School Board Meeting Minutes
BARRE TOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT
Minutes are not official until approved by the Barre Town School Board
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT:
1. Call to Order
The Chairperson, Brenda Buzzell, called the Wednesday, March 18, 2009, meeting to order at 6:10 p.m., which was held in the Barre Town Middle and Elementary School Library, 70 Websterville Road, Barre Town, VT. A flag salute followed.
2. Visitors and Communications
Diane Harless addressed the Board expressing her concerns regarding the Board’s potential changes to the transportation schedule, initiation of a single-wave bus route, and use of First Student. Mrs. Buzzell explained the preliminary and exploratory nature of the review of the transportation budget was consistent with the Board’s commitment to provide the BTMES students best education possible at the lowest cost. She invited Ms. Harless to join the subcommittee examining the BTMES transportation budget and issues.
Ms. Moore complemented the organizers of the supervisory union-wide chorus program, and art show. She also recognized the participants of the 3rd annual BTMES staff/administration vs. student basket ball game, of which the students were triumphant.
Mrs. Buzzell thanked the community for their participation in the recently held Success by Six Gym night hosted at Barre Town School and staffed by community volunteers where 93 parents and 118 children, attended.
Mr. Kirkland distributed a report that he compiled containing BTMES data from the past 20 years, including budgets, operating costs, staffing, enrollment, and Town Report excerpts.
3. Consent Agenda
On a motion by Ms. Moore seconded by Mr. Kirkland, the Board voted to approve the warrants, Special Meeting minutes of March 2, 2009, and Regular Meeting minutes of March 4, 2009, as submitted.
4. Board Action Items
The Board reviewed the 77 names and teaching position assignments detailed on the list. The Board acknowledged changes could occur after contracts were distributed on April 1st and back by April 15th. Dr. Bacon advised that through resignations and reassignments teachers previously RIFed were expected to have positions available at BTMES.
On a motion by Ms. Moore seconded by Mr. Tewksbury, the Board unanimously voted to approve the FY ’10 Teacher Contract List, as presented.
On a motion by Ms. Moore seconded by Mr. Tewksbury the Board acknowledged receipt and accepted, with appreciation and best wishes, the letter of resignation from Tara Weegar, effective June 30, 2009.
Ms. Moore briefed the Board on a request for permission to file an application for the Envision -Promoting Healthy School Environments Partnership Program grant. She explained a maximum of $5K could be awarded, with the intention to implement recommendations from the recently conducted “Clean School” audit.
The Board discussed their traditional concerns regarding grants and encumbering future costs to support programs and/or other initiatives once the grant funds were eliminated. Ms. Moore advised that a number of one-time expenses were recommended in the audit, i.e. cabinets for combustibles, HEPA filter vacuums, etc.
On a motion by Mr. Kirkland seconded by Mr. Tewksbury, the Board unanimously voted to approve application for the Envision Grant, for the use of one-time expenditures only, as discussed.
5. Board Discussion Items
The Board reviewed the 2009-2010 staffing and class size projections for the anticipated 860 K-8 students. Dr. Riggen acknowledged that staff and class sizes for the approximate 40 pre-school students were not included in the projections; however, the staff was included in the previously discussed teacher contract list.
The Board advised the administration to review, monitor, and make timely recommendations when the final student counts were available or when enrollments exceeded the recommended class sizes. Mrs. Buzzell reviewed the research concerning first grade success and the Board agreed that the early grades are crucial to school success and class sizes should be kept within our present policy limits.
Mr. Kirkland advised the Board the steamer equipment in the kitchen was out of commission and was a critical piece of the cafeteria’s equipment. Mr. Kirkland distributed information regarding the repair, which totaled approximately $4,700, of the stove purchased in 1996, and information related to the purchase of new equipment, totaling approximately $22K. There was discussion as to repair versus purchase of a new stove in regard to the service life expectancy.
The Board also discussed the estimates
for placing cameras on the school busses, which Mr. Kirkland reported at
$10K for one camera per bus, and $22K for two cameras per bus. He said
despite the Board’s approval to place camera holders in each bus and to
purchase fewer cameras, which would be rotated amongst the busses, it
would cost less to install a camera on each bus.
The Board further discussed the remaining balance of constructions funds, and where funds would come from for these and other projects, including a plan for future extensive kitchen and cafeteria upgrade. Dr. Bacon agreed to contact the DOE, hot lunch program division, regarding potential availability of funds for equipment replacement.
The Board agreed that Mr. Murray should research both the repair and purchase options fully and that he should make the decision of whether to repair or buy based on the best information available, as the steamer is an essential kitchen component for preparing healthy foods. If replacement is the choice, money would be shifted from the allotment for the bus cameras or from a grant available to schools for upgrading the hot lunch equipment. They also acknowledged that any items purchased over $15K required initiating a competitive bidding process.
Mr. Crowley advised the Board a very successful vacation camp was held at BTMES by the YMCA during the February vacation. He said 30 children at various times throughout the week participated, and another vacation camp would also be held during the April vacation. He noted by introducing these opportunities and providing exposure to the Y’s programs, along with success of the participation and feed-back from parents, would further determine the eventual implementation of a formal before/after school program previously discussed and planned. Mr. Crowley also thanked Mr. Murray and the maintenance staff for their exceptional work in making the program possible.
6. Old Business
7. Regular Reports to the Board
Dr. Bacon provided a brief oral report, which included information regarding ratification of the new BTMES teachers’ contract, which was expected to be ready for signature within the next few days. The Board acknowledged and thanked former Board Chairman, David Harrington, for his leadership as a member of the negotiating team. The Board also acknowledged the cooperation of the teachers in reaching the successful negotiations.
Dr. Bacon also reported the spending requirements of stimulus package funds in the areas of Title 1 and special education were still being determined, and the EEI grant was filed last week in conjunction with the Heat Start Program for next year’s pre-school program. He said First Student was interested in working with the school on a transportation proposals and equipment maintenance, and that Town Manager, Carl Rogers, was interested in coming to the April 15, 2009, meeting to discuss the status of shared expensed.
Mr. Crowley reviewed current and upcoming events. For additional information on these and other events, visit www.btmes.org.
Reports from the Directors were provided in the Board packets.
All Committee meetings are held in the BTMES 2nd floor conference room. Approved minutes for each Committee can be viewed on the Website at www.btmes.org.
8. Other Business
9. Executive Session
At 8:10 p.m. on a motion by Ms. Moore seconded by Mr. Kirkland, the Board unanimously voted to enter into executive session, pursuant to Title 1 § 313, to discuss a real estate and personnel matter, and contract negotiations.
Dr. Bacon was invited into the executive session.
At 8:55 p.m. the Board exited executive session.
10. Next Meeting Dates
Meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of the month, unless noted. The next Barre Town School Board meeting dates are:
April 1, 2009 – 6:00 p.m.
On a motion by Mr. Kirkland seconded by Ms. Moore, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn at 8:59 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Donna Holden