APPROVED: June 13, 2006
May 9, 2006
Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Michael Dreyer, Chairperson
William Beauregard, Hollis School Board
Jennifer MacLeod, Hollis School Board
James O’Shea, Hollis School Board, arrived at 8:15 p.m.
Venu Rao, Hollis School Board
Beth Lukovits, Brookline School Board
Michael Molkentine, Brookline School Board
Betty Hall, Hollis Brookline Coop School Board
Pam Kirby, Hollis Brookline Coop School Board
Michelle Mosca, Hollis Brookline Coop School Board
James Murphy, Hollis Brookline Coop School Board
Dan Peterson, Hollis Brookline Coop School Board, arrived at 7:15 p.m.
Steve Simons, Hollis Brookline Coop School Board
Richard Pike, Superintendent of Schools
Lee-Ann Blastos, Business Administrator
Mellinee Capasso, Assistant Business Administrator
Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum
Betsy A. Packard, Recording Secretary
Supt. Pike called the meeting to order at 7:14 p.m.
Supt. Pike stated that this was the first SAU Board meeting since the District Meeting. Because of such, he asked that they go around the table and everyone introduce themselves.
Jim Murphy nominated Mike Dreyer as chairman. Michelle Mosca seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 11 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Dreyer stated that he would like to open each SAU Board meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dan Peterson arrived at 7:15 p.m.
Chair. Dreyer nominated Jim Murphy as Vice Chairman. Jennifer MacLeod seconded.
Steve Simons nominated Jennifer MacLeod as Vice Chairman. Jennifer declined the nomination.
Motion for Jim Murphy as Vice Chairman carried unanimously. 12 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Simons stated that it is the Coop Board’s tradition to have a “newbie” hold the secretary’s position.
Chair. Dreyer nominated Bill Beauregard as Secretary. Mike Molkentine seconded. Motion carried. 12 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Dreyer stated that if there were no objections, he wanted to change the order of the agenda around as follows:
Early Intervention Services
Transfer of Retirees Health Plan and Cobras to LGC
No objection was stated.
Supt. Pike informed the Board that he had received a letter from LeeAnn Blastos stating her intention to retire. He then read Ms. Blastos’ letter, in which, she thanked the “community members, school board members, staff and administration of Brookline and Hollis for all the support given to” her. She also thanked the SAU support staff.
Supt. Pike stated that copies of the letter had been sent to all the Board chairmen.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the retirement request of LeeAnn Blastos with deep regrets, and with added best wishes for the future. Beth Lukovits seconded. Motion carried. 12 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Dreyer thanked Ms. Blastos for all her years of service.
A copy of the letter is available.
4. FINANCIAL REPORT
Ms. Blastos distributed her report. She informed the Board that the “state of the union” was good. She pointed out that the budget was relatively small compared to the other Districts’ budgets.
Ms. Blastos highlighted the following areas that showed a deficit:
01-2225-614 Expendable supplies, computer
01-2840-734 Computer Equipment – this is being recoded so the negative will not show up.
01-2320-115 Salary, Administrative Assistant – increase was voted in.
01-2320-117 Office of substitutes – extracted what it costs to cover the secretary at the front desk.
01-2320-531 Telephone – chose not to increase this line item, therefore it runs in the negative.
01-2320-532 Internet Telecommunications – defines by site what the Internet costs are. There are 6 sites plus the SAU, therefore trying to budget by site. SAU portion was not budgeted to meet expenses.
Mr. Murphy asked if Ms. Blastos expected to be short on the other sites? Ms. Blastos responded that they did not.
01-2320-533 Postage – Short due to the increase in volume.
01-2320-614 Expendable Supplies – due to start-up costs for the HR position, such as desk, and fax machine.
01-2320-733 Office Equipment – Short due to new positions.
01-2510-330 Audit – on annual fee basis (3 years), but received an increase, which will be effective throughout the entire SAU.
01-2620-422 Snow Removal – SAU hasn’t increased this item significantly, therefore, short.
01-2620-430 General Maintenance – for “critter” control, repairs to fire door, light out back.
01-2840-240 Course Reimbursement – Sent the Network Administrator to a course.
Ms. Blastos stated that it is not unusual to have 11% left over. She added that retirement for support staff had not been budgeted. She reminded the Board that this was only the expense side.
Chair. Dreyer asked how much Ms. Blastos thought would be left at the end of the fiscal year. Ms. Blastos responded that she felt there would be about $25,000.00 left. She added that some of that was due to the Network Administrator retiring and bringing in a new person at a lower salary, and the same with the Superintendent.
Mr. Simons asked about legal fees for the SAU. Ms. Blastos explained that the SAU doesn’t have any legal fees. If there is a legal issue, it is charged to the District to which it pertains.
Mr. Murphy stated that they needed to look at the Internet costs. He added that “E-Rate” runs on a different calendar cycle, and ends in February, therefore the District will have the opportunity to change vendors in February. Mr. Simons felt that the issue of Internet provider was always being looked into, but nothing ever happens. Supt. Pike responded that he had spoken with Chair. Dreyer earlier about what was important to do in order to go forward. He suggested that the Board map out goals, and that groups and/or committees be set up to accomplish the goals. Chair. Dreyer encouraged the Board members for any ideas that they might have regarding goals for the year.
Mr. Murphy felt that the Board should look at tele-communications. Chair. Dreyer suggested that a small committee be set up to look into this issue.
A copy of the report is available.
5. EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES
Mr. Kelley, Director of Special Education, distributed information packets explaining that they were predominately for the new members. He then reviewed the following:
1. Student Data / Special Education Revenue for Districts
He explained that the spreadsheets gave a breakdown of students in the different Districts, as well as breakdown of revenues per District.
II. In-Service Training
Mr. Kelley stated that he has in the past, and would be more than willing to do it again, presented an in-service training for new Board members regarding Federal and State regulations and procedures. He added that if anyone were interested, he would like to do it sooner than later.
Chair. Dreyer asked what the training would cover and how long it would last. Mr. Kelley responded that it would probably be between 1 hour and 1-½ hours; longer if there are more questions. The training would cover such things as a presentation on what Special Education is; IDEA eligibility; steps that must be taken when a parent/teacher referral is made; timeline of decisions that need to be made; looking at IEPs; in-district education vs. out-of-district education.
Chair. Dreyer asked if the presentation should be for the general public also? Mr. Kelley stated that he would love to present it to the general public, and added that they had done such presentations for the general public in the past, but the turnout was very poor.
Mr. Beauregard asked if Mr. Kelley would be comfortable videotaping such a presentation, which could then be put on the website. Mr. Kelley stated that he had no problem with that.
Mr. Murphy asked how often the information would change. Mr. Kelley responded that changes are always taking place, but not the things that he would be talking about.
Chair. Dreyer asked the Board members if they would prefer to see the presentation as part of a regular board meeting, or as a separate workshop. The consensus was to do it as a separate workshop.
Chair. Dreyer stated that he would circulate an email to get available dates from the members.
III. Procedural Manual
Mr. Kelley distributed copies of the Special Education Procedural Manual. He stated that the purpose of the Procedural Manual was to provide consistency for students from ages 3-years to 20-years old, and to provide consistency throughout all the Districts. He stated that things such as public legal notices, procedural safeguards, and job description role were in the Manual. He added that all the staff have the Manuals available to them, and that the Manual was also going to be provided electronically.
Mr. Murphy felt that the Board members would probably not look at the Manuals Mr. Kelley distributed, and therefore, they should let the staff have the notebooks, as long as the information is provided electronically. Mr. Kelley suggested that the Board members take the Manuals with them, look them over for a week, and then return them to the SAU.
Mr. Peterson wondered how the staff could digest all the material in the Procedural Manual. He also wondered how the Manual helps the staff do their job. Mr. Kelley responded that 85% of the Manual was irrelevant to the staff doing their job. He stated that there were about 5 pages of responsibility pertaining to their job. There were also forms, and much or the Manual references the laws of the State.
Mr. Peterson asked if only 10% of the Manual was useful, why was the other 90% in the manual? Mr. Kelley explained that it was reference material. Mr. Peterson asked how many copies of the Manual were made. Mr. Kelley responded that 25 copies had been made. Seventeen copies for the SAU Board members, plus Administration staff, and for each building. He added that it had taken 2 years to compile the information. Mr. Peterson stated that they were struggling with how to be effective, but he didn’t feel the Manual was effective. Mr. Kelley stated that two years ago he had been requested to develop such a Manual during an on-site evaluation. He stated that he had promised to do it. Ms. Lukovits pointed out that the staff had asked for such a manual, and that they sometimes refer to it.
Mr. Beauregard asked when the Manual would be available on the website. Mr. Kelley responded that 99% of the Manual was already electronic, that he needed to scan the rest, and the get with Mr. Raymond about getting it on-line.
Ms. Mosca asked if more copies were needed. Mr. Kelley responded that they didn’t need any more copies.
Mr. Beauregard asked if the District used a virtual printer. He thought it would be a good policy to do so, pointing out that one can search keywords.
Mr. Kelley stated that if the Board members wanted to take a Manual with them, they were more than welcome to do so, or they could put them back in the boxes, and he would get them to the buildings, and then get it on the web as soon as possible.
IV. Early Intervention Services
Mr. Kelley explained that the following three items were in their packets:
1) Early Intervening Services
2) Section II – Scientifically Based Research
3) Response to Intervention Model (RIM)
Mr. Kelley explained that Early Intervention was a new Federal Mandate that came out of the reauthorization of IDEA, and became effective July 2005. He stated that it was not Special Education or regular education. He added that it was not “early” as in “young,” but rather early as in intervention before the problem gets bigger. He stated that Early Intervention dovetails with No Child Left Behind. Mr. Kelley informed the Board that the Federal Government will require reports.
Mr. Kelley stated that Early Intervention is an unfunded mandate. However, a district may use up to 15% of their IDEA funds to cover Early Intervention costs. He added that this was simply taking from Peter to pay Paul.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that Early Intervention is a research-based intervention, that is, a district must provide research to show it is an effective intervention.
In regards to reporting, a district will be required to report the number of students served by Early Intervention Services, as well as the number of students served that went on to regular education, or on to Special Education.
Mr. Kelley stated that in regards to disproportionality, a district is mandated to analyze itself, as to where they are having disproportionality problems, such as, in areas of male/female, math/science, etc.
Ms. Lukovits asked if Early Intervention started at age 3. Mr. Kelley stated that IDA starts at 3-years old, thus Early Intervention is talking about starting at age 3. He explained that since IDEA is 3-years, and since it is a public service, he felt that Early Intervention will also be 3-years.
Mr. Kelley explained that the Response to Intervention Model requires a district to come up with a number of screening devices. He added that if a child does not achieve the target for end of year benchmark, then the following would go into effect:
Tier I Intervention: In addition to Research-based Classroom Instruction, Enhanced Classroom Instruction is provided. At the end of an 8-week period, data that has been collected is analyzed to determine if performance is above, below or on the aim line toward the benchmark goal. If performance is not on the aim line, then the following takes place:
Tier II Intervention: In addition to Enhanced Classroom Instruction, Supplemental Small Group Instruction is provided. Students are grouped by instructional need in groups of 3 or less. Instruction is provided daily for a duration of 30 minutes. At the end of an 8-week period, data that has been collected is analyzed to determine if performance is above, below or on the aim line toward the benchmark goal. If performance is not on the aim line, then the following takes place:
Tier III Intervention: In addition to Enhanced Classroom Instruction, Intensive Individual Instruction is provided. The student is provided intensive individual instruction daily for a duration of 30 minutes. At the end of an 8-week period, data that has been collected is analyzed to determine if performance is above, below or on the aim line toward the benchmark goal. If performance is not on the aim line, then the student requires specialized instruction through Special Education.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that there aren’t a lot of math screening tools, whereas DIBELS is a good reading screening tool.
Mr. Kelley stated that Brookline has reading specialists that are not part of Special Education. The Coop has the SAP, and school therapist; therefore, the Districts are already doing things above and beyond Special Education. However, they have additional goals for next year. When the regulations come out in the fall, the District will know better what needs to be done.
Ms. Hall asked when using the term disproportionality if it meant the percentage of students using it. Mr. Kelley responded that it meant the types of disabilities.
Mr. Kelley ended his report by stating that he wanted to make the Board members aware about the new Early Intervention mandate.
A copy of the report is available.
Ms. Blastos explained to the Board that the District currently administers the Retirees’ and Cobra healthcare. She stated that she would like the Board’s approval to transfer the administration over to LGC (Local Government Center). LGC has offered to all subscribers to manage Cobra, Individuals, and Retirees at not cost. Ms. Blastos stated that there is a lot of bookkeeping required to administer the healthcare, and LGC is better equipped to do it. She stated that she only wanted to transfer the Cobra and Retirees to LGC, and that it was merely a housekeeping issue. She explained that if the District did not receive the Cobra/Retirees payments then the District out flows it. She stated that she was no longer comfortable doing this.
Mr. Simons asked why LGC was doing this for free. Ms. Blastos explained that it is a recent benefit through LGC, but they recover their costs through the health rates.
Mr. Murphy asked if there was a potential downside to transferring the Cobra/Retirees to LGC. Ms. Blastos responded that there was none, and she reiterated that she was concerned about liability.
Jim Murphy moved that the Board authorize LeeAnn Blastos to transfer the Cobra and Retirees healthcare to LGC. Pam Kirby seconded.
Mr. Rao asked if other districts do this. Ms. Blastos responded that SAU 41 was the last district to sign on.
Motion carried. 13 – 0 – 0.
Steve Simons moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) reputation. Mike Molkentine seconded. A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in the affirmative. 13 – 0 – 0.
The Board entered non-public session at 8:25 p.m.
The Board resumed public session at 10:03 p.m.
Jim Murphy moved that the Board seal the minutes of the non-public session indefinitely. Betty Hall seconded. Vote: 8 – 5 – 0 (Dreyer, O’Shea, Lukovits, Molkentine, MacLeod against.) The motion needed a 2/3 vote in order for the minutes to be sealed, therefore the minutes were not sealed.
The Board took a brief recess at 10:05 p.m.
The Board reconvened at 10:10 p.m.
Jim Murphy moved that the Board accept the recommendation of Superintendent Pike regarding the succession of the Business Administrator. Jennifer MacLeod seconded.
Mr. Simons asked that the motion be further explained. Chair. Dreyer responded that Supt. Pike had recommended that the Board waive the job search process and appoint the current Assistant Business Administrator as the new Business Administrator.
Motion did not carry. 4 – 0 – 9. (Hall, Murphy, Simons, Beauregard, Mosca, Kirby, O’Shea, Peterson, Rao against.)
Jim Murphy moved that the Board authorize the Chair. to coordinate with the Superintendent to form a search committee, acting on the Board’s behalf on all issues prior to the next Board meeting. Jim O’Shea seconded. Motion carried. 11 – 2 – 0. (Lukovits, MacLeod against.)
7. AWARDING OF TRANSPORTATION BID
Chair. Dreyer stated that he had been on the Transportation Committee, and that he would be asking the Board to approve the recommendations of the Transportation Committee for a 5-year contract for regular transportation covering vocational education, sporting events, and regular transportation to school, as well as a separate 2-year contract for Special Education. He distributed a spreadsheet for the Transportation Bids Analysis of RFP.
Chair. Dreyer reported that on September 9, 2005 at the SAU meeting, the Board appointed 3 members to the Transportation Study Committee to assist the Business Office in hiring a transportation company because the District’s 5-year contract was up.
Chair. Dreyer explained that the Committee met several times. They first met to discuss a “group” contract, that is, all types of transportation in one contract. He stated that there had been some problems for Hollis Transportation to fill some of the District’s needs, mostly in Special Education. Hollis Transportation was having problems getting drivers, then training the drivers, and having vehicles. Thus, it was decided to breakout the Special Education part and have a separate contract. Chair. Dreyer added that other districts do this.
Chair. Dreyer stated that the Committee looked at 5-6 other districts He added that the Committee felt there were areas regarding transportation that needed tightening up, such as:
Contract being overseen (by Superintendent)
Chair. Dreyer explained that the Committee needed to gather a lot of information. He stated that the SAU had been using Hollis Transportation for 28 years, therefore the data to write a bid was not there. The bid process started by March, with no less than 6 vendors. He stated that some companies were well-known, such as First Student and Laidlaw, while others were not. He added that they allowed the bidders to come in and talk with Supt. Pike and Ms. Blastos. He stated that they also contacted Johnson Transportation, because of the reciprocity they have with Hollis Transportation. If Hollis Transportation can’t cover a transportation need, they call Johnson Transportation.
May 5th was the sealed bid opening. Chair. Dreyer stated that they received bids from Laidlaw and Hollis Transportation. They also received a “no bid” letter from First Student. They have not gotten any answer from either Goffstown Trucking or Johnson Transportation. He added that the District was late in sending out the Requests for Bids because of all the information they needed to collect to write the bid request.
Mr. Rao asked if they had enough expertise to put the bid together. Chair. Dreyer responded that the original charge for the Committee was to “assist” the Business Administration office.
Ms. Hall stated that she would like to see the Request for Bid and the previous years’ bus contract.
Chair. Dreyer explained the Transportation Bids Analysis report. He stated that the bids were based on 24 regularly scheduled buses. He stated that the Laidlaw numbers on the spreadsheet were lower than what members had previously seen. He explained that Hollis Transportation’s bid was based on the buses without fuel. He stated that Ms. Blastos called Laidlaw and explained this.
Chair. Dreyer reported that Laidlaw quoted $1,061,400 for the 06-07 school year. Hollis Transportation has agreed to keep the same contract of $777,216 for the first two years of the contract. Chair. Dreyer explained that Hollis Transportation bases their pricing on a per route cost, that is, driver and bus route. Brookline routes are longer, therefore the route cost is larger than the other districts (Brookline bus = $20,084; Hollis bus = $16,808; Coop bus = $17,217).
Chair. Dreyer stated that if one takes the Hollis Transportation $777,216 cost and divides by 24 buses, the cost per bus is $32,384. Laidlaw cost per bus calculates out to $44,225. He added that the Coop has 20 routes, Hollis has 15 routes, and Brookline has 9 routes.
Chair. Dreyer pointed out that if a single bus route needs to be added, Laidlaw must add an entire bus, while Hollis Transportation would just be paying for the route. However, if a new elementary route needs to be added in Brookline, they will need a new bus. He added that Hollis Transportation will charge an increase based on CPI ( Consumer Price Index) for the last three years of the contract. Hollis Transportation only wants to go up by the cost of inflation.
Chair. Dreyer then reviewed the 06/07 Transportation Budget Analysis as follows:
2006/07 Budget Hollis Transportation Bid Difference
Brookline 193,269 180,756 12,513
Hollis 250,835 252,120 (1,285)
HB Coop 375,276 344,340 30,936
Total 819,380 777,216 42,164
Ms. Blastos reported that she had originally budgeted $100,000 for Vocational Education, but cut it back to $66,000, hoping that some students might be able to drive themselves, and that they could combine the two bus runs to Nashua North and Nashua South into one bus run.
Chair. Dreyer stated that if the District goes with Hollis Transportation, they will be with in budget, but the District will be out of budget if they go with Laidlaw.
Chair. Dreyer posed the following questions:
Does the Hollis Transportation bid meet the SAU’s needs? Yes.
Does the Hollis Transportation bid meet the budget? Yes.
Does he feel comfortable with the contract being enforced? Yes.
Chair. Dreyer stated that Special Education Transportation has a lot of requirements and mandates. He added that a lot of the Special Education transportation is out-of-district. There are 13 different locations. He stated that Hollis Transportation has kept their prices the same for the vans, and that the contract is only for two years. Mr. Kelley added that he felt the District was getting a good deal with Hollis Transportation.
Chair. Dreyer stated that he was concerned that the District may not get what they need. He pointed out that if someone moves into the District that needs Special Education transportation, Hollis Transportation will need to get a driver, and perhaps a vehicle. He added that there are other organizations specializing in Special Education Transportation and can respond quickly.
Mr. Simons asked if Johnson Transportation filling in for Hollis Transportation had worked well in the past. Mr. Kelley responded that it hadn’t worked so well, as they had the vehicles, but they didn’t have the qualified drivers. He stated he talked with Hollis Transportation and asked them if they could service the Special Education transportation needs they currently have, and have a reserve if they needed to add. He stated that Hollis Transportation told them they could. He added that he felt the District should go with the per mile costs.
Chair. Dreyer stated that he had discussed the length of the contract with Hollis Transportation. Hollis Transportation stated that they would be willing to go with a two-year contract if that was more comfortable for the District. Chair. Dreyer pointed out that this will give the District time to prepare a Special Education bid.
Chair. Dreyer reported that the Committee had gone through a lot so next time they will not have to go through so much, and thus, it shouldn’t take so long. He stated he was comfortable as long as the contract is followed, and he felt the District would be provided with suitable transportation. He added that the only issue he sees is identifying the CPI.
Ms. Kirby thanked Ms. Blastos, Mr. Kelley, and Chair. Dreyer for going through the process. She felt it was well done, and she was happy with what she saw.
Steve Simons moved that the Board award Hollis Transportation the bid for Regular Transportation (5 years) and the bid for Special Education Transportation (2 years). Jim Murphy seconded. Motion carried. 11 – 2 – 0. (Molkentine, Hall).
Supt. Pike stated that he would like the minutes to reflect the efforts of Mr. Chair. Dreyer, Kathy de Lacy, Mr. Enright, Ms. Mellinee ?? , Mr. Kelley, and Ms. Blastos.
Mr. Simons thanked the Transportation Committee for all their work.
Steve Simons moved that the Board adjourn. Dan Peterson seconded. Motion carried. 13 – 0 – 0.
The meeting adjourned at 11:05 p.m.