Minutes For BOE May 8, 2006 Meeting




May 8, 2006


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


Members Absent:   Paul Omichinski


Also Present:   Paula Schwartz - Superintendent

                                 David Lenihan - Business Manager

                                 Jeffrey Linton - Director of Curriculum and Instruction


  I.   Call to Order - The regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting was held in the Har-Bur Middle School Media Center, and was called to order at 7:35 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 - Lois Charlow and Kathleen Surprenant of Har-Bur, Linda Jones of Lake Garda School.  Jeffrey Linton, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, was also recognized with a plaque for the many roles he held and years he served in Region 10.


III.   Communications, Resignations - Superintendent received letter of resignation from Jennifer Goodman, second grade teacher at HCS.  She also received a thank you letter from Margaret Tylutki, Kelly Loveday-Currier, and Monica Kordowski for allowing them the opportunity to take students to Spain and France.


IV.   Consent Agenda - A motion to accept the regular meeting minutes of April 10, Special BOE meeting minutes of April 26, and District meeting minutes of May 1, 2006, and financial report of April 30, 2006, was made by P. Turner and seconded by R. Sikora.  Corrections to the minutes of April 10th include:  Pg. 1 Amanda Cote, not Cody.  Pg. 3. Item 6 "…to help students and parents to be move informed," should be "more informed."  Fifth paragraph, Jessie Smiley of Burlington, not Harwinton.  Page 5, Item F, "He reported that here is;" here should be there.  Item F, Technology Report, Leigh Pont, not Ponte.  All in favor none opposed, abstention by B. Gilbert.


  V.   Public Participation - Janet Burritt of Harwinton was pleased by the number of people who turned out to vote on the budget.  She distributed copies to the Board of an Associated Press article that stated many minority and special education students’ scores mandated by the No Child Left Behind Law were not being counted in some districts and states and therefore, making the NCLB fraudulent.


         Ed Gasser of Burlington asked if the breathalyzer had been used at the recent Junior Prom.  P. Schwartz stated it had, it was successful, and all parents had been notified prior to the prom that it would be used, and that it will be used at the Senior Prom.  P. Schwartz also indicated that student response to it was positive.

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VI.   Business - Presentation of Check for $15,000 from United Way of West Central Connecticut (UWWCC) for "Kids in the Middle Coordinator".  Cary Dupont, Director of UWWCC, presented the check.  The role of the program and coordinator will be to assist middle school students, who are not involved in sports and other activities, to become connected to the community via other activities, and help in their transition from middle to high school.


VII            Action -

               A.  Appointment of Auditor.  D. Lenihan recommended appointing the current auditing firm of Carlin, Charron, & Rosen to perform the audit of Regional School District #10 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006.  A motion to accept the recommendation was made by P. Turner and seconded by B. Gilbert.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.


               C.         2nd Reading of the Administration of Student Medications in the Schools Policy.  L. Carabis pointed out some of the major changes or clarifications to the prior policy such as the definitions page, who can administer medications, emergency procedures, handling and storage of meds, rules and procedures for student self-medication (e.g., use of inhalers, etc.).  A motion to accept the 2nd reading was made by P. Turner and seconded by R. Sikora.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.        


B.    Discussion of possible action on 2006-2007 Budget Revisions.  Voting on the Regional School District #10 budget took place on May 2, 2006 and it did not pass.  Board members and citizens were given the opportunity to express opinions and offer suggestions on what changes needed to be made to present it to the community to be voted on again.  P. Turner went over all of the information that been presented at prior budget meetings, both verbally and in PowerPoint presentation, concerning energy and insurance costs, State projections and actual student enrollments, cost per student, redefinition of some job functions, etc.


P. Schwartz discussed analysis of voting results.  Overall, only 17% of households with children had at least one parent voting.  The Board will attempt to get out more voters.


                        R. Sikora pointed out that, historically, State enrollment projections were pretty much on target and that the Board should continue to use them to budget staff.  He also felt comfortable that should additional teachers be needed at the beginning of the school year, the Board would act accordingly.


                        Joe Jillian and Ed Gasser of Burlington felt that administrative salary increases were too high, particularly the Superintendent's.  E. Schiavone told of her experience working with superintendents who had additional staff that they could delegate various tasks to, while Region 10's Superintendent had to perform many of these tasks herself.  P. Turner stated that one of the reasons administrators had not stayed on the job was due to the low salary.


                        Bill Sullivan of Burlington cited studies supporting smaller class sizes.  Ideal size would be 16 while 30 would be unreasonable.  He also suggested that insurance savings and savings from hiring teachers at a lower salary grade could fund at least 2 extra teachers.


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Michele Shingleton of Burlington was concerned that people who were away on the day of voting did not have the opportunity to obtain an absentee ballot.  This was due to the short time between the petition to go to referendum and the statutory required date for voting.


                        Ted Scheidel felt going to automatic voting would have eliminated many problems.  He stated the reason why the budget had been voted down was that people on fixed incomes felt some items were too high.  Stated 76% of the town budget goes towards education, growth is slowing, and recommended a revised budget of between 4.25% to 4.50% increase.


                        Jennifer Penn and Tanya McNaboe of Burlington felt more P.R. needed to be done to inform families, particularly those with children, to get out and vote on the budget.


                        Janet Burritt of Harwinton stated that people on fixed incomes voted down the budget because they felt it was too high and the superintendent's increase was too high. She also was concerned that future budgets would continue to escalate.


                        Dave Crompton of Harwinton felt the budget needed to be reduced without sacrificing the two teaching positions.  Jayne Perkins of Burlington would like to see class sizes remain at current or reduced levels.  Jaye Tower of Burlington suggested forming a budget subcommittee and the budget format be changed to include actuals in future budget documents.  She proceeded to ask questions on specific line items.  D. Lenihan responded to each questions.  P. Turner stated this meeting was not intended for this purpose, and that she should contact D. Lenihan and meet with him to go over any specific line item questions.


                        Mike Ragasis of Burlington suggested cutting back on the amount of computers and energy consumption, and stated that although small class sizes were the ideal, it was the teaching quality that made the difference.  Rachel McFadden of Burlington did not want cutbacks on textbooks.


                        The next steps toward voting on the budget include a meeting on May 17 to finalize the budget, a District Meeting on May 24th, and voting on May 25, 2006.


                        Ed Gasser of Burlington stated that as of April there had been 100 suspensions, and was interested in learning more about the types and what precipitated them.  This will need to be discussed at a future meeting.


               D.         Discussion and Possible Action of Student Representative to Board of Education.  E. Schiavone stated it was important that this student have an interest in being a representative, and found, from prior experience, a senior or junior on the student council was a good candidate.  K. Sullivan-Shepard suggested candidates complete an application and indicate why they wanted to be a representative.  R. Sikora stated the Curriculum Committee has had student representation and it has worked out, for the most part.  Janet Burritt of Harwinton suggested a student representative from each town.  P. Schwartz will look into what other schools have done and perhaps all of the suggestions can be incorporated into a recommendation she will bring to a future Board meeting.

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VIII.         Board Committee Reports        

A.  Facilities and Grounds Committee - A walkthrough will be scheduled for June 13.

               B.  CREC Committee - Nothing new.

C.         Curriculum Committee - Met on April 26.  Committee approved a 6th grade Social Studies textbook, Language Arts novel, pilot for Chinese language course and reported on the K-12 art program.

D.            Transportation Committee - Nothing new.

E.         Negotiations Committee - Negotiating paraprofessional contracts.  Will begin teacher contract negotiations in September.

F.         Technology Committee - Have not received feedback on the 3-year technology plan submitted to the State.

G.         Building Committee - Project is progressing.  The art rooms at the high school are the first new areas to be occupied.  Feedback has been positive.

               H.         Communications Committee - Nothing new to report.


A motion to go into Executive Session was made by P. Turner and seconded by K. Sullivan-Shepard.    Meeting ended at 10:25 pm.


A special BOE meeting to discuss the budget will take place on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lewis S. Mills High School cafeteria.


The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at the Learning Center of Har-Bur Middle School.


Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Secretary

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