April 13, 2011 School Board Minutes

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Cranberry Isles School Board
Minutes of 13 April 2011

I. Meeting was called to order at 2:34 P.M. by acting chairperson Kate Chaplin at the Superintendent’s Office, MDIHS. Present: Board members Kate Chaplin and Ted Spurling, Jr. (Chairperson Barbara Meyers away on a family matter); Principal Carol MacRae; Superintendent Rob Liebow; Selectman Phil Whitney.
II. Approval of Voucher: None at this time.
III. Minutes of 31 March 2011 were reviewed and approved, with one amendment: In line of Roman numeral X, change to “…moved to grant Donna Isaacs full paid medical leave of absence beginning April 25, 2011…” (add word “paid” in order to clarify the Board’s intent). Motion to approve as amended: Kate; Seconded by Ted; Vote: yes, unanimously.
IV. Discussion Items:
A. Boat Transportation for Commuting Students: No discussion at this time.
B. Review Previously Received Feedback from the February 3, 2011 Meeting Regarding the Future of Our Schools: Kate said that we should be asking the right questions, such as:
1. What does the community want from its school?
2. What does the school need from its community?
3. What will best serve the needs of the kids?
4. Kate also said that we should define our goals in order to decide better how to meet the needs.
V. Discussion and Possible Action Items: Develop a process for gathering future parent and community feedback regarding our schools:
A. Kate: Focus on the process.
B. Agreement that a survey is a good strategy.
C. Kate said that Barbara has met with parents of Great Cranberry children.
D. Should the survey be sent to all taxpayers, or voters only?
E. Kate: To all.
F. Ted: To voters and parents. Should get beyond parents only, but many taxpayers are absentee landlords.
G. Phil Whitney: Suggested that it be sent to all, but the survey should identify whether parent, voter, or taxpayer.
H. Carol: Should be more than a multiple-choice or yes/no questionnaire. Should have a scaled response such as 1-5.
I. Should we have a second community meeting—also to present results of survey? Perhaps after school starts in the fall.
J. Carol: Survey should be brief in order to get good results, also to look at the process as a whole first rather than specifics of the questions.
K. Kate: Had the previous board arrived at a number (critical mass of students) to re-open Longfellow School? Ted: No.
L. Carol: After the results are back, is it important for the board to set policies? It could be hard with so many variables.
M. Kate: Could have framework, so not to operate in a vacuum. Once survey is in, based on information, create a policy to facilitate, justify, identify what is important, bearing in mind that this could be thrown out the window with extenuating circumstances. Important to set a number of critical mass for re-opening. This can depend on age-mix of students.
N. Some factors: cost of re-opening, short-term and long-term.
O. Carol: At what point do building codes limit the re-opening? Rob: This is one of the advantages of not having closed the school officially—it has remained opened by vote at town meeting each year.
P. Kate: Can we put together some numbers (cost) of re-opening, short-term/long-term? Discussion followed about wiring for technology, office equipment, cleaning, utilities, playground/safety, etc. Kate asked about when we should present these cost estimates—perhaps at the fall meeting?
Q. Ted: The board’s primary obligation is the best education of the kids. Secondary are cost and community, although they are certainly factors in the decision. Kate: We certainly have an obligation to the community as to cost. Ted: We have an obligation, once decision has been made, to be cost-efficient. Kate: But when we have a range of two or three options that are equivalent, we should take cost into consideration. Ted agreed.
VI. Other Business: Discussion about interviews for the long-term substitute teacher: Carol said that of four applicants there are two finalists, and that a decision will be made soon. She is also encouraged by the quality of the applicants.
VII. Future Agenda Items:
A. Survey.
B. Personnel Evaluation.
C. Siding of both schools.
D. Building inspection of Longfellow School: This should be under way soon; Barbara was to talk with Pat Taber of Michael Hewes & Co. and with Ben Fulves of Heartwood Builders.
E. Boat transportation.
VIII. Adjournment: Kate moved to adjourn at 4:25 P.M.; Seconded by Ted; Vote: Yes, unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Theodore L. Spurling, Jr.