Montpelier Board of School CommissionersMinutesMinutes - December 3, 2014

Minutes - December 3, 2014

1.  Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m.

2.  Adjust/Review Agenda Addition of co-curriculars to the consent agenda.

3. Public Comments None.

4. Auditor’s Report – Mike Segale Mr. Segale provided a summary of the FY14 audit report and reported that the audit went very well. There were no findings and there were no sufficient deficiencies or material weaknesses in internal controls identified. There was some discussion about the fund balance. The Board thanked Mr. Segale for his work. Superintendent Ricca congratulated Ms. Rossi on another clean audit. Ms. Rossi thanked her staff for their work on the audit.

5. Discuss Mountaineer Agreement Renewal Superintendent Ricca presented a suggested plan of action for renewal of the agreement in regard to the Mountaineers’ use of the Elm Street baseball facility and recommended going ahead as outlined. Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Ms. Paquette, to approve the outline for going forward in developing an agreement between the school district and the Mountaineers for use of the field. Motion carried unanimously.

6. Discuss Proposal to Move Forward in Joining Montpelier Middle and High Schools with U-32 Mr. Jones presented a proposal to move forward in joining Montpelier middle and high schools with U-32 and requested discussion on the matter. Under the proposal, Montpelier’s high school students would move to the U-32 campus on Gallison Hill Road and U-32’s seventh and eighth grade students would join their Montpelier peers at the current Montpelier High School campus. Mr. Jones requested a basis for understanding what this could look like and said the first step would be to present the proposal to the U-32 school board. Mr. Phillips expressed support for Mr. Jones’ proposal. Mr. VanDerlip supported it as well, saying that under the proposal if the other side did not want to talk then the process would end. He said the issue had not been visited in a while and since that time the landscape had changed. He went on to say that he believed the Board owed it to its students and taxpayers to offer the proposal and that there might be some efficiencies in combining efforts.

Mrs. Aldrich did not support the proposal and explained the reasons for her dissension. Mrs. Bean agreed with Mrs. Aldrich. Mrs. Braun said it seemed like a reasonable proposition at first, but she knew from talking to parents in the WCSU towns that they are really divided. She said she anticipates that Montpelier is not going to get the response it wants in regard to this proposal given what WCSU has laid out in terms of putting their own house in order. Ms. Paquette said it was creative proposal and she appreciated it, but she did not think now was the appropriate time. Superintendent Ricca said he appreciated the discussion and that this was ultimately a board deliberation. He agreed that this might not be the right time only because there might be other legislative or Agency of Education recommendations that might be emerging in either this coming legislative session or the following year. He said he believed it would be in the Board’s best interest to be able to respond to those should they occur, and he believes this proposal could be tabled for the time being based on the current landscape in terms of conversations around education, ed. funding, and governance in the state. Following further discussion, Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, to table Mr. Jones’ proposal to a date after Town Meeting Day for consideration by the Board, with the rationale that it is a good idea and there are some valid arguments for going ahead immediately. The motion passed 4-3, Mrs. Braun and Messrs. Jones, Phillips and VanDerlip voting in favor, Mrs. Aldrich, Mrs. Bean and Ms. Paquette voting against.

7.  Presentation of FY16 Recreation Department Budget – Arne McMullen Mr. McMullen presented the Recreation Department’s proposed budget for FY16. The proposed budget totals $956,780 and represents the fourth year of a level-funded appropriation. Mr. McMullen thanked the Recreation Advisory Board for their efforts and service. He also thanked his staff. Finally, Mr. McMullen thanked the Business Office staff for their help in the budget process.

8.  Action Item

a. Approve Proposed FY16 Recreation Department Budget Mr. Jones moved, seconded by Mr. Phillips, to approved the proposed budget as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

9.  Discuss Leadership Team Plan for Reporting on Ends Policy #3 Superintendent Ricca requested broad stroke ideas from each school to capture evidence for reporting on ends policy #3. In response, UES offered their new report card, MSMS offered personalized learning plans and portfolios, and MHS offered their new 9th grade learning exhibitions. Superintendent Ricca asked if the Board was still interested in using any of the initial indicators listed for this policy and for any other feedback or directions to try to pursue. Mr. VanDerlip requested senior level exit surveys and there was board consensus in favor of that request.

10.  Update on Policy Revisions in Preparation for Second Reading Superintendent Ricca recommended holding off on moving to the second reading of the specific policies until such time as he and Mr. VanDerlip have had an opportunity to review each of the policies carefully, vet the legal citations, and provide the Board with new policy language and formatting that resembles other policies adopted to this point.

11.  Discuss FY16 School Budget Superintendent Ricca reported that the budget presentation in two weeks will include all assumptions the limitations policies require he put in, as well as an explanation of additions and impact of potential reductions. He asked board members for any other areas of explanation they wanted included beyond that. Mr. Phillips asked about the possibility of having a discussion in regard to bussing at the middle school before the budget is presented. If bussing at the middle school is going to be considered, Superintendent Ricca recommended that it not be done next year because there would not be enough time to study available options in this regard and he believes it should be a comprehensive plan that the District puts together. Mrs. Aldrich said she did not see how much could be done about it this year since it was not one of the Board’s identified priorities and there was no available money. Mr. Phillips responded by saying that board members were not aware of the issue when they set their priorities and he felt it would be irresponsible to postpone a decision on this matter until next year. Mr. Jones suggested ways to look at the service a little more differently. Mr. Phillips said he feared board members were making a casual decision to do nothing and expressed his frustration with this. Superintendent Ricca responded by saying that, given the date and time of the conversation, he did not know how to respond in a meaningful way to be able to address all of the concerns board members were expressing. Mrs. Bean said she was comfortable asking for a thoughtful discussion from the elementary and middle schools principals as to how they view this. Mrs. Bean moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, that the Board seek feedback, recommendations and rationale for best course action from Principals Arnold and Hennessey in regard to the possibility of bussing at the middle school rather than conduct a formal study. Motion carried unanimously.

12.  Consent Agenda

a.  Minutes of November 19, 2014

b.  Warrants

c.  Co-Curricular Contracts

Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, to approve the consent agenda including minutes of the November 19, 2014 regular meeting, Warrants 30 and 31 dated December 4, 2014 in the amounts of $535,995.13 and $22,879.48 respectively and co-curricular contracts (see listing). Motion carried unanimously.

13. Announcements/Review Meeting (+/∆)

-     Mr. Jones expressed his frustration with the State’s promise to partner with school boards to provide creative mechanisms for controlling budgets when he has seen nothing from them to date.

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. Jones seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 9:12 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 9:13 p.m.  On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 9:28 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



Co-curricular Appointments


Cornforth, Alison

Basketball, Girls: Head Coach


Cornforth, Alison

Basketball, Girls: JV Coach


Foster, Nicholas

Basketball, Boys: Head Coach


Gerdel, Greg

Skiing (Nordic) Coach



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