MEETING OF THE
MONTPELIER BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS
December 14, 2016
Minutes Approved: January 11, 2017
Board: Bridget Asay, Michele Braun, Steve Hingtgen, Ken Jones, Tina Muncy, Jim Murphy
Administration: Superintendent Brian Ricca, Principals Pam Arnold, Chris Hennessey and Mike McRaith, Curriculum and Technology Director Michael Martin, Facilities Director Thom Wood, Support Services Director Mary Lundeen, Business Manager Grant Geisler
Public: Brian Evans, Paul Carnahan, Jed Guertin, Peter Kelman, Nancy Reid, Leif Richardson, Jason Serota-Winston, Nathan Suter, and others
Absent: Peter Sterling, Brynn Bushey, Theresa Noonan
Item I – Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.
Item II – Executive Session
Motion for Approval for Executive Session for the Purpose of Contract Negotiations
Ms. Asay moved that the Board find that discussing contract negotiations in open session would put the Board at a substantial disadvantage. Ms. Muncy seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 6:30 p.m.
Motion to Move to Executive Session for the Purpose of Contract Negotiations
Ms. Asay moved that the Board enter into Executive Session in accordance with 1 VSA §313 to discuss contract negotiations. Ms. Muncy seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 6:30 p.m. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 7:05 p.m.
Item III – Return to Open Session 7:08 p.m.
Item IV – Public Comment None.
Item V – Consent Agenda
Approval of Warrants for Payroll & Accounts Payable for December 23, 2016 and January 6, 2017(Limitations Policy 2.4)
Mr. Jones moved, seconded by Ms. Asay, to approve the consent agenda including Warrant 13 dated December 22, 2016 in the amount of $931,993.64 and Warrant 14 dated January 5, 2017 in the amount of $610,000.00. Motion carried unanimously.
Item VI – Governance Process Policy 4.0
Select 707 Study Committee Members
Five of the six community committee member candidates were in attendance and addressed the Board. There was discussion in regard to the committee meeting schedule. Following that discussion, one of the candidates withdrew his application. Mr. Hingtgen suggested that final committee member selections be discussed in Executive Session prior to adjournment.
Item VII – Limitations Policy 2.4 – Financial Planning and Budgeting
Review Draft 1 FY18 Budget
Superintendent Ricca and the Leadership Team presented the first draft of the FY18 budget. Budget priorities and assumptions were reviewed.
Proposed additions to the budget at the District level include $68,956 for a 1.0 FTE technology support specialist, $73,693 for a 1.0 FTE special educator $7,069 in salaries to support additional co-curriculars, and $135,720 for 40 additional private Pre-K slots pursuant to Act 166. At Montpelier High School, the proposal adds $12,202 for a 0.2 FTE social studies increase, $46,273 for a 0.5 FTE PE/health increase, $14,622 for a 0.25 FTE athletic director increase, $20,920 for a 0.4 FTE world languages increase, and a $12,000 increase for flexible pathways and virtual learning. At Main Street Middle School, a 2.0 FTE increase for Grade 7 and 8 teachers will add $147,386, a 1.0 FTE math interventionist will add $73,693, and a 0.5 FTE increase for PE/health will add $36,847. At Union Elementary School, a full-time assistant principal is being added at $93,742 and a 1.0 FTE literacy interventionist will add $73,693. The FY18 proposed budget also reflects a MSMS/MHS final bond payment of $140,000 plus interest and a first VMERS principal payment in the amount of $5,000.
There was discussion in regard to the proposed additions around world languages, PE/health, co-curriculars, technology support, the assistant principal at Union Elementary School, and the Grade 7 and 8 teachers at Main Street Middle School. Mr. Jones expressed concern that the proposed budget repeats the same educational approach and calls for the District spending even more money to do what it has always done which, in his opinion, has not made a difference in 25 years.
Superintendent Ricca reviewed the draft three-year plan and how that plan addresses the District’s existing equity gap. MTSS (multi-tiered systems of supports) was discussed. Ms. Muncy spoke about the importance of identify data points and collecting longitudinal data going forward.
Public comments were heard. A concern was expressed about the proposed budget including no plan for expanding and supporting science teaching. A recommendation was made for fast tracking areas of recognized needs. Other District goals in regard to bussing, food systems, and foreign language in the elementary school were also addressed.
Following the public comment period, there was discussion in regard to pre-K funding. The proposed budget as presented represents a tax rate increase of 5% and Mrs. Braun indicated she would be more comfortable with 4%. Mr. Hingtgen expressed concern that even though the budget makes sense internally, it might not make sense politically because it does not include some of the marquee items desired by the community. Mr. Murphy said he was also uncomfortable with a budget at this level absent a more compelling narrative addressing how the requested funding will close the achievement gap. Ms. Muncy commented that the three-year plan also does not include some the community’s marquee items. Following further discussion, Mr. Jones suggested asking the administration to come to the meeting on January 11th with a slightly reduced budget. Mr. Hingtgen requested a more refined narrative to go with that budget identifying the big initiative. Mr. Jones moved, seconded by Ms. Muncy, that the administration bring the Board a new budget on January 11, 2017 showing a 5% per-pupil increase. Mr. Hingtgen indicated he would not support the motion, saying he thought the number was too low. Following further discussion, the motion failed absent a quorum, Ms. Muncy, Ms. Asay and Mr. Jones voting in favor, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Hingtgen voting against, Mrs. Braun abstaining. Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Ms. Asay, that the Board ask the administration for a new budget on January 11, 2017 showing a 5.5% increase in per-pupil spending. The motion passed 4-1, Ms. Asay and Messrs. Murphy, Jones and Hingtgen voting in favor, Ms. Muncy voting against.
Item VIII – Limitations Policy 2.4 – Financial Planning and Budgeting
Review Leadership Team Proposal for Reserve Fund
A written proposal was provided, a copy of which is attached to these Minutes. Mr. Wood reviewed project details and costs. Mrs. Braun suggested providing additional money for design and engineering costs for the UES playground project in order to maintain the entire $250,000 promised for project implementation. Business Manager Geisler reviewed fund balance status.
Approve Leadership Team Proposal for Reserve Fund
Ms. Asay moved, seconded by Mr. Murphy, that the Board increase the committed fund balance to $1,222,100. Motion carried unanimously.
Item IX – Limitations Policy 2.4 – Financial Planning and Budgeting
Review Proposed FY18 Announced Tuition
Business Manager Geisler reviewed the proposal for FY18 announced tuition rates.
Approve Proposed FY18 Announced Tuition
Ms. Asay moved, seconded by Mr. Hingtgen, that the Board set FY18 maximum announced tuition rates in the amount of $12,000 for grades K-6 and $16,000 for grades 7-12. Motion carried unanimously.
Item X – Executive Session
Motion for Approval for Executive Session for the Purpose of Contract Negotiations
Ms. Asay 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 10:25 p.m.
Motion to Move to Executive Session for the Purpose of Contract Negotiations and for the Appointment of Public Officers
Mr. Jones moved that the Board enter into Executive Session in accordance with 1 VSA §313 to discuss contract negotiations and the appointment of public officers. Ms. Asay seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 10:25 p.m. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 10:40 p.m.
Item XI – Return to Open Session 10:40 p.m.
Ms. Asay moved, seconded by Ms. Muncy to appoint Ms. Muncy, Mr. Hingtgen and Mr. Murphy as the board representatives of the 706 Study Committee. Motion carried unanimously.
Ms. Muncy moved, seconded by Mr. Murphy, to appoint Paul Carnahan and Nancy Reid as the community representatives of the 706 Study Committee. Motion carried unanimously.
Item XII – Adjourn
On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 10:45 p.m.