Great Barrington                     Stockbridge                West Stockbridge


Regular Meeting

Monument Valley Regional Middle School, Library

August 22, 2019 – 7pm


School Committee:                 S. Bannon, J. St. Peter, B. Fields, D. Weston, A. Hutchinson, D. Singer,

M. Thomas, R. Dohoney, A. Potter, S. Stephen

Administration:                      P. Dillon, S. Harrison

Staff/Public:                            T. Lee,  K. Farina, B. Doren, K. Burdsall


List of Documents Distributed:

School Committee Minutes of Meeting dated July 25, 2019

RECORDER NOTE:  Meeting attended by recorder and minutes transcribed during the meeting and after the fact from live recording provided by CTSB.  Length of meeting: 1  hour, 14 minutes.


Chairman Steve Bannon called the meeting to order immediately at 7pm.


The listing of agenda items are those reasonably anticipated by the chair, which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed, and other items not listed may be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law. This meeting is being recorded by CTSB, Committee Recorder, members of the public with prior Chair permission and will be broadcast at a later date. Minutes will be transcribed and made public, as well as added to our website, once approved.


TREASURER’S REPORT:   S. Harrison – The first page talks about revolving funds, grants and restricted funds.  Restricted funds are those that the district holds for the benefit of others; for example, that would be the scholarship fund and all of the schools’ student activities funds.  We hold that process payments but all of those funds are raised by and on behalf of students and must be used for those student purposes.  Our revolving funds include things like school lunch funds or athletic funds, circuit breaker, wellness fund, regional transportation, etc.  I did want to note one larger change because this will impact FY20 as well, that is our tuition in for FY19 was approximately $219,000 lower than budgeted and that had to do with enrollment.  There are a number of students at were here that we had projected would be back for FY19 that did not return or did not enroll as expected.  I do see that happening again for FY20 where we will be about $200,000 off our projection as well due to enrollment of tuition students.  Then we have federal and state funds.  Any grant that ended June 30 will show a zero balance.  Any fund or grant that shows a balance means it is a two year fund  so we can use that during the upcoming fiscal year as well as FY20.  The next group of documents is our projection, again unaudited of unreserved END balance as of June 30, 2019.  At this moment, I am projecting $754,369 in our END which obviously has to be certified by our Department of Revenue before we can use.  That amount represents approximately 2.65% of this year’s budget.  We do have a history on that as well.  There was one more piece of information I wanted to update the school committee and community on and that is the final Chapter 70 and Chapter 71 revenue projections.  Chapter 70 is our education funding.  Chapter 71 is our reimbursement for regional transportation and that is only on regular education routes.  Unfortunately we don’t get reimbursement for any specific special education routes.  There are a number of students that have specialized transportation in their IEP and we do provide that transportation but unfortunately we don’t get reimbursement on that.  Our Chapter 70 we are anticipating $10,100 more than what was budgeted for a total of $2,933,388.  The $10,000 is due to the fact that we projected at $20 increase per student and the state went to a $30 increase per student.  That is $10 per student difference.  Chapter 71, we always budget conservatively on that because in the past we have had issues because the state will project at 70 or 75% and we will get 50 or 60%.  We anticipate that we will receive approximately $148,000 more than what was budgeted.  We never know what we actually get until June 30th of the fiscal year we are in.  The additional $10,000 from Chapter 70 will drop to END.  Any additional funding from Chapter 71 will go to our regional transportation revolving fund.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT:   P. Dillon  – A little bit later we will hear from Steve Soule about all the work that has been happening in the buildings.  I think we will go building by building.  There has been tons of professional development going on this summer and really good stuff today with mentors and mentees. I just have a couple of other things.  Last week Rebecca Gold, a parent volunteer, Sean Flynn and I went out to a workshop in Plymouth run by a group of consultants called Hairpin.  It was around branding and marketing and better articulating your mission and vision.  We learned a lot of great tools.  We are going to put that into practice and will come back and share some drafts of that work with the broader community.  It was a long drive but a good day.  Tom Kelly and Ariel Pink and some other folks worked hard on an after-school grant for the high school.  I don’t think we have mentioned this at all yet but it is a really big deal.  It is a 21st Century Federal grant that comes through the state.  It is $190,000 a year for three years.  Now, we have these great after-school opportunities in the elementary and middle school, we will have an opportunity to expand that to the high school.  Huge deal; a ton of money.  It was extraordinarily competitive; they had many applications and funded less than a handful of them.  I think is both a reflection on the work they did in writing the grant but also on our existing relationship from the middle and elementary school work with the people that were funding it.  It built in a lot of work with community-based partners, Greenagers, Railroad Street, etc.  At the district level, we did a bunch of hiring, some of it is reflected in the personnel report, some of it is not.  Uli Kohlhase, one of our technology people, is becoming our director of technology.  I will have him come in and talk to you about that.  He will also get some help outside of school time from Tom Roy at the high school around the educational side of it.  Uli had worked with Doug Trumble before and is a really strong network manager.  He has great strengths there.  Amy Shaw is coming in to be our educational director for out-of-school learning.  She comes to us from the Lee Public Schools.  She is highly recommended and has worked as a librarian and some other roles there.  We are lucky to have her.  The third on is and people have asked me about this, I think maybe I sent an email to the school committee but didn’t make a broad announcement on TV, our director of learning and teaching position which Kristi is on loan in the high school position, we wanted to fill that role.  I looked at the pool of candidates and did some interviews and decided this year to split the position between two people part-time.  We are bringing Rob Putnum back out of retirement to do some work on the state-facing side of things; grant reports, documentation all of that and then the person that Tim mentioned Dan Liebert who is with the Great School Partnership is going to spend …we already have him contracted for 30 days and he is going to work an extra 40 days with the district around supporting the administrative team in moving our vision forward and continuing to work with the instructional learning groups on curriculum.  That gives us a year or so to figure out what is going on with Kristi and the high school and depending on what happens there, we will make decisions going forward.  Everybody is top-notch and super high-quality and I am super excited about them.

  • Good News Item (s) – Kristi Farina, Interim Principal, Monument Mountain Regional High School – Today fall sports started so all of the athletes and coaches were back on campus.  That is always an exciting day because it really gets the feel in the school that things are starting to happen and chug along as we look toward next Monday when we expect all staff and paraprofessionals back in the building to prepare for our Wednesday start date.  We have had our custodial staff and maintenance staff incredibly busy throughout the building; really accommodating all of my requests to move teachers around the building and create a new classroom space for our CVTE in the A Wing and create new space for our Project Lead the Way courses and Intro to Engineering Design and Computer Science which is pretty exciting stuff that is going on.  We had over 28 teachers involved in professional learning this summer and all sorts of different activities.  They are starting to report back on that and we are  looking forward to sharing with their colleagues as they return to school.  The guidance department has been working really hard on getting schedules together and we had a late start on that so it just went out to families yesterday.  I am happy to report that the students now have access to their schedules and we are ready to go for next week. Ben Doren, Principal, Monument Mountain Regional Middle School – I am really excited for the opening of the school year.  I think one thing says it all; we had a training last year for the Anti-defamation league and the World of Difference Program which is a peer leader program.  We had several 5th and 6th graders and many 7th and 8th graders trained.  We had a great run with it and the kids got very excited.  They did a little bit of work in the spring but not as much as they wanted to.  One of the thinks that I promised them was that we were going to start the year off strong with both students and the faculty.  I have four students to literally kick off my faculty meeting on Monday morning doing a community building activity with the faculty to show them what we can do.  I am really excited about that because it is just a big shift in terms of students taking the lead and setting the tone for the year that the students are the ones who really at the forefront of learning and doing at Monument Valley.  The activity is probably going to be dominos where you have to see how we are all connected.  Summer has been amazing.  This is probably the most amazing set up for a school year since I started; I am in my ninth year here at Berkshire Hills.  Teachers have gotten together just as teams because they want to so there are many of the teams that have just gotten together not looking for a curriculum stipend or compensation; just knowing that they want to get ahead of the work for the school year.  I am very impressed.  We also have a lot of stipends that we did pay because teachers were doing some very technical work around science curriculum, planning for our science week that we are going again this year and many other projects they are working on.  We also came off of three days of instructional lead training.  This is year two and I am really excited for our leaders as we did a lot of deep work at the middle school last year about thinking about what we want an 8th grade graduate to be and what it means to be collegial.  We are going to dive right back into that.  Teams are really strong this year and I feel like I am shifting my role from being the top dog, making sure everything is happening, to really being the one managing teams that are already functioning and working really well and hard to get there.  It is an exciting moment for education and the way folks work and I am really looking forward to Miles Wheat and I being able to manage and resource folks working together.  One thing I really wanted to share with you is, remember at the end of the school year, I talked about the year-end service project with the YES program that all the 7th and 8th graders do?  This is a collaboration between Muddy Brook and Monument Valley.  One of our groups did a writing project on perseverance and this is a book of writing projects that our Monument Valley students did with the younger Muddy Brookers.  It is a great program.  The YES program went across and talked about perseverance and shared stories.  The kids did writing so the Monument Valley mentors have their pieces as well as the Muddy Brookers but in additional in terms of inclusion, we had two students who were from the autism and behavior center, they are students with developmental delays, and they are relatively non-verbal but within two years in the program, they are starting to access language especially through our speech/language pathologist and BCBA where they are using computers and technology to bring voice to their own ideas in their own head.  They were 7th graders that were in the project; they were mentors and in one of the books, there are two of their essays as well.  This was an amazing project and it shows why I love working here are Berkshire Hills because the collaborations and the inclusion is really what it is all about.  I will give you some to take a look at that but I will need it back.   Tim Lee, Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School – I am happy to return for my second year here in Berkshire Hills as principal of Muddy Brook.  I am feeling a lot more comfortable and informed.  In the past week or two we had a bit of a rally in last minute enrollments; so about 12 students in the past couple of weeks have either inquired or come in to sign up in all grades.  It is a bit unusual to have that at the last moment but it is going to give is a nice little boost to our school size as we enter the new school year.  I want to echo what Kristi and Ben were talking about as well and give a nod to our building custodial staff.  They have done a wonderful job this year cleaning the school, getting it ready for the start of the new school year.  We have had a little bit of movement within the school as far as classroom space goes this year.  Over the summer, I was informed by the Head Start program that they were going to be dropping a classroom where they had previously had two classrooms in our early-childhood floor due to declining enrollment.  That left one our early-childhood classrooms available for our PK room to move into.  Louzon, one of our PK teachers, has moved into a new space.  There have been a couple other last minute moves that our custodial staff has really helped out with at the same time in helping to prepare the school for a new school year.  The past week has been full of a lot of professional development for our teachers.  For the past three days, instruction leads from all three schools have been getting together with Dan Liebert from the Great Schools Partnership and they have been learning facilitation schools and leadership skills that will hopefully lead them in their work this year with our faculty in their instructional leadership groups.  Also, this week on Tuesday, Tanya Morehouse was here from Eastern Connecticut University where she is a professor and an expert in co-teaching.  We have been working with her for the past year getting training and support as we move into this model of co-teaching which as a reminder, is a different way of providing of differentiating services to students with special needs without having to remove them from the classroom.  Essentially a classroom is taught by two teachers for some of the day or the entire day and students with special needs are fully integrated in the life of the classroom for the entire school day.  We have three classrooms identified this year as co-taught classrooms and I am looking forward to is as the teams that are going to be participating in those co-taught models.  Finally, tomorrow, we have a trainer coming from the teacher development group.  She is going to be leading a seminar in math habits of the mind.  It is a continuation of some of the larger training that our fourth grade had last year and happened throughout the school for the school district for teachers at all levels.  It is mainly about teaching students different ways to think about themselves as mathematicians.  How they can have more discourse about the mathematical problem solving and how to lead them in a different way rather than simply answering problems to really think about the math, what they are proving, what they are answering to break apart the problems.  The trainer will be working with a group from our third grade tomorrow but also representatives from our second and first grades.  By the end of the school year, I am hoping that all of our grades will have been exposed to this training which I think is really going to energize our math instruction for the entire school.  Also, like Ben and Kristi, look forward to the start of the new school year.
  • Memorandum of Understanding – BHEA Unit C Facilitator II Stipend – P. Dillon – this is the group that represents the paraprofessionals. To give you context on this and for people that didn’t have context, at our last meeting you agreed to a second level of facilitator so people who work with students with really intensive special needs, we already have a Facilitator I, we are calling this Facilitator II, the next level and the recommendation is that because of the extra work they are doing and the qualifications they bring to it that they be paid an additional $5/hr for the remainder of the year.  We anticipate that there will be five or six people like this district wide and maybe five next year.  I would like a vote to approve that amount.  If you do then Steve and I on behalf of the committee would then sign this memorandum of understanding for this next year of the contract as an addendum to it and then that would be discussed in future contract negotiations.
  • Request: Out of State Field Trip – MMRHS (Flynn) – P. Dillon – Sean Flynn would like to take a couple of kids up to Vermont on the evening of September 25th and return on September on September 27th.  It is connected to our Mass Ideas planning grant to partner with Up for Learning.  We would send five faculty and ten students to be training in youth and adults transforming school together.  MOTION TO APPROVE OUT OF STATE FIELD TRIP TO VERMONT             POTTER             SECONDED:  J. ST. PETER             ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS
  • Job Description Revision: Educational Director of Out of School Learning Time – P. Dillon – this is a slight change and we talked about it when you approved the educational director for out of school learning time position where it would sit with the independent contract or the administrator contract.  My recommendation at this point is that the position sit with the administrator contracts so I would like your approval of the revised job description stating so.    MOTION TO APPROVE THE AMENDED JOB DESCRIPTION FOR EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR OF OUT OF SCHOOL LEARNING TIME             POTTER           SECONDED:  S. STEPHEN                   ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS
  • Co- Curricular Guidelines Revisions – P. Dillon – if you look at the co-curricular guidelines you will see changes either marked in red, in my reading of them it is cleaning up language, clarifying things and it is fairly straightforward. R. Dohoney – I am not clear on what this covers from the definition section. I like the approval portion for cleaning up the part about the school committee vote but I hope I am not reading this to restrict the organic group growth of clubs and things that are not getting funding at least initially from the school committee.  Harrison – that is not the intent.  R. Dohoney – I didn’t think it was but I wanted to clarify.  S. Harrison – it was just mostly to clean up language and to clarify a couple of things that over the year with the new director have been questions that had been asked on this and the intent is to leave the opportunity for new clubs and activities.  R. Dohoney – without going through any formal process, they can grow organically as this is a strong tradition in our district.  S. Harrison – no, because when you see there is the co-curricular guidelines which the intent is for booster clubs to understand the process.  That is primarily that.  There is a student activity guidelines which then is a separate document which is based on the department of education guidelines and actually per Mass General Law if there is going to be a new student activity, school committee must approve it before it begins.  R. Dohoney – so what is an activity?  What does the General Law define as an activity?  S. Harrison – I have to go back and look.  I don’t have it memorized.  Anything that would then have funds deposited … R. Dohoney – there you go.  It it is a funding requirement, I’m all for that but if it is an organization, I am against it.  S. Harrison – it is based on if they are going to raise funds and put funds through either the athletic revolving fund, etc. then it is under the purview of the school committee to approve it.  P. Dillon – there is flexibility for groups to organically get going as they have in this district for its entirety.   MOTION TO APPROVE THE AMENDED CO-CURRICULAR GUIDELINES           A. POTTER                SECONDED:  B. FIELDS                     ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS
  • Student Activity Account Guidelines Revisions – Harrison – my only question is, approving it tonight, there are recommended changes to policies in here, so should it be accepted contingent up approval of the policies?  R. Dohoney – or do we just want to refer the whole thing to the policy committee and they can do what they need to do and come back at the next meeting.  Do we need it for the start of the school year?  S. Harrison – we should have it for the start of the school year because it talks about the school committee every year is supposed to approve the activities in the student activities revolving account but since it has not been done,  I would stay that is up to the school committee.  S. Bannon – the policy subcommittee has not even met on this.  This is weeks if not months away.  S. Stephen – we would have to review it, read it here, read it a second time; so probably six weeks.  S. Harrison – this is not a policy.  This is a guideline.  S. Bannon – but the policies are in it.  It would have to have a first reading and a second reading.  A. Potter – where there is a will there’s a way.  R. Dohoney – I think we can approve it and then put it on the policy committee to get it done.  S. Bannon – this group can only approve the guidelines.  It cannot approve the policy because it hasn’t gone through the first reading with the policy subcommittee so whatever we approve tonight is only the guidelines.  It is a little backwards.  R. Dohoney – let’s just do it and it will work out.   MOTION TO APPROVE THE STUDENT ACTIVITY ACCOUNT GUIDELINE REVISIONS              A. POTTER             SECONDED:  J. ST. PETER             ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS
  • Updates:
    • Facilities Work – S. Soule – This is all in addition to what you guys read in job descriptions; what my guys do day to day. A lot of what is on this list was done by the maintenance department with some assistance by the custodians and I don’t want to ignore all of the work the custodians did over the summer.  They literally empty every room on campus; clean every piece of furniture, every toy, every puppet, everything when they take it out in the hall.  Then they clean the room from top to bottom and bring everything back into the room.  They have a pretty full schedule in the summer.  I asked Matt how many coats of way they put on the floor up there.  He said they put five coats on wax every summer on all of the hallways and four coats on every classroom.  These guys are pretty busy for their 40 hours all summer.  Just a quick list, we started the summer, I had given them a four or five page list of things to do and essentially the day school let out, the fire pump over at the water vault stopped working.  We exercise it everyday and check it weekly; it would fire up but then it wouldn’t run.  The maintenance guys worked on that for the better part of a week and a half with a lot of contractors.  We essentially got that running.  Those of you that have kind of looked at the elementary school playground over the last 18 months, especially over the last few weeks, have noticed a drastic difference.  It has been underwater for a very long time.  They researched all the prints on how that thing was constructed with regard to the site drainage.  We dug it out; we found the drainage and found a broken pipe, bought about $10 worth of supplies at Home Depot, reconnected the pipe, then they spread over 125 yards back into the playground and it has been pretty dry since.  At the same time, I had already ordered about $14,000 replacement parts, bolts, nuts, seats, ropes, chains for the playground and they installed all of it.  In the vein of campus safety, we have labeled every door, exterior and interior, to classrooms with classroom numbers in conjunction with working with the local and state police so they know where to approach a  building if they had to they can see from the outside and if you’re stuck in a room and you have to communicate with the outside world, you would know where you are, whether you are a teacher or somebody who is in the room for the first time.  They did that for all of Monument Valley and the elementary school.  We don’t have the numbers yet for the high school but we are hoping to get that done before Wednesday.  We painted all three parking lots, the parking spots.  As Kristi alluded to, countless moves, moving furniture constantly, moving things from one room to another.  The other day I was joking with them because I asked them to move something from one room to another and then the next day I asked them to move it back.  They didn’t care.  They were great.  We have done a lot of painting in all three buildings; probably the equivalent of 15-20 full rooms even though we didn’t necessarily do full rooms all the time unless it’s needed.  Frank, the head of maintenance, built three separate cabinet units to go into some of the new spaces that Kristi mentioned.  He built them in the shop, transported them, installed them, finished them and they look like they were there for years except brand new.  Cleaned out a lot of rooms for repurposing.  They hung approximately 12 white boards at the high school, patched a lot of holes in halls, painted those as well, we converted three closets into four office spaces, we had some bad speakers in this building which typically we would not really know what to do with and throw them away; Paul Kakley at the high school wanted to take them, tinkered with them, bought two $9 parts, replaced them; we repurposed those because they weren’t the right speakers for the amplifier that we have in this building.  This building was all original equipment designed by the architects and engineers; we purchased two new speakers so now we have two new working systems, one in the high school library and one here that both sound great for the price of one essentially.  They ran a lot of cabling.  The school purchased through grant money, the Stop the Bleed kits, 50 of them, so those have been distributed in all three buildings and the main office and the wastewater treatment facility.  Keeping up with the mowing, athletic field preparation, all the fields are lined and ready prior to today’s practice with the exception of the stadium field which we don’t do until it is closer to our first game.   They removed the filters from the wastewater treatment plant, cleaned them and put them back in which sounds like a pretty simple thing, but I don’t know if you have ever seen filters for a wastewater treatment plant, it is not simple nor is it pleasant.  Removed a bunch of LCD projectors and replaced them with new ones; moved a lot of screens and replaced those with new ones.  Adjusting door closers for the inspection we had yesterday with the building inspector and the fire chief and we were in the middle of a new installation of the phone system so I want to recognize Paul Kakley because he has stepped up with our IT department being out on vacation last week and only one of them being back this week, he has stepped into that role to help with the programmers getting these phones out, deployed and up and running.  Today we discovered that our well pump died yesterday so Frank has been on that since we discovered it and the well drillers will be here at 8:30 tomorrow morning replacing that well pump so I expect I will meet Frank in the woods behind the softball field around 8:15 and we will both make sure that is taken care of properly.  There is obviously a lot of protocols that need to be followed which we will follow along with follow-up testing later in the day and/or on Monday.  Dillon – it is likely  connected to the lightning storms over the last couple of days.  S. Soule – I know every year I thank our crew and acknowledge how hard they work but it was a good opportunity to go into a little more detail this year.  A. Hutchinson – how about the playground here at MVM with the swings?  S. Soule – the swings here are fixed.  We are looking at looking another set of swings here.  I hear that they are highly used.  That would probably have to hit next year’s budget.  P. Dillon – is the wheelchair swing in?  S. Soule – yes.
    • Recent Grant Awards – See above
    • Continued Discussion Regarding Potential Consolidation with Southern Berkshire Regional School District (SBRSD) – S. Bannon – Jane Burke is here who is the chair for the Southern Berkshire. Burke – I am just delivering something to you because we didn’t get a chance to amend out letter.  S. Bannon – the motion was that the Southern Berkshire Regional School District school committee endorses the necessary action towards initializing discussion with Berkshire Hills Regional School District towards the creation of a consolidated PK – 12 school district.  That was unanimous tonight for Southern Berkshire.  J. Burke – I am not authorized to answer any questions.  We have a real trust situation that there is no voice of the school committee except the school committee.  We are looking forward.  If you are not clear what that means I might be able to add something, but I promise that we will be waiting to hear from you.  S. Bannon –  I will ask you just a couple of questions that will not put on you on the spot.  I just want to clarify.  We had a letter from a couple of the selectboards asking us before we go into formal negotiations to put a group together that represents all eight towns, school committee from both districts and the superintendents.  Your school committee had also asked that prior or parallel to this we have one or two meetings.  Could you just explain that?  J. Burke – it has been discussed that the educators from the two school committees get together and talk educational philosophy and vision while at the same time the selectboards are meeting to look at the nuts and bolts from a government point of view.  S. Bannon – I believe your committee had suggested, five representatives from each school committee.  I had suggested the superintendents.  J. Burke – we can add superintendents.  S. Bannon – so there is that group and there is a group that is selected by the selectboard and then hopefully all of that would move into then a legal discussion.  J. Burke – we are going to find out some things and we will see where we go.  J. Burke – I think we will leave you to your discussion and will look forward to what comes out of it.  S. Bannon – please stay for our discussion.  It won’t be long and I really appreciate both of you coming.  We have a good relationship and that will continue and only get better.  I think the motion we should have is to agree to form both of these committees if that is our intent.  One is what is recommended by Southern Berkshire and one requested by the selectboard.  Then we can get into the nuts and bolts at the next meeting but for now, let’s just start this rolling.  Or we can get into the nuts and bolts tonight.  R. Dohoney – the letters from the selectboard, you want to take that committee first?  They were looking for a response and hopefully a meeting before September 13th.  I would like to deal with that tonight and try our best to meet their suggested deadlines.  S. Bannon – I would definitely like to get an answer to them in the next few days so they know we want to do this if that is our intent.  P. Dillon – in responding and I don’t know in what time to do this, this is complicated stuff, and I recommend we get some outside objective consultants, somebody who does this who’s only role is to outline some of the technical issues and help facilitate conversations.  I don’t have a skin in the game as to who that is but I think we would all be better served if we bring in an outside person to do it.  While many of us have the skills and experience to do it, I think we also want to participate in the conversation and to facilitate the conversation and doing that simultaneously could be hard.  S. Bannon – I agreed with all of that.  I think the way to do that though is at the first meeting of the municipal group for everyone to decide even though it may make that first meeting a little more brief, I don’t want us to propose as you just said, a facilitator and them to feel like we are shoving it down their throats.  That would be the first agenda item.  R. Dohoney – the senment from these letters that I agree with is that it should be a municipal-driven group.  S. Bannon – just for the sake of people in the audience and on TV, let me read the bullet points from a couple of the letters.  (Steve Bannon reads letters).  In my mind they are all reasonable requests and it seems like a good start.  Do we want a motion to endorse forming the municipal subcommittee?  The letters were all the five towns and were all the same.  MOTION TO ENDORSE FORMING A MUNICIPAL SUBCOMMITTEE WITH TOWNS OF SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT                A. POTTER          SECOND:  J. ST. PETER               ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS              R. Dohoney – I would like to amend it a little bit.  I AMEND THAT OUR BODY OUR BODY PARTICIPATE IN THE MUNICIPAL COMMITTEE AND THAT CHAIRMAN STEVE BANNON BE A REPRESENTATIVE TO IT AND HE BE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING THE LEAD IN RECRUITING REPRESENTATIVES FROM EACH OF THE THREE SELECTBOARDS      R. DOHONEY                   SECONDED:  B. FIELDS           ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS        P. Dillon – presumably somebody needs to find a date that works for people.  Can I lend you Doreen to do a doodle pool?  S. Bannon – I think we need to first get representatives from three towns.  First we need to send a letter to Southern Berkshire and the five towns saying we are endorsing this proposal.  Then we have to send letters to the three selectboards to get representatives.  R. Dohoney – I think one of the luxuries  that the Southern Berkshire folks proposing is that we can dispense with all of that.  I think you can get on the phone tomorrow to the three selectboard chairs; I don’t think it is something that has to be done in a formal meeting.  S. Bannon – as sensitive as we are to the open meeting law, it maybe a good idea to be in a formal meeting.  If we call tomorrow, they can put it on their next agenda.       We also have the suggest and suggestion of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District School Committee that we form an educational subcommittee which would be our two superintendents and five members of each school committee to meet to discuss education.  J. Burke – that would only be one or two sessions.  It is a getting to share ideas group.  This is not a formal meeting.  It is a way for us to have a discussion about where we are each coming from educationally and what we hope to gain by such a consolidation.  If there is fertile ground and enough overlap between the two districts to feel positive about moving forward.  S. Stephen – so should that be first?  R. Dohoney – no it’s parallel.  J. Burke – we are happy with parallel.  We didn’t give you a deadline because we will do it as soon as we can.  P. Dillon – it might be helpful to have a principal or two there to share some ideas.  Are you amenable to that?  J. Burke – yes but I will take it back for approval.  I don’t see any reason why not.  The goal is to share ideas and I understand school committee members aren’t as knowledgeable to what is going on in the schools as the people who are running the schools but you are responsible for the mission and you have school improvement plans that you are aware of and you have goals.  We would rather not read those on pieces of paper.  We would like to see the people.  R. Dohoney – this is a high-scale policy thing and to thrust staff members in the middle of that is not fair to them.  Anybody can come, I don’t care but to put obligation on these guys is not fair.  P. Dillon – the alternative thing is I meet with my leadership team before the meeting and get a bunch of ideas from them and bring those collectively generated ideas to the broader group.  R. Dohoney – yes.  I think superintendents meet all the time.  You guys have a round table and you are sharing this information.  This is a historic time for school committee members to sit down and have a candid conversation.  I don’t want to turn this into a staff dance.  MOTION TO FORM THE EDUCATIONAL COMMITTEE WITH SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT              A. POTTER            SECONDED:  A. HUTCHINSON                 ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS     Renee Wood – I am the chair of the selectboard from Sheffield and I want to thank you for addressing collectively the five towns letters which are you noted extremely similar.  That is because we speak with one voice.  What I am willing to volunteer is working with Steve who has been appointed the representative for the Berkshire Hills District and will contact each of the three town’s selectboards in your district.  I will work with him and Sheffield will take the lead to do the rest of the coordination with the individuals so we can in fact have this first meeting on or before the 13th.  S. Bannon – perfect.  R. Wood – the second thing I want to say is that even though this is a very town sentric committee, the committee members at least for the five towns that make up Southern Berkshire Regional School District are very much aware of the legalize that are involved in moving forward and one of the things that will be discussed whether it is at the first meeting or the second meeting, is to bring in DESE or someone from that group who knows the ins and outs of how this process may take place of the variations thereof including a possible expansion of a committee that under a section 14.  We have thought very thoroughly about the fact that we will have to be addressing a number of legalities, finding funding, this is the beginning of a process that and it is one that all of us feel is long overdue and we are really looking forward to getting together with all of the eight towns and all the respective members of the two districts and superintendents.  Thank you.  S. Bannon – I think we should have our five members formed tonight.  There is no sense in waiting for the educational component.  I will take volunteers first.  I obviously want to be on that so me, Andy, Molly, Anne, Sean.

Sub-Committee Reports:

  • Policy Sub Committee – N/A
  • Buildings and Grounds Sub Committee – St. Peter – we met earlier today.  Steve went over most of it.  At the elementary school there is a staff member who is teaching in one of the lower floors who has a unique health situation that puts her at higher risk for having some allergic or autoimmune responses to different situations.  Last year she had some problems in the room she was in and because of her unique health situation, it was something that didn’t affect any students or staff.  We had multiple tests last year for mold, visual as well as chemical.  Everything came back clean.  Again, we wanted to be thorough so Steve hired an industrial hygienist who coordinated and did some higher scale tests.  They were in last Tuesday and the results are going to take up to a month to come in.  In the meantime, just to do all we can to make her feel comfortable, we shifted the EK from the lower level to the midlevel in the school to start the year.  Letters will go out.  We circled back to the elementary school parking situation; the subject that never goes away because it is not an easy fix.  Because Tim has had a whole year under his belt to survey the situation and did a great job last year.  R. Dohoney – last year was the best year, since that school was built for parking.  J. St. Peter – One thing he was concerned about and we as a subcommittee feel, the parking on the road is dangerous.  We want to do everything we can to avoid any type of accident.  There is no more space to build.  It is either state owned or wetlands.  We are looking at more of a formal drop off/pick up lane to reduce the number of parking.  If you do have to park, maybe use the middle school parking lot.  We asked Tim to look to see if more staff is needed.  Steve Soule will be there the first couple of days to see how the traffic flow is and take notes.  We will revisit after the first few weeks of school.
  • Superintendent’s Evaluation Sub Committee – N/A
  • Technology Sub Committee – N/A
  • Finance Sub Committee – We met earlier today and did a top to bottom review of the special ed department budget.  It was very good.  The breakdown of the population and the flow, it might be good to circulate to the whole committee.  Maybe during budget time.  I think we are doing good work on the front of keeping kids in the district.  Weston – all of these presentations have been very thorough and just get better.  Some of us ask challenging questions and they are always prepared.  P. Dillon – in addition to being Director of Operations and our Chief Procurement Office, Steve Soule is also, and this may be surprising to some, our Chief Ethics Officer.  S. Soule – I am here to remind you all that the ethics obligation that you are under for volunteering for these positions is that you have to take a test every other year but every year you have to sign something that you are aware of any updates of the ethics laws.  Maryann Conklin in our office put these together and told me they were very self-explanatory as to what you have to do.
  • District Consolidation & Sharing Sub Committee –
  • Next Steps Advisory

Personnel Report:

  • Certified Appointment(s) – We have a new band teacher K-12, Eric Carlsen. Some of you have met him.  He is super exciting, 20 plus years of teaching experience on Long Island.  He has been meeting with students at the high school and is running a band camp right now.  Gabriella Sheehan is our new English As a Second Language teacher and will be based at the middle school.  She has at least 10 years experience, super qualified, very interesting and engaging.
  • Non-Certified Appointment(s)
  • Summer Program Appointment(s)
  • Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)
Certified Appointment(s):
Carlsen, ErikMusic Teacher – K-12


Effective 8/26/19

@ MA+30 Step 18 ($82,923)

(replaces Michael Gillespie)

Sheehan, GabrielaEnglish as a Second Language – MVRMSEffective 8/26/19

@ MA Step 10 ($62,600)

(new position)

Non-Certified Appointment(s):
Hogue, StaceyFood Service Assistant Cook – MMRHSEffective 8/26/19

@ $14/hr. for 7 ½ hrs./day

(workday 7 ½ /hrs. day)

(replaces Marti Gardino)

Summer SPED Program(s): 
Muddy Brook 
Scapin, SandyParaprofessional – MB

7/1/19 – 8/1/19

(25619)$14.10/hr. up to 78 hours ($1,099.80/max) (grant funded)
Pegorari, DeniseParaprofessional – MB

7/1/19 – 8/1/19

(25619)$14/hr. up to 30 hours ($420/max) (grant funded)
Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)Fund 
(all 2019 – 2020 unless otherwise noted) 
Rueger, CathyCurriculum:  Team Green Interdisciplinary–MV Stipend:  $500
Lucy, ChristineCurriculum:  Team Green Interdisciplinary–MV Stipend:  $500
Heck, BrendanCurriculum:  Team Green Interdisciplinary–MV Stipend:  $500
Wright, KeithCurriculum:  Team Green Interdisciplinary–MV Stipend:  $500
Heath, DavidCurriculum:  Team Green Interdisciplinary–MV Stipend:  $500
Krahforst-Lang, AndrewParaprofessional (nursing support for PC & Life Skills) MV; 7/29/19 – 7/31/19 M thru W 9:00am-1:00pm $14/hr. (grant funded – 50% thru Sped – 50% thru Project Connection)
Krahforst-Lang, AndrewParaprofessional (nursing support for PC Field Trips) MV; 7/25/19 & 8/1/19, Thurs.  9:00am-3:00pm $14/hr. (grant funded thru Project Connection)
Tone, JanetTitle I Tutor – MB

7/8/19 – 8/1/19

(25219)$40/hr. up to 18 hours (grant funded)

Business Operation:

Education News:

Old Business:

New Business:

  • Public Comment
  • Written Comment


The next school committee meeting will be held on September 5, 2019 – Regular Meeting,  MMRHS Library,  7pm

Meeting Adjourned at 8:14pm

Submitted by:

Christine M. Kelly, Recorder


Christine M. Kelly, Recorder


School Committee Secretary