Minutes For BOE January 2006 Meeting




January 9, 2006


Members Present:   Catherine Bergstrom, Beth Duffy, Barbara Gilbert, Greg O'Brien, Paul Omichinski, Elaine Schiavone, Ray Sikora, Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Peter Turner


Also Present:   Paula Schwartz - Superintendent

                                 David Lenihan - Business Manager


  I.   Call to Order - The regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting was held in the library of Lake Garda School, and was called to order at 7:35 pm by Chairman Beth Duffy.


 II.   Pledge of Allegiance - The Pledge was recited.


III.   Communications, Resignations - Superintendent read letter of resignation from Board member Greg O'Brien, effective January 31, 2006.


         Under Kathy Gilson's direction, students from Har-Bur Middle School formed teams and participated in a Hartford Courant sponsored stock market simulation.  The students and how they placed are as follows:


         1st Place – Jessica Wilbert, Brittany Denza, Michael DiOrio, Taylor Eagan and Connor Faticoni

         2nd Place – Sarah Visintainer, Justin Kawiecki, Shannon Larkin, Tyler Markert, and Krista Molusis

         3rd Place   - Michael Rousseau, Rebecca Browosky, Lillian Corman, Nicholas Fitzsimons and Nicholas Gnitzcavich

         4th Place – Brianna Saucier, Nicole Storti, Tyler Topor, Alicia Vinci and Brian McKenna


IV.   Consent Agenda - A motion to accept the BOE meeting minutes of December 12, 2005, and the financial report of December 31, 2005, was made by Paul Omichiniski and second by K. Sullivan-Shepard.  All in favor none opposed, abstentions B. Gilbert and E. Schiavone.


         Corrections include identifying Ted Schiedel and Frank Chairamonte in Section VI, Item A as 1st Selectmen of their respective towns, correcting typographical error in Section VII, Item D baring à barring.  Two Board members were identified as seconding the motion for the Board to go into executive session (Page 4).  R. Sikora allowed that N. Salvatore made the motion.


  V.   Public Participation - Donna Perreault of Harwinton thought the Gifted and Talented Program did not include enough students and asked that this be looked into.


         Mark DiOrio of Burlington hoped the music curriculum would be looked at next year and changes made to the program, particularly 6th grade chorus.


VI.   Business -

               A.  Acknowledgement of past BOE members Nick Salvatore, Reid Matusek and Greg O’Brien who had announced his resignation.  Plaques were given, along with public thanks, for their service on the Board of Education.

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               B.         Acknowledgement of Jeff Bond's contributions in acquisition of defibrillators.  Certificate was presented to Jeffrey Bond for his assistance in obtaining the grant allowing Region 10 to acquire 12 portable defibrillators at no cost.


               C.         Review of audit - Rob Howard, Michael VanDeventer (Carlin, Charron & Rosen, LLP).  Rob Howard provided a summary of the 65-page auditors report.  Two audits were done - one for the District's financial statements and the other identified as a State Single Audit, which made sure the District was using State money for the programs they were intended for.  The auditors found no discrepancies, found all areas to be "clean" and made minor recommendations for improvement.


               D.         Enrollment Review - P. Schwartz provided a comparison of State enrollment projections made in 2003 and the current projections.  The new numbers are higher than predicted in 2003 and the current building project, as designed, should be able to accommodate those additional students for the next ten years.  Statistics are showing Harwinton's population increasing and Burlington's as decreasing.  Enrollment in PreK-12 for next year is 2,843.


               E.         Review of Gifted and Talented Program - Linda Carabis spoke of the Gifted and Talented Program.  Eighteen students from the 4th and 5th grades where chosen based on teacher recommendations and standard test scores.  Eight were from Lake Garda and 10 from Harwinton Consolidated.  There are two major components - Odyssey of the Mind, which emphasizes teamwork and builds problem-solving skills, and the Renzulli System, a web-based, self-paced program providing students with a broad base of subjects from which to choose from.  In Odyssey of the Mind, students meet two times a week before class.  The State competition is slated for March and the National competition for May to be held at Iowa University.  L. Carabis provided a demonstration of the Renzulli System.  Currently it is being used as a resource tool for the Odyssey of the Mind program.


               F.         Update on the No Child Left Behind District and School Reports for the '04-'05 school year.  P. Schwartz reported that results from the latest CMT and CAPT tests show students have met the standard at or above proficiency.


               G.         Mandarin Chinese Updated.  Tunxis Community College is offering an eight-week course in Mandarin Chinese to students from Region 10, Bristol, Litchfield and Simsbury.  Each school is allotted six slots.  Deadline for enrollment is January 20, 2006.  Cost is $225 per student, which will be borne by the District.  Each student will be asked to contribute $50, which will be refunded upon successful completion.  It is open to grades 8 through 11 and, upon successful completion, students will be given an Independent Study credit.  Next year the Superintendent is recommending a course at Lewis Mills High School in Mandarin Chinese.


VII            Action -

               A.         1st reading of Supervisor of Language Arts and Library Media position.  A motion to accept the first reading was made by P. Turner and second by P. Omichinski.  All in favor, none opposed.  P. Schwartz recommended, that as a result of a recent vacancy, that the Board eliminate of the Supervisor of Special Education position and create instead Supervisor of Language Arts and Library Media.  P. Schwartz discussed the duties of this position and how it would better fit the needs of staff and students.

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               B.         "Kids in the Middle" Coordinator.  This position would work with middle school students to implement a mentoring program, provide outreach to middle school students not involved in extracurricular activities, promote a collaborative partnership with students and local businesses, etc.  This program is modeled on a United Way program, which has been very successful in other school districts.  The coordinator position would be part-time, approximately 25 hours a week without benefits, with a salary range of approximately $19K - $24K.  It would start out as a one-year program and be funded via a United Way Grant.  Kent Hurlburt presented information on his Husky Leadership Program which will utilize services provided by this coordinator.


                        A motion to approve the program concept and hiring of a part-time coordinator, contingent upon receipt of grant money, was made by G. O'Brien and second by B. Gilbert. All in favor none opposed.


               C.         Review and approval of specifications and project budget for submission of the State Department of Education for Phase IV LSM/Har-Bur Project.  This item was not ready for discussion.


VIII.         Board Committee Reports

A.  Facilities and Grounds Committee - Meeting is tentative scheduled for February.

B.  CREC Committee - Nothing to report.

C.         Curriculum Committee - Met last Wednesday.  There were two curriculum reviews.  A presentation by Ed Dorgan focused on middle school curriculum changes in Social Studies.  Andy Komar presented changes to the science curriculum.  Starting in 2007 science will be included in CMT testing.

D.            Transportation Committee - Nothing to report.

E.            Negotiations Committee - Nothing to report

F.         Technology Committee - Nothing to report.

G.         Building Committee - Meeting last week was cancelled due to snowstorm.  Project is fairly close on target.  The 5th grade wing is taking shape with actual classrooms and rough wiring visible.

               H.         Communications Committee - Nothing to report.  G. O'Brien publicly thanked P. Turner for his assistance during his time on the Communications Committee and on the Board.  P. Schwartz stated that due to the recent Board member resignations this might be a good time to look at restructuring/realigning some of the Committees.

There was no motion to adjourn the meeting.  Meeting ended at 10:25 pm.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on February 13, 2006 at Harwinton Consolidated School.  There will be a budget meeting held on February 6, 2006 at 7:30 pm at the Learning Center of Har-Bur Middle School to discuss the District overview of administration and operations.

 Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Secretary

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