SAU Board Meeting

HBMS Multi-Purpose Room

September 15, 2008


Jim McCann, SAU Board Chair

Susan Benz, HSB

William Beauregard, HSB

Tom Enright, H/B Coop

Marcia Farwell, BSB

Wanda Meagher, BSB

Dave Partridge, BSB

Steve Simons, H/B Coop

Tom Solon, H/B Coop

Maura Loftus, HSB

Jim Murphy, BSB

Fred Hubert, H/B Coop

James O’Shea, H/B Coop

Janice Tremblay, H/B Coop

Dan Peterson, H/B Coop (arrived at 7:15 PM)


Susan Hodgdon, Superintendent of Schools

Bob Kelly, Director of Special Education

Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum

Rich Raymond, Network Administrator


Jim McCann called the meeting to order at 6:08 pm


Chair McCann asked if there were items to be added to the prepared agenda.  Wanda Meagher asked that we add a discussion on bus transportation issues as a follow-up to the June 23, 2008 meeting. 


Superintendent Hodgdon announced the resignation of Board Recording Secretary, Mary Kay MacFarlane.  Marcia Farwell made a motion to accept the resignation; Dave Partridge seconded the motion.  Motion carried 14-0-0


Superintendent Hodgdon informed the Board that applications for the open position had been received and reviewed.  Interviews of the final candidates are scheduled for this week.  All finalists are well qualified.  The hourly rate of pay that the SAU currently pays for this position, however, is lower than what was indicated by the applicants.  Supt Hodgdon requested that the Board approve a not-to-exceed $15.00/hour rate, reflecting an increase from the present $11.50/hour.  Bill Beauregard made a motion to set the rate at $15/hour; Susan Benz seconded the motion.  The motion carried 11-2-1.  The Board asked Supt Hodgdon to make an effort to negotiate an amount lower than $15 if possible.  However, the important task at hand is to fill the position with a qualified candidate as quickly as possible. 

Superintendent Hodgdon presented a request for compensation for ten unused vacation days received from Bob Kelly.  Per contract, compensation can be paid at one-half day’s pay per unused vacation day.  A motion was made by Bill Beauregard and seconded by Fred Hubert to approve the request.  Motion carried 13-0-1


Superintendent Hodgdon recommended awarding a one-year contract to Kelly Seeley to fill the vacant position of Assistant Business Administrator.  The candidate is from Merrimack, NH and brings extensive experience to the position.  The annual salary for the position will be $53,000.  Ms Seeley will be paid $40,816.09 for the remainder of the 2008-2009 year with benefits to match the existing 90/10 split that other administrative employees are receiving.  Bill Beauregard made a motion to award the contract as proposed; Steve Simons seconded the motion.  Motion carried 14-0-0. 


The minutes from the June 23, 2008 meeting were discussed.  Several questions were asked:

  1. Wanda Meagher asked about the legal follow-up related to the Memorandum of Understanding for the Professional Growth Model.  Tom Enright had not discussed his concerns with legal counsel.  It was agreed that disclaimer language needed to be added to the MOU prior to signing in order to avoid any possibility of the union influencing the Professional Growth Model.  Supt Hodgdon will follow up on this language so that the signing can take place at the November meeting. 
  2. Wanda Meagher asked about the status of bus route software.  Supt Hodgdon will follow up with Dawna Duhamel as to status.
  3. Dave Partridge asked about progress on upgrading school buses for bio-diesel fuel using the $150,000 grant money.  This information will also need to come from Dawna Duhamel.


Marcia Farwell motioned to accept the minutes for the June 23, 2008 meeting; Dave Partridge seconded.  Motion carried 9 yes, 0 no, 5 abstentions.


A motion was made by Marcia Farwell to accept the minutes of the June 23, 2008 non-public meeting.  Susan Benz seconded the motion.  The motion carried by a vote of 9 yes, 0 no, 5 abstentions. 


Chair McCann called for nominations to fill the Vice Chair position for this Board, created by the resignation of Cyndi Ryherd.  Tom Solon nominated Jim Murphy; Wanda Meagher seconded the nomination.  The vote was unanimous: 14-0-0.


Chair McCann provided a brief overview about the lunch held with Superintendent Hodgdon and chairs of the district boards.  These meetings are designed to discuss strategies related to district issues, but no final decisions are reached.  The next luncheon is scheduled for October.







Administrator Reports


Network Administrator


Rich Raymond provided an update on the Student Information System.  We recognize the system needs to provide demographics, grade reporting K-12, ability to store all the SAU’s data, State reporting capability, a parent portal, online registration by students for classes, and data conversion capabilities.  Rich and his committee have narrowed the search to three systems:

            Infinite Campus

            Power School



Preliminary quotes have been obtained and they provide a wide range of pricing.  Rich will be talking to other communities that are using these systems.  The committee will have its recommendation and budget numbers for the November meeting. 


Rich also noted that he would be recommending installation of a new high-power server with an approximate cost of $10K.   The goal is to provide processing speed and capability to run the new software system.


Fred Hubert asked whether the current system could be upgraded to meet our needs.  Rich explained that the current system is no longer supported so that option is not being considered.


Rich reported that the fiber system is performing as expected and doing everything it’s intended to do.  A recent incident of interruption of service was addressed in a timely manner and the SAU is more than satisfied with the level of service. 


Business Administrator


Superintendent Hodgdon presented the Business Administrator report.


  1. The SAU has locked in the heating oil price for the 2008-2009 season at $3.49 per gallon.  Anticipated budget overruns based on anticipated usage at this price were provided to the board.


  1. Several areas within the FY2008 budget experienced cost overruns.  These included the Superintendent Search; contracted services (legal); office equipment (telephone system); heating oil; and audit services (extra cost related to fixed assets appraisal).  Chair McCann requested that Dawna provide clarification on overrun items.  Several board members expressed concern about budget growth from year to year and then subsequent overspending of those increased budgets. 


Superintendent Hodgdon asked for comments from the board to provide guidance as the Business Administrator begins to work on the FY10 budget.  Comments were as follows:

Ø      Keep spending in check

Ø      Greater fiscal responsibility

Ø      Professional Development costs need to be properly budgeted

Ø      Health care costs – the SAU needs to explore options for savings through plans that encourage healthy employees, self-insurance, higher deductibles

Ø      Keep budget lines (except salaries) as near to zero increase as possible

Ø      Salaries should stay at 3 per cent, no higher

Ø      Student Information System costs should be budgeted at the district level rather than the SAU level


A tentative date of November 6, 2008 was set for the next SAU Board meeting.  Chair McCann will confirm to all members.  Jim Murphy asked that information related to schedules be provided as soon as possible, rather than at the last minute.  Tom Solon requested that information, documents, and reports for a meeting be distributed to the Board in time for proper review.  Ideally, this would be a week or more before the meeting. 


Bill Beauregard expressed concern about the wording for the SAU lease.  Discussion followed on the responsibility for funding the cost of emergency repairs to the building.  The lease needs to be reviewed with language being clarified and changed as necessary.  Dawna Duhamel is to update the language and return to the Board in November for a final vote. 


Director of Special Education (SPED)


Bob Kelly gave the report on special education.


  1. Requests for reimbursement may be under funded this year by the State.  Medicaid Reimbursement numbers for FY08 won’t be available until November.  Projected Catastrophic Aid for 2008/2009 is subject to DOE review and available funding – information is generally received in January, making it difficult to provide dependable information for budgeting purposes. 
  2. Bob provided a copy of the Consent for Release of Information form that is being used to gather information pertinent to students in the Special Education program.  Discussion about the language on the form resulted in suggestions for editing language in the first paragraph.  The second and third sentences will now read: 

“This initiative simply helps us offset some of the costs of special education and reduce the local property tax.  The information you provide by completing this consent form will only be used for the purposes identified.”

Tom Solon suggested that the form be printed on colored stock, rather than white.  This would provide a means of tracking the return of the form by referring to its color; i.e., have you completed the “pink” form that you received.


  1. Bob provided a handout that summarized NH IDEIA Statutory and Regulatory Updates:

Ø      HB766 signed by Governor 7/9/2008 to extensively amend RSA186-C, NH Special Education Statute.  Effective date:  1/1/2009

Ø      NH DOE Amended their “New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities”.  Effective date:  6/30/2008

Ø      Required to adopt a written policy for Identification Procedures Regarding Specific Learning Disabilities.  A copy of the proposed procedures was provided.  This is a working document, but Bob intends to finalize it by October 2008. 

Ø      End of School Year (ESY) Eligibility Criteria and Programming have been amended. 


Bob expressed concern about changes to ESY and Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and how they will affect our budget numbers.  A presentation on September 18, 2008 at the HBMS Library will address SAU 41 Professional Staff Power Point In-service Review of Regulatory and Statutory 2008 Updates. 


Superintendent Report


Superintendent Hodgdon addressed the following issues:

1.      The Fossil-Free Schools (PROGRESS) initiative is very early in the process and still exploring options.  There is an Academic Advisory Council and potential curriculum issues that may arise. 

2.      The SAU Administrative staff have been working to provide information in response to several budget committee requests.  While there is a 10-year history requested, information older than three years is difficult to access.  A typical inquiry related to data on costs for a foreign language program. 

3.      A Commissioners’ Meeting was held on 9/12/08.  There may be up to a $250 million shortfall this year, which will seriously affect catastrophic aid funding. 

4.      Presentation of the NESDEC study and a discussion of the three recommendations contained in the report:

Ø      The SAU 41 School Board create a new full-time Assistant Director of Special Education position.

Ø      The SAU 41 School Board create a part-time Preschool Special Education Coordinator position in Brookline.

Ø      District Principals and SAU 41 administration, including the Director of Special Education, participate in regularly scheduled collaborative planning sessions. 


Questions included:  What can we do with current FY monies to address the recommendations?  What are the budget implications for FY10.  How can we address the third recommendation, given that schedules and time constraints are already a burden for administrators?    What is the timeline for providing evaluation and plans to address issues in the report?  What is the planned approach to involve all persons mentioned in the report? 



Comments from Board members:

Ø      Wanda Meagher stated that accurate job descriptions are necessary

Ø      Dan Peterson stated that the current form is cumbersome, wasting valuable time and resources.  Can we use technology to gather information, thus freeing up time for other activities? 

Ø      Bob Kelly responded that efforts continue to be made to lobby for a better, more efficient system.

Ø      Tom Solon commented that job descriptions are the cornerstone.  We need to summarize the tasks to be accomplished in each district.  Building administrators need to be included in working meetings.

Ø      James O'Shea asked whether there should be further discussion about the merits of an SAU-level Assistant Director of Special Ed versus a Director of Special Ed at each school district who reports to the SAU Director of Special Ed; and that he would be more comfortable with adding administration in Special Ed at the district level, rather than at the SAU level.

Ø      Bill Beauregard expressed concern that the system doesn’t scale.  The program is increasing but technology isn’t keeping up.  The proposed solution isn’t the answer, but is just a “band-aid”.  We need to think out of the box.  Can we be more pro-active in providing services and avoid fighting fires and litigation?

Ø      Tom Solon stated that he is not comfortable with the recommendations, based on questions and discussion conducted by NESDEC. 

Mr. O’Shea provided the following amendment to the minutes:


Page 6, under "Comments from Board Members," the fifth bullet should read "James O'Shea asked whether there should be further discussion about the merits of an SAU-level Assistant Director of Special Ed versus a Director of Special Ed at each school district who reports to the SAU Director of Special Ed; and that he would be more comfortable with adding administration in Special Ed at the district level, rather than at the SAU level."


Director of Curriculum Report


Carol Mace briefly discussed issues presented in her report.


1.      SAU 41 is moving ahead with the implementation phase of the Professional Growth Model.  Two full days of leadership training were held on August 13 and 14, which provided an in-depth review of the Framework and its relation to the SAU’s new model.  Two additional days of leadership training as well as two additional days of teacher training are planned, to provide additional support and the opportunity for a mid-year reflection and an end-of-year review.  A Professional Growth Committee is being organized.  Tom Enright will represent the SAU on this committee. 

2.      In June, Carol reported to the SAU Board on progress toward completing common K-12 web-based curriculum templates for each content area.  Carol reported that a number of summer curriculum projects across a variety of content areas have moved the SAU closer to its goal.  Contributors were recognized as follows:

Ø      Language Arts: HBHS teacher Heidi Foster completed the Basics of Writing course curriculum template

Ø      Mathematics: HBMS teachers Rosemary Mezzocchi and Teresa Rossetti completed the grade eight Math curriculum template

Ø      Social Studies: HUES teacher Karen Fischer completed the grade six Social Studies curriculum template

Ø      Science: HBHS teachers Dave Bond and Patti Smith completed the grade eight Science curriculum template.  HBHS teacher John Boucher completed the Physics and Honors Physics course curriculum templates

Ø      Technology: HBHS teacher Sue Hay completed the Robotics 1 & 2 and Digital Electronics course curriculum templates

Ø      Language Arts:  HUES teachers Sarah Proulx, Penny Currier, and Greg Ashley created a writing resource binder.  HBMS teachers Claudia Dufresne, Steve Capraro, and Karyn Coutu developed a Literacy Action Plan

Ø      Mathematics:  A multi-district task committee with representatives from Hollis, Brookline, and the Coop, completed an in-depth Math curriculum research project for the Hollis School District.  The report, which will be presented at the October Hollis Board meeting, has implications for K-12 curriculum and instruction.  Carol will keep all Boards informed in the upcoming months.


Carol reported on her attendance at a three-day conference entitled Project Management for Everyone.  The program was quite beneficial and Carol will be attending an additional sixteen days of training for a more in-depth look at various components of this management process.  She noted that there is no cost to the SAU for this training, as it is part of a Hudson School District initiative. 


Facilities/COOP Study Update


Jim Murphy reported that a public meeting is scheduled for September 24 at 7:00 PM at HBMS related to existing legislation on the dissolution of Coop districts.  All current state representatives and candidates for state positions have been invited to attend. 


Tom Enright noted that the H/B Coop Board will meet at 5:00 p.m. on Sept 17 to review with legal counsel the following issues:

1.      The new Evergreen Statute and its effect on our contracts

2.      State statutes related to Coop dissolution and/or withdrawal

The one-hour meeting will be followed by the regularly scheduled H/B Coop Board meeting. 


Superintendent Hodgdon reviewed her proposed process for the Superintendent’s Goal Setting and Evaluation. 

Ø      The Superintendent will meet regularly throughout the year with representatives from each of the three districts.  Recommendations may be forthcoming from these meetings to the SAU Board

Ø      Goal setting will be in two phases for this year.  The Entry (July-October 2008) and 2008-09 Goals will be discussed, agreed upon by the Subcommittee and Superintendent, and presented to and agreed upon by the SAU Board at the November 2008 meeting

Ø      Ongoing (every 6-8 weeks) monitoring of progress towards goals  to provide feedback, midcourse corrections, if needed, and quarterly reports to the SAU Board

Ø      A summative evaluation will be completed in late April/early May with a reflection on work over the year and projections for the coming year.  The subcommittee will review the report and develop a narrative summative report to the full Board, along with its recommendations.    

Ø      The SAU Board takes final action on Superintendent Evaluation


Bill Beauregard motioned to adjourn; Fred Hubert seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.  Meeting adjourned at 9:35 PM. 










SAU Board Chair  _________________________________________       Date:  ______


Brookline Board Chair  _____________________________________      Date:  ______


Hollis Board Chair  ________________________________________       Date:  ______


H/B Coop Board Chair  _____________________________________      Date:  ______