Montpelier Board of School CommissionersMinutesMinutes - May 20, 2015

Minutes - May 20, 2015

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

2.  Adjust/Review Agenda Addition of a facilities budget adjustment to the consent agenda per Superintendent Ricca’s memo.

3.  Public Comments Emma Bay-Hansen told the Board she was still very concerned about the class size policy and hoped to see movement from the policy committee tonight.

4.  MSMS Student Presentation The Board enjoyed presentations by members of Main Street Middle School’s sixth grade class in regard to their community unit and by the Executive Committee of Crafters Edge.

5.  Discussion with MSMS Principal Pamela Arnold Principal Arnold gave a PowerPoint presentation celebrating the 2014-2015 school year. Events and activities featured in the presentation demonstrated students’ mastery of transferable skills.

6.  Discussion with MHS English Teacher Sarah Squier Regarding Follow-Up on Irish Humanities Field Trip A small contingent of the Irish Humanities students reported on their recent trip to Ireland. The students shared their favorite parts of the trip and connected their learning in the classroom to their learning on the trip. Photographs were shared. The students thanked Ms. Squier for the incredible effort and passion she brings to the table in not only teaching the class, but in also taking students on this trip.

7.  Follow-Up Discussion from Community Forum Passed over.

8.  Discussion Regarding Val Gardner’s Visit to the Board Passed over.

9.  Discussion of Class Size Committee Charge Mrs. Aldrich started the conversation by saying she was not sure the Board needs to change its particular class size policy as it currently stands. Ms. Muncy would like to know if the policy has been followed as written and how it worked before agreeing to make any changes. Superintendent Ricca replied that in some instances yes and in some instances no and gave the reasons therefore. He stated that the District is within the policy at the elementary school as currently written, with some interpretation and discord around the use of averages for clusters.

Ms. Muncy requested that the parents in attendance for this discussion be allowed to speak. Mrs. Aldrich replied by saying that she really wanted to stay on point and have board discussion, but was open to hearing how other board members felt. Mr. Hingtgen said he did not want to dismiss the parents given it was a fairly large group concerned about this issue and he felt they needed to be incorporated. Mr. VanDerlip agreed, saying he thought the Board needed to hear from the parents and community members in attendance before possibly taking any action on this matter. Mrs. Braun said she was open to hearing from the parents provided comments were limited and ended by 9 o’clock.

Several parents spoke in support of a new class size policy that is both clear and directive and urged board members for an education focused decision-making process and charge.

Following public comment, Mr. Jones said he believed a fairly significant discussion about class size policy and application was owed and warranted. Mr. Hingtgen offered that the charge drafted by Mr. Jones was good and he would support it. He does have some concerns about the cluster language, but believes that could be clarified. Mr. Hingtgen went on to say that any policy the Board creates needs to be a clear document that reflects the values of the community. Mrs. Braun said she has no problems with the current class size policy, adding that it does have flexibility for the administration to use discretion. She went on to say that she believes the decision made about the number of teachers for next year’s third grade class at UES was the result of discretion allowed under the current policy. She believes the teacher problem and the class size policy are two issues that need to be separated and she does not think the Board should try to solve the teacher problem by messing with the policy. Ms. Muncy agreed, saying it is not the policy she is concerned about but rather nobody was clear about the decision that was made. Mr. Hingtgen sees the problem as the policy being not particularly clear and believes the Board cleaning it up to make it more restrictive would lead to fewer conflicts in the community. Mrs. Aldrich believes the Board has been addressing the issue whether or not it goes ahead with setting up a committee. Mrs. Braun expressed concerns about people’s expectations of the committee.

Mr. VanDerlip acknowledged a commitment to the community to address the class size policy issue but expressed uncertainty about the specific follow through. Two ideas were floated – a committee with a charge drafted by Mr. Jones, or asking the administration to review and update the current policy to address concerns about clarity and implementation for the Board to then use, adapt or throw out. Mr. Jones wants a group discussion to address specificity around this issue. The availability of research in regard to small class size was discussed.

Following further discussion, Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Ms. Muncy, to charge the Administrative Team with reviewing the current class size policy and recommending to the Board changes in language for the purpose of clarifying the policy. Any changes or lack of changes to the policy are to be supported based on educational research for educational outcomes and published in advance of a community meeting. A timeline for September was established. Motion carried unanimously.

10.  Update on Lease for the Mountaineers Passed over.

11.  Action Item

a.  Approve Annual Calendar of Board Meeting Dates Mr. Jones moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, acceptance of the proposed meeting dates for 2015-2016 as presented. Mr. Hingtgen asked a clarifying question in regard to the Board’s meeting calendar versus its work calendar. Mr. VanDerlip confirmed that the essence of the work calendar is to guide and keep track of certain items the Board needs to take care of. Ms. Muncy inquired in regard to the superintendent evaluation process and requested paper on previous evaluations for the next meeting on June 3rd. Following discussion, the motion carried unanimously.

12.  Consent Agenda

a.  Minutes of May 6, 2015

b.  Warrants

c.  Teacher Contracts

d.  Facilities Budget Adjustment

e.  Co-Curricular Contracts

Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Mr. Jones, to approve the consent agenda including minutes of the May 6, 2015 regular meeting, Warrants 57, 58 and 59 dated May 21, 2015 in the amounts of $859,111.18, $28,078.56 and $3,311.75 respectively, the recommendation to offer teaching contracts to Joseph Carroll (Latin – MHS), Kasandra Howe (math – MHS/MSMS), CharlesDaniel Sheffy (English – MHS), Eileen Wildman (science – MHS), Daniel Maguire (Humanities – MSMS) and Hannah Barden (ELL – UES), a facilities budget adjustment in the amount of $8,950 to cover salary and benefits for an additional custodian/maintenance worker for the District for the months of May and June 2015, and co-curricular contracts (see listing). Motion carried unanimously.

13.  Announcements/Review Meeting (+/∆)

14.  Executive Session Mrs. Braun 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 9:50 p.m. Mrs. Braun moved that the Board enter into Executive Session in accordance with 1 VSA §313 to discuss contract negotiations. Mr. Hingtgen seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 9:50 p.m. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 10:15 p.m.

a.  Contract Negotiations

15.  Adjournment On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 10:15 p.m.

 

Heather Michaud

Recorder

 

                           Co-curricular Appointments

 

Benoit, Nolan

Ultimate Frisbee: JV Coach

MHS

Watson, Anne

Ultimate Frisbee: Head Coach

MHS

 

 

 

 

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