School Board Meeting Minutes April 27, 2011

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Cranberry Isles School Board
Minutes of 27 April 2011

I. Meeting was called to order at the MDIRSS Superintendent’s Office at 2:30 P.M. Present: School Board members Barbara Meyers, Kate Chaplin and Ted Spurling, Jr.; Principal Carol MacRae; Superintendent Rob Liebow; Selectman Phil Whitney. Teacher Lindsay Eysnogle joined via PolyCom from the Islesford School after 3:00 P.M. Financial Officer Nancy Thurlow joined briefly with financial advice.
II. Approval of Voucher: Reviewed and signed.
III. Approval of Minutes of 13 April 2011: Motion to approve: Kate; Second by Ted; Vote: yes, unanimously, with Barbara abstaining due to absence from that meeting.
IV. Discussion Items:
A. Siding Projects at Islesford School and Longfellow School: Barbara has talked with Ben Fulves of Heartwood Builders. Question of whether to use Hardi-Board or natural siding.
1. Kate: from discussion with Courtney Chaplin two years ago, favors Hardi-Board for longevity and R-value. Also, the foundation of the Islesford School could be closed up better for heat retention.
2. Foam insulation between sheathing and siding?
3. Barbara: concerned with the process. Is the Town’s facilities manager able to handle the bidding process? Are there resources within the school system?
a. Phil Whitney said that facilities manager Jim Fortune is capable of putting a bid package together and monitoring, regardless of his knowledge of building.
b. Rob Liebow said that nobody in the MDI school system has that capability and that they generally use an architect or engineer.
c. Barbara said that Ben Fulves has agreed to do the specifications without bidding himself.
d. Phil suggested that Jim go with Ben when Ben specs it out, that Jim would be an excellent liason.
e. Barbara asked about keeping Ben as a consultant with hourly rate. Ben to do top-to-bottom survey in early May.
f. Rob said that the $70,000 voted at Town Meeting are not the only funds available, that up to approximately $120,000 may be available through other funds as well, and that we may consider doing bids for both schools at once. Rob suggested that we do the Islesford School at least before fall, and that the Islesford School is more straightforward because no building inspection is planned.
g. Barbara said that she would talk to Ben about Islesford School as well.
h. Phil said that Jim should be available for Islesford.
4. Kate asked if the Municipal Advisory Commission (MAC) has looked at the Longfellow School for a possible Town Office. Phil said no, not at this time, that it looks like Islesford will be the site of the Office, and in the current building for the time being. Barbara said that the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation is interested in continuing to use the space at Longfellow.
5. Barbara said that she will ask Ben Fulves to spec the siding at Islesford School, also the second floor entrance/fire escape to the apartment, if the Board approves. Kate and Ted agreed (no vote taken).
6. At 3:16 P.M. Nancy Thurlow, Financial Officer, joined the meeting and said that $60,000 in other funds is available for the Islesford School, over a period of two years ($30,000 each year).
B. Boat Transportation for Commuting Students:
1. Barbara said that we should try to shorten the time away from home for young students. She asked if the Cranberry Cove ferry could do an inter-island run before the 5:00 P.M. afternoon run from Northeast Harbor. Phil said that he believes the owner, Steve Pagels, would be open to this.
2. Kate commented on safety on the docks for students and suggested an area designated for kids. Barbara suggested that kids get aboard and inside before unloading of cargo, building materials, etc. Kate said that we could make sure that kids are inside buildings, and be the first passengers aboard after cargo is unloaded. She suggested asking the deckhands to enforce this policy. Carol asked about a person as monitor aboard the boat, and passed around a draft of requirements and duties.
3. Kate asked about buying a car for the island. Rob said that Swans Island has a car. Lindsay Eysnogle (via Poly Com) said that a car would be helpful and reported on an incident the previous week in which people got soaking wet. Rob asked Nancy if the purchase of a car could come out of next fiscal year’s budget, after July 1st. Nancy said yes. Rob suggested looking for a mini-van from a dealer—a car in good shape but can’t be sold as top condition—and this might bring recognition to the auto dealer.
4. Barbara asked if any more transportation issues. Lindsay said that having kids wait in the shed or at top of the dock is good, that they have them do that now.
C. Development of Community Survey:
1. Kate has drafted a questionnaire.
2. Barbara said that it is important to understand how islanders feel about school and also about commuting concerns.
3. [Sophie appeared next to Lindsay and waved into the Poly-Com: “I love you, Mom!”]
4. Kate said that the purpose of the survey is to take the temperature of the community; how much money is too much; use information to create meaningful policy; also to educate the community as to the potential of the schools. She asked whether we should do the survey first, or hold a community meeting.
5. To facilitate a meeting, those trained include teachers Lindsay Eysnogle and Donna Isaacs, also Mariah Baker, the new long-term substitute. Lindsay also suggested Ruth Kermish-Allen at the Island Institute, and suggested the “Peeling the Onion” protocol.
6. Kate said that a lot of community members and parents don’t understand the problem, and what is worse, we think we know what we want. Lindsay: start with peeling the onion. Barbara said that she is concerned that those trained in this often express it in technical terms.
7. Some discussion of “Peeling the Onion” Protocol: Not to solve the problem before it is fully defined; designed to “peel away” and get to depth:
a. “Keeper of the Problem” describes it.
b. Three minutes of clarifying questions, yes/no.
c. Rounds: Each speaks to the same prompt.
d. Prompts:
i. “What I have heard the presenter say is…”
ii. Assumptions.
iii. Asking questions.
iv. Further questions.
v. “What if?” “Have we thought about…?” “I wonder…”
vi. Reflections on what has been learned.
vii. Possible options.
viii. De-briefing.
e. Lindsay said that there are often 12 people in these groups, and with more may have to modify.
f. Kate asked about getting all of these people in the same room. Perhaps two nights?
g. Barbara said that it can be hard to bring the sub-group’s meaning to the larger group, that bringing the info back into the group is often dry and might not be effective with separate meetings.
h. Phil said that in Selectmen’s terms with a big issue, it is important to have separate meetings because people from one island often don’t come to the other.
i. Rob said that with the Tremont/Southwest Harbor discussions on consolidation, they held three forums: one in Tremont, one in Southwest Harbor, then a joint meeting, and that this was very worthwhile.
j. Carol said that the more we hear the more we grow in our opinions.
k. Lindsay said that we don’t have to decide the format just yet. She said that Ruth Kermish-Allen is very skilled and that we might want to contact her—that she is used to working with large groups and island populations. Lindsay said that we don’t need to re-create the wheel.
l. Kate asked what should we accomplish in these meetings?
m. Barbara said to develop consensus, and that it won’t happen without good process, that it needs to have community support and not just the School Board’s. She said that during the process better ideas develop, a solid movement toward a solution. Lindsay agreed with Barbara, to define and understand, to have willingness to move forward toward a solution.
n. Kate said that we need to avoid division among the community; to be flexible thinking about what their school means to them; that it is different than in the past.
o. Barbara asked how does the school best serve the community? She said that separate meetings might reinforce entrenchment but have forward movement.
p. Lindsay suggested having a facilitator without emotional investment.
q. Barbara said that the board will contact Ruth Kermish-Allen. Kate and Ted agreed.
r. Kate suggested three meetings: one on Islesford, One on Great Cranberry, and a joint meeting on Great Cranberry. Ted agreed.
8. Kate asked about a parents-only meeting.
a. Barbara said that we had thought about that for the February 3rd meeting, but because it was a School Board meeting, needed to be public.
b. Carol said that Ruth may think the three-meeting format a good start; and perhaps a parents-only one later.
c. Kate said that it is perfectly appropriate to host a meeting with parents. Carol said that it is important to discuss this in the beginning with Ruth.
9. Barbara said that the survey should be on hold for now, but that this is important for the process.
10. Kate said that the cost of re-opening Longfellow School should be important to the discussion.
a. Barbara said that assessment of costs should be complete, but we can’t start there, should start with what we’d like to do first.
b. Kate said that we should go into the process with cost in consideration; that we can’t start with a design without knowing limitations, and can’t start with an open wallet.
c. Barbara said that this does not mean that we’re starting from ground-up; we already have a school building, and we do have a limited field of options.
d. Ted said that we should have a cost assessment as we get closer and then put it to the community, rather than ask them their limit first.
e. Phil said that we should do this as completely as possible, then come back and pare it down; start with complete plan, then refine it.
V. Other Business:
A. Principal’s Report (see sheet dated April 27, 2011).
B. Auditor’s Report (see sheet from James W. Wadman, CPA, dated February 14, 2011).
VI. Future Agenda Items: None at this time.
VII. Executive Session: Not held. Kate moved to accept the Superintendent’s recommendation to extend contract, with set salary, of Principal Carol MacRae. Seconded by Barbara. Vote: yes, unanimously.
VIII.Adjournment: 4:43 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Theodore L. Spurling, Jr.

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