Minutes For BOE March 20, 2006 Meeting




March 20, 2006


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


Members Absent:   Barbara Gilbert


Also Present:   Paula Schwartz - Superintendent

                                 Jeffrey Linton - Director of Curriculum and Instruction

                                 David Lenihan - Business Manager


  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 7:32 pm by Chairperson Beth Duffy.


 II.   Pledge of Allegiance - The Pledge was recited.


III.   Public Participation - Jessie Smiley of Burlington expressed concern that one or more positions would be eliminated for kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grades.


         Janet Burritt of Harwinton wanted to know the duration of the superintendent's contract.


         Ed Gasser of Harwinton, had issues concerning the Districts' policy on suspensions and expulsions for drug and alcohol use, particularly use of a breathalyzer at proms, making public the number of suspensions and expulsions and the reasons, etc.  Chairperson stated the importance of being involved with the committee reviewing the District's policy on these issues and that this topic will be on next month's meeting agenda.


IV.   Business -

         A.  Final Review of 2006-07 Budget.  P. Schwartz discussed how prior State enrollment projections have compared with actual enrollment.  In the past, Lake Garda had more incoming students, but that seems to have leveled off, while HCS has experienced a steady increase in student enrollment over the past few years.  Superintendent recommends the elimination of one kindergarten position and one each 3rd and 4th grade positions at Lake Garda School for a total elimination of 2-1/2 positions.


         Thanks were extended to Dave Lenihan, Linda Carabis, and principals for their efforts in finding ways to cut costs and save money.  Through additional effort, D. Lenihan was able to obtain an additional $40,000 savings in health insurance premiums and $50,000 from the Anthem demutualization refund.  Instead of purchasing the special ed. bus offered the plan of leasing it so that expenses would be spread out over a 3-year period.  The new oil tank for the addition has been installed and filled with oil at the contract price of $1.48 a gallon instead of the current rate of $2.15, a $40,000 savings.  Number of 8th graders going into VoAg in the fall has declined; another cost savings.  These and other cost savings have reduced the budget by $557,000 or from 7.16% to 5.26%.  The goal from the prior BOE meeting had been to reduce the budget in the range of 5 - 5.50%.

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         Ted Scheidel distributed to the Board items that could potentially be reduced.  Representatives of both towns were asked what the mil rate increase would be based on a 5.26% budget.  For Burlington it would be about 1.4 mills and for Harwinton, it would be about 1.2 mills.


         Janice O'Donnelan of Burlington proposed keeping at least one of the teaching positions, perhaps as a floater.   Pat McGlynn, President of the Teachers' Union, spoke of the importance of the ESL (English as a second language) program.  There are some students whose parents do not speak English and the program has been invaluable in providing them with the services they need.  Asked that the program not be cut.  This is a .7 position.  J. Linton proposed hiring a paraprofessional to supplement the current position.


         J. Linton stated that technology has taken a $100,000 cut over the last two years.


         Jane Perkins of Burlington recommended eliminating the Talented and Gifted Program to save one or more teaching positions.  The superintendent recommended keeping the Odyssey of the Mind portion.


         Dave Crompton of Harwinton was against eliminating any teaching positions.  He had several questions related to specific budget line items.


         Jaye Tower of Burlington asked if the District received State reimbursement on the Lake Garda roofing project and the answer was yes.


         Debbie Allen of Burlington did not want to see increased class sizes.  She felt students did better in smaller classes.


         Steve DeVoe of Burlington was not happy with the initial budget proposal of 7.16%.  Also, was not pleased with the 5.26% proposal.  He felt that educational costs have gotten out of hand.


         At the last Board meeting, superintendent had provided a list of items that could potentially be cut from the budget.  The major ones include:


                     Eliminate 2.5 teaching positions (1/2 kindergarten, 1 grade 3 and 1 grade 4 positions), Elimination of the late bus

                     Lease instead of purchase a new special ed. bus

                     Reduce technology

                     Postpone purchase of the emergency notification system

                     Reduce additional football costs for transportation and insurance

                     Eliminate the gifted and talented program.


      Chairperson asked each Board member to identify the items they felt could be eliminated and those that should be kept.  Based on the members' feedback, the consensus was:


         Keep football at existing level of expenditure ($1,800)

         Postpone purchasing the emergency notification system

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         Purchase special ed bus this year

         Cut technology by another $5,000

         Eliminate the gifted and talented program.


      This brings the budget down to 5.06%.  P. Turner proposed a motion to accept the budget at 5.06% with the above-listed reductions.  P. Omichinski second the motion.  J. Stocker was opposed, all others in favor.  Motion passed.


A motion to go into Executive Session was made by P. Turner and second by K. Sullivan-Shepard.  All in favor none opposed. 


A motion to end executive session was made by P. Omichinski, seconded by K. Sullivan-Shepard. All in favor.


A motion was made by E. Schiavone, seconded by R. Sikora, to move that the Board of Education accept the superintendent’s recommendation that the contract of the named teachers in the memo dated March 20, 2006 not be renewed for the 2006-07 school year.  All were in favor, none opposed.


A public hearing on the district budget will be held on Monday, April 3, 2006, at 7:30 pm, at the Lewis S. Mills cafeteria.


The next regularly scheduled BOE meeting will be on Monday, April 10, 2006, at 7:30 pm, at Harwinton Consolidated.


The annual meeting on the district budget will held at the Lewis S. Mills cafeteria on Monday, May 1, 2006 at 7:30 pm.


A motion to adjourn was made by P. Turner, seconded by P. Omichinski. All in favor, none opposed.  Meeting adjourned at 10.10 pm






Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Secretary

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