Approved:  11/10/05               

HOLLIS SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
October 20, 2005

Doug Cleveland
Kathy deLacy
Jennifer MacLeod
Anita Moynihan

Gail Paludi, HPS Principal
Carol Thibaudeau, HUES Principal
Rich Pike, Superintendent
Lee Ann Blastos, Business Administrator

 

9:08  Meeting called to order by Vice-Chair Anita Moynihan.  Because Chair Harry Haytayan was unable to attend and because Ms. Moynihan needed to leave the meeting early, Kathy deLacy was named Chair for the meeting.

9:09  Open Forum:   Discussion of (Future) Food Allergy Policy

(Lee Barnard, HPS Guidance Counselor, was also in attendance for this discussion.)

Rich Pike stated that NHSBA did not have any “boiler-plate” policies on this topic available; only a few districts have a specific food allergy policy.  It was mentioned that Windham’s school district was cited by NHSBA as being a “best practice” example in this arena.  (HSB members have copies of this policy in their mailbox).  Rich stated that we, as a Board, need to do due diligence to this important issue.  Today is the first step in the information-gathering process.  Ms. deLacy then invited comments from several members of the public.

Michelle Repp, parent of a first-grader with a life-threatening peanut allergy, began by explaining that there are several classifications of peanut allergy and that her son is at the most extreme end of that continuum.  His allergy is so severe that he can have an anaphylactic reaction not only from ingesting peanut products, but also from touching a surface that has even trace amounts of peanut residue on it.  She also stated that because statistically, 4 out of 6 fatalities from food allergy occur at school, her son’s safety is of great concern to her and her husband.  She also stated that they do not wish to ban peanuts and peanut products from the school environment, as research shows this is not always effective; they would like to encourage reduction.  She seeks to increase the education level among staff, students, and parents so that awareness is greatly heightened.  As an example, she cited a note that recently went home from a first grade teacher to parents requesting a jar of peanut butter so the teacher could serve it with crackers to students who forgot their snack.  Ms. Repp explained that this is problematic because, even though it is not her son’s first grade class, those same children are together at recess and share equipment (playground, computer, musical, bathroom, etc).  Peanut protein carries surface-to-surface, she stated, and even a miniscule amount, if touched by her son, can send him into anaphylaxis.  Because of this, the Repps seek to minimize the amount of peanuts/nut products in the schools and to see a handwashing policy instituted whereby all children consuming nut products would use wipes or wash their hands immediately after consuming them.

Lisa and Jim McCann spoke next, stating that their kindergartener also has an extreme peanut allergy, and that they, too, would like to create an “environment of awareness.”  It was discussed by the Board and the parents that information nights were probably not the best forum, as attendance would most likely be low.  Instead, Ms. McCann cited some alternative ways such as reading picture books to the kids about the topic, “Trick or Treat Across America,” etc as ways to heighten awareness and visibility of this issue among the community-at-large.  It was suggested that Dr. Paludi’s explanatory letter to all first-grade parents be sent home with all students at HPS. 

Ms. McCann also stated that stress and exclusion are often felt by the allergic child, and that developmentally for 6-9 year olds, peer acceptance is very important.  For these reasons, (in addition to the obvious safety concerns), Ms. McCann is asking the HSB to minimize potential peanut contact by increasing education among the school community.  She, like the Repps, is not asking for a ban on peanut products.  She stated that research supports avoidance and handwashing as the two cornerstones for providing a safe environment.  It is her hope that by increasing awareness and understanding that people will choose to send non-peanut snacks and lunches.  She would also like to see a handwashing policy implemented.

It was then mentioned by Carol Thibaudeau that HPS and HUES are sending a group of staff members to a conference at Pat’s Peak on October 28th concerning, among other things, food allergies.  It was mentioned that the Repps and McCanns would be welcome to attend as well. 

Rich Pike suggested revisiting this at the November HSB meeting after the HPS & HUES teams return from the conference, and after the HSB has had time to review the various printed materials provided.

At this point, Lee Barnard and four members of the public left the meeting.

 

9:52  Tom Enright and Steve Simons of the Hollis-Brookline Coop School Board joined the meeting to discuss the Farley Building.

Mr. Enright stated that there are two areas that need to be discussed by the HSB and the Coop SB:

1.     Future use of the Farley Building:  Mr. Enright stated that the H/B Coop will not use the Farley building as classrooms anymore, but would like to use it for other educational uses, if the HSB doesn’t want it back.  Ms. Moynihan stated that the town of Hollis has expressed an interest in the Farley Building.  Mr. Cleveland added that the Planning Board, Historic District Commission, Town Clerk’s Office, ZBA, etc may all have uses for the space.  Ms. Moynihan then stated that the HSB has not formed a plan for the Farley Building, as that seemed premature, since the Coop is still using it at this time.  Mr. Enright asked the HSB to give the H/B Coop Board until the end of the calendar year to work with the HBMS and HBHS principals and the superintendent to devise a future plan.  LeeAnn Blastos has information on the operating costs of Farley, for anyone that is interested.

(At this point, Ms. Moynihan left the meeting.)

2.      Boundary and parking lot issues:  Mr. Simons stated that the H/B Coop has money under their bond to create parking between HBMS & the Farley Bldg, but the bond money can’t be used on leased land, which the land currently is.  Using the blueprint of the area, Mr. Enright explained that there are four separate tax lots and deeds involved:  the HBMS building, the Farley building, the proposed parking lot area, and an area to the west of the proposed parking area.  Mr. Enright asked the HSB to consider deeding the parking lot land to the H/B Coop with the same reversion terms as with the HBMS building.  Ms. deLacy stated that the HSB feels it is not in the best interest of the town and taxpayers of Hollis to do so.

Mr. Simons stated that the state of NH would provide 40% of the funding for the parking project if done within one year of “substantial completion” of the middle school renovation.  He also stated that a decision on paving was needed by spring and that it would be an issue for Town Meeting in March.

Jennifer MacLeod asked about the specific terms of legal arrangement for reversion, stating her concern that if the HSB deeds the land now, the HSB (or Town of Hollis) shouldn’t have to pay to get it back during the reversion process.  Mr. Simons and Mr. Enright suggested discussing this with legal counsel.

Ms. deLacy recommended that the HSB discuss this issue when all 5 members are present.  The HSB will add this item to their November agenda.

Ms. deLacy brought up the topic of having a SRO (Security Resource Officer?) to be shared among the districts.  She stated that the HSB may only wish to have an SRO for about 3 hours per week, but would like to work with the Coop Board and the selectmen to implement.

After brief discussion on this topic, Mr. Enright and Mr. Simons left the meeting.

 

10:33 Approval of Minutes

Mr. Cleveland made a motion to accept the minutes of 9/15/05 and 9/27/05
Ms. MacLeod seconded the motion.  The motion passed, 3-0.

 

10:34  Correspondence

·         Copies of Lin Westberg’s letter regarding the Farley Building will be made and put into HSB members’ mailboxes.  The letter was just received this morning, and as such, has not been reviewed yet.  The letter will be discussed at the November meeting.

·         Mr. Pike stated that he received correspondence from a family relocating from Texas to Hollis.  They have a first-grader and a second-grader who will enroll shortly.

·         Correspondence received from a Hollis family praising the Hollis Integrated Preschool Program and our outstanding Special Education staff.

·         Correspondence received from Carolyn Byam this morning.  Copies will be made and put into HSB members’ mailboxes and discussed at the November meeting.

·         Correspondence received from Lisa McCann praising Dr. Paludi, Ellen Lenscak, Lee Barnard, and the kindergarten staff for their cooperation and actions regarding her daughter’s food allergy.

·         Correspondence received from Dr. James Martin regarding his concerns with peanut allergy policy issues at HPS.

·         Correspondence received from 5th grade teacher Ofelia El Fakih requesting maternity leave.  Her estimated last day will be December 16, 2005; her estimated return date will be March 13, 2006.

Ms. MacLeod made a motion to grant the requested maternity leave with congratulations to Ms. El Fakih.  Mr. Cleveland seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

 

10:45  Business Administrator’s report-  LeeAnn Blastos

·         Budgets will be distributed at the next HSB meeting on November 10th.

·         LeeAnn distributed the expenditure report.

·         The audit is coming; LeeAnn will ask Bob Sanderson to present at our November Board meeting.

·         LeeAnn received a maternity leave request from our Food Services Manager, Amy Cassidy, whose baby is due in February 2006.

·         LeeAnn initiated a discussion of the Town Recreation Dept’s facilities requests and usage.  Ms. Moynihan and Ms. deLacy will examine the usage and look into the possibility of a fee assessment.  It was mentioned that there have been past issues with misuse/lack of supervision, which can be problematic and time-consuming for the custodial staff.  The HSB agreed that there needs to be accountability for any after-hours misuse, with possible fines.  The HSB will possibly invite Kevin MacDonald to attend the next HSB meeting to discuss this at length with him.  In the meantime, Carol Thibaudeau will design an incident report form and distribute it to HUES custodians.

 

11:07  HPS Parking Update – Doug Cleveland

The latest quotes for this project include $6,100 from Alan Thibodeau and $6,070 from Amos White.  Mr. Cleveland is still awaiting a third quote from Hollis Construction.  Mr. Cleveland stated that Amos White can start next week.  Ms. Blastos stated that because it’s a safety issue, the funds can come out of contingency.

Ms. MacLeod made a motion to allocate $6,070 to hire Amos White to pave additional parking spaces at HPS.  Mr. Cleveland seconded the motion. The motion passed, 3-0.

 

11:18  Misc. Issues Update – LeeAnn Blastos

·         A new compressor was purchased for $1900; it is for the HPS computer room’s AC unit.

·         The HPS roof is fine (no leaks); it may be a flashing issue.

·         Atty Drescher is working with LeeAnn on the HPS boiler issue.

·         One HUES classroom has been tiled, due to a 504 Plan issue

·         Energy assessments have been done for both HPS and HUES by principals, building maintenance supervisors, and Ms. MacLeod.  Some areas of improvement were discovered, but on the whole, our maintenance staff has been quite proactive in this area.  The single greatest potential savings would come from lowering the temperatures in each building by 3-5 degrees, as the thermostats are now set at 68-72 degrees.  It was noted that the temperature is quite warm in some areas; several children are still wearing t-shirts (and shorts!), and on any given day, several classroom windows are open.  With proper advance communication to parents regarding dressing their children in layers, it was felt that building temperatures could be set lower.  Mr. Cleveland stated that he was aware the Amherst school district is already doing this and has instructed their students to dress more warmly for school.  Ms. MacLeod will draft a letter to parents regarding energy conservation plans, specifically lowering the temperature in both buildings by a few degrees.

 

11:28  HPS Report – Gail Paludi

·         Preschool is going very well.

·         Lots of positive feedback on the Tufts Writers’ Workshop from staff.

·         Sample report cards went out.  Feedback from parents has been positive thus far.

·         Gail has a candidate, Jay Jobin, to replace Amy Young during her maternity leave.  She has a Master’s Degree from UNH and several years of experience teaching kindergarten.  Ms. Jobin is currently working as an assistant in kindergarten and has been well-received by kids, staff, and parents alike.  Gail also stated her references are excellent. 

Ms. MacLeod made a motion to offer Jay Jobin the interim position of long-term substitute for Amy Young from approximately February 1, 2006 through the end of the school year.  Mr. Cleveland seconded the motion.  The motion passed 3-0.

 

·         Parents’ Night was very well –attended, as always.

·         HPS received the Blue Ribbon Award for volunteers again this year.  Thanks, volunteers!

11:36  HUES Report – Carol Thibaudeau

·         Meg Bamford has done a tremendous job with the Summer Literacy Program and has many ideas already for next year. 

·         Brenda Arel Nickerson has brought the Stock Market Challenge to HUES and it has already generated a lot of excitement among students and staff.

·         The National Geographic Geography Bee is returning to HUES for the first time in about 8 years.  It will begin in January.

·         Thanks to Tammy Campbell and Dr. Lyford for bringing the EMT Tooth Saver system to HUES.

·         The HSB will revisit Terra Nova testing vs NECAP testing in the spring once NECAP results are received.  Decision must be made whether to continue Terra Nova or not by June, as that’s when materials must be ordered by.

·         J. Lawrence Hall firm did an assessment of the possible mold/mildew issue at HUES and found that there is absolutely no problem with mold or mildew.  The full report is available in Carol’s office for anyone who wishes to review it.

 

11:52 HPS 2006-2007 Budget Overview – Gail Paludi

·         Request for an additional .5 RN position

·         Request to add another SpEd professional.  In the past we’ve brought in per diem help (e.g. for testing periods).

·         Printer upgrades needed

·         Outdoor PA system needed for emergency situations and other communications

·         Fire extinguisher upgrades needed

·         New window needed for Room 100.

 

12:00 HUES 2206-2007 Budget Overview – Carol Thibaudeau

·         No new staff or programs needed; facilities maintenance account will be the area of increase

o        Carpet replacement

o        Skylights in media center need work

o        Retaining wall by school entrance needs work

 

12:06  Old Business- Policy Review

Mr. Cleveland made a motion to approve policies G. H & I subject to the HSB revisions previously submitted to Kathy O’Sullivan.  Ms. MacLeod seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

 

12:08  Future Agenda Items

·         On December 8, 2005 Susan Astone and Linda Walsh will make a presentation to the HSB regarding the Sitton Spelling Program. 

·         Ms. deLacy will discuss with Chair Haytayan and Vice-Chair Moynihan the possibility of meeting during the day from now on, as opposed to alternating day and night meetings.  It was noted that parent attendance is higher during our day meetings; during the evening virtually no parents or members of the public attend.  Also, meeting during the day would be more respectful of the principals’ and SAU office staff’s time.  Furthermore, it would also be more energy efficient, as the building would not have to be heated and lit after school hours.  If possible, this proposal will go into effect in November.

Ms. MacLeod made the motion to hold all future HSB meetings during daytime hours.  Mr. Cleveland seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

 

12:33   Mr. Cleveland made the motion to adjourn.  Ms. MacLeod seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

Meeting adjourned.

 

Next SAU Board Meeting    -  Nov. 9th at 7pm

Next HSB Board Meeting    -  Nov. 10th at 9am.