Montpelier Board of School CommissionersMinutesMinutes - December 4, 2013

Minutes - December 4, 2013

1.       Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

2.       Adjust/Review Agenda No changes.

3.       Public Comments None.

4.  Discuss Parking Lot at MHS Michael Clasen, Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Administration for the State of Vermont, provided background information on the conceptual idea of constructing a 70-90 space state parking lot on grounds at Montpelier High School adjacent to the auditorium. Mr. Clasen shared information from the feasibility study prepared by Dubois & King. Following a lengthy discussion, and after hearing from the public in attendance (including Steve Avery from neighboring Vermont State Employees Credit Union), a non-binding straw poll was taken. There was no support for construction of a shared state parking lot on grounds at MHS. However, Mr. Jones asked Superintendent Ricca to follow up with the City Council to see if they think such a parking lot would help the City with its long-term parking plans. If the answer is yes, a joint meeting of the City Council and the School Board should be scheduled for a public forum on parking and this idea in particular.

5.    Presentation of FY15 Recreation Department Budget – Arne McMullen Mr. McMullen presented the Recreation Department’s proposed budget for FY15. The proposed budget is $829,173. Program changes and participation rates were shared. In reviewing budget details, Mr. Jones questioned the appropriateness of changing the listed expense of fund balance to capital improvements. The Board congratulated Mr. McMullen on his third year of delivering a budget with a level-funded appropriation. Mr. McMullen thanked the Rec. Board for their efforts and service. He also thanked his staff. Finally, he thanked the Business Office and Superintendent Ricca for their help in making the budgeting process smooth. Mr. Jones moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, to recommend approval of the proposed budget presented by Mr. McMullen to the City Council. Motion carried unanimously.

6. Discuss Superintendent Evaluation Process The mechanism and timeframe for distributing the survey were discussed. It seems appropriate to ask Director of Technology Mike Martin to help with the distribution task. Mr. VanDerlip believes it is important for Superintendent Ricca to receive feedback from people who work in the District since prior feedback has been just from the Board. Mr. Martin will be asked to provide the Board with a plan for distributing the survey. The need for certainty of anonymity was emphasized. Survey results will be sent to Mrs. Aldrich. Following that, feedback from staff and feedback from the Board will be shared with Superintendent Ricca. It was agreed that the timeframe for completing this work will be April. A meeting with Mr. Martin to discuss the rollout plan will be added to the agenda for some time in January.

7.     Discuss Op-Ed Article Mr. Phillips told the Board that Mr. Abbott is looking for Board input and reaction to his proposed letter. He wants to be sure it is accurate and the Board feels good about what he has to say. Mr. Jones expressed his reluctance to participate in the discussion about whether or not the letter is okay. If Mr. Abbott wants to write a letter expressing support for the school budget, Mr. Jones believes he should do so absent the Board’s input and approval. If, however, Mr. Abbott is looking for confirmation on the factual information contained in the letter, i.e, tax calculations, Mr. Jones offered for Mr. Abbott to contact him in his role as a state employee and not in his role as a board member for clarification on the calculation. The need to secure a writer for the school page in the Bridge was also discussed.

8. FY15 Budget Presentation Superintendent Ricca asked board members for other information they wanted to receive in advance of the first draft of the budget presentation on December 18th. Mr. Phillips would like to hear about the functionality of programs shared with other schools, i.e., girls hockey and boys hockey. Mr. VanDerlip asked if the possibility of moving 5th grade to MSMS would affect next year’s budget. If so, he wondered about other ways to procure the money, including the possibility of warning it as a separate article or the ability to use some of the money from the bond that was already passed. Money for renovating the bathrooms at MSMS can be paid from the bond, but money for converting the locker rooms into a classroom cannot. In addition, if the 5th grade moves to MSMS, an architectural firm will have to be hired to scope out the project and some of the prework will need to be done next summer. Superintendent Ricca told board members that this money will need to come from the FY15 budget and will be included in the first draft he presents on December 18th.

9.       Consent Agenda

a.       Minutes of November 20, 2013

b.       Warrants

c.       Resignation

i)        Andra Smith

Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mrs. Bean, to approve the consent agenda including minutes of the November 20, 2013 regular meeting, Warrants 30 and 31 dated December 5, 2013 in the amounts of $514,967.14 and $21,720.36 respectively, and a resignation. Motion carried unanimously. The Board thanked Mrs. Smith for her years of service.

10.   Announcements/Review Meeting (+/∆)

-     The new heating system at UES is performing very well and is much more cost effective.

-      Mrs. Aldrich and Mayor Hollar had an overall positive meeting with the senior citizens on Tuesday. Ideas for inviting the seniors to participate in recess at the high school and for taking some of the student presentations to the senior center were shared.

-          The buildings continue to look great.

-      Use of the new security system began on Monday. At this point all but four employees have the badges they need.

-          Alex Stetter thanked and recognized Dave Bennett for everything he’s done.

-        Superintendent Ricca read a letter from a parent in regard to his experience with the MHS outing club.

 11.   Executive Session On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to enter Executive Session at 8:59 p.m., with the superintendent remaining. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 9:33 p.m.

a.       Contract Matter

12.   Adjournment On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:33 p.m.


Heather Michaud






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