel will provide a breakdown of large items to Mr. Beauregard for the meeting with the Budget Committee.

 

Ms. Duhamel commented the budget surplus might allow for addressing the critical maintenance items.  Mr. Beauregard stated his desire to move quickly on the gymnasium floor issue for consideration of encumbering the funds.  The middle school could be contacted for an estimate on the flooring used in the multi-purpose room. 

 

Chairman McCann highlighted the need to be able to show these expenditures address safety concerns and the integrity of the buildings.

 

The issue will be reviewed at the June 18th meeting for consideration of an encumbrance.

 

Principal Fowler questioned whether surplus could be used to address security at the schools.  Mr. Beauregard commented the HUES building has always been a concern to him, as it is not configured for supervision.  Chairman McCann was in agreement it should be looked at.  Director Siegfried stated what is being proposed would likely not be too expensive.  Chairman McCann requested quotes be available for the June 18th meeting.

 

When asked about security needs at HPS, Principal Allen remarked there has been talk for years about installing a camera/buzzer system.  She does not see that as an immediate need, and would rather have the keypad entrances for staff.  Mr. Beauregard remarked he would like to see both buildings secured. 

 

Principal Allen stated her understanding it has been in the budget and cut for several years.  Remarked although she wants the security, she has spent the year making parents feel welcome, and is concerned using a camera and buzzer would make parents feel as if they are being questioned.  Ms. Haytayan asked if it would be too expensive to use doors to create a foyer area closed off to the wings that could be locked on the inside and only allow for access through the office.  Principal Allen will look into options.  In the short-term it is secure with an emergency button.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon spoke with the Police Chief.  He is expecting to be called to view the situation, and has said he would be accompanied by the School Resource Officer along.  

 

Data Analysis Update

 

Superintendent Hodgdon stated she, Director Mace, and Ms. Heiter left the last meeting with major tasks on their action item list.  One task was to address questions on the functionality of PowerSchool.   Another issue they didn’t necessarily feel they would have a final answer for, but wanted to work on in conjunction with PowerSchool was the buy or build issue in terms of data storage or data warehouse.

 

Have had a few demonstrations.  A professional contact from Maine came down and did a live demonstration of her district and their PowerSchool set up.  The individual’s background is that she has worked with PowerSchool for over 8 years, has gone to their national schools every year (1-2 week long), and is a member of a national panel who tests and reports back in terms of functionality and other components of PowerSchool. 

 

From her presentation, they learned a couple of key things; that her district parent portal is set up in such a fashion that they have virtually eliminated progress reports and report cards.  As parents receive a wealth of information on a daily basis, there is no need for progress reports or to see a composite report card.  A lot of positive feedback has been received from parents.

 

Also learned Pearson has a program they are bringing out after 12 years of work.  They had bought a previous model and have been working on a program called Inform, which could potentially provide some answers to the buy or build question.  Had a live demonstration with Ken Roberts, the contact person we are using here and that her colleague has used for a number of years, and Bruce Owensly (technician who has worked on Inform for 12 years).  Chairman McCann joined them and spent a few hours looking at various aspects of Inform and posed questions, which Ms. Heiter followed up on. 

 

Mr. Beauregard commented, as a board, what they need to be focused on is the process; what is the process, is there a requirements document and how is the requirements document being evaluated against Inform.  What steps are being taken to ensure the requirements can be met?

 

Superintendent Hodgdon responded the team of administrators and Ms. Heiter are looking from an educational side as one of the things she most wants to see happen within the next year is that we broaden our assessment framework.  At the same time, from the educational side, want to have 4 levels of being able to query and work with data; individual classroom level, school level, district level, and SAU level.  Stated she feels closer to answering the buy or build question and making those decisions. 

 

Chairman McCann asked whether we have gotten to a point with PowerSchool where we can say that is not, in and of itself, the right analysis tool?  Ms. Heiter replied PowerSchool is really a student management system.  One of the issues is that we can only access their data through their tools or export utility.  We cannot go directly into the database to do querying.

 

With regard to Performance Pathways, Superintendent Hodgdon added we do not have the kind of technical expertise we need to satisfy our questions about the ability to query and to aggregate and disaggregate data in the people at the DOE who are overseeing it.  There is a technical expert behind the scenes, but not in the forefront. 

 

Mr. Beauregard remarked the assessment builder portion of Performance Pathways forced you to shoehorn every one of your assessments that you might want to capture.  Ms. Heiter remarked the State is sort of guiding people to use Performance Pathways.

 

Chairman McCann asked how the state national standards would tie into performance pathways, and was told it is too soon to say.  Principal Fowler remarked if the state changed their standards it would have to be reflected in all the work they are doing.  Believes it would be a data dumping ground, but you wouldn’t be able to determine how the old standards coincide with the new standards, etc.  Chairman McCann questioned if there have been discussions around Performance Pathways being greatly expanded in capabilities, functionality, etc. to incorporate a different set of standards.  Director Mace is not aware of any such plan.

 

Ms. Heiter stated her belief Performance Pathways is not the path that should be taken.  However, there are a lot of districts that are using it.  She does not believe we have done our due diligence on Performance Pathways.  It may be able to do more than we are aware of.  If it is determined Inform is not the way to go, we shouldn’t necessarily rule out Performance Pathways without additional research.

 

Chairman McCann questioned the requirement document and how we are comparing apples to apples.  Ms. Heiter expressed a concern that a vendor may respond to a requirement stating they can perform the function, but the trade-off may be that the system is not user-friendly.  Chairman McCann stated the concerns cited would have to be incorporated in the requirement document.

 

Principal Allen noted Performance Pathways provides flat data on individual students.  It is very difficult to look at the longitudinal data for the cohort groups and some of the studies they want to look at for strengths and weaknesses when considering adjusting curriculum. 

 

Mr. Beauregard remarked the documentation for Performance Pathways Assessment Builder would have to be looked as that would be a true comparison for an off-the-shelf package.  Performance Tracker is the tool that would generate the reports from that.  Chairman McCann commented on the price of products as another issue that has to be considered. 

 

Ms. Heiter commented on the amount of time and effort that would have to go into creating such a detailed requirements list.

 

Principal Fowler commented Performance Pathways has thought about what questions educators would ask over and over again and that is the only way you can query the data.  She would like a system that allows her to query data based on questions she may have years from now.  During the Inform demonstration, it was shown with that program you could set your own data fields, avoid flat data, and have a user-friendly interface. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon explained they are really working in what some of the assessment people call a post mortem fashion because they are looking at summative data at the end of an instruction.  Teachers really are going to need to look at that data and their formative data so they can adjust their instruction before the students have finished learning. 

 

Ms. Heiter remarked Inform provides the ability to customize PowerSchool to allow you to view its information without a separate log in.  She cited the cost and availability of professional development, something Inform includes in the cost of their package.

 

Chairman McCann remarked he has heard several requirements; user friendly, level of detail, query flexibility, etc.  Believes we are at a point where we have the opportunity to do a prioritized list of requirements, lay it out, and choose the best product for our environment.  Then we can make a decision.

 

Director Mace felt it would be easier if kept on a small scale.  Mr. Beauregard brought up the issues of security and multi-user requirements, high availability, and secure data backup.   

 

Principal Fowler suggested looking at one more buy program.  Remarked the bigger issue is compatibility as we are currently using PowerSchool for the student management system. 

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned once you have a requirements document what are the steps taken in the evaluation process, what activities are being done to evaluate the software to see if it does what you want.  Chairman McCann suggested assistance be sought from Rich Raymond to look at the technical components. 

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned the timeframe for purchase, whether it would be funded across the SAU or the Hollis district, and whether it would be funded from this year’s budget.  Superintendent Hodgdon did not believe we could encumber the funds by June 30th without having time to establish and prioritize a criteria matrix and build the next steps. 

 

Mr. Beauregard asked if consideration could be given to funding it in the FY10 budget.  Chairman McCann responded, based on the ballpark numbers, there is a chance we could find the money in the coming year, and if not, we would be looking at the next budget cycle.    Superintendent Hodgdon cited the possibility of Stimulus funding. 

 

Mr. Beauregard spoke of utilizing IT staff to review the written documentation and requiring a small pilot be done to ensure we are able to query data to meet our needs.  Suggested questioning whether potential vendors have performance benchmarks for student implementation.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon

 

Staffing for 09-10

 

Superintendent Hodgdon stated she has received correspondence from additional staff requesting they be allowed to return from leave early in order to take part in the enVision training.  While working with the business office, she has uncovered some challenges the board needs to consider in moving forward with the requests; cost involved, additional requests received.  There is now a total of six (6) people requesting they be allowed to take part in training. 

 

She has met with Chairman McCann and HEA to talk about contract impacts.  She is in receipt of a letter from the Association, which says “HEA’s position is that paid professional staff employees of the Hollis School District receive uninterrupted benefits due to their paid status.  Professional staff employees of the Hollis School District who are out on unpaid leave have their benefits coverage interrupted until they return to paid professional staff employee status.  All of those people returning for June 22nd with the exception of one teacher, who plans on returning the second trimester of this coming school year, are entitled to receive benefits through July and August.” 

 

When the issue was addressed last month what was considered was the impact of 5 days of paid time.  Now we know there will be a cost in insurance as well as a cost in salary.  Looked at the cost of the return of four teachers.  In salary we would be looking at a total, with FICA and state retirement, of $4,800 and a cost in health insurance of $6,000 for a total cost to the district of $10,830.00 for four employees to return early from leave.  It would be larger based on 6 teachers, 5 of which would be returning in the first trimester.  

 

Superintendent Hodgdon stated they explored with the Association a way to perhaps pay that through a stipend to avoid contractual issues.  Chairman McCann remarked he is not convinced of the reason that we have to put them on full status for the two months because we brought them back in this school year.  However, the Association’s position is pretty clear that could be the case and that is what they want.

 

Ms. Benz questioned whether legal council should review the letter.  Chairman McCann remarked he is not sure if it is a contractual issue within the HEA agreement.  It doesn’t speak to this particular type of issue, but the Association has provided a written opinion.  Remarked the question of a stipend has been posed to the Association.

 

Chairman McCann commented the vote was to allow for the early return contingent upon the agreement of the Association.  We have made the offer, tried to work something out, and came back with a letter stating their position.  Given that, the individuals would come back at the appropriate time and receive training when they return.

 

The question of whether teachers could participate in the professional development on their own time.  It was noted there would be liability issues if that were to be done as well as the potential of violating labor laws.

 

Principal Fowler questioned whether the funds were already in the budget to cover the cost of benefits.  Superintendent Hodgdon replied there is one person that would not apply to as that individual is on long-term disability.  Principal Allen cited two additional teachers they have not heard back from with regard to a desire to return early.

 

Ms. Haytayan questioned if they would have another opportunity to get the same training.  Principal Fowler responded they would not as the consultant is coming on the 22nd and then again on October 2nd for a different piece.   

 

Mr. Beauregard asked if the Association was making the decision having spoken to the individuals involved.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated her opinion he has spoken with Bill Pratt and received a ruling from him.  Ms. Haytayan remarked the position of the Association puts us between a rock and a hard place; on the one hand we want to be able to offer the teachers the opportunity for training, but, on the other hand, to incur such high costs places us in a difficult position.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated she has not gotten the sense they are trying to do that, but are trying to protect the integrity of the contract.

 

Mr. Manley stated he was unclear on how a stipend position would affect the integrity of the contract.  Believes it could be done as they are not coming back but rather coming in for training.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated her belief a factor in this is that they are going from unpaid status into paid status when we bring them back and that is when other aspects of the contract kick in. 

 

Chairman McCann remarked consideration could be given to adding appropriate language to the next contract.   Asked about the date of the next contract, Superintendent Hodgdon stated the effective date as July 1st, which is why insurance would have to be paid.  She further explained those on leave have a letter authorizing that leave from the board.

 

Mr. Beauregard suggested informing the teachers the decision made by union leadership is one that represents a cost beyond what can be born by the budget, and that we will do whatever we can to support their training when they return.  He suggested whatever training materials, either in paper or electronic form, that can be provided should be.  Principal Fowler remarked the bigger issue is all of the other things that are planned for the week.  She is aware two of her teachers who have requested the early return will be very upset if they cannot come on a non-voluntary basis because you cannot replicate all of the work being done around math, report card revamping, etc.

 

Chairman McCann reiterated the obligation to pay for the days of professional development is not a concern to him it is the obligation for the days beyond.  Mr. Beauregard suggested the board figure out the cost to stipend them and provide that budget to union leadership, suggest the teachers speak with their union leadership, and speak with legal council to see if he and union leadership can find a way to make this work.  The alternative is they get the training catch as catch can in the fall.  Members McCann and Haytayan voiced their agreement.

 

Principal Fowler questioned how to proceed.  The recommendation of the board was to wait until a response is received from legal council before taking any action. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board of a communication received from two staff members at HPS (Nichole Cailler and Shannon Dwyer) concerning a job share proposal for a 3rd grade position at HPS for the 09/10 school year (copy attached).  The letter remarked “our shared experiences in professional development our teaching strategies for readers and writers workshop and training in skill for teacher and responsive classrooms will ensure predictability and continuity for the students.  We bring to this position; 15 years of combined experience, 2 Masters Degrees and countless hours of professional development and post-graduate work.  We are both dedicated to ensuring that the job share has a positive effect on student learning.  We are committed to keeping detailed and organized curriculum maps, lesson plans, antidotal records and frequent communication with parents.” 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon remarked she spoke with union leadership and looked at the three other job share arrangements described in the proposal.   The key components for the board’s decision have been defined on the handout (copy attached).

 

An area that relates to contracts and is impacted by the proposal is that of benefits.  In the contract, it is noted staff development is a pro-rated arrangement so whatever percentage the employee works they get that percentage of staff development benefit.  However, life, health and dental benefits are provided for staff working 30 hours or more.  They would fall short of that in the 50/50 arrangement being proposed.  Ms. Callier is proposing full health as a result of the proposal.  The rationale behind that is Ms. Dwyer has other coverage and, therefore, would not seek coverage.  The proposal also stated the second person would waive the benefit stipend.

 

Both staff members in their 50/50 split would earn service year credit both in the New Hampshire Retirement System and step increases under the collective bargaining agreement.  Planning time for full-time employees is a four 45 minute periods so each job share teacher would be afforded two 45-minute individual planning periods.  Ms. Cailler is proposing she retain full rights to the contract and that with dissolution of the job share those rights would revert to just her.  The intent is that each teacher would work two and three full days a week; Ms. Cailler would work Monday and Tuesday, Ms. Dwyer would work Thursday and Friday and they would alternate Wednesdays on a weekly basis.

 

The length of the arrangement made with the Association and the renewal opportunities for this arrangement are not defined in the proposal.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated the Association would like to know the board’s timeline.

 

Chairman McCann questioned whether the two Principals were in support of the concept as a concept that is good for the district and one we should promote as a general approach or are we trying to accommodate a specific situation.  Principal Allen responded she is in support of the job share concept.  She believes a benefit to the students is they have a fresh teacher at the beginning and middle of the week.  Principal Fowler stated she supports the proposal in theory, and is pleased to have two highly qualified teachers wanting to come into the district.  However, she has been hearing parental concern with regard to transitioning for teachers on maternity leave, etc.  She is not sure it would be fully supported by the district.  She expressed her belief there would have to be a lot of communication around it, families would have to know it is a job share classroom, and be able to opt out of that placement. 

 

Principal Allen remarked her concern for this classroom is if we don’t do the job share, the alternative is to have a substitute until November, a tough way to start the 3rd grade.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon added she has had experience with job share at the full day kindergarten level.  Some of the benefits to the children were depth of planning that was done, sharing of information and pooling of ideas, addressing issues kids presented, and two very professional heads instead of one.  Remarked she does not see a down side to the proposal.  However, she feels some concern around some of the technicalities and making sure that we don’t set ourselves up for some kind of pattern that we don’t want to continue.

 

Ms. Benz remarked she can see it working at the kindergarten level but 3rd grade is a critical year.  Superintendent Hodgdon expressed her belief the stability of the child would be vest served in having two teachers on day one rather than a substitute.  Mr. Manley questioned how collaboration would take place.  Principal Allen responded they would have to do that outside of school on their own time, which is what is traditionally done in job shares.  Ms. Benz cited her hesitancy.

 

Ms. Benz questioned the potential for setting precedent, which could lead to complications or grievances.  Chairman McCann remarked it would be wise to put something in a sidebar or the full agreement.  Principal Allen commented it is new concept to introduce to Hollis so that has its own hurtles to get over.  She went on to state placement is done, and she couldn’t, at this point, go to those parents and give them the choice to opt out. 

 

Mr. Manley questioned the health insurance aspect of the proposal when there is a requirement to work 30 hours a week to receive those benefits.  Principal Allen cited the uniqueness of this situation in that it is a full-time position being shared by two people.  Ms. Haytayan remarked the fact that this is going to either be a maternity leave position or a job share position deserves consideration.  Ms. Benz responded the proposal assumes the job share goes on for several years.  Superintendent Hodgdon reminded the board this would be another situation where we would be allowing a teacher to return early from maternity leave.

 

Mr. Beauregard suggested the next step would be for the Superintendent to look into how this proposal can be supported.  Ms. Haytayan questioned whether Ms. Dwyer would be interested in being a substitute teacher.  Principal Allen responded she may be.

 

Principal Allen remarked Ms. Cailler has a contract for next year and Ms. Dwyer does not.  She is an outstanding teacher, but there is someone coming back from maternity leave.  The proposal would afford her the opportunity to stay in the district as well.  Commented the benefit piece is going to be the key and the decision; do you just say it is based on the pro-rated amount or do you allow some kind of an un-even split like that?

 

Mr. Beauregard commented Principal Allen would be doing twice the work for that classroom.  Principal Allen responded, in this particular case, it is of more benefit to the children.  She had been uncomfortable when the maternity leave was approved as starting the school with a substitute is tough.  In response to concerns related to having two teachers for one classroom, Principal Allen informed the board it was known from the onset she needed to agree with the teacher match and had made it clear quite some time ago that if she didn’t feel it was the right teacher match she would not support the job share proposal.  Ms. Benz asked if the benefits could be split 50/50.  Mr. Beauregard stated, based on what the administration has told us, it is worth taking the next step forward for the Superintendent to go investigate the contract issues.

 

Although too late in the year to engage for this situation, Superintendent Hodgdon suggested, going forward, we could survey parents on the possibility of job share and build the scenario into contract negotiations for the coming year. 

 

Mr. Manley wanted clarification on how the school would respond to parental concerns for the job share scenario.  Superintendent Hodgdon responded parents have already expressed concern over the scenario of a substitute, and that would be the alternative.

 

Principal Allen stated she is willing to follow the board’s directive.  If it is felt too late in the year and more time is needed to explore the possibility, she will follow their direction.  Chairman McCann questioned in theory can you have a long-term substitute that comes in and stays with that classroom, the person on maternity comes back, another position opens up that they go into?  Principal Allen responded in theory that could happen.  The way the contract is written is that you have to give them a comparable position. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon stated another alternative is to acknowledge it is too late in the year to engage in this.  However, going forward we could survey parents and build this into contract negotiations for the coming year. 

 

Chairman McCann stated the proposal is intriguing and he believes there are some benefits.  However, his concern is with parent perception at this late stage as well as contract issues.  Would like to tighten up the language, get parental feedback, and then consider such a prospect.

 

Ms. Benz and Ms. Haytayan were in agreement.  Mr. Manley remarked there are a lot of unanswered questions, the largest one being the parental concern.    

 

Public Comment

 

Janet Merrithew

 

Commented she would ask the child for an opinion.  Also remarked she would not like the fact that advance notification was not given.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO DENY THE PROPOSED JOB SHARE OF NICHOLE CAILLER AND SHANNON DWYER

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER HAYTAYAN

MOTION CARRIED

5/0

 

Superintendent Hodgdon questioned the board on how to address summer hires.  Mr. Beauregard remarked in the past the board has given the Superintendent the authority to hire with board approval coming at the next meeting.

 

GOALS UPDATE

 

Will appear on July agenda.

 

POLICIES (1st Reading 1-14-09/2nd Reading 5-13-09)

 

IHBAA, DFA, EBBC, GBAA, JBAA, JICK, GBCD, JLC, ILBA, JLDBA, IJOC, EEAEA

 

A brief discussion ensued with regard to the preparedness of the board to discuss policy issues.  It was determined the proposed amendments would be re-distributed.  The board anticipates addressing the majority of the policies at the next regular meeting.

 

TOPICS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

 

Will appear on July agenda.

 

NON-PUBLIC SESSION

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD THAT THE BOARD GO INTO NON-PUBLIC SESSION PURSUANT TO RSA 91-A:3 II (b) THE HIRING OF ANY PERSON AS A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE AND 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 MANLEY

 

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

 

Yea:     Jim McCann, Bill Beauregard, Alison Haytayan, Susan Benz, Rich Manley

                                                                                    5

Nay:                                                                                         0

MOTION CARRIED

 

The Board went into non-public session at 9:40 p.m.

 


ACTION ITEMS

 

Vice Chairman Beauregard

 

Provide an electronic copy of the Skillings Report to Director Siegfried (6-10-09)

 

Superintendent Hodgdon

 

Updated job descriptions to be made available by September (5-13-09)

 

Compile a list of FY11 budget discussion items to include:  (5-13-09)

 

-     full-day kindergarten

-     potential for yearly allocation towards digital licensing fee of enVision program (if cannot be purchased on a yearly basis) (6-10-09)

 

Re-visit the SAU-wide busing contract with regard to busing kindergarten students (6-10-09)

 

Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator

 

Status of scanner software (25 policies require placement on the web site) (5-13-09)

 

Provide a ballpark figure for the cost of snaking the water lines (6-10-09)

 

Director Kelly

 

Update on items being applied for under stimulus funding (5-13-09)

 

Obtain legal opinion on the incorporation, by reference, of procedural detail in KED Policy (5-13-09)

 

Obtain legal opinion on conflict between state and district language surrounding the type of model used for children with disabilities (5-13-09)

 

Provide write-up of pros and cons for each of the models, which could be used for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability with respect to best practices web sites cited in public correspondence dated November 2008 (5-13-09)

Director Mace

 

Provide status update indicating what National Math Advisory Panel Report recommendations

have been implemented to date and a prioritization for implementing additional recommendations (6-10-09)

 

Director Siegfried

 

With regard to the bathroom partitions at HUES, Director Siegfried was asked to (6-10-09)

-                      Obtain the names of local schools that utilize the plastic to question the odor issue

-                      Look in to industry plastic standards, i.e., low VOC

-                      Ventilation time

-                      Longevity of metal versus plastic

 

Seek information concerning the water system infrastructure from John Grey, Doug Cleveland, Mike McNulty, Skillings Report, and Hutter.

 

Principal Allen

 

Kindergarten busing pilot program targeted for next fall (5-13-09)

 

Look into the idea of a summer reading contest (6-10-09)

 

Look into options for providing additional security at the entrance to HPS (6-10-09)

 

Principal Fowler

 

Ascertain whether the enVision math digital licensing can be purchased on a yearly basis (6-10-09)

 

Look into the idea of a summer reading contest (6-10-09)