HOLLIS SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

February 9, 2006

Doug Cleveland

Kathy de Lacy

Harry Haytayan

Jennifer MacLeod

Anita Moynihan

Rich Pike, Superintendent

Gail Paludi, HPS Principal

Carol Thibaudeau, HUES Principal

 

 

8:37am  Meeting called to order by Chair Haytayan

 

Mark Johnson, Ray Lindsey, and Melinda Willis from the Hollis Board of Selectmen were in attendance to discuss the status of the Farley Building.

 

Supt. Pike stated that he has met with Atty. Bill Drescher, Steve Simons of the HB CoOp Board, and Mr. Johnson about the Farley Building transfer.  Atty. Drescher advised that all three warrants will need to include “conveyance” in order for the property transfer to occur.

 

Mr. Johnson stated that the Hollis Board of Selectmen toured the Farley Building with Doug Cleveland of the HSB and Lorin Rydstrom of the Hollis Budget Committee three weeks ago.  He stated they were disappointed in the condition of the building (e.g. the roof, foundation, etc) and that it has not “been managed as a resource.”  He also stated that major water issues were noted.  Aside from the building structure, the other issue of concern is the status of the backlots.  Mr. Johnson stated the BOS is concerned about cutting off parking for the Farley Building by conveying the backlots to the Coop.  He stated the BOS is uncomfortable with the idea of the backlots going to the Coop and the Town only keeping the building.

 

Chair Haytayan raised the issue of the original intent of the grantor.  Mr. Johnson recommended Atty. Drescher research this for us to ensure that potential future town use of the property would be appropriate per the original deed restrictions, if any.

 

Melinda Willis then stated that the town has a definite need for the space; it is a question of whether the town residents recognize the need and are willing to pay for it by approving a bond.  She stated that the BOS is already in the process of applying for a grant to pay for an engineering study of the property, which would be done after June 30, 2006.  As for potential town uses for the building, she stated that the town desperately needs additional meeting space, that a portion of the building could be used as a senior center, and that the town clerk’s office could be moved there.  The town presently pays $17,000 per year renting space for the town clerk at the Hollis Village Marketplace.

 

A draft of the warrant article, prepared by Atty. Drescher, was distributed for Board review.  Mr. Cleveland stated that Atty. Drescher has drafted four warrant articles regarding the Farley property.

 

Mr. Cleveland, who is also a member of the Middle School Building Committee, then stated that the only outstanding part of the middle school renovation is the parking lot expansion.  The middle school would like to create 70-75 new parking spaces behind the Farley building in the space where the portables were.  This main parking lot would be on what is currently Hollis School District land (It would be Hollis town land if the HSB conveys the backlots to the town of Hollis along with the Farley Building.)  Mr. Cleveland stated that he feels the smart thing to do would be for the HSB to convey the two lots needed for the parking lot to the Coop so that the paving can be done and the Coop can receive 40% of the cost in building aid from the state.  He suggested including an easement whereby the parking lot could be used by the Town/Farley occupants.  He stated that only about 50% of the total land is needed for the parking lot, and that the town could retain the other 50%, which would include the leaching field and expansion land.  The Coop would get what they need for parking, plus the sliver of land that is actually positioned under a corner of the middle school building.

 

Jennifer MacLeod stated that she would like to see the Coop finish its paving project and receive the 40% building aid.  However, she stated concern that in the event that the Coop dissolves the Coop school district would charge the town market value on land the HSB conveyed for free.  Ms. Willis stated that the land, given its central location, carries considerable value.  Mr. Cleveland stated he thought there is no risk of that happening.  Chair Haytayan stated he would like a letter from Atty. Drescher stating that there is no risk to the Town. 

 

Ms. Moynihan and Ms. de Lacy each stated that they were in favor of conveying the backlots to the Town in addition to the Farley Building.  Ray Lindsey stated he feels the Town should receive the land and the building as well, with an easement to the Coop for the parking lot and the slice of land under the middle school.  Ms. Willis stated she would rather see an agreement than an easement for the parking area so that if the town needed to use the land for an annex in the future the Coop couldn’t sue the Town.

 

Chair Haytayan stated that he favors the HSB working with the BOS to allow immediate usage of the Farley building to meet immediate needs.  Ms. Willis stated that the BOS had considered a phased approach, but that after touring the building it was apparent that it is not even partially usable.  Supt. Pike stated that Fire Chief Towne stated that the Farley Building is not in move-in condition.  Mr. Johnson stated that the Farley Building must be emptied of all supplies and furniture and swept clean before the Town will begin work.  Chair Haytayan stated he would pass that along to the Coop School Board.

 

Chair Haytayan stated that the HSB needs further time to discuss and ensure that we cannot anticipate any long-range need for the Farley property.  Chair Haytayan also stated that if a grant for an engineering study isn’t available, the HSB will split the cost 50/50 with the Town of Hollis.

 

The selectmen left the meeting.

 

 

10:51 Open Forum

Chair Haytayan stated to the principals that the negotiated settlements with HEA (the teacher’s union) and HESSA (the support staff union) included relatively generous raises as well as some adjustments to the health insurance benefits that we feel the staff should be happy with.  The Hollis School Board was able to negotiate a step withholding provision, whereby step and track increases can be withheld at the discretion of the Superintendent. The HEA contract also includes a study committee to examine options for performance-based pay; this project is expected to yield recommendations in time for the next negotiations cycle, which will begin in October 2007.

Chair Haytayan emphasized that this study committee is not the same as the performance evaluation initiative the HSB hopes to undertake in the near future.  The performance evaluation subcommittee is an extra initiative on the part of the HSB and not part of any negotiated settlement.

Supt. Pike stated that he would like the evaluations subcommittee to be a Superintendent’s Committee, and would like Carol Mace, Curriculum Director, included.  Chair Haytayan stated he would like Ms. MacLeod, the building principals (or assistant principals), and former school board members such as Mr. Cleveland and/or Ms. de Lacy to be on the committee.  He stated that the charge of the committee would be “To study the current evaluation system and determine what, if any, improvements should be implemented to improve instruction and the learning experience.”

Ms. Moynihan stated that the HSB is bound to the SAU evaluation plan for at least two more years.  She also stated that Atty. Flygare has stated that the new employment law gives school boards more ability than before to handle employee performance issues.  Furthermore, she stated that she would like to see a specific evaluation item to encourage collaboration among teachers.

Ms. Moynihan made a motion to authorize Supt. Pike to create a committee to review the performance evaluation system and make recommendations to the HSB.  The Committee shall be composed of administrators, HSB members, former HSB members, and other personnel at the Superintendent’s discretion.  Ms. de Lacy seconded.  Motion passed 5-0.

 

10:10  Policies

The Board held a second reading of Section J.  Ms. Moynihan presented several edits she found.  Ms. Thibaudeau stated that she had several as well and would review her notes and report later during this meeting.  The Board agreed to move on to the first reading of Sections K & L.

 

Ms. de Lacy made a motion to accept the first reading of Sections K & L.  Mr. Cleveland seconded.  Motion passed, 5-0.

Mr. Cleveland stated that the second reading of K &L could be next Thursday, Feb 16th at the HSB meeting following the Budget Hearing.  There were questions raised regarding the dates of completion for previous first and second readings, as Kathy O’Sullivan’s dates differ from HSB recollection.  Ms. MacLeod will research with Doris Lindgren and past minutes to double-check dates for accuracy. 

 

Mr. Cleveland and Ms. MacLeod reported that the support staff job description project was nearly completed.  All existing job descriptions have been reviewed and updated with the building principals, edited, and then reviewed with representative staff members performing each individual job.  Ms. MacLeod stated that the only job description still outstanding was a modified Food Services Worker job description, as it was discovered during the review process that we needed to create a FSW/Clerical description to apply to one employee at HPS and one at HUES.  Food Services Manager Amy Cassidy is developing this. 

Ms. Moynihan made a motion to accept all support staff job description revisions with the exception of the Food Services Worker/Clerical description which is still outstanding.  Ms. de Lacy seconded.  Motion passed, 5-0. 

Mr. Cleveland distributed final copies to the principals and the HSB.

 

10:26 Enrollment/Staffing for 2006-07

Ms. Thibaudeau addressed the Board question regarding the status of Mrs. Nickerson.  She stated that Mrs. Miller is on a 1-year contract covering for Mrs. Nickerson in 4th grade this year, and that next year Mrs. Nickerson will return to her slot in 4th grade. 

 

Dr. Paludi is projecting for next year that HPS will need 4 kindergarten sections, 6 first grade sections, 6 second grade sections, and 6 third grade sections.  This year she has a total of 19 sections in Gr 1-3;  next year she will only need 18.  Furthermore, Dr. Paludi stated that second-grade teacher Carole Jackson will be retiring, Beth Cregan will be returning to HPS from her one-year computer position at HUES, and she has two staff members on one-year contracts this year.  With respect to the budget, she has budgeted for 19 teachers.  As always, the wild cards at HPS will be kindergarten and first grade enrollment figures.  Registration is already underway and will continue through summer.

 

Ms. Thibaudeau reported that at HUES next year she could operate with 6 teachers in each of the three grades as with this year.  Ms. MacLeod voiced concern that that would put class ratios in 4th and 5th grade at about 24 students per class, not including any additional enrollments.  Ms. Thibaudeau stated that HUES typically adds a net total of 15 students over the course of the summer, but it is impossible to predict if this will happen again and to which grades the students will enroll.  Ms. MacLeod stated concern that the educational experience is better for both students and teachers if the ratio is closer to 20 students per class than 24.  If HPS will be down one teacher next year, Ms. MacLeod would like to see that resource shifted to HUES, at a minimum.  Ms. MacLeod stated that she has personally heard from several fourth grade parents regarding class size this year, and feels parents would be strongly in favor of smaller classes next year.  Ms. Moynihan stated she does not feel it necessary to add an extra teacher, as a few years ago a class ratio of 25:1 existed.  Supt. Pike stated that his experience has been that it is not simply a numbers issue and that group dynamics are a big factor as well.  Dr. Paludi stated that this year’s fourth grade is an active group and could benefit from being split into 7 combinations instead of 6.  Ms. Thibaudeau stated that classroom space is also an issue.  A discussion of space needs at HUES ensued.

 

Chair Haytayan raised the possibility of keeping the Farley building as a HSD property and renting it to the town in the short term.  Should the school district eventually need additional classroom space, instead of needing a costly building addition, classroom space could be reconfigured at HPS and HUES and the Farley building could be used as an early learning center housing kindergarten and preschool.  The Board agreed to think this over and to revisit this issue at a future meeting.

 

Ms. de Lacy made a motion to increase the contingency amount in the 2006-07 budget to $100,000 and to reduce the HPS budget by the amount of one retiring teacher’s salary.  It is the intent of the HSB to have funds available in case another teacher is needed at HUES.  Ms. Moynihan seconded.  Motion passed, 5-0.

 

 

11:08  Ms. Thibaudeau made several suggested edits to several policies within Section J. 

Mr. Cleveland made a motion to adopt all changes to section J as presented.  Ms. Moynihan seconded.  Motion passed 5-0.

Ms. Moynihan will give the precise changes to Doris Lindgren so that they will be permanently edited.

 

11:15am Budget Discussion

Ms. Moynihan pointed out that all management salary increases have been budgeted at 5%, a 3.75% increase plus a 1.25% bonus.  (The bonus would be paid in the next fiscal year based on the base salary of the previous fiscal year.)  She stated that she feels this is unfair as it is higher than the raises all other employees will get.

Supt. Pike stated that this issue will be further discussed at the budget presentation preparation meeting next Tuesday morning.

Supt. Pike left the meeting.

 

11:19am  Ms. de Lacy made a motion to go into non-public session under RSA 91-A:3II(c).  Ms. MacLeod seconded.  Motion passed by roll call vote, 5-0.

 

11:39am  Ms. MacLeod made a motion to come out of non-public session.  Ms. Moynihan seconded.  Motion passed by roll call vote, 5-0.

 

11:40am  Ms. de Lacy gave a brief update of the status of the Student Resource Officer proposal.  There will be two warrant articles that will need to be passed in order for the program to be implemented, one on the Town warrant and one on the Co-Op School warrant.

Chair Haytayan left the meeting.

 

11:47am  Ms. Moynihan made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Ms. MacLeod seconded.  Motion passed 4-0.

Meeting adjourned.