Hollis School Board

Regular Meeting

February 12, 2007

Hollis Primary School

 

Bill Beauregard, Chairperson

Harry Haytayan

Jennifer MacLeod

James O'Shea, MD

Venu Rao, arrived at 6:10 p.m.

 

 

Richard Pike, Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Gail Paludi, Principal, Hollis Primary School

Carol Thibaudeau, Principal, Hollis Upper Elementary School

Mellinee Capasso, Business Administrator

Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Bob Kelly, Director of Special Education

Betsy A. Packard, Recording Secretary 

 

 

Others present included Jim Tilghman, Northwest Evaluation Association, and members of the Public.

 

Chairperson Bill Beauregard called the meeting to order at 6:06 p.m.

 

1.         FY08 BUDGET – FEBRUARY 15th PUBLIC HEARING PREPARATIONS

 

Chair. Beauregard informed the Board that the warrant and budget must be posted by March 7th.  He suggested that the Board might want a meeting after March 11th, if it is needed.  Chair. Beauregard stated that there would be no SB2 petition warrant article for the District Meeting this year.  The deadline to submit such a petition had come and gone.  Chair. Beauregard stated that he assumed that the Board would want a meeting after the Public Hearing in order to vote on the Hollis School District 2008 Proposed Budget.  The Board agreed.

 

Ms. Capasso stated that they needed to post the warrant and the budget by March 7th, but she wasn't sure if they perhaps only needed to take care of the MS27 forms.

 

Chair. Beauregard announced that the Board had held a workshop meeting on February 5th.  He added that Ms. Capasso had emailed a packet out that contained the following items:

 

·         Town Reports which included the Balance Sheet and the Statement of Revenues and Changes in Fund Balance for the year ended June 30th , and SPED Expenditures for the past two years.

·         A schedule of Warrant Article amounts

·         The Budget File which included a worksheet detailing Major Maintenance Increases and the budget summary which was reconciled to the Budget Committee guidance amount.

At the Feb 5th meeting, a packet was handed out containing the following reports:

·         HSD Budget Worksheets

·         MS27 Draft Version

 

 

Ms. Capasso stated that she had received a complete file, which included town reports, and was informational.

 

Sheet #1 is a balance sheet and will have the budget; however, it is not the complete budget.

 

Sheet #2 represents the way the DOE sets up the MS27 forms.  This just shows the first page of each form.  Ms.  Capasso explained that the MS27 forms are used to post the budget and once the budget is voted on by the voters, the forms are sent to the DOE.

 

Sheet #3 calculates a 10% increase.  Where there is no capital project this year, the 10% increase won't be necessary.  The voters could increase the budget by $1 million.

 

Sheet #4 is a document which is representative of everything done up to this point.

 

Mr. Haytayan asked if the maximum amount the budget could be raised is 10% of the recommended budget?  Ms. Capasso responded that the following items are excluded from the 10% that the budget can be increased by:

 

·         Principal and interest of bonds

·         Outlay

·         Mandatory assessments (District's portion of the SAU budget)

 

Mr. Haytayan stated that $1 million is not the maximum amount that the Board could request, but rather what the District can approve from the floor.  Ms. Capasso added that it could be a combination thereof.  That it is the maximum amount that the budget can grow.

 

Supt. Pike reminded the Board that Thursday's hearing was the Budget Committee's meeting, and wondered if the Board wanted a meeting afterwards.  Chair. Beauregard responded that they would.

 

2.         FY08 – FEBRUARY 15 PUBLIC HEARING PREPARATOINS

 

Chair. Beauregard gave the following explanation for the packet that was distributed:

 

Page 1 – A summary of the budget in the Budget Committee’s guideline formula.

 

Page 2 – A statement of major increases, with some back-up information.

               $301,901 is the actual sum of all increases for Special Education, or 2.76%.

               $273,022 is the actual increase for Salaries, or 2.71%

               $171,026 is the actual increase for Operations, or 1.70%

               $719,915 is the total increase for the Budget.

 

 

Page 3 – A statement of the Capital Renovations Plan, showing the Contingency for FY07, and how the funds will be distributed.

 

               Chair. Beauregard suggested that the Board request that Hutter Construction look over the maintenance budget, to verify if the numbers were reasonable.  He felt by getting Hutter’s input before the District Meeting, it would give substance to the numbers and would help them get the Contingency Trust passed.

 

               Dr. O’Shea agreed. 

 

               Mr. Rao asked how long it would take to set up a Contingency Trust.  Chair. Beauregard responded that they already had a warrant article set up for it, that they just needed to put in the numbers.  Mr. Rao agreed that Hutter should look at the numbers.

 

               Ms. MacLeod and Mr. Haytayan also agreed.

 

               Chair. Beauregard asked Ms. Capasso to contact Dave Lage at Hutter to look the numbers over.  Ms. Capasso asked if the Board wanted to set a “not to exceed” amount of $3,000 for the quotation.

 

James O’Shea moved that the Board direct the Business Administrator to seek a quote from Hutter Construction to firm up the numbers for contingency maintenance, with such quote not to exceed $3,000, and to be received in time for the March District Meeting.  Jennifer MacLeod seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  5 – 0 – 0.

 

Page 4 – A statement of Projected Enrollment for FY07/08.

 

Page 5 – A draft copy of the Hollis School District Warrant.

 

Chair. Beauregard stated that he did not remember discussing Article 9.  Supt. Pike responded that he put this Article in for the Board’s consideration.  He explained that it was like the Contingency Trust, but for unanticipated Special Education costs.  He added that Atty. Drescher had suggested it.

 

Mr. Kelly explained that Article 10 was to set up a fund to access future year’s CAT Aid.  He stated that this Article allows one to take out a loan this year against next year’s CAT Aid.  He pointed out that CAT Aid is given per case, and right now, their CAT Aid is low.  Mr. Kelly stated that the Board might want to transfer money to the Trust Fund if this Article is not passed.  By passing Article 10, if the District has some unreserved funds, they will then have a safety net.

 

Supt. Pike stated that Article 9 establishes a capital reserve fund, while Article 10 allows the money to be put into the capital reserve fund.

 

Mr. Haytayan asked how this would be presented to the voters.  Supt. Pike stated that Article 11 came from the work of the General Court.  The town of Nelson had the highest Special Education budget, while their operating budget was low.  Bill Reilly put forth a RSA to borrow money from the State to help pay for Catastrophic Aid.  If a district has a history of CAT Aid, then they can put some monies into this fund.

 

Mr. Haytayan stated that the presentation to the voters would then be based on historical data, not actual data.  Supt. Pike felt that it made sense to plan for catastrophic expenditures. 

 

Mr. Haytayan asked how they would present Articles 9 and 10 to the voters without specific amounts.  Supt. Pike responded that if the District has some unreserved funds at the end of June, they can then put some money in each account.

 

Mr. Haytayan asked if they would be able to come up with some figures that Mr. Kelly has identified without violating all sorts of laws.  Supt. Pike responded that the monies for the two funds would come from unexpended funds.

 

3.         OPEN FORUM

 

Michelle Repp, 47 Pine Hill Road, Hollis, thanked the Board for their work on the Life Threatening Allergies Procedures Manual, especially Jennifer MacLeod, for all the work she did.  She stated that she was disappointed in the policy itself, and felt that the policy should be presented with the procedures.  She added that she felt the Appendix on page 26 could be intimidating to parents who put their children in a nut-safe classroom.  She felt that they no longer needed to know all the different ingredients, because if a product is made with such an ingredient, it is now has a warning label.

 

Jim McCann, 15 Barton Road, Hollis, thanked the Board for getting the document in place.  He asked if the document was given to every potentially allergic child and family.   Dr. Paludi responded that that was the intent once it was finalized.  She added that currently, the nurse meets with the family and gives them the information, but families will be getting this document.  Mr. McCann felt that the document will help the families.  He also felt it was good to have a section stating what the bus company would be willing to do.  Dr. Paludi stated that there was a transportation section in the document; however, they needed to discuss it with the Ordes.

 

Mr. McCann pointed out that the title of the document was “Life Threatening Allergies,” but he felt it was heavily weighted towards nuts and should be more generic.  Dr. Paludi pointed out that on page 13, they had changed the wording to “food allergies.”

 

 

Regina McCalmont, Richardson Road, Hollis, stated that she had asked her son if he would like her to mention anything at the Board meeting, and he had asked that the Board look into helping the advanced/motivated learners.  He felt that a lot of attention was given to Special Education students, but not so for the advanced students.

 

4.         LIFE THREATENING ALLERGY POLICY – Second Reading and Vote

 

Chair. Beauregard stated that the Life Threatening Allergy Policy had had its first reading on November 8, 2006 and was now ready for its second reading.   Chair. Beauregard then read the following:

 

Hollis School Board

Life-Threatening Allergy Policy JLJ

 

The Hollis School District is committed to ensuring that all parties to the education process work together collaboratively and respectfully to maintain the health and safety of children who have life-threatening allergies in ways that are developmentally appropriate, promote self-advocacy and competence in self-care, and provide appropriate educational opportunities.

 

The health, social normalcy and safety needs of the affected student will be balanced along with the education, health and safety needs of all students.

 

 

James O’Shea moved that the Board accept Policy JLJ, Life-Threatening Food Allergy, as written.  Venu Rao seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  5- 0 – 0.

 

 

Mr. Rao stated that the procedures seemed to put the responsibility of the child’s safety from food allergens while riding on the bus onto the parents.  He questioned how the parent could be responsible.  He felt that the bus driver needed to be trained.  Chair. Beauregard added that the bus driver is up front driving the bus and could not be watching a child with such allergies who is sitting in the back.  Dr. Paludi responded that children with food allergies have preferential seating on the bus, and sit close to the bus driver.  Mr. Rao stated that the policy doesn’t say this.  Dr. Paludi added that it is in the child’s 504 Plan.  Mr. Kelly added that there is language in the contract that a bus driver must come to the school to review such cases.  He added that the bus drivers have to be available for any training that the school district says they need.

 

Chair. Beauregard asked how parents are made aware of District policies.  He added that he knew they were on the website, but wondered if the policies were available in hard copy.  Supt. Pike responded that if one goes to the website and clicks on Hollis they will find the link.  He felt it was costly to provide hard copies.  He stated that they could remind parents that the policies are on the website through newsletters and PTSA meetings.

 

Ms. MacLeod felt that the procedures were great and that they were on their way to having a solid document.  Chair. Beauregard stated that he had gone through a Connecticut policy guideline on this issue and compared the two.

 

Ms. MacLeod pointed out that on Page 4 it talked about a nut-free/allergen-free area in the cafeteria.  She suggested that volunteers be aware of the area, and added that it wasn’t in the procedures.  She felt that since there were so many cafeteria volunteers that there should be training for them.  Dr. Paludi stated that she would make note of that and look into it.

 

5.         NORTHWEST EVALUATION ASSOCIATION

 

Chair. Beauregard introduced Jim Tilghman of Northwest Evaluation Association, who came there to give a presentation on the NWEA Student Evaluation Testing.  Chair. Beauregard informed the Board that they were piloting grades 2 and 5 with these tests.

 

Mr. Tilghman stated that he had met with many teachers that afternoon to explain the NWEA tests.  He explained that NWEA tests were a Measure of Academic Progress (MAP).  The tests are untimed computerized exams, where the data results are downloaded from a server, then sent to NWEA.  Mr. Tilghman reported that there are 105 districts licensed in New Hampshire, with 2500 across the country. 

 

Mr. Tilghman stated that he asked the staff that afternoon what they would like to gain from the tests, and there answers were similar to those asked around the country, such as:

 

·         Prompt turn around

·         Monitor growth

·         Appropriate for each student

·         Aligned with State standards

·         Gives useable data

·         Curriculum/program evaluation

·         Community understands the data

 

Mr. Tilghman pointed out that one does not get these types of things from state/standardized tests.

 

Mr. Tilghman explained that the tests adjust to each student who takes it.  The test starts out with the NH State standards.  For instance, if testing a 5th grader, questions will be pulled from 2nd grade to 9th grade to determine what level the student is at.   The student starts off with a middle of the road norm question.  If he/she answers it correctly, the test jumps to a higher-level question.  If the student misses the next question, then the test will drop down a level.   Mr. Tilghman explained that the NWEA tests looks for the student’s instructional level, not what he/she has mastered, but rather, what he/she is ready to learn.  Mr. Tilghman stated that the tests rotate through skills, such as computation, measurement, problem solving, geometry, and algebra in mathematics.  There is nothing that lets the student know if he/she got the question right or wrong, the test just goes to the next question.  A three-digit number represents the student’s level of achievement, that is, what level he/she is at.  As soon as the student finishes the test, the teacher and student sees the score.  The total score, along with area scores (math, reading, language usage) is shown.  Area scores are given in ranges.

 

Mr. Tilghman pointed out that the NWEA tests test each student’s level.  Other tests show the grade level skill that the student has mastered, but don’t know how far the student could go.

 

Features of the NWEA tests are:

 

·         It’s not a timed test

·         State aligned

·         Can be given up to 4 times/year

·         Immediate results

·         Accurate data

 

Supt. Pike questioned after a student had taken the test the first time and receives a score, where do they start the next time.  Mr. Tilghman responded that the student would start where they left off.

 

Mr. Tilghman explained the RIT Scale (Rasch Unit) – the 3-digit score.  The RIT Scale is divided into equal intervals and is independent of grade level.

 

Mr. Kelly asked if there were accommodations for Special Education students with reading disabilities.  Mr. Tilghman responded that the tests can be read to the student, and any student can ask about any word on the math and science tests.

 

Mr. Tilghman stated that the test’s norms are redone every 3 years, not every 10 years.  It includes everyone who takes the NWEA tests (2.3 million students across the country).  There is an option to compare to norm schools equivalent to their own school.  The test results will match schools with the same demographics, even though it is a national group.  One can find out what the median and mean scores are.

 

Mr. Tilghman stated that standardized tests shows a student performing like an 8th grader taking a 5th grade test.  The NWEA tests show a 5th grader performing at an 8th grade level.

 

Mr. Haytayan asked if an administrator could see and compare scores by teacher.  Mr. Tilghman responded that an administrator could see scores by grades, class, and teacher.

 

Mr. Tilghman then explained several of the different reports that a teacher receives.  He also explained Lexile Scores, which places readers and text on the same scale, and DesCartes, which orders skills and concepts by achievement level.

 

Mr. Haytayan asked what kind of access parents had to test results.  Mr. Tilghman responded that parents cannot get into the website.  Mr. Haytayan felt that the DesCartes would be useful for parents.  Mr. Tilghman responded that teachers can print off the DesCartes information and give it to parents.  The parent’s report, which is printed out by the teacher, gives a history of scores for every test that the student has taken with NWEA. 

 

Mr. Haytayan asked if any other districts were using these tests.  Ms. Mace reported that Brookline was using them for 2nd and 5th grades.  Mr. Haytayan asked if the Coop was using them. Ms. Mace stated that they had planned to use them in the coming year, but they were cut from the proposed budget.

 

Mr. Kelly stated that he had talked with his peers who have been using the tests, and he got a good response.

 

Mr. Tilghman explained that the Lexile scores show what level of books are good for a student’s independent reading.  He added that parents can go to www.lexile.com and type in the title of a book to see what the Lexile level is.  He added that if a book is not listed, some of its text can be scanned in and it will tell you what the Lexile level is.  This is good for books, magazines and textbooks.  He pointed out that Lexile is only a reading level score.

 

Mr. Tilghman stated that the teachers wanted to know if the tests would help them understand if a student is on the path for NECAPS.  He pointed out that the NECAPS have four proficiency levels.  The NWEA tests will test a student and show what level of proficiency they should be at. 

 

Mr. Tilghman explained that NWEA gives training, and that the NWEA tests cannot be administered unless there has been training.  They also have online training.

 

Dr. O’Shea asked how long it takes to administer the tests.  Mr. Tilghman responded that it takes 3 hours for 3 tests, and that there was an optional 4th test.  He added that all students could be tested in the fall and spring, and other could be tested 4 times a year. 

 

Ms. MacLeod asked what percentage of customers continue with the tests.  Mr. Tilghman responded that 97.5% continue.  Most drop out due to cost.  Ms. MacLeod asked if the first year was the mostly costly.  Mr. Tilghman explained that it was due to the training.

 

Dr. O’Shea asked how would they know if NWEA will still be around in 5 years.  Mr. Tilghman responded that the company had been in business for 30 years, with paper and pencil, but the concept was the same.  They started in Oregon, then they went into Illinois, where it spread from there.  He added that the test are getting very popular in New Hampshire, with the following schools being a few that are using the tests:  Bedford, Milford, Amherst and Peterborough.

 

Mr. Kelly asked what amount of Research and Design does the company do.  Mr. Tilghman responded that the company is always working on improvement.

 

Ms. Mace advised the Board that they should start slowly in administering the tests.  She added that the cost is $6.75 per student and that the training ($3550) would be split with Brookline.

 

Mr. Haytayan stated that he had been on the Board for 6 years and he felt that this was the most substantive thing he has seen in that time.  Mr. Tilghman pointed out that the test can be used to see how the District is doing once they have started.

 

Mr. Haytayan asked what funds had been budgeted for the tests.  Ms. Mace responded that they had budgeted $10,500 for students 2nd – 6th at $14.50 per student.  They also have budgeted for the second step of training (approximately $4,000) to be split with Brookline.

 

The Board thanked Mr. Tilghman for his presentation.

 

6.         PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS

 

Chair. Beauregard stated that he would like to table the Principals’ Reports if there was nothing crucial to address.

 

7.         SPECIAL EDUCATION REPORT

 

Chair. Beauregard stated that on Page 2 of the Special Education packet they had received that night showed the need for a School Psychologist position.  Mr. Kelly added that the report shows that the need for a school psychologist is not future based, but rather shows what the District had been spending on the budget for $62,000, which is conservative.

 

 

 

James O'Shea moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) reputation, inviting the Administrators, Ms. Mace and Ms. Capasso to stay.  Jennifer MacLeod seconded.  A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in the affirmative.  5 - 0 - 0.

 

The Board entered non-public session at 8:14 p.m.