Minutes For BOE December 11, 2006 Meeting




December 11, 2006


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


Also Present:   Paula Schwartz - Superintendent

                                 David Lenihan - Business Manager

                                 Michael Landry – Assistant Superintendent


  I.   Call to Order - A call to order, at 7:30 pm for the Board of Education organizational meeting, was made by Superintendent Schwartz, and was held in the Har-Bur Middle School Media Center.

II.   Pledge of Allegiance - The Pledge was recited.

III.   Election of Officers for '06-'07 (one-year term).  A motion to nominate B. Duffy as Chairman was made by E. Schiavone and seconded by P. Omichinski.  No other nominations made.  All in favor none opposed.  A motion to nominate P. Turner as Vice Chairman was made by J. Arcuri and seconded by P. Omichinski.  No other nominations made.  All in favor none opposed.  A motion to nominate P. Omichinski as treasurer was made by B. Gilbert and seconded by P. Turner.  No other nominations made.  All in favor none opposed.  A motion to nominate K. Sullivan-Shepard as secretary was made by R. Silkora and seconded by P. Omichinski.  No other nominations made.  All in favor none opposed.

A motion to adjourn the organizational meeting and begin the regular Board of Education meeting was made by P. Turner and seconded by P. Omichinski.  All in favor none opposed.  The regular Board of Education meeting began at 7:35 pm.

III.   Communications, Resignations – P. Schwartz introduced Ken Smith, the new Har-Bur Assistant Principal.

Acknowledged 7th grade student, Lillian Corman for her community service project of collecting unused recorders and providing them to less fortunate students.

Margaret Tieman, LSM Physical Education instructor named physical ed. teacher of the year.

Read thank you letters from Lois Alterman and Eleanor Richards, attendees of the October luncheon.  Public thanks extended to Mr. & Mrs. McCausland, HCS parents who donated approximately $2,200 worth of digital cameras, memory sticks, and other computer items.

Read memo from Karissa Niehoff regarding St. Paul’s illegal recruitment of 3 New Britain High School students to its football program, of which Lewis Mills is a part of.  The LSM coach, who participates in the football program, had no knowledge of what St. Paul’s coach was doing.  After extensive investigation by the CIAC, recommendation was to put the team on probation for one year and forfeit any wins in which the 3 students participated in.  K. Niehoff and athletic director feel LSM holds itself to a higher standard and are seeking guidance on how to handle this situation.  P. Schwartz suggested the District look into the matter further, and seek recommendation from the Board at the January meeting.


IV.   Consent Agenda - A motion to accept the meeting minutes of the November 13, and special meeting of November 29, 2006, and financial report dated November 28, 2006, was made by K. Sullivan-Shepard and seconded by B. Gilbert.  All in favor none opposed.  No correction or additions.  Motion carries.


  V.   Public Participation – Janet Burritt of Harwinton was disturbed by the football scandal and felt it could have been prevented if LSM staff had been present.  It was pointed out that a LSM coach participates in the program, but had no knowledge of what was transpiring.


         Dave Crompton of Harwinton quoted a Hartford Courant article on the handling of emails and electronic data storage and asked if the Federal rules apply to schools.  M. Landry to look into.  D. Crompton also asked if dust due to construction activity was responsible for fire alarms going off, and if the dust was a health hazard.  D. Lenihan to look into.


         Ed. Gasser of Burlington also heard about smoke detectors being covered and then construction personnel forgetting to uncover them, and questioned the necessity to keep bathrooms locked due to some recent vandalism.


         B. Duffy responded to a question from Janet Burritt from a prior BOE meeting regarding Superintendent’s new contract.  The Board approved a 3-year contract with superintendent with no additional increase except for a cost of living adjustment in January of 2007.


VI.   Business -

               A.         Strategic School Profile on Special Education – L. Carabis gave a PowerPoint presentation on the information, as gathered by the State, in regard to special education students.  Some of the highlights include a slight increase in special education students since 2001.  Currently, there are 251 students or 9% of the population.  This is below the DRG and State numbers of 10.3% and 11.8% respectively.  236 students are in-district and 15 are out-of district.  The ratio of Special Ed teachers to students is 8.2 while it is 8.1 and 8.7 for DRG and State respectively.  Expenditures are 17.2% while 18.8% and 20.0% for DRG and State.  Goals include special ed students spending 80% or more of their school day with peers, ongoing  professional development including bringing in outside consultants, collaboration between regular and special ed instructors.


               B.         Fifth Grade Transition Planning – P. Schwartz discussed the staffing needs (certified and special services) for the incoming 5th grade in the Fall of ’07.  The result is an increase of 3.1 positions, but with a net loss of 1.9 due to adjustments.  There would be no additional secretarial positions and the number of teaching assistants and other support personnel will have to be determined later.  The parent advisory group has met for the second time and a special newsletter just for 4th grade parents will be distributed in January ’07.

C.         Emergency Planning – P. Schwartz, L. Carabis, K. Wasseluk, nurse, and B. Garry, Asst. Principal participated in and completed a training course sponsored by the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.  This week training in the emergency notification system will begin and will take approximately a month.


               D.         Community Budget Forums – Board members were given a list of community groups and asked to choose a few that they would be willing to speak and represent the Board at.

  E.         Review of Code of Ethics – Policy 9271

               F.         Leadership for the Future:  Roles & Responsibilities of Board of Education and Superintendent – Board members agreed the Ethics Policy, as stated, was fine and to review the policy every couple of years.

VII            Action -

               A.         Spanish Exchange Trip – Students from Spain came earlier this year and attended classes at LSM and stayed with host families.  The reciprocal part of that program, LSM students going to Spain during Spring break of ‘07, was discussed.  A motion to approve the program was made by P. Omichinski and seconded by R. Sikora.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


               B.         Second Reading of Revised Administrative Policy for Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Policy #4118.25A – The issue of whether the superintendent was considered a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse or neglect was brought up.  Although not mandated, Region 10’s superintendent has elected to be included as such.  A decision was not made as to whether police should be notified at the same time DCF is.  A motion to accept the reading was made by R. Sikora and seconded by P. Turner.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


               C.         Summer Music and Arts Program – A proposal to offer a summer arts program to students was presented by John Deeb, Fine Arts Coordinator.  Areas of interest would include visual arts, music, ensemble performances, and Mandarin Chinese for grades 6 through 9.  The other programs would be offered for grades 4 through 9.  Cost would be $75 per week, hours would be from 8 am to 12 pm and the program would run a 4 week course.  Because renovation will still be ongoing in the Summer of ’07, start date of the program would be in July and there would be a limit of up to 125 students.  In future, more programs and student participation could be increased.  If a course is offered and not enough students sign up, then the course would be withdrawn.  Request was made to the Board to approve $1,500 for printing and mailing.  P. Omichinski expressed concern regarding construction activity next summer, and suggested a backup plan be developed.  A motion to approve $1,500 for printing and mailing costs was made by R. Sikora and seconded by P. Turner.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.

D.         Five-Year Planning on District Goals - Community Audit – The current five-year goals will expire in 2009 and new goals will need to be set forth.  Members of the Community Relations Committee proposed including a survey with the January newsletter seeking community feedback.  They suggest using a survey gathering company from Glastonbury, First Experience Communication, to report on the results.  Cost would be approximately $8-9K.  There was discussion on prior surveys and how data was compiled.  J. Arcuri asked once the data was gathered, who owned that information – Region 10 or First Experience.  J. Stocker to find out.  A motion to hire First Experience Communication to process the survey data was made by B. Gilbert and seconded by E. Schiavone.  All in favor; K. Sullivan-Shepard opposed.  Motion carries.


               E.         2007-2008 School Calendar – Three drafts of the 2007-2008 school calendar were discussed, with the 3rd draft being the favorite.  Final approval will occur at the January 8, 2007 meeting.

VIII.         Board Committee Reports

A.  Facilities and Grounds Committee – Met on November 28th.  The five-year plan for both elementary schools is on track.  Money needs to be put aside for additional roof repairs.  Rules for public use of the new and renovated space at Har-Bur and LSM needs to be developed, as well as fees for use.

B.  CREC Committee – Nothing new to report.

C.         Curriculum Committee – Additional elective courses to be offered will encompass areas of music, wellness, Tech Ed, multi-cultural issues, etc.

D.            Negotiations Committee – To be discussed in Executive Session.

E.         Technology Committee – Nothing new to report.

F.         Building Committee - Most of the new construction is complete.  Next big push will be on renovations.

G.         Community Relations Committee – In addition to survey, working on contents of next newsletter.

A motion to go into Executive Session was made by R. Sikora and seconded by K. Sullivan-Shepard.  Regular meeting ended at 10:05 pm.

A motion to come out of executive session was made by P. Omichinski, seconded by P. Turner, at 10:20 pm.

A motion to adjourn at 10:21 pm was made by P. Omichinski, and seconded by P. Turner.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on January 8, 2008 at Lake Garda School.


 Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Secretary

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