MEETING OF THE
MONTPELIER BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS
December 2, 2015
Minutes Approved: December 16, 2015
Board: Sue Aldrich, Bridget Asay, Michele Braun, Steve Hingtgen, Ken Jones, Tina Muncy, Lowell VanDerlip
Administration: Superintendent Brian Ricca, Business Manager Cindy Rossi
Students: Brynn Bushey, Theresa Noonan
Public: Mike Donofrio, Lyn Munno, Jim Murphy, Mike Segale, Nathan Suter
Call to Order and Motion for Executive Session for the Purpose of Contract Negotiations The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.
Item I – Move to Executive Session for the Purpose of Contract Negotiations
Mr. Jones moved that the Board find that discussing contract negotiations in open session would put the Board at a substantial disadvantage. Mrs. Braun seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 6:31 p.m. Ms. Muncy moved that the Board enter into executive session in accordance with 1 VSA §313 to discuss contract negotiations. Mrs. Braun seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 6:31 p.m. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 7:05 p.m.
Item II – Return to Open Session 7:06 p.m.
Item III – Public Comment Mike Donofrio recognized Commissioner Asay as having argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the day and thanked Ms. Asay for her service to the Montpelier community, as well as to the State of Vermont.
Item IV - Consent Agenda
Minutes of November 18, 2015 School Board Meeting
Approval of Warrants for Payroll for December 11, 2015 (Limitations Policy 2.4)
Approval of Co-Curricular Contract (Limitations Policy 2.7)
Mr. Jones moved, seconded by Mrs. Braun, to remove the minutes of the November 18, 2015 regular meeting from the consent agenda and to approve Warrants 28 and 29 dated December 10, 2015 in the amounts of $523,113.43 and $21,739.82 respectively and a co-curricular contract (see listing). Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Jones requested a revision to the November 18, 2015 minutes. The revision involved a change in wording in Item IV from "per pupil increase" to "per pupil cost." Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Mr. Jones, to approve the minutes of the November 18, 2015 regular meeting as amended. Motion carried unanimously.
Item V – Budget Development Process (Limitations Policy 2.4)
Audit Presentation – Mike Segale
Mr. Segale provided a summary of the FY15 audit report. There were no significant findings, financial statement disclosures were neutral, consistent and clear, and there were no proposed adjustments due to audit procedures. Mr. Hingtgen requested and Mr. Segale provided a brief sketch of how an audit works. There was discussion about the timing of the audit report. Mrs. Braun pointed out the fact that the school district actually spent a little bit less in FY15 than it did in FY14. Thanks and appreciation were expressed to Business Manager Rossi and her staff for their work.
Item VI – Superintendent Evaluation
Update from Superintendent Evaluation Committee (Commissioners Muncy and Hingtgen)
Mr. Hingtgen explained his understanding of the committee's charge as being: (1) to complete a pressing or immediate evaluation process for this year based on last year's; (2) to design a process to bring back to the Board for a more exhaustive process the next time; and (3) to push the execution, not just the design, of the plan. Proposed questions for this year's survey were provided and discussed, as well as a method of delivery, targeted respondents, and next steps.
Item VII – Superintendent MHS Staffing Analysis
Per Commissioner Hingtgen’s motion, discussion of class size report
A written report was provided. Superintendent Ricca provided a general overview of the report which included the rationale for offering small classes at the high school, an analysis of why enrollments are low in these classes and to what extent enrollments in these classes are expected to change over the next three years, a fiscal analysis of the cost of these small classes relative to the cost of other classes and resultant budget implications, and innovations for providing equal or better educational outcomes at a lower cost. Online learning opportunities were discussed. A request was made for the class size report to be made available online.
Item VIII – Board Governance (4.2.4)
Update, if any, on responses to letter from Chairwoman Aldrich to ONSU, WCSU and WSSU
Superintendent Ricca and Mrs. Aldrich reported on their recent meeting with WCSU Superintendent Bill Kimball and Stephen Looke, Chair of the WCSU Executive Board. WCSU is in the early stages of a 706 study for their own unification. At this point they are interested in following up with Montpelier, but have not even established a timetable for their own work.
Mr. Hingtgen extended a request for an explanation of the VSBA's forecast of education tax rates at the next meeting.
Item IX – Meeting Evaluation
Board self-evaluation (Limitations 4.0)
Mr. VanDerlip announced his decision to not seek re-election in March.
Mr. Hingtgen said he thought board members were interrupting each other a lot but somehow it's working and he's willing to be told he's interrupting.
Mr. VanDerlip believes the questions raised by Mr. Hingtgen at the last meeting in regard to class size and the work done by Superintendent Ricca answering those questions resulted in good conversation and a greater understanding of what things look like.
Ms. Muncy appreciated Superintendent Ricca's quick overview of the class size report.
Item X – Adjournment
On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:11 p.m.