Montpelier Board of School CommissionersMinutesMinutes - October 22, 2014

Minutes - October 22, 2014

1.  Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.

2.  Adjust/Review Agenda The Executive Session will be moved to the end of the meeting. The report of the Program and Finance Committee will be moved up on the agenda. Mrs. Braun requested a discussion item in regard to the UES playground. Superintendent Ricca asked for consideration and signature on a letter.

3.  Public Comments None.

4.  Hear Recommendations of the Program and Finance Committee A written report was provided. Mr. VanDerlip reviewed the recommendations of the committee and thanked committee members for their work.

5.  Discuss Board Approval of Overnight and International Field Trips Superintendent Ricca presented the Board with a request to change the existing field trip approval process based on his belief that the process is more a management issue than a governance issue. He proposed that the current policy requiring Board approval of overnight and international field trips be redacted, with relevant material in this area being included in the consent agenda for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year. Beginning in FY16, it will be the responsibility of the building principals and the superintendent to approve overnight and/or international field trips, with the superintendent coordinating a report of these trips annually to present to the Board. Superintendent Ricca told the Board the Leadership Team was comfortable moving forward as indicated in his proposal.

Mrs. Aldrich and Mr. Phillips provided board members with the history surrounding the existing field trip policy. Mr. Phillips asked for the Board to retain the right to have a say in any new trips that are scheduled. Mr. VanDerlip said he was nervous about the Board giving up rights in the decision making process for international trips. Ms. Paquette asked if the Board had ever denied a field trip; Superintendent Ricca responded that they had not, adding that the approval process has been very pro forma. Mrs. Aldrich said she does not recognize the need to approve field trips but would like to hear about them. She went on to say that requiring the Board to approve field trips is an extra step they do not need to be involved in and she does not see the need to put everyone through that process. Mrs. Braun commented that it seems like the same trips are taken each year and suggested having the superintendent comprise a list of those trips for the Board with the further understanding that the superintendent will inform the Board of any new trips that come up. Following further discussion, there was consensus to proceed with the proposal outlined by Superintendent Ricca regarding approval of overnight and/or international field trips going forward.

6.  Update on Board Communications Plan Outreach to Senior Center members will occur on November 7th. Mrs. Aldrich said VAM is hoping to have another meeting with the Board. Mrs. Braun will attend the Rotary lunch meeting on December 8th.

Mr. Phillips reported on his meeting with Montpelier Alive. There were 16 or 17 members present. They were very positive about the quality of the school system and expressed high praise for Union Elementary School. The group emphasized the need for the Board to be very clear about connecting the budget process to the state formula, adding that last year this information came too late. Mr. Phillips said a few members were very emphatic that the school board controlled expenditures. The group shared that they resent being made to feel guilty because they want the school budget under control.

If community outreach is going to be part of the annual budget process going forward, Mrs. Bean proposed adding the task of group assignments to the board calendar for September. Mrs. Braun suggested a date even earlier than that, perhaps August.

7.  Discuss Special Board Meeting of October 15, 2014 Board members provided an overview of the process, discussion and outcomes of the meeting for Superintendent Ricca. Mr. Phillips volunteered to organize the Board notes from that meeting in a manageable format.

8.  Update on Open Meeting Law Superintendent Ricca provided board members with information in regard recent changes to Vermont’s Open Meeting Law, noting specifically the new rules in regard to motions for executive session.

9.  Policy

a.  Volunteers, Work-Study Students, and Student Teachers – First Reading Required revisions to the policy were discussed. Superintendent Ricca explained that the district is already abiding by the new requirements in practice and it is simply the policy language that needs updating. Mr. VanDerlip inquired as to what obligations the district has to ensure the parties in a mentoring situation are in compliance with the requirements of this policy. Superintendent Ricca will check on that and report back. The policy will be warned for adoption at the next meeting.

10. Discuss UES Playground Mrs. Braun reported that Theresa Giffin is in the process of applying for grants to improve the UES playground. Mrs. Braun asked the Board for a letter of support to be submitted with any grant application involving the UES playground project. Matching fund versus non-matching fund grants were discussed. Following discussion, it was decided that a letter of support template will be generated for use with non-matching fund grants. If the district applies for a grant requiring matching funds, the item will be put on a meeting agenda for discussion and a

11. Approve Letter Regarding Exchange Program with China Superintendent Ricca presented the Board with a letter authorizing Shanghai U-Learn Education Technology & Development Co., Ltd., Spiral International and Dr. Charles Chen to act as Montpelier Public Schools’ sole representatives in dealing with the one-year exchange program in the mainland of China. There was consensus to authorize the Board Chair to sign the letter.

 12.  Consent Agenda

a.  Minutes of October 1, 2014

b.  Warrants

c.  Financial Report

d.  Approve Computers, Monitors, Laptops and Projectors RFP Recommendation

e.  Approve Purchase of Driver’s Education Vehicle

f.   Co-Curricular Contracts

Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, to approve the consent agenda including minutes of the October 1, 2014 regular meeting, Warrants 22, 23 and 24 dated October 23, 2014 in the amounts of $815,850.41, $20,066.97 and $191,498.50 respectively, the FY14 year-end estimate, the FY15 first quarter financial report, the bid from Dell for the purchase of computers, monitors, laptops and projectors as recommended by the superintendent, the purchase of a driver’s education vehicle below the statutory amount required for proposals ($15,000), and co-curricular contracts. Upon request by Mr. Phillips, Superintendent Ricca provided a thumbnail sketch of what the technology and computer purchase will do for the district. Mr. VanDerlip requested and Superintendent Ricca promised follow-up information in regard to the disbursed, encumbered and unencumbered sections of the building maintenance line on the FY15 first quarter financial report. Motion carried unanimously.

13.  Announcements/Review Meeting (+/∆)

-  The boys’ cross country team won the mountain division championship and has a decent chance of going to New Englands.

-       Don Taylor and Emily Wrigley were honored today as UVM outstanding teachers of the year for Montpelier. Both are incredibly welcoming, student-centered teachers.

14. Executive Session  Mr. Phillips moved that the Board find that discussing contract negotiations in open session would put the Board at a substantial disadvantage.  Mr. VanDerlip seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 8:41 p.m.  Mr. Phillips moved that the Board enter into executive session in accordance with 1 VSA §313 to discuss contract negotiations.  Mr. VanDerlip seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 8:42 p.m.  On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 9:27 p.m. 

a.  Contract Negotiations

15.  Adjournment On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:28 p.m.


Heather Michaud





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