Montpelier Board of School CommissionersMinutesMinutes - April 2, 2014

Minutes - April 2, 2014

1.  Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 6:02 p.m.

2.  Adjust/Review Agenda No changes.

3.  Public Comments None.

4.  Student Presentation Team Summit teachers and students gave a presentation on the mission and work of Main Street Middle School’s “Green Team”.

5. Visit with MSMS Principal Principal Arnold delivered a “Did You Know” presentation about MSMS.

6. Visit with Director of Facilities Director of Facilities Thom Wood presented a request for use of fund balance money to cover specific unbudgeted facilities-related expenses. Included in the request was $1,998.20 for a mold investigation complaint at MHS, $1,375.00 for air sampling at MHS, $997.65 for an asbestos inspection at UES, $7,030.04 for temporary roof repairs at UES, $7,019.51 for temporary roof repairs at MSMS, and $12,000.00 for the fifth grade relocation to MSMS study. There was discussion about possible use of bond money to cover some of these expenses. Superintendent Ricca explained that some bond money had in fact already been used in areas identified by counsel as appropriate, but that the items on the list for present consideration did not necessarily qualify for bond money use. Following that discussion, Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Ms. Paquette, to authorize the expenditure of $30,420.40 from the current fund balance for the aforementioned expenses. The motion passed 6-0, Mrs. Braun absent.

Mr. Wood also provided an updated on the status of bond projects. He reported that approximately one-half of the work has been completed, with numerous additional projects ready to go out to bid soon. Approximately $274,679 has been recognized in savings so far. Options and requirements for using the savings were discussed. Mr. Wood will return with a report in June or July once all bids have been settled and he has a better idea of actual costs.

Mr. Wood also informed the Board of his intent to terminate the Honeywell contract as he believes it is in the District’s best interest to purchase those services through a different vendor.

7.   Action Item

a.   Approve Use of Reserve Funds for Shortfalls Due to Mold Resolution and Roof Repairs See #6.

8. Discuss Proposed Makeup and Timeline for FY16 Budget Input The discussion focused on specifics in regard to the Program/Finance Committee proposed by Mr. VanDerlip. Committee membership and purpose were discussed. Mr. Jones recommended a small committee, but suggested inviting broad participation. A community member stressed the importance of making sure people who voted against the budget felt safe and welcome at committee meetings. Following discussion, it was decided that the committee would be comprised of school board members, as well as community members, staff, and students appointed by the board. Board members VanDerlip and Braun were named to the committee. Mr. Jones declined a committee nomination, but promised plentiful participation at committee meetings, as did Mr. Phillips. Superintendent Ricca will serve as an ex officio member. Student representative Alex Stetter also volunteered to participate.

The draft charge for the committee as prepared by Mr. VanDerlip was “to make prioritized recommendations to the board of options both within the present context of our school program as well as systemic changes that show potential to reduce or at least control costs and show promise to improve or at least maintain the quality of educational outcomes as measured by the board’s end policies.” Mr. VanDerlip suggested that the scope of the committee’s work should not include consideration of the state funding formula for education or the topic of consolidation. Mr. Jones disagreed, saying he would not offer any restrictions in terms of identifying topics for consideration. Ben Field asked if the committee would focus more on cost savings or on making the delivery of education more efficient. There was board consensus that any identified cost savings not compromise the quality of the existing program. Mr. Jones suggested investing one-half of any identified savings into new opportunities. Mr. Phillips said he was comfortable with the charge put together by Mr. VanDerlip with the exception of changing the word “prioritized” to “potential”. Mr. Jones suggested drafting a press release as a mechanism for informing community members about the committee and inviting those interested to contact the board. Mr. Jones moved, second by Mr. Phillips, to adopt the draft charge document with the one change as noted by Mr. Phillips, and to take the steps necessary to move it forward. The motion passed 5-0, Mrs. Aldrich and Mrs. Braun absent.  

9. Discuss Leadership Team Contracts Superintendent Ricca presented the Board with a proposal for multi-year contracts for the Leadership Team. He distributed a sample contract obtained from the Vermont Superintendents’ Association and told the Board that Montpelier is one of a few districts that does not offer multi-year contracts to their administrators. He suggested moving from one-year to two-year contracts and said the new model promotes good faith. Mr. Jones offered that he would not stand in the way of this request, but reminded Superintendent Ricca of the reason why the Board went to one-year contracts. He said the Board felt they needed to close the loop on evaluations and he does not believe that has occurred. Superintendent Ricca responded by saying that he has performed evaluations on every administrator for every year he has been in the district. Mrs. Aldrich suggested that perhaps what needs to happen is for the Board to hear about those evaluations and she proposed a future Executive Session agenda item for that purpose. Mr. VanDerlip agreed that two-year contracts for administrators make sense and went on to say that he is more concerned about the evaluation of the superintendent. Questions and a mechanism for that evaluation have been discussed but it has not happened. Mrs. Aldrich will follow-up on this. Following discussion, Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip to amend all Leadership Team contracts effective July 1, 2014 to reflect the sample contract’s language in regard to term and renewal. The motion passed 6-0, Mrs. Braun absent.       

10.Consent Agenda

a.  Minutes of March 19, 2014

b.  Warrants

c.  Resignation

i)  Shannon Baker

Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mrs Bean, to approve the consent agenda including minutes of the March 19, 2014 regular meeting, Warrants 49, 50 and 51 dated April 10, 2014 in the amounts of $509,474.28, $20,854.12 and $6,491.41 respectively, and a teacher resignation. Motion carried unanimously.

11.Announcements/Review Meeting (+/∆)

-    Mr. Jones volunteered to assume Mr. VanDerlip’s position on the Regional Activities Board.

-    Board members revisited the discussion about the proposed State parking lot at MHS.

-    Mr. Jones requested reports on ends policies 1, 2, 3 and 4 before September.  

 12.  Executive Session On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to enter Executive Session at 8:43 p.m., with the superintendent remaining. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 9:13 p.m.

a.  Employee Evaluation and Compensation

13. Adjournment On a motion duly made and seconded the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:13 p.m.


Heather Michaud





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