Minutes For BOE February 12, 2007 Meeting




February 12, 2007


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


Members Absent:   Barbara Gilbert, Karen Sullivan-Shepard


Also Present:   Paula Schwartz - Superintendent

                                 David Lenihan - Business Manager

                                 Michael Landry – Assistant Superintendent

                                 Jacqueline Evans, Everett Doninger – Student Representatives


  I.   Call to Order - The regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting was held at Harwinton Consolidated School, and was called to order at 7:32 pm by Chairperson Beth Duffy.


 II.   Pledge of Allegiance - The Pledge was recited.


III.   Communications, Resignations – Sanita Gingras, LSM guidance counselor, submitted letter of intent to retire at end of ’06-’07 school year.  Superintendent read letter from Barbara Spiegel, Director of the Susan B. Anthony Shelter, thanking Ms. Flanagan’s peer facilitator group for donations, and letter from Kathy Kennedy, President of the Dinosaur Park and Arboretum, awarding 3rd place to Mikaila Adams in the Grade 6-8 category of the Dinosaur Art Contest.         


IV.   Consent Agenda - A motion to accept the following meeting minutes:

               Regular BOE meeting of January 8, 2007

               Special BOE meetings of January 22 and February 7, 2007

               Special BOE Community Relations Committee meeting of January 22, 2007 and

               Financial report of January 31, 2007


         was made by P. Omichinski and seconded by R. Sikora.  All in favor none opposed.  Corrections include:  Section V.  Public Participation, Dave Compton should have been Dave Crompton.  Page 4, Item D March 5, 2006 should be 2007.  Jayne Stocker was identified as both present and absent and should have been only absent.  Karissa Niehoff should have been identified as attending the two Special BOE meeting of  2-7-07.


         J. Stocker had some questions on the financial report which were answered by D. Lenihan.


  V.   Public Participation -

               A.  Student and Staff Recognition.  The Peer Facilitator Program, headed by Kathleen Flanagan, was one of two groups recognized at the meeting.  Three members – Phil Pasco, Rebecca Lindquist, and Rachel Garcia, spoke of some of the program’s recent projects such as hosting the senior fall luncheon and collecting hats, scarves and gloves for the Susan B. Anthony Shelter, and how the program has benefited them personally.

The second group receiving recognition were LSM students who participated at an art exhibit at the University of Hartford.  They were:  Phil Pasco, Brooke Pedra, Brent Higgins, Brian Slowikowski. and Craig McCahill.


               B.         Phil Penn of Burlington asked if the District had a policy on student cell phone use.  Superintendent stated students could have cell phones but were not allowed to use them in classrooms or on school buses.  Phones could be confiscated and returned at the end of the day in cases of cell phone abuse.


                        Deb Kissh of Harwinton thought there would be an update at each BOE meeting on the 5th grade transition.  Superintendent stated there would be more information forthcoming after the budget meetings.


                        Ed Gasser of Burlington questioned whether the District had any numbers on students who may not be attending school, be homeschooled, attending private school, etc.  Superintendent stated if a student had attended, they would know if the student went to another institution.  If a child never attended, there would be no way of knowing who that child was.


                        Janet Burritt of Harwinton questioned the timing of the Superintendent’s cost of living increase.  B. Duffy explained that due to the budget crisis of 2006, the superintendent’s cost of living increase (with her approval) was postponed until there was a budget in place.


                        Brenda Frasco of Burlington had a complaint about the emergency notification system.  It was used to send a reminder to complete and return the recent survey that went out.  There was a glitch in the system and some people received more than one notification.  M. Landry will look into what caused the problem and how it can be prevented in the future.


                        Lauren Doninger of Burlington commented on expulsions and wanted to speak of alternatives.  B. Duffy scheduled a meeting with her and would report back to Board.


VII.   Business -

               A.  Harwinton Consolidated School Wheelchair Access.  Linda Carabis, Director of Special Services, has obtained Federal grant money to purchase and install chair lifts at Harwinton Consolidated.  These will allow easy and safe transport between floors for wheelchairs and for students incapacitated by injury or illness.


               B.         Security – Access to Schools after hours.  There was much discussion on how to handle security after hours at all the schools and still allow access by students and the community.  In addition to installing more security cameras particularly at the high school, D. Fortin suggested having all doors locked and someone in charge of letting people in.  P. Omichinski suggested having a designated time when groups would need to vacate the buildings.  It was decided to research the matter further and contact other schools to see how they handled this issue.


               C.         Lights at Nassahegan Park and Soccer for 2007-‘08.  D. Tanner, Athletic Director stated night soccer games at Nassahegan Park would cost about $400 a game to pay for lights and security.  Cost would have to be included in the budget.  The plans are for two boys games and two girls games to be played at Nassahegan.  Student representative Everett Doninger stated night games are exciting, more people attend, and gives working parents the opportunity to attend which is something they would not be able to do if games were held earlier in the day.


               D.         Football Update.  D. Tanner stated the CIAC has added another year to the Tri-Op.   This now allows incoming Freshmen to try out next year.  If the roster exceeds 74 participants next Fall, CIAC can discontinue the Tri-Op.


                        Dave Crompton of Burlington asked if LSM was exploring forming a Co-Op with other schools.  D. Tanner stated most schools who are considering a football program have the necessary number of students to do it on their own.


               E.         Updates to Website.  M. Landry gave a visual presentation of the new look designed for the district’s website.  The emphasis is on maintaining a consistent format so that menus and tools are the same for all the school homepages, and making sure information is current.


               F.         Follow up to BOE Retreat.  Members were asked for their feedback.  C. Bergstrom, J. Stocker, P. Turner, R. Sikora, J. Arcuri, E. Schiavone found it worthwhile and having an outside moderator extremely helpful.  Would invite him back and proceed to the next level.  P. Omichinski felt the time could have been better spent.


VII            Action -

               A.         Completion of Fiscal Year 2005-06 Audit and Refund of Operating Surplus to Towns.  D. Lenihan stated that traditionally whenever there is a surplus, after the auditors complete their review, the monies are given back to the two towns.  Occasionally this doesn’t occur as it did two years ago when the surplus was used to complete the water line to the schools.


                        D. Lenihan stated that the audit was complete and the final surplus for FY 2005-06 was $265,122 (Burlington’s share $176,783 and Harwinton’s share $88,339).


                        A motion to direct the Superintendent of Schools to provide a refund of the fiscal year 2005-06 operating surplus of $176,783 and $88,339 to the towns of Burlington and Harwinton, respectively was made by P. Turner and seconded by P. Omichinski.  Such refunds will be reflected as credits against the March 2007 payments due Region 10 from the towns.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


                        E. Schiavone suggested that if and when this is released to the press to emphasis the surplus is due to prudent spending, energy conservation, etc.


               B.         Review and Adjust Proposed Budget Timeline.  Because teacher contract negotiations are currently in arbitration, and the outcome will not be determined until February 23, 2007, there will not be sufficient time to incorporate the numbers into the budget for the February 26, 2007 District Overview meeting.  Therefore, it was suggested to postpone the meeting to Monday, March 5, move the K-12 presentation to Thursday, March 8, 2007.  A motion to approve the changes in meeting dates was made by J. Stocker and seconded by P. Turner.  All in favor none opposed.   Motion carries.


               C.         1st Reading of Facilities Use Policy #3513A.  Facilities and Grounds Committee has been working on drafting policy, procedure and schedule of fees to govern use of the various schools by different groups.  A motion to approve the 1st draft was made by P. Turner and seconded by E. Schiavone.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


               D.         Discussion and Possible Action on Fall Crew Proposal.  D. Tanner, Athletic Director, described the strong support of parents and intense commitment of members to fund and maintain their sport.  Membership continues to grow and attracts non-traditional athletes.  It is a fall sport, utilizes no fields, requires no feeder programs or CIAC sanction, and is co-educational.  A motion to approve Crew as a Fall sport was made by J. Stocker and seconded by R. Sikora.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


               E.         Discussion and Possible Action on Girls’ Lacrosse Proposal.  D. Tanner discussed the idea of a girls Lacrosse team.  This precipitated a lengthy discussion on the shortage of playing fields due not only to the new construction, but also because of increase in field sports and the need to let fields recoup by not using them for a year or two.  The Lacrosse proposal is to begin at the JV level in order to be competitive with other schools.  P. Omichinski suggested they start out as a club.  A motion to approve a girls Lacrosse team was made by P. Turner.  There was no second motion.   E. Schiavone made a motion to review this further at a future date.  R. Sikora seconded the motion.  It was decided to table this until the March meeting to determine if there is field access that can support them as a club.


               F.         1st Reading of Coordinator of Athletics Job Description.  Currently a middle school staff person serves as athletic head and D. Tanner is high school athletic director.  The proposal is to have one individual (D.  Tanner) in charge of athletics at both schools.  A motion to approve the first reading was made by P. Omichinski and seconded by R. Sikora.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


               G.         1st Reading of BOE Community Relations Policies #1112 & 1120.  C. Bergstrom and J. Stocker have been reviewing Board policies and adding technical terms which didn’t exist when the policies were last reviewed, e.g. references to emails, websites, etc.  A motion to approve the first reading was made by P. Turner and seconded by P. Omichinski.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


               H.         Approval of Cost of Living Increase per Contract for Superintendent.  A motion to approve a 3% cost of living increase for Superintendent was made by P. Omichinski and seconded by P. Turner.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


VIII.         Board Committee Reports

A.  Facilities and Grounds Committee – Working on facility use policy (discussed earlier) and how best to serve the needs of students and the community.

B.  CREC Committee – House Speaker James Amann spoke at last CREC meeting and discussed the possibility of the State taking over Special Ed. costs.

C.         Curriculum Committee – Met last Wednesday and reviewed John Deeb’s proposal of offering credit for band.

D.         Negotiations Committee – Arbitration meeting was on January 31.  They have until February 23 to make a ruling.

E.         Technology Committee – Website design, notification system; discussed earlier.

F.         Building Committee – Met last Tuesday and did a walkthrough of the high school renovations.  Several weeks behind schedule and working on plan to correct this.

G.         Community Relations Committee – Met on January 29th.  Reminded members to call groups they have volunteered to speak at to schedule visits.  Working on pamphlet to take to community meetings.  E. Schiavone has met with a couple of groups already.

A motion to go into Executive Session was made by P. Turner and seconded by R. Sikora.  Board went into Executive Session at approximately 10:40 pm.  A motion to come out of Executive Session was made by P. Turner and seconded by R. Sikora.  Regular BOE meeting resumed at 10:55 pm.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by P. Turner and seconded by R. Sikora to adjourn at 10:55 p.m.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on March 12, 2007 at Lake Garda School.


Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Secretary

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