Great Barrington                     Stockbridge                West Stockbridge


Regular Meeting

Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School – Library

May 2, 2019 – 7pm



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


Administration:                      P. Dillon, S. Harrison


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




List of Documents Distributed:
School Committee Minutes of Meeting dated April 11, 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, 8 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.

April 11, 2019







  • SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT: Dillon – I think we will come back to the good news but let’s jump right in.
  • Student Presentations/NYU Collaboration – PowerPoint presentation was given by Joshua Shapiro and Lucy Doren. Josh: I graduated from MMHRS five years ago, then NYU and part of my senior project I did a curriculum redesign with Monument and I got a bunch of NYU students together with architectural experience who had interests in many different fields.  They didn’t get paid and they didn’t get academic credit for it but they spent a lot of time working in these redesigns because they thought of it as a problem that is relevant.  A lot of what we make our students do nowadays is removed from their daily life so when you give them an opportunity to engage with a real problem they see in their community, they get really invested and do amazing work.  We took 25 Monument students to New York this year; we are relaunching the project this year, doing both an NYU redesign and a Monument redesign.  We brought them to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to an old hanger where they manufactured war planes in WWII an it is now a fabrication studio.  Sean Flynn has also been working with us on this.  Presentation continued with slides.
  • Discussion: Ultimate Frisbee/User Fees – M. Sprague – The ultimate team is in its second year and came about last year through a couple of students who were interested in starting it; Sean Flynn went to School Center, Inc. and getting a grant for about $1,000 and we were up and running.  All of this was done with a group of coaches, dedicated parents, school administrators, etc.  he we went to do everything this year, we thought we were doing everything right and at the last minute found out that we were not allowed to collect activity fees which would have been a blow to our season considering it is the only money we have coming in.  I will turn it over to the team so you know what it is about and how it was formed and the impact on the school.  Sprague – I am a senior and am representing the Ultimate Frisbee Team.  Sam Webber is the other co-founder and without his direction I don’t know where we would be.  Sam came from Mt. Everett.  Part of the reason he actually came to Monument because we had a better tennis team.  Little did he know, he wouldn’t be playing tennis in the spring.  He came up to me and asked if I played ultimate.  With the help of Sean Flynn, we met from the end of soccer season until February.  Mr. Gibbons was on his way out last year so Mr. Flynn helped us with most of the scheduling, communicating with other coaches; we got ourselves signed up for Amherst Regional, etc.  Most of the teams we were playing against are from the eastern part of Mass or south into Connecticut.  We eventually hope to have a stipend for coaches.  We have had to pay registration fees, tournament fees so the initial money disappeared quickly, so we were able to collect activity fees last year but according to Mr. Flynn this year, it wasn’t approved so we have had a hard time.  $60 of each activity fee went toward funding jerseys so the team only collected $40 per person.  We were left with barely any money.  We were eventually approved to collect fees.  Our final goal tonight is to solidify the future of the program.  (Other student presented their thoughts) P. Dillon – as a school committee we are going to look again at our co-curricular guidelines.  The cycle of our budget process might not be understood.  I hope as many people that are here tonight go to the various town meetings on Monday and two weeks from Monday and vote for the budget.  In the summer we will start making the budget not for September but for a year from September.  At the school committee’s direction, I would be happy to take a proposal from your group and bring it to the committee and include it in future discussions.  R. Dohoney – this is purely a budget cycle funding issue or was it administrative?  S. Sprague – there is the budget piece but we were also told that you had to vote to approve us to collect activities fees before we could do that.  We not an expensive sport which is wonderful.  We don’t need referees, pads, helmets.  Buses would be nice but at this point, we are getting there by car pool and we can limp along with that a bit longer.  Activity fees are a must and we are trying to build up enough reserve.  Right now we are using the lacrosse shirts and a backup.  We can’t afford a second shirt.  P. Dillon – from a district prospective, the way our policy and guidelines are, our athletic teams can collect fees, the musical can collect fees and Shakespeare can collect fees.  The musical raises $50,000+ a year so they have wide latitude to do that.  Going forward, this will be part of the other discussion, are there instances that we want to expand which groups can collect user fees and under which circumstances in the context of this team right now in this season, they called me desperate because the season was a third of the way started and I made a decision to do that this year because even to wait the couple of weeks to get to a meeting it would have been the end of their season.  R. Dohoney – so they have collected user fees this year.  P. Dillon – they have.  R. Dohoney – and they have spent those?  P. Dillon – yes as an acception.  S. Bannon – when the co-curricular guidelines were developed they were thought that user fees were something people wouldn’t want to collect so we kept it somewhat limited to who could collect it.  We didn’t see a situation like this.  At our next meeting or shortly after that we need to take a look at the co-curricular guidelines and see if we want to make a change.  P. Dillon – they were written like 14 years ago and we started doing user fees as a district maybe six years ago.  It is one of those things that our policies and guidelines haven’t caught up with our practices.  A. Potter – how does it relate to fencing?  Wasn’t there a fencing club that started this year?  P. Dillon – I will check it but I think the fencing club was fully self-funded.  They got some startup money from School Center, Inc. and to my knowledge, they didn’t collect user fees.  D. Weston – this is what I would like to know, how is this different then what happened for fencing; how is this different from the Quiz Team which does get buses to go to events.  There are a lot of questions but in particular, I want to know why the Quiz Team gets a bus to Pittsfield; I am pretty sure we wrote a check for fencing.  S. Harrison – The Quiz Team was charged to the student activity revolving fund not to the operating budget.  S. Bannon – the school committee members need to provided with the co-curricular guidelines and go over them so they have a basis.  D. Weston – I am just confused.  It needs to be much more clear.  P. Dillon – we will bring an updated set in a couple of meetings.  R. Dohoney – is there currently an operational funding gap that is materially interfering with this ultimate frisbee season?  S. Sprague – no because Peter was able to allow us to collect activity fees.  We are fine and we met our costs so far.  Not for this year but going forward we will need assistance.  I just don’t want to keep see barriers put up.  They still had to go through concussion testing, physicals, any school infractions make you ineligible.  Everything else we are being held to.  We just need a chance.  R. Dohoney – it is great that they are here for a future ask and not a present ask.  We don’t line item for sports.  The school committee approves a sport budget and administration gives us an indication of where it is going to go.  B. Fields – I have been at the schools for years when swimming came up.  It was almost like what I am listening to tonight.  It is now become a budget item in the school district.  We ended up renting a pool.  We had lacrosse at one time.  My question is what is the sustainability for this and when does it become a budget item that is totally in our hands and not through parents and volunteer groups and I also have a problem with some of the responsibilities of carpooling.  If I’m a parent, I worry about liability involved with that if something happens.  I think there are some real questions about clubs that have to be answered.  That is where I am coming from right now.
  • Grant Updates – P. Dillon – I would like to postpone this item until our next meeting.
  • Extended Day Shifts – P. Dillon – I would like to postpone this item as well until our next meeting.


Sub-Committee Reports:

  • Policy Sub Committee- N/A
  • Buildings and Grounds Sub Committee – N/A
  • Superintendent’s Evaluation Sub Committee – N/A
  • Technology Sub Committee N/A
  • Finance Sub Committee – N/A
  • District Consolidation & Sharing Sub Committee – P. Dillon – Roger Cavanaugh from West Stockbridge volunteered to be the facilitator for that meeting and we very much needed him there. He was quite helpful.  Lots of representative from Southern Berkshire, a Selectboard member from Monterey, two people from Lenox, two superintendents and some folks from Lee were present.  The big conversation again was what’s that group doing, what are we doing, why do we want to work together, what are we doing and when and after about two hours, three or four things came up.  Reaching out again to the special ed or student services directors about expanding our shared work, looking at opportunities to work with English Language Learners particularly the possibility of developing a new-comers academy so kids with little or no formal schooling not to mention English come, and the come at all different times of the year, and if we were in a bigger place, there would be a newcomers academy where they spend 3-6 months to do like English 101 bootcamp and then they would be better set up to go into classes.  Right now, kids show up and they go right into typical classes and it is a really hard thing to do.  The last area of immediate work is around political advocacy and getting a giant postcard campaign to the Governor.  Dohoney – was there any talk about future talks about people considering planning for any form of colidation?  P. Dillon – no.  It might be a good think for this committee to send a couple formal proposals to neighboring districts around that.  R. Dohoney – I will have a proposal for the next meeting.  S. Bannon – for 22 years, this is deja vu all over again.
  • Next Steps Sub Committee – We will be giving a presentation at the next meeting. There will be a student-led tour an hour before as well.  It is part of the plan to start to publicize this building.  The building may look nice in some places on the outside except if you look at the areas that need to be repainted and that causes a whole lot of different problems.  It needs help inside.


Personnel Report:

  • Long-Term Appointment(s)
  • Retirement(s) – Kathleen Davis is a long-time middle school, special education and math teacher and it is effective in September. I want to recognize her and her good work in the district.
  • Resignation(s) – we have two resignations; both in the summer. Meghan St. John, an English teacher at the high school and Sunhwa Reiner, a music teacher at the middle school.  Both of them did fine work for us.
  • Re-assignment(s)
  • Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)
Long-Term Substitute Appointment(s):


Makuc, Gabriella.8 Long-Term Substitute – Music – MMRHS Effective 5/1/19 thru the end of school year in June, 2019 @ .8 per diem-BA Step 1 (Julie Bickford & Juraye Moran)
Davis, KathleenSpecial Education Teacher/Math – DBRMS Effective 9/30/19


St. John, MeghanEnglish Teacher – MMRHS Effective 8/23/19
Reiner, SunhwaMusic Teacher – DBRMS Effective – end of school year in June
Sparks, ElizabethMath/Science Teacher – Gr. 5 Effective 8/26/19

(Diane Arnold)

Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)

(all 2018-2019 unless otherwise noted)

Leslie, BrianAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Birkett, TaraAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Erickson, KathyAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Velasco, MarcieAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Roy, KathyAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Mooney, MichaelAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Unruh, JolynAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Speranzo, DallasAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Ivy, ValriAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)
Webber, NeelAdvisory Committee Member(28119)$40.00 per hour up to 15 hours (grant funded)

Business Operation:


Education News:


Old Business:


New Business:

  • Public Comment
  • Written Comment



The next school committee meeting will be held on May 23, 2019 – Regular Meeting, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Auditorium,  7pm


Meeting Adjourned at 8:08pm

Submitted by:

Christine M. Kelly, Recorder


Christine M. Kelly, Recorder



School Committee Secretary