Minutes For BOE May 14, 2007 Meeting




May 14, 2007


Members Present:   Joseph Arcuri, Catherine Bergstrom, Beth Duffy, Barbara Gilbert, Paul Omichinski, Elaine Schiavone, Ray Sikora, Jayne Stocker, Peter Turner


Members Absent:   Karen Sullivan-Shepard


Also Present:   Paula Schwartz - Superintendent

                                 David Lenihan - Business Manager

                                 Michael Landry – Assistant Superintendent

I.   Call to Order - The regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting was held at the Har-Bur Learning Center, and was called to order at 7:37 pm by Chairperson Beth Duffy.

II.   Pledge of Allegiance - The Pledge was recited.

The following teachers are retiring and were honored for their service to Region 10 – John Bigos, Har-Bur Information Technology, who will be returning in the Fall to assist with technology projects, Sanita Gingras, Guidance Counselor, Barbara Flaherty, Family Consumer Science teacher, Marion Lent 1st and 2nd grade teacher at Lake Garda, and Barbara Thompson, Early Intervention Specialist.  Collectively, they represent 152 years of teaching experience.


III.   Communications, Resignations – Superintendent received resignation letters, effective at the end of this school year, from the following:


            John DeRosa, Har-Bur Spanish teacher

            Lori Gibb, part-time HCS Kindergarten teacher

            Colin Brunetti, LSM Math teacher

            Janet Woof, HSC 2nd grade teacher

Superintendent received letter from Burlington Public Library Director, Marie Spratlin Hasskarl, concerning receiving an award for the 2006 summer reading program, a collaborative effort between the library and Region 10.

IV.   Consent Agenda - A motion to accept the meeting minutes of April 23, Special Meeting of April 30, 2007, and District Meeting of May 7, 2007, and financial report dated April 30, 2007, was made by P. Omichinski and seconded by R. Sikora.  All in favor none opposed.  Corrections include:  April 23rd Meeting, page 4, Section C, 2nd paragraph removal of the reference to $880 and page 5, VIII, Section B., replace CREC Conference with National School Board Association Conference.  April 30 Special Meeting, add Attorney Christine Chinni as also present, and Jayne Stocker as absent.  May 7th Meeting, Page 3, replace V. J. Kambi with Vijay Kambi.

V.   Public Participation – None at this time.

Chairperson invited Barbara Angelicola to speak about the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) trip to Chicago for a Conference.  B. Angelicola spoke of the group’s participation in the State competition in March 2007, with approximately 600 students from all over Connecticut.  Two students are interested in representing LSM at the National level in Chicago in late June.  Activities include competition events, workshops, networking with students and business leaders from all over the U.S., participation in the election of FBLA officers, and participation in opening and closing ceremonies.  Speaker at last year’s conference was Coach Carter.

Paul Rachielles spoke of the positive impact going to the Conference last year had on his son.  Anthony DiNicola, whose son is one of the two interested in attending this year, spoke as well.

Cost for hotel would be $155 per night plus tax, and airfare would be $309 per person.  Members decided to defer a decision to later in the meeting.

VI.   Business –

A. “Kids in the Middle” Update.  Deb Watson, Coordinator, gave an overview of the program, along with achievements and goals for the future.  Kids in the Middle is a program geared toward assisting middle school students transition into high school.  The program currently has 75 students or 10% of Har-Bur’s student body.  Students have participated in a variety of activities such as collecting for food drives, completing over 128 hours of community service, and have been recognized by local organizations.  Currently, there are two mentoring programs; one with adult volunteers and the other pairing 8th graders with LSM students.  Goals include getting more students into the program and expanding community service.

B.         Board of Education Survey.  David Kluskiewicz of First Experience Communications presented results of the recent survey that went out to all households in Burlington and Harwinton.  The overall response rate of 11.5% was higher than normal.  Response rate for Burlington was 13% and 8.9% for Harwinton.  Major findings include:  Region 10 provides high quality education, 70% agree the educational environment is good, 87% voted in ’06-’07, many vote without understanding the budget, and 56% of respondents feel they have adequate information.  No one trend was determined.  Important communication issues include the budget, building project, and teacher contracts.  Respondents’ preferred methods of communication include:  newsletters (84%), website (44%), and emails, with the emphasis on simplicity and frequency.  Overall, people’s perceptions were positive.  The raw data will be given to the Board.

The Board discussed the issue of getting information out to the public without the benefit of strong newspaper coverage.  The newsletters, emails, and using the Alert System were all possibilities discussed.

C.         NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) Evaluation Process.  K. Niehoff gave a PowerPoint presentation explaining the accreditation process.  Every 10 years, schools are evaluated by this group which is made up of current and former educators and administrators.

Schools prepare two years prior to the actual visit beginning with a 12-month self assessment study by the school and community.  Region 10 is in its 8th year with the accreditation visit scheduled for the Spring of 2009.  In summary, the accreditation team will be looking for evidence that Region 10 is following its mission statement and educational goals and objectives.

D.          First Thoughts on Five-Year District Goals.  P. Schwartz asked the Board to consider what items to incorporate in a new 5-year goal plan for the District.  Some ideas mentioned included implementation of full-day kindergarten, more community outreach and communication by BOE members, world language courses, etc.

E.         Formal Grand Opening of LSM/Har-Bur.  The building project is tentatively scheduled for completion in September 2007.  A formal grand opening will be held on October 12, 2007 at 6:30 pm.  Superintendent will speak with music director on doing a production or some other activity to celebrate this event.

F.         High Deductible Health Insurance Plan Update.  D. Lenihan stated over 20% of teachers and administrators (50 individuals) signed up for the new High Deductible Plan with HSA insurance plan.  This leaves a shortfall of approximately $40,000 in the budget as it had been hoped that a higher percentage would participate.

G.         Teachers’ Contract Update.  P. Schwartz announced receipt of verbal sign off on the teachers’ contract.  Signing of the contract is scheduled for Wednesday (May 16, 2007).

VII            Action –

A.         Participation in Connecticut Nutrition Standards.  This was a program started last year by the State to get schools to offer healthier meals by providing a financial incentive.  D. Lenihan and Food Service Director, D. Allocca, had reviewed the program and found that what Region 10 offered was superior to the standards and criteria the State mandated that schools follow to participate in their program.  The “all or nothing aspects” of the state program would negatively impact ala cart sales.  This would more than offset the small financial incentive provided by the state.  Therefore, Region 10 declined to participate last year.  The recommendation is to also decline participation this year.

A motion to decline participation in the Connecticut Nutrition Standard Program was made by P. Turner and seconded by B. Gilbert.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.

Michele Shingleton of Burlington addressed the Board and stated that she did not support this program since it did not allow parental input.

B.         Appointment of Auditors.  D. Lenihan recommended that Region 10 continue to use the services of the auditing firm of Carlin, Charron, & Rosen, LLP for 2006-2007.  A motion to continue affiliation with the current auditing firm was made by P. Turner and seconded by Elaine Schiavone.  All in favor none opposed.

C.         Approval of Textbooks.  M. Landry presented two new textbooks:  “Connected  Mathematics 2” (Grades 6-8) and “Conexiones” (Spanish 4, Level 2).  A motion to approve the two textbooks was made by R. Sikora and B. Gilbert.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.

P. Omichinski spoke of a situation in which an instructor decided not to use a particular textbook and, instead provided students with copies of material out of another book.  Felt teacher input on recommendations for new textbooks was important.  M. Landry will follow up with coordinators.

D.         Field Trip Fund.  P. Schwartz suggested monies be allocated to each school and principals be allowed to determine the funding of various activities and trips that have been, in the past, brought before the Board.  P. Omichinski suggested waiting until a formal policy on funding of trips and activities was in place before giving this responsibility to principals.  In the interim, a motion to approve $618 for airfare for the two FBLA students to go to Chicago was made by P. Turner and seconded by C. Bergstrom.  All in favor except for J. Arcuri and abstention by P. Omichinski.  Motion carries.

Anthony DiNicola made a suggestion that an amount be set aside for trips and activities for both sports and academics.  The money would be divided by the number of potential students and that would be the cost per student.  Any money left over would then be added to next year’s funding.

VIII.         Board Committee Reports

A.  Facilities and Grounds Committee – Nothing to report.

B.  CREC Committee – Nothing to report.  Chairperson and P. Schwartz will be attending annual meeting on Wednesday.

C.         Curriculum Committee – Met on April 25th to discuss the two textbooks mentioned above, and reviewed preliminary proposal for a personal finance course.  Next meeting scheduled for June.

D.            Negotiations Committee – Completed.

E.         Technology Committee - Nothing new to report.

F.         Building Committee – Project is moving along on schedule and on budget.

G.         Community Relations Committee – C. Bergstrom has not received any response to her emails to Board members for update on community outreach except from B. Duffy.  Requests that Board members give her a status update on what they have been doing.

A motion to go into Executive Session was made by P. Omichinski and seconded by B. Gilbert.  Executive session began at 10:20 pm.

A motion to come out of Executive session was made by P. Omichinski, seconded by R. Sikora.

A motion to adjourn meeting at 10:50 pm was made by P. Turner, seconded by P. Omichinski.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on June 11, 2007 at Lake Garda School.           

Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Secretary

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