MEETING OF THE
MONTPELIER BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS
November 4, 2015
Minutes Approved: November 18, 2015
Board: Sue Aldrich, Bridget Asay, Michele Braun, Steve Hingtgen, Ken Jones, Tina Muncy, Lowell VanDerlip
Administration: Superintendent Brian Ricca
Students: Brynn Bushey, Theresa Noonan
Public: Greg Abare, John Bloch, Chris Curtis, Carolyn Desch, Sue Gilmore, Toni Hartrich, Greg Hebert, Barbarina Heyerdahl, Mary Hooper, Leah Jones, Jane Kast, Kelly McCracken, Lyn Munno, Carol Paquette, Jill Remick, Richard Sheir, Nathan Suter, Roberta Tracy, John Van Deren, and others
Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 7:07 p.m.
Item I – Public Comment
Montpelier resident Nathan Suter urged the Board to move forward in good faith and quickly in regard to ongoing teacher contract negotiations.
Item II - Consent Agenda
Minutes of October 21, 2015 School Board Meeting
Approval of Warrants for Payroll for November 13, 2015 (Limitations Policy 2.4)
Approval of Co-Curricular Contract (Limitations Policy 2.7)
Ms. Muncy requested to remove the Minutes of the October 21, 2015 meeting from the consent agenda. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to approve Warrants 23 and 24 dated November 12, 2015 in the amounts of $535,960.37 and $21,499.98 respectively and a co-curricular contract (see listing).
Item III – Budget Development Process (Limitations Policy 2.4)
Review implications of staying within and going above the variable rate threshold of 1.87%
Review budget priorities within light of this discussion
Review of various percentage scenarios
Superintendent Ricca presented the following budget scenarios using the 1.87% variable growth threshold allotted under Act 46 and with health care costs built in at 7.9%. He explained that amounts above the threshold would be subject to double tax.
*At this point, health care alone consume more than 70% of the allowable growth threshold.
Mr. Hingtgen noted the importance of determining the cost of a "no cut" budget as a baseline, i.e, a budget with no programmatic changes and the 7.9% health care increase reality. There was discussion about the difficulty doing this in light of pending contract negotiations. It was suggested that scenarios be created using a range of numbers for labor costs so as to not prejudice negotiations. Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Ms. Asay, that the Board direct the superintendent to provide a variety of budget scenarios which include no cuts to current academic programming, a 7.9% increase in health care costs, and a range of compensation increases from 0-5% so that it can determine the actual cost of a 0% budget. Motion carried unanimously.
The requested budget scenarios will be provided at the next scheduled meeting on November 18th. The Board will provide Superintendent Ricca with further directives in regard to FY17 budget target numbers and priorities following receipt of this information. The first presentation of the FY17 budget is scheduled for December 16th.
Item IV – Variable Growth Threshold Provision of Act 46 (Limitations Policy 2.8)
Review VPR article on Act 46
Decide next steps, if any
There was discussion about the intent and consequences of Act 46. Following discussion, Mrs. Braun moved, seconded by Mr. Hingtgen, that the Board charge Mrs. Aldrich with drafting a letter to the Speaker of the House and to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate requesting that they delay implementation of Act 46 based on the statewide conversation and referencing the negative impacts it is having in the Montpelier community. There was discussion about the excess spending provision of Act 46, as well as the request to delay versus rescind. Following discussion, Mrs. Braun moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, to amend her motion to move that the Board charge Mrs. Aldrich with drafting a letter to the Speaker of the House and to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate notifying them that the Montpelier School Board would like them rescind the allowable growth percentage, section 37, of Act 46. Motion carried unanimously.
The Board heard public input in regard to the FY17 budget.
Item V – Review Draft Work Plan
Draft work plan from Vice Chair Braun (Limitations Policy 4.3)
A draft work plan was provided for review and discussion. Mrs. Braun explained the process for generating the document. There was discussion about reports on monitoring of the governance process policies. Mr. VanDerlip suggested principal visits and evaluation items as possible additions to the work plan. Mr. Hingtgen reminded other board members that the Board supervises only one person and the need to be clear about that. Ms. Muncy suggested voting on accepting the calendar as a work in progress. Mr. Jones suggested February as the time to formally review policies, citing their relationship to the budget. Mrs. Braun disagreed, saying she was more inclined to take them as they come. Mr. Hingtgen questioned the reason for spreading out reporting on the ends policies. Ms. Muncy moved, seconded by Mr. Hingtgen, to adopt the calendar as written as a starting point with the ability of the Board to add to the calendar as it goes along. Mrs. Braun explained that her reluctance to approve the work plan as written was because she did not think the Board would have time to deal with the items on the schedule for November. Ms. Muncy said she did not want to wait until next November to evaluate the superintendent. Mr. Jones moved to amend the motion to adopt the calendar and consider where in this school year to include 3.4, recognizing that it probably will not take place in November. There was discussion about the process for evaluating the superintendent. Mr. Hingtgen suggested a process of putting this on the calendar for December, establishing a committee of 2-3 board members and having the committee both lead the evaluation this time and also develop the process for the coming year so that the Board begins a full year process with a beginning, a middle, and an end. He said the Board needs to get through a quick evaluation now, while at the same time develop a process for the coming year. Ms. Muncy restated her motion, seconded by Mr. Jones, to adopt the calendar as written with moving 3.4 from November to December. The motion passed 6-1, Mrs. Aldrich opposed.
Mr. Hingtgen moved, seconded by Mrs. Braun, that the Board appoint a committee of two people to build a plan and bring back to the Board in December as to how to do an evaluation of the superintendent for the current year in a somewhat streamlined process and to also create a plan with some help from the VSBA as to how to do an evaluation of the superintendent for the next year in a more ideal way. The motion carried unanimously. Ms. Muncy and Mr. Hingtgen agreed to serve on the committee. Ms. Muncy requested information from the prior evaluation of the superintendent.
Item VI – Approve Minutes of October 21, 2015 School Board Meeting
Ms. Muncy requested to correct the information contained in the Minutes in regard to her availability for meeting with people to discuss the budget. She said it is her plan to be at the designated locations every other Thursday and Friday in November and December rather than every Thursday and Friday in November and December. Ms. Asay moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, to approve the Minutes as amended. Motion carried unanimously.
Item VII – Meeting Evaluation
Board self-evaluation (Limitations 4.0)
Ms. Muncy expressed appreciation for tonight's public input on the budget, including the fact that everyone who wanted to speak had an opportunity to do so.
Mr. Hingtgen complimented Superintendent Ricca on jumping in and answering the administrative question posed during tonight's meeting.
There was discussion about questions directed toward individual board members during public comment. There was consensus that the Board Chair should be the responder during public comment.
Ms. Muncy requested a place for agenda review and amendment on the agenda itself.
The Board thanked Mrs. Braun for her work on the calendar.
Item VIII - Adjourn
On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:11 p.m.