BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Great Barrington                   Stockbridge                West Stockbridge

SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING

Regular Meeting

Monument Valley Regional Middle School – Library

January 10, 2019 – 7 p.m.

Present:

School Committee:                S. Bannon, A. Hutchinson,  J. St. Peter, B. Fields, M. Thomas, D. Weston,
R. Dohoney,  D. Singer, A. Potter, S. Stephen

Administration:                      P. Dillon, S. Harrison

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

Absent:

List of Documents Distributed:

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, 10 minutes.

CALL TO ORDER

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

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

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, www.bhrsd.org once approved.
MINUTES:
Meeting of School Committee Meeting dated November 29, 2018

MOTION TO APPROVE SCHOOL COMMITTEE MINUTES OF MEETING DATED NOVEMBER 29, 2018 – A. POTTER    SECONDED:  B. FIELDS               ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS

TREASURER’S REPORT:

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT:

  • Dillon – Largely due to some money coming back from Berkshire Health Group, we are able to reduce the assessments to our member towns in the fourth quarter of this year. This is a big deal and pretty unusual.  The total amount that the assessments will be reduced across the three towns is $194,852.  That amount is divided up by the per student in each town.  Great Barrington’s assessment in the fourth quarter will be reduced by $142,324.97; Stockbridge $26,519.55 and West Stockbridge $26,007.48.  That is a really good thing.  It is both a testament to our careful financial management and our partnership with the Berkshire Health Group.  On Monday, I will send a note to all the finance and selectboard across three towns and they will have an opportunity to decide how to proceed with that.  This week coming off the holidays, we didn’t do written good news.  We will do that for our next meeting.  If the principals have one or two things they want to share verbally, feel free to do it.  Don’t feel obligated to.  If you want to pass, you can.
  • Good News Item(s) – See attached and below
  • October 1 Report – P. Dillon – for people who are new on the committee, all the schools in the Commonwealth use October 1st as a snapshot around enrollment. After October 1st, we do a lot of outreach to our three towns and other towns to actually find out where kids are from and where they are living.  Sometimes there is confusion around that.  Ultimately, it ends up with these two reports here in front of you.  The report represents how many kids we have and that is important and what grades they are in and where they are coming from and where our kids are that choiced out also go.  In particular it is important because it is how we get the percentages that drive the assessments to each of the towns.  This year the percentage of in-district kids from Great Barrington have gone up slightly and that will ripple through to Great Barrington.  The percentage to Stockbridge has gone down slightly and that will ripple through to Stockbridge and the last couple of years I think West Stockbridge has gone down or been flat and this year in West Stockbridge, there is a slight increase.  Sharon and I are happy to respond to any questions you might have.  Dohoney – in your totals for FY20 assessment, it looks like the PK/EK kids are not counted.  P. Dillon – I can check on that.  Do you think historically, we have counted them?  R. Dohoney – I don’t know how we have done it historically, but it struck me as odd.  They are not required programs; we don’t get reimbursed for all of those from the state.  P. Dillon – we do get reimbursed for some of them.  The kids from the integrated PK we do get reimbursed.  R. Dohoney – not Chapter 70 reimbursement thought, right?  P. Dillon – no.  Let me do a little research on it and get back to you.  I don’t want to misspeak on it.  S. Harrison – it is included in the assessment because we have costs associated with it.  R. Dohoney – it is an optional cost the school committee decides to bear.  S. Bannon – I am a little fuzzy about your question.  If we didn’t include it in the assessments, we can’t set taxes.  How would we pay for the program.  R. Dohoney – it would change the assessment; it would just change the allocation of the assessment.  P. Dillon – so you are talking about why are they included in the percentage of kids.  It could be an above the line thing.  R. Dohoney – it is a above the line/below the line thing, exactly.  So tomorrow if we add a gymnastics team that costs $10,000, that goes in the budget and we figure out which towns are going to allocate it.  This is an optional program.  I don’t know what the correct answer is.  S. Harrison – are you talking about EK?  PK we have to provide services.  R. Dohoney -we have to provide services.  We don’t have to provide to all the kids that are in that class.  P. Dillon – if we provided them in a different approach or strategy, it would cost more than the way we are providing it.  R. Dohoney – it is not a cost thing.  Just how do you allocate it?  P. Dillon – we will do some research and look around at what other districts are doing and come back with options.  Then you can either reaffirm the way we are doing it or change it.  R. Dohoney – I don’t think it is a look at what other people are doing thing.  I think it is read our district agreement and regulations.  Either we are doing it correct or we are not.  J. St. Peter – did you say that the kids that are in our district but tuitioned out to other schools is included?  P. Dillon – I might have misspoke.  The special educational students who are tuitioned out are but the other ones are not and we can provide that.  J. St. Peter – I would like to see the choice applicants and what districts they go to but also to see what the percentages are in each town for Great Barrington, Stockbridge and West Stockbridge because those are associated costs for each of those.  S. Harrison – I don’t find out about the choice out until the end of December.  J. St. Peter – I know it has never been allocated per town and I would like to see that when you do it so we now what the district cost is.  R. Dohoney – I don’t think we have ever seen that set of numbers.  I have always been curious as well.  It seems like we are low in 7th grade choice in and that happens to be a particularly small class size.  Should we be concerned or is it random.  P. Dillon – I think it is random.  One of the main circumstances is, we open up seats where we think we have space, up to the level where we think we are good and don’t have to hire an additional teacher.  The other thing embedded in the state law is this thing about sibling preferences.  We won’t open a seat if we don’t have room, but if we do have room, we do take a sibling.  Sometimes that connects to some of this  There are particular grades where people like to choice in and who is choicing in during any given year changes.  There is a lot going on behind it.  It is hard for me to figure out each bit of it.  R. Dohoney – We any seats opened up in the middle school this year for choice in.  B. Doren – that 7th grade group is really an artifact of when we stopped doing choice.  The kids were available for that actually went other places.  We are under enrolled in 7th grade and we are just about exactly enrolled in 5th grade.  We were fully enrolled in 6th then we got some move-in’s so we are now over-enrolled in 6th and slightly over-enrolled in 8th grade for that same reason.  We always try to balance it out.  I expect that pretty much going year to year, we are going to have full enrollment and just that 7th grade group is the artifact of that time.  P. Dillon – in those grades, there was a smaller group we got from Farmington River as well.  Our current 9th grade class at the high school is very large, one of our largest in recent memory.  When that 7th grade is in 9th grade it will get a little bigger but it will still be one of our smaller classes.  The likely group from Richmond that are now 7th graders, is relatively small and even if we get most of them like we typically do, it will still be small.  There are other things going on around us like reconfigurations in other districts.  S. Bannon – I just have something on the elementary school choice in.  We are about 50% of where we were five or six years ago but that was also at the point when we went a little overboard on choice.  What is a right number that we can fit at the elementary school?  I know it depends on our in-district but right now we are at 39.  We have been up to 80.  The right number of kids per grade total.  If you look at it, we are down 50% on choice but was that because of the 2012-2013 that we had the bubble and took a little too many?  P. Dillon – I think so.  I would have to go back and check.  Any time we have a decision, it takes years for that decision to make it through.  Last year’s very big 8th grade class was because when I was in my first year, the interim principal and I slightly miscounted early K kids and we ended up with a very big class.
  • Learning & Teaching Update – P. Dillon – Kristi put together a great newsletter. The work Kristi is doing is quite remarkable so I thought I would give her some time to highlight what is going on.  I am super psyched Kristi is in this role.  Farina – we have much going on across the district but the biggest news that we heard right before our vacation was that we are one of five districts in the state that received the Mass Ideas Planning grant.  We actually had our first phone conference today with Liza from Mass Ideas.  Mass Ideas is connected to Next Generation Learning and the funds are coming to us through the Barr Foundation and Ellie May.  We are going to be receiving $127,000 in addition to a coach that Mass Ideas will be providing us and resources through Next Generation Learning.  We will be convening with the other four districts in Massachusetts where we actually visit their schools and one time during the year, they will come to our school and we will be working as a cohort together in this work.  The work is around high school redesign and in our proposal we kind of laid out our best thinking in terms of what our redesign plans are but this is the planning grant.  The purpose of the coach and all the resources is actually to support us in really thinking this through and being strategic about how this work is going to move forward.  What we are looking at is restructuring the leveling system at the high school which we have mentioned before to you.  What we what to do is ensure we are supporting all of our students in meeting high standards that are preparing them for college and career and life.  That is kind of a mantra you are going to be hearing from us.  We want to make sure we are doing that for every single student.  Part of that work is looking at how we can use proficiencies to be better supporting students and really clearly identifying what those expectations are for them.  We are also looking at restructuring the schedule at the high school and how we want to change structural practices so that we have best practice around scheduling, using time and what we are asking students to do in the time we have them.  We are looking at integrating an advisory period into the schedule at the high school and that is to support to work of both planning student academics and career planning.  We want to align that work.  You have heard from Sean Flynn who is looking specifically at the CVTE programming and we are having conversations around how some of that might be restructured and career pathways.  That is big.  It is a huge picture.  The funds that we are getting through Mass Ideas and the coach we are getting to support us in this work is going to be extremely helpful.  I am not sure how we would do it without them.  We are continuing our work with Great Schools.  The Great School coach is actually going to work with the coach from Mass Ideas.  Mass Ideas is aware that we have been working with the coach from Great Schools partnership.  The Great Schools partnership we are going to strategically use to align the work district-wide so changes that happen at the high school have implications for work that happens in PK through 8 and we are going to be using our coach Dan Lieber from Great Schools to really help facilitate how the things we are doing at the high school might impact K-8 and help with planning there as well.  P. Dillon – can you just talk about the planning team and the individual people who work…K. Farina – for the Mass Ideas grant, we had to identify a team which is our planning team that includes myself, Sean Flynn, Meaghan St. John (high school teacher), Greta Luf (student), and Eva Sheridan is the community member.  All of the convening that we have will be with the five of us and we will be working together on how we communicate with staff, parents, community, etc. as to what the changes are going to be happening at the high school.  We envision this to be a multi-year plan.  This grant is for 13 months to do all of the support like foundational work to get us moving.  R. Dohoney – So when the planning is done and they change in the system is implemented, that will not come before us for a vote correct?  How does that get approved?  P. Dillon – I think we will come back to you many time throughout the process with different proposals.  There are some stuff that you have authority over and other stuff that even if you don’t have authority over, we need you support on it.  K. Farina – right now we are right in the phase where the high school staff are just beginning to work through some of those things.  We are really in the beginning stages of the conversations.  P. Dillon – Down the road there might be some budget implications as well and obviously that is in your direct area.  B. Fields – are you really going to have a new schedule next year at Monument Mountain?  K. Farina – yes.  how substantial the changes for next year, remains to be seen.  In order to do that, we do have to make a decision about the schedule in very early March so even with scheduling, I think that is going to be a multiphase change, where we implement a small change for next year.  What we are currently brainstorming around is implementing one advisory period a week that would probably be 30 minutes long.  This is in the brainstorming phases so this is the work the faculty really has to go through together.  Also, some sort of shift in the schedule will provide for more time for teachers to do some collaboration during the school day because in order to implement this change, teachers will actually need time.  They have time during the school day now but it doesn’t necessarily align with people they need to have conversations with.  If we are talking about co-teaching, then the co-teachers need to have planning time and right now we have teachers that are co-teaching but they don’t have planning time scheduled together.  R. Dohoney – so is that more time or different time?  K. Farina – different time.  B. Fields – you also need some space.  K. Farina – space will probably have to shift depending on how we are using it.  B. Fields – because the next steps committee will be talking about it.  I am not going to jump onto the next steps committee but I will just tell you, the two go together and that is really important in regards to looking at what we are going to have to do with the building.  What you are hearing from Kristi has a direct impact on the Next Steps committee.  R. Dohoney – I am supportive of redoing the schedule at the high school.  That’s good and long overdue.  I have concerned about the incremental limitation.  K. Farina – what we want to do is implement things in a way in which they can be successful so if we can make a huge change and we feel confident that people are ready to be successful in a huge change, then that is fabulous.  If folks aren’t ready, then implementing the change and having it be a disaster isn’t going to help us get to where we want to go.  R. Dohoney – but the third option is wait.  Don’t feel like you have to force something in.  K. Farina – I agree with you.   I don’t think we should implement something we are not ready for.
  • Dillon – You all know that I am working across multiple places and spending a little more time in Richmond lately because their principal resigned and took a job in Pittsfield so they are without a principal. I have been principaling there some on top of the superintendent thing.  We have been doing a search there and we interviewed six candidates.  We have some very strong ones in that group and hopefully I bring that to closure relatively soon.  I also have a plan with a retired superintendent to step in during the transition time if need be so hopefully you will see a lot more of me around here.  I will continue to check in on Richmond and support them but a little less.
  • Updates:
    • Security & Safety – P. Dillon – right before the break, we had our regular meeting with local state troopers, the GB police and fire chiefs and other officers. We continue to do work around drills, drills in schools and outside and because the weather is getting a little bad, we are going to be doing less outside now.  It is moving along nicely and the collaboration is very positive.  We did some stuff in the schools a little while ago and every time you do that, it is a learning opportunity.

Good News:

Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School – Tim Lee:  Thursday or next week, the 17th, at 6pm our PTA is going to be hosting an event called a Parent Learning Lab.  The subject is mindfulness and our clinicians and staff are going to be sharing some strategies with parents to help students to gain skills and focus on perseverance and self-calming,  It is open to all parents.  There will be a Spanish language interpreter so all families are welcome.  We are encouraging all families to attend.

Monument Valley Regional Middle School – B. Doren:   I am pretty excited about an even that just happened in the 7th and 8th grade this week.  We have been focusing a lot on social/emotional learning.  There is a huge need in trying to get ahead of things with kids.  We are addressing issues of bias that have happened at the middle school and high school and in our district and area.  The anti-defamation league runs A World of Difference program that trains youth in middle and high school to be peer leaders and basically create programming to address issues of bias and caring and equity in the schools.  Someone from the anti-defamation league came out and did a presentation on Wednesday morning to our 7th and 8th graders and we received a great response.  We are recruiting about 30+ kids to be trained; to develop peer activities for 7th and 8th graders but for me what I am most excited about is doing this work with 5th and 6th graders so some of our older students are working with younger students to really get ahead of these issues and help stop ignorance and bring hope and equity.  That dovetails with us doing some work with the 5th grade around social media, digital devices and working with peers.  We had a really great session a few weeks ago through advisory.  We will have another one of those next month.  We are trying really hard through our structures to address social/emotional learning.

Monument Mountain Regional High School – D. Wine:   On the 24th of January, we are going to having our health and wellness fair which is created by our wellness committee and also focusing on a lot of the social/emotional learning things we need.  The fair is focused on having our students go to 10 different organizations from the three towns.  They can see what they can access and what is available to them.  Middle and high school students will be going down to Berkshire South beginning Monday to do the Tone Program.  They are expected to go 2-3 times a week and keep up with it for three to six months.  We at the high school are trying to start a fitness club and are actually going to adding more students to it.  Some will go down there as well.  We expect to fill the place with the number of people we will be bringing down there for health which is pretty cool.  P. Dillon – just to give some context, the Tone Program at Berkshire South, and when teens participate in it, their participation is tracked.  There is a community service part, a fitness part and a health and nutrition part.  If they participate for a certain number of days, they earn a free membership at Berkshire South which is supposed to reinforce the behavior.  This is one of the many things going on in the community with the schools to support healthy living and keep people focused.  It is a great thing for off-season athletes and everyone.

Sub-Committee Reports:

  • Policy Sub Committee – S. Bannon – 2nd reading means we will vote on it tonight. We will take a motion then any discussion after that.  MOTION TO APPROVE POLICIES THAT ARE LISTED ON THE AGENDA – A. POTTER                SECONDED  FIELDS     ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS  (SEE BELOW AMENDMENTS)
    • 2nd Reading:
      • Policy ACE-Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability
      • Policy ADC-Tobacco Use on School Premises
      • Policy BBA-School Committee Powers and Duties
      • Policy BBBA/BBBB-School Committee Member Qualifications/Oath of Office
      • Policy BDD-School Committee-Superintendent Relationship
      • Policy BDF-Advisory Committees to the School Committee
      • Policy BEDA-Notification of School Committee Meetings
      • Policy BEDB-Agenda Format
      • Policy BHE-School Committee Members’ Use of Electronic Messaging
      • Policy BIBA-School Committee Conferences, Conventions and Workshops
      • Policy CB-Regional School Superintendent
      • Policy CBD-Superintendent’s Contract
      • Policy CBI-Evaluation of the Superintendent
      • Policy CE-Administrative Councils, Cabinets and Committees
      • Policy CH-Policy Implementation
      • Policy CHA-Development of Procedures
      • Policy DB-Annual Budget
      • Policy DBC-Annual Budget Deadlines and Schedules
      • Policy DBD-Budget Planning
      • Policy DBJ-Budget Transfer Authority
      • Policy DJE-Procurement Requirements
      • Policy DK-Payment Procedures
      • Policy DKC-Expense Reimbursements
      • Policy GBEB-E-Confidentiality Agreement
  1. Dohoney – there were three different annual budgets deadlines and scheduling and planning and school committee superintendent relationship where I thought that….so we have our budget process pretty much done and scheduled but the thing that we are doing in practice now that I think is new this year is the preliminary draft budget come from the administration, and we never set a firm deadline but it pretty much needs to be by February 1st. Is that something we want to encompass in our policies? In Budget Deadlines and Schedules in the fourth paragraph it says the superintendent shall and after shall I want to insert “provide a draft preliminary budget to the school committee by February 1st of each year, schedule the budget presentation to the school committee as least four weeks prior to that.”  S. Bannon – I see no problem with that.  If we are going to have a policy, it should reflect what we are doing.  S. Harrison – the draft preliminary is usually in December.  R. Dohoney – I know.  You want to set a date.  February 1st being the last possible day we could ever get it.  We would never want to get it then but there is no reference having the obligation of providing us with a draft budget which is what we always have done and there is no schedule which is what we have not implemented.  I like the process and would like to see it in the policy.  P. Dillon – I am not opposed to it.  I like our process too.  Not everything has to be encompassed in policy and if at some point somebody wants to change it, you would have to go back and change the policy which you could easily do.  S. Bannon – if it is really working well, and we want to maintain it for years to come and if someone comes up with a better idea, then it has to be thought out through policy as opposed to saying I want to do it a different way.  R. Dohoney – and policies are always not directed at whatever superintendent so if somebody new comes they know it is there obligation to come forward with a budget.  S. Harrison – I am just wondering if you wanted it a little bit earlier because we usually do the formal budget presentation by the second Tuesday in February; like by January 15th?    S. Bannon – do you want by or no later than?  R. Dohoney – I like no later than.  Let’s make an amendment to the motion.  MOTION TO AMEND DBC AND DBD TO INCLUDE LANGUAGE THAT THE SUPERINTENDENT SHALL PROVIDE A DRAFT PRELIMINARY BUDGET TO THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE NOT LATER THAN JANUARY 15TH OF EACH YEAR.          R. DOHONEY            SECONDED:  J. ST. PETER            ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS  R. Dohoney – BHE school committee members’ use of electronic messaging, just to be clear.  We have an existing policy and the stuff in red is the amendment.  S. Bannon – yes.  R. Dohoney – MOTION TO ELIMINATE THE POLICY IN ITS ENTIRETY          R. DOHONEY           SECONDED:  J. ST. PETER                P. Dillon – is your intention that we don’t need a policy because it is stated in…R. Dohoney – we are required to follow the state law.  That is all we are required to do.  If I thought this encompassed some additional regulations to do that, but it doesn’t.  It just restates the law and it is insulting.  S. Bannon – my question to you is, is there any benefit to restating state law in this policy?  I am not sure of the answer to this.  A. Potter – to reference the final paragraph, there is actually non state law policy related to record keeping practices at the district office.  Do you want to just wipe that out and make that an administrative, like the superintendent directs staff to do exactly this?  R. Dohoney – yes, and ironically we have another one we are voting on tonight that authorizes in a general fashion for the superintendent to do just that.  A. Potter – I just wanted to point that out.  That is not in state law;  having a process procedure for capturing those messages.  P. Dillon – that could not be a policy; that could just be a practice.  A. Potter – correct.  R. Dohoney – but it is still directed toward the school committee members.  A. Potter – not how I read it.  P. Dillon – it is sort of directed toward my secretary.  P. Potter – yes.  It is district procedure.  R. Dohoney – but it only references correspondence between and among members of the school committee.  A. Potter – right but it is capturing records; school committee records.  That’s what that is talking about.  That is a record keeping thing.  It is not in state law; how you keep those records; how you capture those records.  You are insulted by the first part and then I see a second part that goes right back to your previous point which was that policy is not for the current superintendent, it’s for a future superintendent.  My question being do we want to throw that part of the policy out since it is a record keeping thing.  B. Fields – so eliminate the first three paragraphs?  R. Dohoney – it is not pure record keeping actually.  A employee of the district who has this obligation, the secretary of the superintendent has an obligation to keep all such emails.  That is a fact and a requirement of state law.  What this does, it is putting the onus on us to copy her on things.  That is all this does.  P. Dillon – well both.  The onus is on you to include her and it’s on her to ….R. Dohoney – are you the record access officer for the school district?  P.  Dillon – yes.  D. Weston – if I read this correctly, if I send Steve and email that says I am concerned about policy X I am supposed to cc Doreen?  And that is not a state requirement?  Is it a requirement anywhere?  R. Dohoney – you are mixing open meeting law with public records law.  D. Weston – if I want to send Steve an email that says I think Rick is out of control….according to this policy, I am obligated to send it to Doreen.  R. Dohoney – yes.  D. Weston – I don’t like that policy.  S. Bannon – is there anywhere in state law that says that is so?  R. Dohoney – if something is public record, you have an obligation to all people not just the access officer to maintain that for the designated period.  R. Dohoney – we just took a big leap that person emails on your email accounts that happened to talk about school district business are public records.  I don’t want to assume that is the case and I don’t think it is the case.  I don’t like that.  We are one of the few school committees around that doesn’t issue school emails for school purposes.  P. Dillon – we could do that if you wanted.  R. Dohoney – if that is what you want us to do in lieu of this, that is a better conversation to have rather than to have a policy that now regulating our personal email accounts.  I don’t think you can oppose a policy on us while you require us to use personal emails for the purpose of our position.  S. Bannon – we are not imposing this.  We are imposing it on ourselves by voting on this.  R. Dohoney – that is why I want to delete the whole thing.  S. Bannon – you are going back to my other hat, the town has the ability to have the town’s email address for selectboard members and I personally refuse it.  P. Dillon – if the school committee directed me so, I could could get you all email addresses connected to the district.  We might want to change it so it doesn’t look like you’re an employee.  S. Bannon – or if we are using our personal email it could be looked at by some office….R. Dohoney – the state law is what it is.  We all should be guided by our own understanding of the law and our conscience.  We shouldn’t be telling each other what we should be doing.  I don’t want to regulate each other.  A. Potter – I am tending to agree with you Rich, however the solution of having an internal, we are all on the same domain and it is all being captured in server is more comforting to me.  I avoid using email to discuss anything to do with the committee because I don’t want to be in that issue.  In the federal government we have had some people with email issues….so I tend to avoid it.  R. Dohoney – if we decided to not go with the policy proposal, I don’t think a proposal for to have school based emails is a bad idea.  P. Dillon – do you want to take this one out of the ones you are approving; let me talk to our tech guys around what it would look like and at the next meeting I come  with a proposal around implementing that and then you can either table that or reject it.  There is a motion on the table to approve all of these. My motion to amend is to eliminate this from the approval so I guess….S. Bannon – so let’s understand, it is not to eliminate the policy.  It is to eliminate the approval.  R. Dohoney – I wanted to amend it to strike this in its entirety.  S. Bannon – it is kind of interesting because if we are going to strike a policy, we might need to go back and start over again with a first reading, then a second reading.  What I would prefer is if you withdraw the motion and you make a motion to table the approval of BHE and then we will struggle with if we….R. Dohoney – should I move to amend the pending motion to eliminate this that means what exists just stays on the board and this is only on the first reading and sitting here in limbo.  R. Dohoney – I WITHDRAW MY MOTION AND MOVE TO AMEND TO ELIMINATE BHE FROM APPROVAL.  S. St. Peter – I WITHDRAW MY SECOND AND I WILL SECOND THE NEW MOTION.  ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS  R. Dohoney – BBBA/BBBB – I want to strike both the new language and the paragraph above that that starts “from the clerk” for reasons similar to what we just discussed.  We are just restating state law.  And the next one should be amended as well as it is already state law.  P. Dillon – and you want to do this because it is already state law?  R. Dohoney – most of it is already in state law.  I have questions about the constitutionality portions that are in state law.  What qualifies someone to be a member of this school committee as defined by our regional agreement and if people wanted this it should have been put in the regional agreement which we just renegotiated a year and a half ago.  It does provide an extra requirement that we do the certification every two year, not just entering office.  A matter of ethics is every individual member to regulate themselves and police themselves.  We are not the policing body.  If there is an issue this is a governing body called the Ethics Commission.  We are not going to get into policing each other.  S. Bannon – isn’t state law that is has to be done every two years.  P. Dillon – yes, it is.  S. Bannon – so we are going to do it every two years anyway.  The town of Great Barrington encourages you to do it every year.  R. Dohoney – ok, what is our remedy?  S. Bannon – we ask our Ethics Officer isn’t enforcing state law.  B. Fields – who is the Ethics Officer?  S. Bannon – I don’t want to get into that here.  R. Dohoney – the consequence for not complying in state law, there is an enforcement mechanism that is called the Ethics Commission.  S. Stephen – I’ll send you the link.  MOTION TO STRIKE TWO PARAGRAPHS OUT OF BBBA/BBBB             R. DOHONEY          SECONDED:  A. POTTER             ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS         R. Dohoney – I have one more amendment and questions on two more.  DBD-Budget Planning – I propose an amendment to the first paragraph.  It currently reads, the major portion of income of the public schools is derived from local property taxes and the BHRSD school committee will attempt to protect the valid interests of the taxpayer.  MOTION TO AMEND THE POLICY BY STRIKING VALID AND ADD IN PROTECT AND BALANCE THE INTEREST OF THE TAXPAYER AND STRIKE ATTEMPT TO AND ADD BALANCE TO READ “THE MAJOR PORTION OF INCOME FROM THE OPERATIONS OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS DERIVED FROM LOCAL PROPERTY TAXES AND THE BHRSD SCHOOL COMMITTEE WILL PROTECT THE VALID INTEREST OF THE TAXPAYER.  STRIKE THE NEXT SENTENCE IN ITS ENTIRETY.   R. Dohoney – I think the interest of the taxpayer and the interest of our children are directly aligned.  I think they are one and the same and they are not to be balanced against each other.  S. Bannon – but by taking that out are you….R. Dohoney – I am saying that by doing our budget, we will protect the interest of the taxpayer.  S. Bannon – but by taking out the educational part of it are you not then minimizing the educational welfare of the children by not having it in our policy.  B. Fields – what about taking that last sentence and putting it first?  R. Dohoney – I think that works.  S. Bannon – the reason we took valid out because who are we to judge what is valid interest.  MOTION TO STRIKE THE FIRST PARAGRAPH THAT IS CURRENTLY WRITTEN AND REPLACE IT WITH “IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ANNUAL BUDGET, THE BHRSD SCHOOL COMMITTEE WILL PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THE TOWN TAXPAYERS AND THE EDUCATIONAL WELFARE OF THE CHILDREN IN THE DISTRICT SCHOOLS.”   R. DOHONEY      SECONDED:  B. FIELDS              ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS   R. Dohoney – in the school committee powers and duties BBA under the new language, personnel matters, I don’t see treasurer and I know that is something we are supposed to do.  S. Bannon – we do appoint the treasurer.  R. Dohoney – I think that is state law too.  We also don’t have an assistant deputy superintendent.  P. Dillon – I think we have a separate policy for treasurers.  MOTION TO BBA FROM THE PENDING MOTION FOR APPROVAL          R. DOHONEY     SECONDED:  A. POTTER           ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS    R. Dohoney – BDD, School committee-superintendent relationship – the last sentence of he first paragraph says “it (referring to us) will normally proceed in the areas after receiving recommendations from the executive officer”.  I don’t’ think this makes sense.  I think what it is trying to do say is when we do things that are within our power, when possible, get Peter’s opinion first.  I don’t like “it will normally proceed in these areas after receiving recommendations”.  I think that can be implied to be an onus on us to follow Peter’s recommendations.  I would just like to say, should not take action without first consulting with the superintendent?  S. Bannon – I guess I would say that you are right and it is saying if we are asking his recommendation, we will endorse his recommendation normally.   R. Dohoney – it is either wrong or not clear.  S. Stephen – I think it is not clear.  It is saying we will proceed after receiving.  We are asking input from Peter and then after we get that input then we will make a decision on what we want to do.  J. St. Peter – if we don’t’ receive the recommendation, can we move forward?  It seems awkward but it gives us a bypass for whatever reason we ask and we don’t receive recommendation can that stalemate work because of the way the policy is written?  S. Bannon – it is worked funny.  P. Dillon – it should be reciprocal.  R. Dohoney – I don’t have a problem with #1.  S. Bannon – neither do I.  Neither #1 is opposite of the other paragraph.  R. Dohoney – I think the work proceed is my issue.  What does proceed mean?  S. Bannon – I think what it is saying is that before we move ahead, we will get recommendation…R. Dohoney – move ahead with the matter or move ahead with his recommendation?  It will proceed in these areas….S. Harrison – I think the intent of this just based on workshops I have been too, was when the law changed of what school committees are responsible for, I think this is trying to define what you have absolute responsibility for; you can do it without the advice of the superintendent because policy and expenditure and budget are under your purview so you could just do it.  S. Bannon – I think you are right Sharon.  I am not sure we have an issue.  I think we have a problem with wording.  P. Dillon – what if we add a #3 – the school committee may seek guidance from the superintendent with respect to matters of policy and expenditures.  R. Dohoney – I think another paragraph saying the school committee where feasible shall solicit and receive the recommendation of the superintendent on general policy and expenditure of funds.  I think that is appropriate and mirrors what we do.  MOTION TO TABLE APPROVAL OF BBD FROM THE PENDING MOTION       R. DOHONEY          SECONDED:  B. FIELDS             ACCEPTED: UNANIMOUS  R. Dohoney – as a general comment, I think CHA is awful.  I wouldn’t even know where to start to make this readable.  MOTION TO TABLE APPROVAL OF CHA FROM THE PENDING MOTION    R. DOHONEY           SECONDED:  A. POTTER              ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS
  • Buildings and Grounds Sub Committee N/A
  • Superintendent’s Evaluation Sub Committee N/A
  • Technology Sub Committee N/A
  • Finance Sub Committee R. Dohoney – we met tonight and did a review of the budget.
  • District Consolidation & Sharing Sub Committee R. Dohoney – we met before the end of the year and there was more articulation of what Peter reported at the last school committee meeting about how we are going to proceed with Richmond presumably on an extension of one more year. There was an understanding that there would be a change in terms.
  • Next Steps Sub Committee B. Fields – we met Tuesday. Paul Gibbons and I wanted some teachers to come in and talk about what they do now and what they could do better.  We had art, culinary, nursery school, auto, science.  Whatever I missed Molly, Jason and Diane can fill in.  I thought it was a very good meeting.  We took a tour of those specific areas where certain things were pointed out like we have a new lift.  Chris said he can’t put a truck on it because if it went all the way up, the truck would knock out some of the lights because the lights are designed in such a way that you can’t lift a truck all the way up.  I am not sure where we are going to go for the next meeting.  We are to the point now that we have to make some decisions about what direction do we want in regards to renovations, additions, new building.  We haven’t gotten there yet but we certainly are reaching out to teachers.  I had one teacher tell me that it was the first time she had been asked to be part of some of the planning.  Dillon – I was talking to Terry Cowgill today and he reported the whole meeting and is doing an article.  The other thing is we had a tentative agenda for the next steps committee and some combination of Doug, Steve Soule and I will meet with the two co-chairs and I think we have four or five more meetings scheduled and we may rearrange that slightly.  We inserted this one at people’s request and we may change it a bit going forward but are still on track to come back to the school committee with a presentation about the work and some sort of recommendation in late March.  S. Bannon – the SOI will be brought to us when?  P. Dillon – I think it is due in early April so we will come back to you with an SOI.  It is a factual statement.  We will share information about this process because it makes our submission more compelling but the process doesn’t have to reach its conclusion before we submit the updated SOI.  R. Dohoney – is there anything you need from us to maximize to perfect the SOI?  Would a consultant be helpful at this point or not?  P. Dillon – no I don’t think a consultant would be helpful.  The SOI was very compelling but the state said that there were 50 or 100 projects and they could only fund 15.  They didn’t tell us what number we were but I think we were just outside of the group that got funded.  I think the document largely remains the same but what we argued already.  The regional agreement and the assessments, formula, etc.  What is different now is there are one likely, maybe two major grants that we got or will have gotten.  We are in the middle of a thoughtful redesign with instructional perspective and then the work of the next steps group is deep and broad and transparent so rather than focusing on the SOI itself, I think we can package the SOI in way that makes it even more appealing.  I don’t think other groups that are submitting SOI have gotten two grants totally $250,000 or been in a dozen meeting with community members and farmers and business people and the chair of the agriculture commission; all these people who have participated.  I think that makes our case more compelling.  R. Dohoney – Is evaluation of where we put students during construction a topic your committee is going to look at?  B. Fields – no.  That is not our charge.  We don’t know what is going to come up.  We are looking at three alternatives.  I haven’t done head counts.  One person has expressed to me, based on what they have heard during the last two meetings, we need a new building.  We don’t need a renovation with an addition.  We need a new building.  R. Dohoney – I have heard that as well.  P. Dillon – in some ways, our next steps committee is like a dress rehearsal for an actual….we are not possibly going to be able to answer all questions.  That is part of a very formal, regimented process that we need to do anyway.

Personnel Report:

  • Certified Appointment(s)
  • Non-Certified Appointment(s)
  • Re-Assignment(s)
  • Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)
Certified Appointment(s):   
Wright, KeithScience Teacher – MV Effective 1/14/19 @ MA+30 Step 16 ($77,178) (replaces Lynn Chiavacci)
Non-Certified Appointment(s):   
Schilling, SandraParaprofessional – MV Effective 1/2/19 @ $12.25/hr./6.5 hrs./day (workday 7/hr./day)

(replaces vacancy created by the reassignment of William Brown)

Re-Assignment(s):   
Brown, WilliamDirected Study Supervisor Effective 12/17/2018 @$18.00/hr./6.5 hrs./day (workday 7/hr./day) (replaces Anthony Wirmusky)
Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)

(all 2018-2019 unless otherwise noted)

   
Kalish, EugeneChess Club – MB Stipend:  $1,000
Powell, MichaelInstructional Lead – MMRHS Stipend:  $4,500
Roy, ThomasWebmaster – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,269
Zantay, ValerieTeacher Team Coordinator-MMRHS Stipend:  $1,750
Project Connection Appointment(s) Fund Source 
Muddy Brook & Monument Valley   
Clark, BrittanyBCBA Liaison(25619)Stipend:  $400 (grant-funded)
Muddy Brook Serv. Learning 
Ebitz, SusanProgram Instructor – STREAMS

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27519)

 

Stipend:  $560 (grant-funded)
Favor, KatherineParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27519)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 47 hrs.

(grant-funded)

  21st CCLC 
Beni, TanyaParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $15.85/hr. up to 47 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Chirichella, KimProgram Instructor – Board Games

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $490 (grant-funded)
Fredsall, KirstenParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 12 hrs.

(grant-funded)

LaBrasca, JaneParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 24 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Rand, BillProfessional Instructor – Woodworking

1/7/19 – 3/7/19 – 2 days/week

(25719)Stipend:  $1,120-(grant-funded)
Tone, JanetProfessional Instructor – Submersibles & Fall Foliage Fun

1/7/19 – 3/7/19 – 2 days/week

(25719)Stipend:  $1,120-(grant-funded)
Tone, JanetParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 12 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Young-Taft, BetlinnParaprofessional(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr up to 24 hrs. (grant-funded)

 

  21st Enhanced 
Houle, CherylParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25619)Stipend:  $16.75/hr. up to 48 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Krahsfort-Lang, AndrewParaprofessional(25619)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 36 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Parchment, LisaParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25619)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 24 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Scapin, SandyParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25619)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 12 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Monument Valley Serv. Learning 
Brown, WilliamNon-Certified Instructor – Mentoring

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27519)Stipend:  $525 (grant-funded)
Sacco, DomProgram Instructor  – Mentoring

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27519)

 

Stipend:  $490 (grant-funded)
  21st CCLC 
Arnold, DevanParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 24 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Cormier, HunterParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 24 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Heath, DavidProgram Instructor – Latino Cooking

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $490 (grant-funded)
Heath, ElizabethNon-Certified Instructor – Creating with Copies

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $350 (grant-funded)
Montano, RichParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 24 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Patrick, RhondaNurse

1/7/19 – 5/23/19

(25719)Stipend:  $1,440, up to 36 hrs.

(grant-funded)

Rand, BillParaprofessional

01/07/2019 – 3/7/2019

(25719)Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 24 hrs.(grant-funded)
Rand, BillProgram Instructor – Woodworking

1/7/19 – 3/7/19 – 2 days/week

(25719)Stipend:  $1,050 (grant-funded)
Rembisz, BrianNon-Certified Instructor – Coding Crew

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25719)Stipend:  $350 (grant-funded)
  21st Enhanced 
Vermilyea, LindaParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(25619)Stipend:  $19.50/hr. up to 12 hrs.

(grant-funded)

  Turnaround 
Bouknight-Davis, GailProgram Instructor – Work Puzzles

1/7/19 – 3/7/19 – 2/days/week – 10 weeks

(27819)Stipend:  $1,400 (grant-funded)
Console, AudreyParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27819)Stipend:  $14.10/hr. up to 70 hrs. (grant-funded)
Heath, ElizabethParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27819)Stipend:  $18.5/hr. up to 34 hrs. (grant-funded)
Rembisz, BrianParaprofessional

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27819)Stipend:  $15.85/hr. up to 70 hrs. (grant-funded)
Rueger, CathyProgram Instructor – Math Puzzles

1/7/19 – 3/7/19

(27819)Stipend:  $630 (grant-funded)

 

 

 

Business Operation:

  • E&D History Analysis – S. Harrison – I noticed that in my note, there was an error. My calculation picked up 495 which it shouldn’t have; so the E&D should actually be closer to 723.  What I do is look at the budget for the fiscal year ending the date noted.  So if you look at the bottom, the June 30, 2019, that is this year’s budget.  The E&D balance is for the previous fiscal year; so the percentage is the previous E&D over the current fiscal year budget.  It is very confusing but that is where the 5.71 comes.  The maximum is 5% that is why we have to give money back.  What we are looking at is the E&D applied from the prior year amount.  The 495, the 3177, that 495 is the other thing, this is not lining up correctly; is the percentage of the 1,302,000.  I know it is a confusing chart but that is the way E&D is calculated.  Then it doesn’t have a percentage on the 19.  I want to redo this a little bit.  Bannon – just come back with it at the next meeting.  Not a big deal.
  • Revolving Funds & Grants – November 2018 – S. Harrison – these funds move from year to year and the balance does as well. Those revolving funds go all the way to the 25,000s.  You have the general fund, that is our debt services.  I reserve for encumbrances and at the end of the year if we had products or services that we have received or services we used during the year but not yet received a bill for, that is what the reserve for encumbrances is for.  As you can see, we pretty much end up paying for those over the summer.  School lunch revolving  fund, during the year, you see that the fund balance typically is in the negative.  Two reasons, we charge the director and the health insurance to the school lunch revolving fund so we can see a full cost accounting but those expenses get moved into the operating budget twice during the year.  I just moved the half way through the year funds today and then I will move the rest in June and by the end of the year that typically balances out.  The activity revolving funds are called trust funds.  Those are not monies that the district can use.  Those are school activity funds for funds raised by and only to be used by the student activity.  Bannon – students activities revolving fund, was the FFA capital once part of that?  S. Harrison – it wasn’t part of it.  It was part of the FFA student activity fund and there was too much money in that so the auditor told us to move that.  $25,000 is the limit in the checking account and it was the total that was too high.  We have a maximum $25,000 in the checking for the high school activity and the rest is in a money market account.  Employees’ flexible spending account is exactly what is sounds like.  Employees put money in and then it is charged to that account.  The capital trust is what Steve was just talking about.  It was the excess in the FFA accounts.  Typical monies raised from the annual plant sales.  S. Bannon – can we go back.  The intent of that was because I see that nothing was put into that this year.  S. Harrison – we got some in during December.  S. Bannon – there was a plan to build a new greenhouse.  It has never been done and we have $400,000 sitting there for that purpose.  The problem is you can’t do it in conjunction with the high school project because of MSA works.  Just keep that in mind that it is there.  S. Harrison – gifts and donations, what you will see is we had a general gifts and donations account that we used district wide then we discovered that we had some significant donations for each of the schools and in order to make it easier for the schools to see what they have and to spend that money, this year we broke that out to each school and with the approval of the school committee, we broke that out to give some donation accounts for each of the schools.  So that $68,000 you see spent at that level, the majority of that went to the three separate accounts.  Custodial services, those are for rentals when we need them and we have custodians that do services then we bill for them.  Collaborative programming funds, that are things like the summer program, the summer sped program, shared services, psychologist and superintendent.  Circuit breaker is money we get in reimbursement from the state for high cost students after the foundation amount.  So the district has to assume $43,000 for a high cost student and we typically get about a 75% reimbursement.  Erate is on each of your bills, I don’t know if you notice, on your telephone bill, any technology, utility bill, there is a school and library fee that your pay, a tax that you pay and that money comes back to us based on our usage of utilities.  Wellness funds we get $2,000 each year from the Berkshire Health Group to do wellness projects and then our wellness coordinator, Christine Kelly, wrote a terrific grant for $10,000 for additional wellness programs.  What we have done and it is an going challenge is we are going to put wellness kiosks in each of the staff rooms so we are advertising our wellness programs to get more people involved.  We are using grant funds for that; no district funds.  The third party administrator that is for our 403 plans.  The regional transportation fund, if we have money above what we budgeted in reimbursement for our Chapter 71 our transportation reimbursement, that goes in there.  What we do at the end of the year, we move some of the regular education transportation cost into that fund.  It has to be spent every year.  School choice revolving, you see we have a small balance.  What we do when we get the revenue from the state, we put it in there and at the end of the year, I charge an amount equal to what we have budgeted to this revolving fund.  The reason we want to have some carryover for each year, is we never from year to year if what we budget we will receive that amount.  I could be over or under so we use the balance to cover the difference.  Same thing with the tuition in funds.  That is money we are getting in from Richmond and Farmington River.  The Trident Art Program, that was a donation, then we start getting into our grants.  You will see that some of the grants are negative that is because all grants now work on a reimbursement basis.  We have to spend the money, then at the end of the month we request fund which we usually get in the next month.  

Education News: 

Old Business: 

New Business:              S. Harrison – we have received three donations which is wonderful.  The first one is a payment from Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation for $1,000 for the Muddy Brook Cello Fund.  MOTION TO ACCEPT $1,000 FROM THE BERKSHIRE TACONIC COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR THE MUDDY BROOK CELLO FUND    A. POTTER      SECONDED:   B. FIELDS                   ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS  S. Harrison – the elementary school also received a donation of $600 from Kare Bear for the principal to use at his discretion  MOTION TO ACCEPT $600 FROM KARE BEAR FOR MUDDY BROOK ELEMENTARY          A. POTTER          SECONDED  B. FIELDS           ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS  S. Harrison – The third one is wonderful.  It is from Berkshire School in the amount of $1,080 for the Project Connection Food Program.  MOTION TO ACCEPT $1,060 FROM BERKSHIRE FOOD PROGRAM FOR THE PROJECT CONNECTION FOOD PROGRAM       A. POTTER; SECONDED:  B. FIELDS            ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS

  • Public Comment
  • Written Comment

MOTION TO ADJOURN – A. POTTER               SECONDED:  B. FIELDS                       ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS  

The next school committee meeting will be held on January 24, 2019 – Regular Meeting, Monument Valley Regional Middle School Library,  7pm

Meeting Adjourned at 6:40pm

Submitted by:  Christine M. Kelly, Recorder

______________________________

Christine M. Kelly, Recorder

______________________________

School Committee Secretary