MEETING OF THE
MONTPELIER BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS
November 2, 2016
Minutes Approved: November 16, 2016
Board: Bridget Asay, Michele Braun, Steve Hingtgen, Ken Jones, Tina Muncy, Jim Murphy, Peter Sterling
Administration: Superintendent Brian Ricca
Student: Brynn Bushey
Public: Greg Hebert, Jen Matthews
Absent: 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
Mr. Jones moved that the Board find that discussing contract negotiations in open session would put the Board at a substantial disadvantage. Mr. Hingtgen seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 6:30 p.m.
Motion to Move to Executive Session for the Purpose of Contract Negotiations
Mr. Hingtgen moved that the Board enter into Executive Session in accordance with 1 VSA §313 to discuss contract negotiations. Ms. Asay 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 7:04 p.m.
Item III – Return to Open Session 7:06 p.m.
Item IV – Public Comment None.
Item V – Consent Agenda
Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Mr. Jones, to remove the quarter 1 financial report from the consent agenda. Motion carried unanimously.
Approval of Minutes of October 19, 2016 School Board Meeting
Approval of Warrants for Payroll & Accounts Payable for November 11, 2016 (Limitations Policy 2.4)
Approval of Quarter 1 Financial Report (Limitations Policy 2.3, 2.4)
Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Ms. Asay, to approve the consent agenda as amended including minutes of the October 19, 2016 regular meeting and Warrant 10 dated November 9, 2016 in the amount of $655,691.40. Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Jones moved, seconded by Ms. Asay, to accept the quarter 1 financial report. Mr. Hingtgen said he finds the quarterly financial reports somewhat opaque because the categories are so big and he cannot, in good conscience, vote to approve reports he does not understand. The motion passed 5-1, Mr. Hingtgen voting against, Mr. Murphy abstaining.
At this point in this meeting, Mrs. Braun proposed an adjustment to the agenda. She suggested that the next two agenda items (budget scenarios and stakeholder feedback) be handled relatively quickly and that the Board spend the bulk of the time allotted for those items discussing how it would like to manage this year’s budget process going forward.
Item VI – Limitations Policy 2.4 – Financial Planning and Budgeting
Review FY18 Budget Percentage Scenarios
Three scenarios were presented. Superintendent Ricca explained the difficulty in the Board providing him with a percentage increase relative to per pupil spending for the FY18 budget as called for by policy. He explained the difference between per pupil increases and general fund budget increases. Historical per pupil spending was reviewed. Mrs. Braun suggested holding off on setting the increase until the Board has some additional information. Mr. Jones’ hope for the next meeting on November 16th is to be able to provide more clarity on the variables for which the Board can provide guidance. Superintendent Ricca will invite Business Manager Grant Geisler to a future meeting for further explanation as to how the funding formula works.
Item VII – Limitations Policy 2.4 – Financial Planning and Budgeting
Review Board Feedback from Stakeholders
Board members reported on feedback gathered to date. Items mentioned included expanding foreign language, pre-K, transportation and food options, improving the health curriculum, adding an assistant principal at UES, increased funding for Community Connections, and others. There was discussion about the process for communicating budget priorities to the community.
Mrs. Braun inquired of board members in regard to their desire to convey some sense of Board priorities to the Leadership Team and how that might be reasonably done. Mr. Murphy inquired about the existence of a multi-year plan as mentioned in the pretext of policy 2.4. Ms. Asay said she saw having a multi-year plan as being part of the budgeting process. She said she would like to see something more than just about the numbers for this year, and suggested some real narrative and thoughtful projection for going forward. Mr. Hingtgen suggested that Superintendent Ricca produce something of a monitoring report setting forth what he has already done in the context of policy 2.4, saying he believed that would answer some of the questions board members have raised. Superintendent Ricca informed the Board of his intent to tie his budget presentation to policy 2.4. Ms. Muncy requested to make a motion to assist with understanding the budget. She moved, seconded by Mr. Hingtgen, that the superintendent provide the Board, in their packets for November 16th, a class list K-12 for the number of students in each classroom. For example, in the elementary school if there are four first grade classrooms, that the Board know how many students are in each classroom. In the middle school 7-8, for each team the Board know, in a Language Arts class, how many students are in each Language Arts class. In the high school, for each class, if there are four Language Arts classes, the Board know how many students are in each of those classes. Motion carried unanimously.
There was discussion about the Board’s role in priority setting. Ms. Asay moved, seconded by Ms. Muncy, that the Leadership Team, as part of the budget process, provide the Board with a narrative that explains long-term District priorities with reference to the Ends policies and give a multi-year plan for achieving those priorities. Ms. Muncy suggested a specific number for the multi-year plan. Mr. Jones acknowledged that not all activities will be multi-year, while others may be numerous years. Although there had been some work on the Ends priorities over the summer, Mr. Hingtgen said that work was not yet complete or was not yet codified. He recognized the value in establishing Ends priorities in an abbreviated version now or, in the alternative, having Superintendent Ricca suggest them in his proposal. Mrs. Braun stated the importance of recognizing any multi-year plan as a working document and not something written in stone. Superintendent Ricca said he would be more comfortable with a three-year plan than a five-year plan. Mr. Murphy moved, seconded by Mr. Jones, to amend the original motion to specify that the multi-year plan be a three-year plan. The motion to amend carried unanimously. The motion as amended carried unanimously.
There was continued discussion in regard to the possibility of a Board priority setting session. Mrs. Braun acknowledged the need to figure out what happens with input received from the community. Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Ms. Asay, that the Board defer continued discussion on this matter until the next meeting with the expectation of some resolution. Motion carried unanimously.
Item VIII – Limitations Policy 2.4 – Scheduled Superintendent’s Report
Discussion of Internal/External Reports
Ms. Asay pointed out that under the Board’s calendar, there are reporting deadlines in November for policies 2.3 and 2.4. It is her understanding, in accordance with policy 3.4, that what is due in November for reporting on policy 2.3 is an external report which is the audit. In regard to policy 2.4, Superintendent Ricca previously reported on that policy in March but that actually should have been a Board report, with the internal report occurring in November. Due to the fact that there has effectively already been a report on last year’s budget session, Ms. Asay moved, seconded by Mr. Hingtgen, to relieve Superintendent Ricca of the obligation of doing a limitations report on policy 2.4 in November. Motion carried unanimously. Mr. Hingtgen requested to make it clear that the intent of the motion language was not to ignore policy, but rather to acknowledge that Superintendent Ricca’s March report on policy 2.4 fulfilled his November reporting requirement on that policy.
Review External Report Document
A proposed direct inspection form was distributed and discussed. Use of this form by board members is for the purpose of documenting compliance with policies and not evaluating faculty and staff.
Accept External Report Document
Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Mr. Murphy, that the Board engage in a process of direct Board inspection, the result of which will come on a standard form. The purpose of this standard form is to monitor policy as stated in policy 3.4. Mrs. Braun has already prepared a standard form that speaks to the Ends which board members will practice with, but she will also create a blank form to be used in other situations. The Board will evaluate after a few months to see how it is working. Motion carried unanimously.
Item IX – Governance Process Policy 4.0
Discuss 706 Study with Roxbury
Mrs. Braun reviewed the proposed budget and committee structure for the 706 study. Superintendent Ricca requested affirmation of the recommendation for a budget of up to $20,000, as well as affirmation of a committee structure of seven (7) members – two (2) from Roxbury and five (5) from Montpelier – and makeup of the representation beyond one (1) board member.
Vote on 706 Budget & Committee Structure
Ms. Muncy moved, seconded by Mr. Hingtgen, that the Board set up a study committee for the purpose of Roxbury and Montpelier joining comprised of seven members, five from Montpelier and two from Roxbury. Motion carried unanimously. Ms. Muncy moved, seconded by Mr. Murphy, that the District apply for the $20,000 budget limit for this committee. Motion carried unanimously. Following discussion in regard to Board representation on the committee, Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Ms. Asay, that the Montpelier representation of the committee include three (3) board members and two (2) community members selected by the Montpelier Board. Motion carried unanimously. Superintendent Ricca reviewed the timeline for selection of committee members.
Item X – Mandated Policy G14 – Daily Transportation
Discuss Net-Zero Transportation
Mr. Jones and Mr. Murphy updated the Board on the City’s net-zero transportation efforts. A recommendation was made for the District to participate, with the City structuring the process. Mr. Murphy moved, seconded by Mr. Hingtgen, that the Board authorize Mr. Murphy and Mr. Jones to partake in discussions with the City and the net-zero movement in the City on how the school district can be part of a citywide plan to better provide environmentally friendly and low carbon transportation options. Motion carried unanimously.
Item XI – Governance Process Policy 4.1 – Governing Style
Item XII – Executive Session
Mr. Hingtgen moved that the Board enter into Executive Session in accordance with 1 VSA §313 for the purpose of an employee evaluation. Mr. Jones seconded and the motion carried unanimously at 9:35 p.m. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 9:55 p.m.
Item XIII – Adjourn
On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:55 p.m.